A lot of history is concentrated within DC’s relatively small confines. In a single day, you could gawp at the Declaration of Independence, the real, live parchment with John Hancock’s signature scrawled across it at the National Archives; stand where Martin Luther King Jr gave his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech on the Lincoln Memorial’s steps; prowl around the Watergate building that got Nixon into trouble; see the flag that inspired the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ at the National Museum of American History; and be an arm’s length from where Lincoln was assassinated in Ford’s Theatre.
The president, Congress and the Supreme Court are here, the three pillars of the US government. In their orbit float the Pentagon, the State Department, the World Bank and embassies from most corners of the globe. If you hadn’t got the idea, power is why Washington emits such a palpable buzz. As a visitor, there’s a thrill in seeing the action up close – to walk inside the White House, to sit in the Capitol chamber while senators argue about Arctic drilling, and to drink in a bar alongside congresspeople likely determining your newest tax hike over their single malt Scotch.