Museums, monuments and memorials: See the sights at the nation’s capital

From our perch on College Hill, we as a campus community can often feel isolated, a world unto itself. But there is a world outside campus. There are many opportunities for excursions off the hill, to get out into the Lehigh Valley and beyond, to experience all this region has to offer.

With the end of the semester fast approaching, many students will be making their way home for the holidays. Others, however, will find themselves on campus with little to do. While Eclectic Excursions has covered a variety of activities and locations in and around the Lehigh Valley, from sport attractions to museums, cool jazz clubs to spooky haunted locations, those with little else to do might consider taking a trip a little farther afield for as the long winter break.

The nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., is an ideal location for an extended trip over break, being only a bus and train ride away from campus, and is home to a plethora of activities for students to embark on.

Most familiar to those who visit the D.C. area are the government buildings, which can get very crowded during touring hours, and the many monuments and memorials dotted throughout the city. Though the Lincoln, Jefferson and Vietnam memorials are among the most famous for a reason, one should not forget the lesser known World War II Memorial, FDR Memorial and  Korean War Veterans Memorial. They are all gorgeous and touching in their own ways.

What the city is famous for, tourist-wise, are the fantastic museums. The famous Air And Space Museum is not overrated, offering a fantastic look at the history of aviation. The beautiful replica of the moon lander is worth the trip alone, and exhibits cater to enthusiasts and casual visitors alike.

The International Spy Museum is another prominent attraction, providing a series of interactive exhibits about the history of espionage, featuring famous (and infamous) spy operations, gadgets and tools of the trade, and very informative write-ups on the true story of the greatest spies of all time, portraying a secret world that is not as glamorous or exciting as in movies, is compelling and thrilling in its own right. Featuring the largest collection of spy artifacts ever put on display, it is a must see if visiting the capital.

As sobering as it is, the National Holocaust Museum is a must see, as well. It’s dark, with harrowing pictures and tales from one of the most horrible periods in human history is important so that the atrocities may be remembered and the victims never forgotten.

With countless other attractions, D.C. is the place to be if you haven’t a clue on what to do over the winter break. It’s only a bus to New York and a train from Penn Station away. For a weekend (or weeklong) trip with family or friends, it is the perfect location.