Jefferson Building slide show:
The National Mall, or simply The Mall (not to be confused with shopping malls), is the grassy space at the heart of the city and the nation, with the U.S. Capitol at one end, the Lincoln Memorial at the other, and the Washington Monument in the middle. Along it are many of the Smithsonian Institution museums, the White House, the Jefferson Memorial, the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, the Martin Luther King Memorial, the major monuments to veterans of 20th century wars.
The spectacular new Mall museum, near the base of the Washington Monument, is opening on September 24: the National Museum of African American History and Culture: http://nmaahc.si.edu/
Here’s a newspaper preview from May 10: https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/museums/a-first-look-inside-the-smithsonians-african-american-museum-stunning-views-grand-scale/2016/05/10/80ac784e-160e-11e6-9e16-2e5a123aac62_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-main_aahmc-7pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory
U.S. Capitol Visitor Center (accessed directly from the Library of Congress Jefferson Building):
https://www.visitthecapitol.gov/ Please note the special limits on items permitted and prohibited in the Capitol: https://www.visitthecapitol.gov/plan-visit/prohibited-items e.g., no food or beverages of any type including water, no bags larger than 18” wide; no cameras in certain areas)
In addition, IASA attendees are also welcome to join another guided tour of the outdoor Capitol grounds, offered Monday through Friday at 1 p.m. No reservations or passes are required for a 50-minute guided tour exploring the Capitol building and grounds, weather permitting. Meet outside the Capitol Visitor Center near the bottom north ramp to the entrance.
Other sites of interest:
National Zoo (with pandas) – https://nationalzoo.si.edu/
[Cleveland Park Metro stop on the Red Line – free admission to the park]
National Arboretum -- http://www.usna.usda.gov/
Includes the nearly 400-year-old Yamaki Pine, given to the United States in 1976 by Bonsai master Masaru Yamaki. The tree survived the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima, and flourishes today in its new home.
[Stadium-Armory Metro stop on Blue/Orange/Silver lines, then the B2 Metrobus: http://www.usna.usda.gov/Information/directions.html
National Cathedral – http://cathedral.org/
Episcopal cathedral known for its stunning stained-glass windows and its stone gargoyles and grotesques, including Darth Vader http://cathedral.org/what-to-see/exterior/vader/
[Metro/MetroBus directions here: http://cathedral.org/visit-us/directions-parking/
Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception -- http://www.nationalshrine.com/site/c.osJRKVPBJnH/b.4719297/k.BF65/Home.htm
Largest Catholic church in North America; 1 of the 10 largest churches in the world
[walking distance from the Brookland/Catholic University Metro stop on the Red Line]
Art Collections of Note (and specific art works listed as “must-see” by museum directors, curators, and art critics). Those with an admissions fee are marked with asterisks; all others are free.
- National Gallery of Art (6th St. and Constitution Avenues NW)
- Da Vinci’s “Ginevra de Benci”
- Augustus Saint-Gaudens “Shaw Memorial” (1900)
- “Victorious Youth” [The Getty Bronze] (300-100 B.C.)
National Portrait Gallery / American Art Museum (800 G St. NW)
Nam June Paik’s “Electronic Superhighway” 
James Hampton’s “The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations’ Millennium General Assembly” (ca. 1950-64)
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (along the Mall)
Rodin’s “The Burghers of Calais, 1884-89; cast 1953-59)
National Museum of African Art (on the Mall)
Sackler Galleries -- National Museum of Asian Art (on the Mall)
[current exhibitions: http://www.asia.si.edu/exhibitions/current.asp ]
Renwick Gallery (1661 Pennsylvania Ave. NW – near the White House)
** National Museum of Women in the Arts (1250 New York Ave. NW)
** Phillips Collection (1600 21st St. NW – Dupont Circle)
Renoir’s “Luncheon of the Boating Party” (1880-81)
Rothko Room (1960s)
Folger Shakespeare Library (next to the Library of Congress):
Exhibition entitled “Will & Jane: Shakespeare, Austen, and the Cult of Celebrity”
Shakespeare Theatre http://www.shakespearetheatre.org/tickets-and-events/2016-2017-season/
Folger Shakespeare Library Theatre http://www.folger.edu/performances-events
Arena Stage http://www.arenastage.org/shows-tickets/the-season/index-16-17.shtml
Ford’s Theater http://www.fords.org/home/performances-events/2016-2017-theatre-season
Warner Theater http://www.warnertheatredc.com/
Major performing arts venues:
Kennedy Center -- http://www.kennedy-center.org/
Home to the National Symphony Orchestra, the Washington National Opera, and the Millennium Stage
[shuttle buses from the Foggy Bottom Metro stop on Blue/Orange/Silver lines]
Strathmore -- https://www.strathmore.org/
[Grosvenor/Strathmore Metro stop on the Red Line]
For those who arrive early: Saturday evening, Sept. 24 is the “Opera in the Outfield” evening: www.kennedy-center.org/wno/simulcast
People can go to the Nationals baseball stadium and watch the simulcast of “Marriage of Figaro” for free on the large screens. (Last year the opera was “Cinderella,” which explains some of the costumes you see in the photos.) It is a do-able walkfrom the Library [about 1.5 miles), or one can take the Metro to L’Enfant Plaza and switch to the Green line to go to the Navy Yard Metro stop.
National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowships Concert, September 30th
The concert will take place Friday, September 30, 2016 at 8:00 p.m. ET at George Washington University's Lisner Auditorium (close to the Foggy Bottom Metro stop - blue/orange/silver lines). The concert will feature performances and craft demonstrations by the 2016 Heritage Fellows and will be hosted by cultural heritage advocate Dan Sheehy, recipient of a 2015 NEA National Heritage Fellowship.
Among the concert highlights are a performance by Big Chief Monk Boudreaux & the Golden Eagles, who have been longtime featured performers at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, as well as a performance by 1994 NEA National Heritage Fellow Liz Carroll, who will perform with 2016 Fellow Billy McComiskey.
Free tickets to the concert can be reserved online at https://lisner.gwu.edu/2016-nea-national-heritage-fellowships-concert or in person at George Washington University's Lisner Auditorium Box Office at 730 21st Street NW in Washington, DC, and the House of Musical Traditions at 7010 Westmoreland Avenue in Takoma Park, Maryland. PLEASE NOTE: Ticket-holders should arrive by 7:45 p.m. At that time, all unclaimed tickets will be released to those in the stand-by line.
National Book Festival, 24 September
For those arriving a bit early, the Library of Congress’ National Book Festival has been scheduled for Saturday, September 24, at the Washington Convention Center (9 a.m. to 10 p.m.). The festival brings many authors (and thousands of visitors) to hear readings, buy books, seek autographs, etc. Participants this year, for example, include Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Douglas Brinkley, Ken Burns, Salman Rushdie, Joyce Carol Oates, and Stephen King.
Information is here: http://www.loc.gov/bookfest/
IASA attendees are also welcome to join another guided tour of the outdoor Capitol grounds, offered Monday through Friday at 1 p.m. No reservations or passes are required for a 50-minute guided tour exploring the Capitol building and grounds, weather permitting. Meet outside the Capitol Visitor Center near the bottom north ramp to the entrance.
For those curious about American politics, the first Clinton-Trump debate is scheduled for 9 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 26. So after the IASA opening reception, people who are interested may wish to find a TV; all the major networks will televise the debate.
General sightseeing and activities:
- City Tours: http://washington.org/find-dc-listings/tours-sightseeing
- Duck Boats (land & water tour): http://www.dcducks.com/
- Attractions, Museums and Monuments: http://washington.org/topics/attractions
Near the Library of Congress:
- Library of Congress Jefferson Building: https://www.loc.gov/visit/tours/guided-tours/thomas-jefferson-building/
- US Capital Visitors Center: https://www.visitthecapitol.gov/
- Folger Shakespeare Library: http://www.folger.edu/tours
- Supreme Court: http://www.supremecourt.gov/visiting/touringthebuilding.aspx
- Smithsonian Institutions: http://www.si.edu/Visit
- Gettysburg Civil War Battlefield, Shenandoah National Park, Monticello (Thomas Jefferson’s home) and more: http://www.getbustours.com/washington-dc-departures/nofc=0/
- 2-Day New York City, Baltimore, Philadelphia Tour from Washington DC: http://www.taketours.com/washington-dc/2-day-new-york-city-baltimore-philadelphia-tour-from-washington-dc-456-1895.html
- Consider putting your own tour together via Amtrak (rail service - https://www.amtrak.com/home) or one of the many discount bus providers (such as http://us.megabus.com/ or https://www.boltbus.com/) .