GPO Summer Travel Series: What to Do and See in Washington DC

The kids are out of school, the sun is blazing and the suitcases are packed. Summer has returned in all her glory, which means it’s time to travel. And this season, we’re bringing you our GPO Summer Travel Series. We’ll provide you with places to go, things to do and, of course, resources from the GPO Bookstore to help you plan, so you can make the most of your travels.

If you live in the United States (or really anywhere for that matter), a trip to our nation’s capital is a must. There are endless exciting things to do in DC.; so here are just a few ideas and resources to help you plan a trip you won’t forget.

Start your journey in DC by taking a stroll around the U.S. Capitol. On a nice day, you’ll find the area filled with everyone from students on field trips, to engaged citizens peacefully protesting, to working men and women in fancy business suits. You never know who you may bump into – be on the lookout for Members of Congress! Order the Congressional Pictorial Directory so you can address the Congressmen and women by name … and maybe ask them to take a selfie … if you spot them out and about.

Just a short walk from the U.S. Capitol, stop and smell the roses (and lots of other plants) at the U.S. Botanic Garden. Go in prepared with A Botanic Garden for the Nation from the GPO Bookstore. It includes full-color photos of the building and plants as well as helpful information such as how to read a plant label at the Botanic Garden and a map of both the Conservatory building and Bartholdi Park outside.

Next, it’s time to see what it’s like to live like the POTUS. Requests for a tour of The White House can be submitted through one’s Member of Congress. If you’re bringing along any junior rangers, make sure you’ve got The White House Junior Ranger Activity Guide Book. It’s packed with activities that teach children about the history of The White House.

Depending on the time of year, you may be able to stroll among a wonderland of blossoming cherry trees that border the Tidal Basin and frame the Jefferson Memorial. Before you go, make sure to have in hand this National Park Service Handbook that describes the Jefferson Memorial and includes a biography of Thomas Jefferson. The National Park Service also offers a handbook on the Lincoln Memorial.

Take a break from the city life and get your nature on at Rock Creek Park! A Photographer’s Path: Images of National Parks Near the Nation’s Capital from GPO’s Bookstore includes a collection of colorful photographs from the park as well as other natural and historic sites in the Greater Washington DC area.

And last but certainly not least, don’t forget to visit the history exhibit on the first floor of the Government Publishing Office during the week. Not to toot our own horn, but you’ll be amazed to see historic materials such as White House menus, inauguration invitations, hand bookbinding tools and more.

Don’t forget to check out our latest catalog America The Beautiful.

The GPO Online Bookstore – Easy Access to Federal Publications


Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at

Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Blogger contributor Cat Goergen is the PR Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations office.

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