What Our Visitors Say
“Thanks again for allowing us to stay at your site. I believe this is our 8th time staying at the Washington Seminar Center!  It’s always been such a wonderful experience staying at your church. It’s nice because the students have more together time than they would at a regular hotel. ”
– Soraya , leader of 55-member group from Florida, 2013
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Fun and Exploration

When planning your trip to DC, you will want to allow plenty of time for your group to enjoy the museums, memorials, and other sites Washington has to offer!  Some of the most popular places are listed below. You may also want to check-out these websites: CulturalCapital.com, Free in DC, About.com, National Geographic Traveler, Fodors, Thingstodo.com, National Parks Service calendar, or the almost-free options listed at Washington.org.

White House from the South Lawn

  • The White House & White House Visitor Center Public tours of the White House are available. Requests must be submitted through one’s Member of Congress and are accepted up to six months in advance but no later than 30 days in advance.  These self-guided tours are available from 7:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Fridays, and 7:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Saturdays (excluding federal holidays).  You are encouraged to submit your request as early as possible since a limited number of tours are available.  All White House tours are free of charge.  For the most current tour information, please call the 24-hour line at 202-456-7041.  All tours are significantly enhanced if visitors stop by the White House Visitor Center located at the southeast corner of 15th and E Streets, before or after their tour.  The Center is open seven days a week from 7:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. and features many aspects of the White House, including its architecture, furnishings, first families, social events, and relations with the press and world leaders, as well as a thirty-minute video.

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  • The U.S. Capitol Building The United States Capitol is a monument, a working office building, and one of the most recognizable symbols of representative democracy in the world and is within walking distance from the WSC.  You can begin your Capitol experience at the Visitor Center by visiting the Exhibition Hall, perusing our Gift Shops or dining in our Restaurant.  The Capitol Visitor Center is open to visitors from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday except for some holidays.  Admission to the Capitol Visitor Center is free and does not require a ticket. However, tickets are required for tours of the historic Capitol and may be needed for other special events.  Tours of the U.S. Capitol need to be scheduled in advance through the Advance Reservation System or through the office of one of your Senators or your Representative.

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  • Smithsonian Institution The Smithsonian Institution consists of a myriad of museums on and around the National Mall, including Air and Space, American History, Natural History, and many more.  All Smithsonian museums have free admission.

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  • National Mall & Memorials These include the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, Roosevelt Memorial, Vietnam War Memorial, and Korean War Memorial. Almost all are within a mile or two, and all are free and open 24 hours a day.

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  • Washington National Cathedral The Cathedral is a spiritual resource for our nation: a great and beautiful edifice atop the highest hill in Washington and a ministry for people of all faiths and perspectives.  Modeled after Notre Dame, it is the 6th largest cathedral in the world.  Helen Keller is buried there, one of the gargoyles is a carved Darth Vader, a special stained glass window contains a piece of moon rock the first trip to the moon, and from the 7th floor you can get a 360-degree view of DC, Maryland, and Virginia. What’s not to love?  They require that all groups visiting the Cathedral larger than 13 make a reservation. Groups may take a tour or come to worship.

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  • U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum A living memorial to the Holocaust, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum inspires citizens and leaders worldwide to confront hatred, promote human dignity, and prevent genocide. A public-private partnership, federal support guarantees the Museum’s permanence, and its far-reaching educational programs and global impact are made possible by donors nationwide.  Located among our national monuments to freedom on the National Mall, the Museum provides a powerful lesson in the fragility of freedom and the need for vigilance in preserving democratic values. With unique power and authenticity, the Museum teaches millions of people each year about the dangers of unchecked hatred and the need to prevent genocide.  Hours are 10am -5:20pm daily.  Admission is free.

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  • The Kennedy Center – with free performances every night!  Since opening in 1971, the Kennedy Center has continued its efforts to fulfill its vision—presenting the greatest performers and performances from across America and around the world, nurturing new works and young artists, and serving the nation as a leader in arts education. The Kennedy Center is America’s living memorial to President Kennedy.  You can learn more and take a virtual tour on the website.

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  • The U.S. Marine Corps Band Every Friday night in the summer months, the “President’s Own” Marine Marching Band performs free at the historic Barracks Row on 8th St (walking distance from WSC).  It is very colorful and impressive.  You will want to get reservations for ease of entrance and assigned seating up close. Call 202-433-4011.

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  • Union Station At the time it was built, the Station covered more ground than any other building in the United States and was the largest train station in the world. Union Station brought to the nation’s capital a new grandeur that echoed the Chicago World’s Fair and began Washington’s monumental transformation. Seventy pounds of 22-karat gold leaf adorn the 96-foot barrel-vaulted, coffered ceilings. The white granite and classic lines of Union Station set the stage for the next 40 years of Washington’s classic architecture – reflected in the construction of the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials and the Supreme Court building. For half a century and through two world wars, Union Station served Washington and the U.S. as a major center of transportation and the venue for many historic events. In 1981 it was nearly bulldozed, but due to a massive restoration it is now a living and working museum and a bustling retail center and transportation facility. Shops are open from 10:00 am – 9:00 pm, Monday through Saturday, and from Noon to 6:00 pm on Sunday.  Union station also has a massive food court. It is a 15-minute walk from WSC!

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  • The National Zoo (technically a part of the Smithsonian, but located father north in the city).  The zoo covers 163 acres and it takes several hours to see all of the animals and exhibits. To make your walk around the Zoo more enjoyable, wear comfortable shoes and clothing, as the Zoo is set on hilly terrain and some paths are steep.  Explore the Zoo map and plot your route through the Zoo so you don’t miss anything!  Summer hours are 10am – 6pm; winter hours are 10am – 5pm.  And yes, admission is free!