District of Columbia
District of Columbia, or more commonly referred to in the United States as "Washington D.C." is arguably one of the top destinations in the U.S.A. for both national and international travelers. Washington D.C. has been the capital of the United States since it was established along the Potomac River in July of 1790. Today, the district is overflowing with museums, historic properties, national landmarks and powerful memorials. Many of the souvenirs purchased in Washington D.C. will bear the resemblance of one of these many locations.
Monuments and Memorials
Perhaps some of the more infamous sites in Washington D.C. are The White House, U.S. Capitol Building, Washington Memorial and Lincoln Memorial. Souvenir enthusiasts should have no trouble finding key chains, magnets, paintings, T-shirts, or miniature sculptures of any of these four locations. Souvenirs bearing their resemblance can easily be found in any shop throughout the district.
In addition to these four iconic sites are other locations worth visiting and picking up a souvenir to commemorate your experience. The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, Jefferson Memorial and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial make up three more sites that garner heavy tourism each day. Though these memorials are popular enough to have souvenirs found across the city, many of them have their own gift shops located on site to offer more convenience to enthusiastic visitors.
Items of American History
History buffs looking to grab an even bigger fill should look into visiting the National Archives, Library of Congress and the United States Supreme Court Building. All three of these historic locations have their own souvenir shop on site. The National Archives houses some of history's most iconic documents such as the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution and periodically, the 1297 Magna Carta. The Library of Congress is the national library for the United States containing more than 151 million items, including 34.5 million cataloged books and other print materials in 470 different languages. The Supreme Court is the highest court authority in the United States and the head of the judicial branch. Souvenirs at these locations are unique and may differ from what you can get anywhere else. National Archives' souvenir shop includes parchment reproductions of its most treasured records, how-to books for family historians looking to have a hands-on learning experience with their children, and even decorative bowls with famous quotes from some of the Archives' noted authors. Like the National Archives, the Library of Congress and the Supreme Court offer their own unique souvenirs such as books, games and other educational materials to further your learning experience at these sites. Additionally, you may find facsimiles, prints and photographs of exhibit-related items.
Museum Items for Adults
Washington D.C. not only boasts a great amount governmental history and memorials of famous historical people, but it's also well known for its renowned museums. Perhaps one of the more famous and most appealing to an art-enthused tourist would be the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Contained inside these walls are collections from some of the United States' most well-known artists such as Andy Warhol and Georgia O'Keefe. In cohesion with its one-of-a-kind art, the museum offers a wide assortment of collection-inspired gifts such as books, jewelry and handmade crafts. Prints of some of the work in the collection are also available on canvas or paper, as well as framed or unframed.
Perhaps some of the most unique and interesting souvenirs to be purchased in Washington D.C. can be found throughout the other Smithsonian Institution's museums. These museums and galleries include the National Museum of Natural History, the National Museum of American History, the National Museum of the American Indian, the National Museum of African Art and the National Air and Space Museum. The museums featuring American Indian culture and African Art offer the tourist an opportunity to purchase some fine goods such as jewelry and crafts like the Navajo bolo tie and the Ghanaian sarong that are traditionally adorned by some of the United States' most historical cultures. The National Museum of American History offers a wide range of arts and crafts, but also some old-school traditional items like an original Coca-Cola picnic cooler, a Texas barn star, and the iconic Route 66 street sign.
Something for the kids...or the "kid" in us
The National Museum of Natural History, along with the National Air and Space Museum will offer some of the more child-friendly souvenirs. The Museum of Natural History houses multiple shops to appeal to its diverse subject matter. There is a "Gem and Mineral Store" where patrons can find gemstones, fossils, and fun hands-on science kits. The "Mammal Store" will surely be one of the children's favorites. The store is full of plush animals resembling many animals that were seen throughout your tour of the museum. The "Family Store" is also very fond of its youthful audience. This store boasts an array of engaging education toys, t-shirts, and every child's favorite, dinosaurs! Not to worry, the museum hasn't forgotten about its more mature audience. The "Gallery Store" carries unique cultural items including jewelry such as pearls and jade, as well as many books, videos, pictures and unique desk items like the baby jellyfish paperweight.
The National Air and Space Museum offers a large three-story, 12,000 square foot souvenir shop with a wide array of options. Like most places in museums, your typical key chains, books, DVD's, clothing and pictures are available for purchase, but this particular museum offers much more. For children, and even adults with a little bit of childhood left in them, the museum has a selection of models, some already built and other do-it-yourself options. Additionally, perhaps one of their most interesting items for sale is packaged food that the astronauts themselves would eat. Buyer beware, these aren't supposed to exactly satisfy your palate, or your wallet, but they offer a first-hand experience to what the men in space are subject to consuming. Appealing to the collectors out there, this museum offers some high-quality plane and space models as well as replica flight jackets worn by U.S. pilots.
The list for souvenirs in Washington D.C. could go on-and-on as there are so many incredible monuments, memorials, government buildings and museums that all carry their own special tokens of remembrance. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the U.S. Department of Treasury are just two of many other options available for tourists to visit and sift through their souvenir options. This has just simply scratched the surface of some of the most popular sites available for you to visit. Ultimately, there is no doubt that D.C., being one of America's largest tourist destinations, has something for everyone.