Though it’s a city filled with memorials and monuments to the past, the country’s capital is very much alive and bubbling with excitement to explore – and it's way more than a mere history lesson.

That being said, the majesty of the National Mall never gets old, no matter how many school trips you’ve been on. There’s no better time to see it then at night, when the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument are lit up against the dark sky. It’s the perfect walk after a day exploring the neighboring Smithsonian locations, like the National Portrait Gallery, Museum of African American History and Culture, or the Air and Space Museum.

As for food, grab a bit at the iconic Ben’s Chili Bowl, a Burmese dinner at Thamee or – if you simply can't decide – head to the food stall-filled Union Market for a taste of all this elegant city has to offer.

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