Washington National Monument
Madison Drive NW and 15th St NW
Washington, DC 20001
Perhaps one of DC’s most well-known attractions is dedicated to its most prominent founding father — George Washington. The Washington Monument captures global interest, with nearly 650,000 visitors in 2011. There are 896 steps that lead to its observation level, but don’t worry, there’s an elevator. Completed in 1884 after a confluence of events halted its construction from 1854 to 1877, the monument stands at just about 556 feet high, easily being DC’s tallest building and the tallest stone structure in the world. Thirty-six thousand pieces of marble, granite and bluestone gneiss make up the Egyptian-style obelisk. Once the tallest structure in the world, the monument was surpassed in height by France’s Eiffel Tower in 1889.
3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway
Alexandria, VA 22309
Mt. Vernon, home to George Washington for more than 50 years, is another popular location linked to the DC founding father. With more than one million visitors each year, Mt. Vernon is considered the most frequented historic home in America. The estate, which sits on a sprawling 50 acres of plantation and houses a working blacksmith shop, offers something for everyone in the family.
L’Enfant Plaza Hotel
480 L’Enfant Plaza SW
Washington, DC 20024
Another site of historical significance to a founding father of the district is L’Enfant Plaza — named after architect Pierre Charles L’Enfant. L’Enfant Plaza offers a little something for everyone with retail shopping, fast-food carry outs and restaurants including Potbelly, Roti and Au Bon Pain. The plaza is a Metrorail station in the Southwest Federal Center neighborhood and offers access to the blue, orange, green and yellow Metrorail lines while talented street buskers put on their best performances. In 1791, Pierre Charles L’Enfant was appointed by President George Washington to design the street layout of the nation’s new capital city. The streets you walk on near the Plaza are the brain power of this founding father.
Dupont Circle NW and Massachusetts Ave
Washington, DC 20036
Dupont Circle is a well-known destination within the district. The diverse community offers a mix of shops, businesses and restaurants including Hank’s Oyster Bar, Bistrot Du Coin and Pizzeria Paradiso. The surrounding neighborhood has beautiful row houses, bustling bars and impressive embassies along Massachusetts Avenue. The area around the Dupont traffic circle was designed by DC pioneer planner Pierre Charles L’Enfant. After your next excursion to the Circle, take a few minutes to look around at what is nearby and see if you can distinguish a few styles from DC’s earlier years.
Logan Circle NW and Vermont Ave NW
Washington, DC 20420
Logan Circle is a popular shopping district in DC named after John A. Logan by Congress in 1930. It is also home to a variety of restaurants including the Spanish-style Estadio, Sweetgreen and jazz-themed HR-57. John A. Logan was a Civil War commander and later a Representative and Senator for the state of Illinois. At the center of Logan Circle, a bronze statue stands in his honor. It was dedicated to him on April 9, 1901 by President William McKinley, Senator Chauncey Depew and General Grenville M. Dodge.
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Kevin Porter is a freelance writer covering all things D.C. His work can be found on Examiner.com.