The Mall

National Archives


700 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.,
United States,

Pieces of paper, no matter how famous, aren’t quite as fun to look at as other sights in the neighborhood. Still, seeing the original Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Magna Carta all under one roof (in the main rotunda) is impressive. Wander through the Public Vaults, where more than 1,000 of the archives’ most interesting historical documents are displayed—from Civil War records to investigation materials from the Kennedy assassination and audiotapes of White House conversations about the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Tip: Check out the Patent Puzzlers display, with its often-hilarious drawings of contraptions that have been submitted for patent applications through the years.