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A trip on the East Coast of the United States is a journey to discover America’s history.
There is no better day than 4th of July for a blogpost about American history: today is Independence Day, on July 4, 1776, thirteen colonies became independent from England.
Start your trip from Plymouth where Pilgrim Fathers arrived in 1620.
Than Boston looking for the Kennedy’ saga.
READ MORE: “FROM BOSTON TO CAPE COD DISCOVERING THE KENNEDY’ SAGA”
The Declaration of Independence of the United States of America
On July 4, 1776, the thirteen British colonies of the North Atlantic coast declared their independence from the British Empire in Philadelphia.
Philadelphia was for 24 years the capital of the United States while they were building Washington D.C.
5 things to do in Philly
If you are on the road stop in Philadelphia even if for just one night.
Liberty Bell, Indipendence National History Park
This is the place where the Independence Declaration has been signed and Liberty Bell is certainly the most famous American icon.
Here you will find the Visitor Center, the Liberty Bell Center, the Benjamin Franklin Museum and many guided tours in costume.
There’s no way being in Philly without thinking of Rocky Balboa’s movies. To live the true experience, you have to run up the stairs to the Museum of Art (beautiful!) shouting “Adrianaaa”. If you are true enthusiast, take a photo with the Rocky statue. I warn you, we will have to wait your turn!
Reading Terminal Market
For lunch or just for a snack, do not miss the Reading Terminal Market (51 N 12th St). You will find all the kind of food, especially the Amish hand-made pretzel and the Cheese Steak, the Philadelphia icon sandwich. Really good!
You will soon begin to notice that the city is scattered with Masonic symbols, on the facades of the palaces, on plates and monuments.
The City Hall is 167 feet high and it’s one of the tallest marble buildings in the world (with the Washington obelisk and the Mole Antonelliana in Turin). On the top of the tower is the statue of William Penn, founder of the city and of the Pennsylvania state.
Driving two hours and a half from Philadelphia you’ll be in Washington D.C., the capital of the United States of America.
I really liked Washington! A little bit of Scandal, a bit of House of Cards, a bit of West Wing, a little Designated Survivor…
The best way to move in Washington? Bike sharing that you can use easily, you just must have a credit card. First 30 minutes are free.
In 1790 the United States Congress approved the establishment of a national capital on the Potomac River and the exact location was chosen by President George Washington.
What is the first thing to visit? Absolutely the White House (where Washington never lived!).
The White House
The White House is maybe the most famous house in the world. We know it very well thanks to movies and tv but seeing it in person is really exciting! Surrounded by secret service agents and barriers, you can only admire it from afar (unless the President, the Eagle, is not in the house) but it’s not a big problem!
Do not just look at it from the front! The most famous sight is no doubt from Pennsylvania Avenue, but do not miss the “back”. You can go around the block and you will have a perfect view of the garden and the famous balcony (how many fans of Olivia Pope there are in here?!). I’m telling you something extraordinary: on our first day in Washington we were here and who came to the balcony? Barack Obama in person! Crazy!
You may even see the Marine One, the US President’s helicopter!
Today, for security reasons, you can visit the White House only if you are an American citizens.
Do not miss the Visitor Center (1450 Pennsylvania Ave NW) with a beautiful interactive exhibition about history and curiosities.
This is the Washington icon (and of House of Cards too!) and you can visit it for free. You can book your visit here. Don’t miss the new Visitor Center and gift shop.
Other notable buildings are the Library of Congress and the National Archives where there is the original copy of the American Declaration of Independence.
Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial
Behind the White House, a huge park takes you to the National Mall from Capitol Hill to Lincoln Memorial. You will see the marble obelisk, the George Washington monument (usually it’s open to the public but at the moment is closed until spring 2019 for renovation) and the Lincoln Memorial (open to the public 24 hours a day, free entrance). It is exciting think of what happened here: Martin Luther King pronounced here the I have a dream speech on August 28, 1963.
The Lincoln Memorial contains a huge statue of Abraham Lincoln. Walk between the giant columns and you’ll feel being part of the House of Cards scheming and you’ll have a beautiful view on the Potomac River. On the other side of the river is Virginia, and nearby there are the Pentagon and the Arlington military cemetery (the one with all the white graves and the Kennedy’s grave).
Nearby the Lincoln Memorial visit the monument to lost soldiers of Vietnam and Korea wars.
The Smithsonian Institution is an institute of education and research that includes 19 museums, 11 of which in the same street! Is impossible visit all of them you have to choose. Free entrance.
The Smithsonian Institution was founded to promote the culture of the United States by British scientist James Smithson (1765-1829), who never visited the United States!
These are the museums we visited:
National Air and Space Museum – don’t miss it! The widest collection of aircraft and spaceships of the world. Here you can see: the Russian Spacecraft Soyuz, spy satellite from the Cold War, the Hubble Telescope, first space travel capsules, the Lindbergh’s plane, the Wright brothers’ plane… no reproduction, all original pieces!
This museum has another location just out of town dedicated to larger aircraft, the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center (about 40 minutes by car). Here you can see the Space Shuttle Discovery; the famous Black Bird, the spy plane secret until the ’90s; the Boeing Dash 80, the first airliner prototype with jet engines that changed the way to travel; one Concorde, the only supersonic passenger aircraft; the Enola-Gay, the plane that on August 6, 1945, unveiled the first atomic bomb in history on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. I do not know how to describe the horror and the loss that you experience looking at it. A must-see museum!
National Museum of Natural History, natural history museums are always beautiful.
National Portrait Gallery, a beautiful museum with a indoor courtyard and an excellent section of contemporary art. Here you can admire the gallery of the most famous portraits of American presidents.
And if you are a 007 fan, do not miss the Spy Museum (Filippo was really excited about it!).
Visit Georgetown, a nice historic neighborhood in Washington with restaurants and shops.
Have a tour in Kalorama, residential and embassies area with beautiful houses (here is where now Obama lives, in Belmont Road).
Ladies and gentlemen, you can visit the Pentagon! It’s free, you have just to book in advance. It’s forbidden to take photos though! I did but I do not know if it’s worth it, of course, there is the excitement of being within the US military’s heart with all the secrets of international security, but the guided tour that gives a taste of martial behavior ‘Army, it makes you walk around the infinite corridors (let’s not forget that the Pentagon is the largest building in the world!) admiring closed doors and photographic panels that celebrate American military actions around the world. The last stop of the visit is the small chapel built in memory of the victims of the September 11 attack that struck the building. But if you want to visit the official monument, it’s outside the Pentagon: Pentagon Memorial.
For a better view of the building, I recommend to have dinner at Skydome Restaurant, on the top floor of the Arlington’s DoubleTree hotel. From the 14th floor you can eat fried chicken (do not be fooled, this is a very handy restaurant!) admiring an amazing 360 ° view of Washington from the Pentagon to the Capitol. And there is more: the restaurant floor rotates!
I hope I made you a bit curious at least and have given you good suggestions. For every further information write me!