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Top Attractions in Washington

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Washington State boasts an array of unique attractions ranging from snowcapped mountain peaks and forested islands of Puget Sound, to hidden gems and stories that may leave an impression.

Visit Riverfront Park for stunning views of Seattle’s largest urban waterfall or take an underground tour through its former underground streets. In Leavenworth, check out the Nature Museum which hosts hiking trails and beautiful gardens for you to explore making it a perfect excuse to skip that game of slot over websites reviewed on

1. The Space Needle

The Space Needle is a beloved Seattle symbol that instantly distinguishes its skyline since its opening at the 1962 World’s Fair. While many residents pass by it without making time to visit it, those that take time out do so often come away having had an unforgettable experience that has become a key part of Seattle culture.

Edward Carlson conceived of the Space Needle as a way of emphasizing the “Space Age” theme at the World’s Fair. Carlson sought advice from architect John Graham (designer of Northgate Mall), with whom Carlson later collaborated. Graham helped to design it further based off of Stuttgarter Fernsehturm (constructed within 400 days).

Today, the Space Needle stands 520 feet (160 meters). From its top observation deck, visitors can enjoy stunning views of downtown Seattle, Mount Rainier, Olympic and Cascade Mountains, Elliott Bay and various islands within Puget Sound. In addition, SkyCity revolving restaurant also resides here.

In 2018, the Space Needle underwent an extensive renovation, which included adding glass walls to its upper observation deck and opening up its first ever revolving glass floor known as The Loupe – all to be enjoyed by its millions of annual visitors. For optimal viewing experience, be sure to visit during evening hours when its lights illuminated fully.

2. The Washington Monument

The Washington Monument stands as an iconic symbol of American government, making its mark both nationally and globally. But its fame goes deeper; its prominence derives from honoring one of America’s greatest leaders – George Washington.

In 1783, the Continental Congress voted to erect the Monument. A site was specifically chosen by Pierre-Charles L’Enfant as part of this memorial; thus it stood on visual axes with both White House and Capitol Building buildings.

At first, the plan for building the statue involved creating an equestrian statue; however, that changed following a design competition won by Robert Mills’ 600-foot obelisk in 1836. While Robert Mills had originally included a colonnaded building around it for budgetary concerns, this feature had to be dropped due to budgetary considerations. Congress eventually assumed funding responsibility in 1876, and construction took over with Army Corps of Engineers overseeing construction.

Washington Monument visitors can ascend all the way to its pinnacle for breathtaking views of Charm City or simply admire it from below. Situated within the National Mall, visitors to this monument have many activities available to them such as visiting any of its 17 museums or venues which are all free for public access (for instance the Smithsonian Institution has 17 free to the public venues).

3. The National Air and Space Museum

This Smithsonian-affiliated museum addresses one of humanity’s oldest impulses – our desire to fly. Its galleries celebrate humanity’s accomplishments since first taking flight for 120 feet on September 17, 1903 up through landing on the moon and back.

The National Mall building houses numerous aircraft, spacecraft, missiles and rockets as well as flight-related artifacts in various galleries. There is also a public observatory and planetarium within this complex. However, from 2025 until its final closure the museum will undergo ongoing renovations while remaining fully open with all galleries still accessible to visitors.

Visit iconic aircraft such as Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St Louis and the Wright brothers’ Kitty Hawk Flyer as well as spacecraft such as Saturn V which launched Apollo astronauts to the moon and space shuttle Discovery. Additionally, The Pioneers of Flight Gallery pays homage to those whose courage and innovation helped introduce aviation worldwide – including Amelia Earhart’s plane, Concordes, commercial jets/helicopters/historic military aircraft in its collection and more!

The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center near Washington Dulles International Airport houses hundreds of historically significant aircraft, spacecraft and other artifacts in an open, hangar-like environment. Additionally, visitors may enjoy using its IMAX theater or visiting Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar.

4. The Museum of Natural History

The Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of Natural History is an absolute must-see for science enthusiasts. Here you’ll discover creatures both living and extinct across 22 galleries and special exhibits – from giant blue whale models suspended in Milstein Family Hall of Ocean Life to dinosaur fossils and mammal evolution studies. Plus you can even get up close and personal with bee hives or roam free-flying butterflies in tropical rainforest conservatory conservatories!

Fossil Hall and Birds of the World galleries are among the most visited. Both feature fossilized palm trees as well as breathtakingly realistic Tyrannosaurus Rex dinosaur skeletons. Meanwhile, Birds of the World highlights the diversity of birdlife through hundreds of specimens; you’ll also find exhibits tracing mammoths, mastodons and saber-toothed cats evolution through time.

Halls dedicated to insects and ocean life provide visitors with an up-close glimpse of all that lives here on our planet, such as insects found at Orkin Insect Zoo or Sant Ocean Hall, including their 1,500-gallon aquarium featuring tropical Pacific coral reefs and giant squid. There are also exhibits dedicated to Asia, Africa and North America along with an anthropological collection that features exhibits dedicated to each continent; at Rose Center for Earth and Space is the Hayden Planetarium which offers visitors an extraordinary celestial journey across 13 billion years of celestial evolution!

5. The World War II Memorial

Established in 2004, the World War II Memorial stands as one of Washington’s most impressive landmarks. Comprising of a circular plaza ringed with 56 granite columns representing all 50 states and territories united together by a bronze cord to represent their efforts during WWII, two 43-foot victory pavilions represent Atlantic and Pacific theaters of battle respectively while bas relief artwork depicting all aspects of war can also be found here.

Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island is an exquisite 150-acre forested garden that was once the private domain of Virginia and Prentice Bloedel, but now serves as an open public oasis. Hiking trails weave through dense forests while visitors can marvel at all of the lush greenery available here botanical garden.

Lake Chelan, located in central Washington, is another top attraction worth seeing in Washington State. The deep blue waters make for ideal water sports such as boating and fishing; its breathtaking surroundings boast numerous forests and mountain vistas – not to mention hiking and camping as outdoor recreational activities! Lake Chelan also makes for a fantastic camping trip!

Seattle is an indispensable stop on any visit to Washington state, offering plenty of dining and shopping options. Don’t miss the Pike Place Market for fresh seafood and handmade crafts made locally; or climb up The Space Needle (built for the 1962 World’s Fair).

6. The National Gallery of Art

The National Gallery of Art is a world-class museum complex featuring two buildings and a Sculpture Garden. Originally designed by architect John Russell Pope for its original neoclassical West Building; while I.M. Pei designed its modern East Building for which an underground walkway links them both together; these exhibition spaces host permanent and temporary exhibitions respectively.

The Gallery boasts one of the world’s finest and largest collections of paintings and sculptures, from Renaissance Italian artists through to Jackson Pollock and contemporary works like Ginevra de’ Benci’s Painting by Leonardo da Vinci in America, to Alexander Calder’s Mobiles created as new works for this exhibit.

Although the museum is free to visit, certain special exhibits require passes. There are numerous cafes and eateries within its complex as well as one of DC’s premier gift shops (I know this because I frequent it). Furthermore, personal photography is allowed in most areas.

The gallery also boasts a 6.1 acre Sculpture Garden designed as an outdoor gallery for monumental modern sculpture. In summer months the Garden plays host to popular jazz concert series while during winter it transforms into an ice rink! Cafe Boulud provides the perfect place for relaxation after exploring National Mall all day long.