Planning Your Trip to Washington, D.C.
By Senator Mike Rounds
For more than 100 years, people from all over the world have been visiting Washington, D.C., during the spring to catch a glimpse of the cherry blossom trees lining the National Mall and Tidal Basin along the Potomac River. The Japanese cherry trees, a gift to the city of Washington from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo in 1912, are to represent the strong relationship between Japan and the United States. The official National Cherry Blossom Festival began in 1927 and has expanded over the years. The nearly five-week-long event now brings more than 1.5 million people to our nation’s capital annually.
Many South Dakotans visit Washington, D.C., to see the cherry blossoms each year. Whether you’re visiting on business, vacationing with your family or you’re on a school trip, spring is a great time to take in all the historic landmarks and cultural institutions our vibrant capital city has to offer. My D.C. office staff is happy to help arrange tours for you at some of Washington’s most iconic sites.
Members of my staff offer private tours of the U.S. Capitol building to visitors from South Dakota. We can also help line up tours for you at the White House, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, the Department of the Treasury, the Washington Monument and many more attractions. For a full list of monuments and museums, or to submit a tour request, visit the tour page on my website at www.rounds.senate.gov. You can also call my office at (202) 224-5842 and ask to speak to my tour coordinator. Keep in mind that while some tours require no reservations, others require reservations months in advance, so it is best to plan ahead.
One of the great parts about visiting Washington, D.C., is that most of the museums and all of the national monuments are free. Additionally, many of the sites are within walking distance of each other, and are easily accessed by several different metro stations and bus stops. My office can help supply you with metro maps and maps of the National Mall in advance to help you plan your visit.
If you are in Washington, D.C., during the workweek, you are invited to attend our South Dakota delegation coffee events. Sen. John Thune, Rep. Kristi Noem and I hold a “South Dakota Sunrise Coffee” on most Wednesday mornings when the House and Senate are in session to meet with visiting South Dakotans and answer your questions about our work in D.C. It usually takes place in one of the Senate Office Buildings located next to the U.S. Capitol. All South Dakotans are welcome, but you will need to RSVP ahead of time so we know how much coffee and pastries to bring. You can RSVP on my website under the page entitled “South Dakota Sunrise Coffee.”
While springtime in D.C. is a great time to plan your trip to the nation’s capital, the historical sites are open year round. With so much to see and so much history to take in, I hope all South Dakotans consider a trip to our nation’s capital. Don’t forget to reach out for help planning tours, and be sure to stop by our office in Suite 502 of the Hart Senate Office Building while you’re there!