Every week I travel back and forth from South Dakota to Washington, D.C., to represent our great state. I’m impressed by how many South Dakotans I’ve come across in D.C. over the last few months. Spring has sprung and families and school groups are headed to D.C. for spring break. While my time here has focused on congressional work, I’ve enjoyed exploring some of the historical and cultural experiences D.C. has to offer.
My office offers a number of tours so whenever you or your family make the trip to the District, please make sure to give us a call. Here are some of my favorite spots around town for you to keep in mind as you plan your trip:
First, our office can book you a tour of the FBI Headquarters. This self-guided tour features interactive exhibits and historical artifacts, including a number of declassified items on display for the very first time that help illustrate the importance of the Bureau’s work to protect the nation. The tour tells the history of the FBI’s founding, its investigations of notorious gangsters, organized crime syndicates, the Kennedy Assassination, and more.
As an avid reader, I love a good library. There’s not a library in the rest of the country that can top the Library of Congress. The Library was founded in 1800, making it the oldest federal cultural institution in the nation. It’s home to millions of books, printed materials, maps, manuscripts, photographs and films. Comprised of three buildings near the center of D.C., the Library of Congress is named in honor of some of our earliest presidents: Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and James Madison. The beauty of the Great Hall in the Jefferson Building is truly breathtaking!
As a self-described constitutional conservative, being able to view the founding documents that make our country great is an unforgettable experience. That’s why I highly recommend a visit to the National Archives. From the Declaration of Independence to the Constitution and Bill of Rights, there are over three billion records preserved and displayed including federal documents, military records, census figures and photographs. It’s amazing to have the founding of our country literally at your fingertips (well, apart from the glass, of course).
You’d be mistaken to come all the way to D.C. and not cross the river over to Arlington National Cemetery. Many of our brave veterans are laid to rest in Arlington, as well as former President John F. Kennedy, his wife Jacqueline and brother Bobby. You can visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and watch the Changing of the Guard at regular intervals throughout the day.
It’s a moving, sobering experience and one of the most sacred ways to honor our fallen heroes.
Another can’t miss destination is Ford’s Theater – where former President Abraham Lincoln was shot more than 150 years ago. Costing only $3.00 for admittance, Ford’s Theater offers an affordable yet historical experience as you relive the last moments of our 16th president.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the crown jewel of Washington, D.C. – the U.S. Capitol. Built at the exact center of the city, the U.S. Capitol encapsulates everything our nation represents and reminds me every day what an honor it is to be a public servant. My staff is happy to offer guided tours to all South Dakotans who wish to experience the humbling brilliance of the U.S. Capitol firsthand. If you’re interested, visit dustyjohnson.house.gov to book a tour!
Nothing beats the sights South Dakota has to offer, but D.C. is a close second. Hope to see you out there sometime soon.