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America’s capital truly has something for everyone, from history boffins and wannabe spies to wine connoisseurs.


Guided tours of the US Capitol are open to the public and advance reservations are recommended. The Senate and House galleries, which are not included on the tour, are open to visits when in session. Australians can enquire about getting a pass at the appointment desk in the visitor centre.

Just across the Potomac River from the Mall, American’s top military cemetery, Arlington National Cemetery, was created to honour those who had served the country. The formal and informal gardens and extensive grounds provide a scenic, peaceful and poignant reminder of the impact of military service. Key sights include the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which is guarded 24/7 by special sentinels – don’t miss the hourly (or half-hourly in the summer) changing of the guard – and President Kennedy’s grave.

Fancy being a spy for a day? The International Spy Museum’s mission is to educate the public about espionage and intelligence work in an engaging, fun way. The museum, which is run by a former counterintelligence specialist, provides special tools and insight into the work of spies and secret agents.

Anyone hankering to try out a bit of spy action will want to check out the museum’s “Spy in the City” activity, which involves using a set of clues, codes and intercepts to complete a secret mission somewhere in the city.

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