WASHINGTON -- From under the gaze of a towering marble Abraham Lincoln, on the exact spot where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous "I have a dream" speech, one can see the Reflection Pool, the Washington Monument wrapped in blue scaffolding and the dome of the U.S. Capitol.
Nearby are other landmarks, museums and monuments celebrating the history and culture of the United States of America.
"Washington, D.C., is a place where history happened, but also a place where history happens," said Kate Gibbs, media relations manager for Destination D.C. "It's a wonderful place for families to visit because it's a place that has free or near-free things."
Although Washington, D.C., is a small city, there is still much to do and it is probably best to tackle visits in sections. For example, in downtown, a visitor can spend a couple of days just visiting the Smithsonian Museums; one day on Capitol Hill, which has the Capitol, Library of Congress and Supreme Court; another day hitting the monuments on the mall.
For those who want to see Congress at work, tours can be booked through the Capitol Hill Visitor's Center or through a senator or representative's office.
Matt Harakal, press secretary for U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch's office, said the office staff enjoys getting visitors from Utah.
"It makes the folks that are from Utah giving the tour feel a little bit closer to home," Harakal said.
With a congressional staffer as a guide, visitors can also gain access to some of the more interesting aspects of Capitol Hill, including the tunnel system and mini-subway train that links the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Contacting a representative is also a way to get a gallery pass.
However, the gallery for the House of Representatives is currently closed for renovations, but it is still possible to obtain a pass to the Senate gallery through a senate office.
Harakal advised visitors to plan ahead when contacting their office.
"The earliest advance notice we get, the better," Harakal said. "A week or two (of) notice is really not enough; in a lot of cases, a few months is better."
Besides the Capitol building and offices, Capitol Hill is also home to the Library of Congress and the Supreme Court, which are open to the public.
The facade of the Supreme Court is currently under renovation, hidden behind a large canvas featuring a likeness of the building, but visitors are still welcome.
Another popular destination is the Smithsonian.
The Smithsonian is actually a collection of about 16 museums, galleries and a zoo, covering everything from postage to bobbins.
The most well known are the Air and Space Museum, which is home to the Spirit of St. Louis and the Wright Brothers flyer; the Natural History Museum, which has the Hope Diamond; and the American History Museum, which has Fonzie's jacket and the ruby slippers from the "Wizard of Oz." Other museums include the African Art Museum, American Indian Museum and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, which displays modern art.
Less than 4 percent of the collection is on display at any time, so while there are standing favorites, new exhibits go on display all of the time.
D.C. has a plethora of monuments as well, spread all over town. However, some of the most famous ones are concentrated between the Tidal Basin and the Washington Monument.
Downtown Washington, D.C., also has some popular museums that charge money.
Across the street is the National Portrait Gallery and a few blocks from Chinatown is the International Spy Museum, 800 F St. NW, which is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tickets are $20.95 for ages 12 to 64 and $14.95 for ages 7 to 11.
Exhibits cover the history of espionage, offer hands-on examples of trade craft and currently offer an exhibit called "Exquisitely Evil: 50 years of Bond villains," showcasing the baddies from all of the 007 films.
News junkies can learn about journalism and the media at the Newseum, 555 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., which features exhibits such as the Pulitzer Prize Photographs Gallery and the Journalists Memorial Gallery, a tribute to journalists who died on duty.
Reaching most of these places is relatively easy on foot. Just remember that D.C. is on a quadrant and that addresses end in a compass direction such as northwest or southeast.
For farther distances, the Metro, Washington D.C.'s subway system, is probably the best way to get around, because parking is limited throughout most of the city.
However, with an increase in bike rental options, pedaling may be the quick way to get around, especially when reaching some out-of-the way areas.
The Lincoln Memorial is about a half-hour walk from the nearest Metro stop, while Jefferson Memorial, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial and Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial are on the Tidal Basin, which is even further still.
These monuments look spectacular at night and the areas remain busy.
While there is plenty to do, sequestration forced the White House, one of the most popular destinations, to suspend all tours. Other areas downtown may be closed because of construction or depending on events and festivals.
Remember to plan ahead and a trip to downtown D.C. can be fun and memorable for the whole family.
Contact reporter Jesus Lopez Jr. at 801-625-4239 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jesuslopezSE.