Let us look at the things to do in Washington DC. Aside from the traditional D.C. attractions such as the Smithsonian museums, the U.S. Along with the Capitol and the landmarks, there is a vibrant food, art, and nightlife scene.
You can devote your morning to exploring the city’s farmers’ markets, street art, modern art exhibits, and art galleries; and your afternoon to admiring the landscapes from the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument before actually catching a performance at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Don’t skip taking a stroll around the Tidal Basin if you come towards the middle of March or the beginning of April. You’ll find a plethora of cherry blossoms there, and the weather is perfect for exploring the city’s districts.
Things to do in Washington DC
1. Lincoln Memorial
Amongst the many things to do in Washington DC is to visit Lincoln Memorial. Although the Lincoln Memorial is only one of many historic sites in the District, the significantly bigger Honest Abe is a favorite among visitors.
History buffs may appreciate the man of few words’ two famous sermons: the 2nd inaugural address as well as the Gettysburg Address, both of which are engraved into the opposing walls of the memorial.
Throughout, art and architecture buffs will appreciate the tower’s stunning design by Henry Bacon, which includes 38 Doric sections, 36 of which represent the states in the country at the time Lincoln died.
Where to find: United States, Washington, DC 20002, 2 Lincoln Memorial Cir. NW
2. The Smithsonian American Art Museum
Next on the list of things to do in Washington DC is visiting the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, which draws millions of tourists every year, and houses a treasure of lauded airplanes, which include Amelia Earhart’s Lockheed Vega 5B, Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis, and many others.
A flight simulator, an IMAX theatre, as well as the Einstein Planetarium are among the displays. Parents, please be aware: the 3-level gift shop is massive, so be prepared for pleading from your children.
Travelers are advised to arrive early in the morning to avoid the biggest crowds, which are bound to arrive, particularly once summer arrives. Some say components of the museum are beginning to look rough, but others say it’s still a must-see for family members and aerospace enthusiasts.
Where to find: United States, Washington, DC 20004, G Street Northwest &, 8th St NW
3. American Holocaust Memorial Museum
Viewing the Holocaust Memorial is the next priority on the list of activities to do in Washington, DC. One has to be in the correct state of mind to tour this somber museum dedicated to the Holocaust atrocities committed throughout World War II. When you enter the U.S.
You will indeed be given an identification card at the Holocaust Memorial Museum that contains the name and details of a true Holocaust survivor. As you tour the exhibits on Hitler’s rise to power, anti-Semitic media slanting, and the horrors of the Final Solution, you will receive updates on the state of your person.
Previous visitors were moved by this potent museum, but they warned that its graphic catalog is not suitable for younger children. Many people were particularly impressed by its insightful, comprehensive, and respectful displays, and they added that you could easily spend a few hours browsing its halls.
No tickets are required to attend the museum’s permanent exhibit between September to February. Still, they are needed in the spring and summer and commonly sell out, so it is suggested to book yours in advance online.
Where to find: United States, 100 Raoul Wallenberg Pl SW, Washington, DC 20024
4. The Veterans Memorials for the Vietnam and Korean Wars
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial, popularly referred to as “the Wall,” is a long, black granite wall covered in the names of more than 58,000 Americans who lost their lives in the Vietnam War. It is among the most moving historical sites.
Recent visitors described their tours of the site as heart-wrenching but thought-provoking and strong, adding that even the strongest of people will struggle not to cry while reading the list on the wall.
If you’re looking for a particular soldier, please remember that the names are listed in chronological order, not alphabetically. Reviewers also suggest using the name books for the attraction and scheduling your visit around a time when there is a lot of daylight.
Visit the Korean War Veterans Memorial while strolling along the mall’s eastern side. This privately funded location honors the 1.5 million who fought in “The Forgotten War” with 19 stainless steel monuments representing troops in action.
Soldier statues rally toward the American flag in the Field of Service, a triangular area. A 164-foot-long marble wall next to the soldiers pays tribute to the unidentified troops who battled in the Korean War.
Another highlight of the memorial is the Pool of Remembrance, a serene area for contemplation. However, several prior visitors voiced worry that because there aren’t any signboards at the site, relatively young people could not understand as well as those who experienced the conflict.
Where to find: Washington, DC 20024, USA, 900 Ohio Dr.
5. Tidal Basin
Amongst the many things to do in Washington DC is to take a walking tour of the Tidal Basin. Make time to stroll the whole length of Tidal Basin, a 2-mile-long reservoir that was formerly linked to the Potomac River and serves as the background to some of the region’s most breathtaking sights, if you have never been around Washington, D.C.
The Tidal Basin pops with color every spring as cherry blossom evergreens, a gift from Tokyo to DC, sprout in the cotton candy-colored tufts, attracting throngs of tourists. You can walk all around the basin, but far too many recent tourists suggested renting a paddle boat and testing the waters. From March 15 to October 9, you can rent a paddle boat from the boat dock near Maine Avenue from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
6. The National Archives Museum
The National Archives Museum, a huge pile of the United States’ founding documents, is significant on travelers’ to-do lists and often has long entry lines. When inside, you’ll discover the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, as well as the Bill of Rights, as well as a copy of the Magna Carta, and also the Emancipation Proclamation, giving everyone a deep insight into American history.
Other engaging and kid-friendly displays populate the museum, situated off the Green and Yellow lines’ Archives-Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter Metro stations. The museum is also a popular destination on several of the city’s best bus tours, which is advantageous.
Where to find: United States, 701 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20408
7. The Washington National Cathedral
Construction on this humongous cathedral, the 6th biggest in the world, began in 1907 but was not finished until 1990. The Washington National Cathedral, crafted in the Gothic style, is encircled by lawns, creating a comfortable ambiance for tourists. Take a walk all around the cathedral to appreciate its elevated vaults and sky bridges, or go inside to see the elaborate glass-stained windows.
The cathedral’s Gargoyle Tour is yet another highlight. This tour, which is available from May to September, allows you to look directly up at the tower’s rocky grotesques and gargoyles. The grand architectural style and vibrantly colored stained-glass window frames of this cathedral have recently wowed tourists.
Where to find: United States, 3101 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20016
8. The Arlington National Cemetery
The Arlington National Cemetery is one of the numerous activities to do in Washington, DC. Arlington National Graveyard is situated in Arlington, Virginia, all across the Potomac River near Washington, D.C. The cemetery covers nearly one square mile and is the burial site for over 400,000 service members, veterans, and their family members.
Tourists should stop by the Memorial Amphitheater, the John F. Trying to find the final resting place of a notable veteran, family member, or friend is also a profound feeling. The cemetery also offers a downloadable app to help you determine the correct location of a grave.
The trip includes stops at the John F. Kennedy Gravesite and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, two of the cemetery’s most well-known landmarks. Prepare to be humbled during your tour, and remember to be considerate as you visit the innumerable landmarks and stroll through the cemetery.
Where to find: Arlington, Virginia, USA
9. The White House and the Washington Museum
Next on the list of things to do in Washington DC is visiting the White House. Any first-time visitor to Washington, D.C., must see the White House and the Washington Monument, two magnificent symbols of the free world, even if they are only inside the city for a single day.
With a height of 555 feet, and 5 inches, the Washington Monument truly was the tallest building in the world. Today, you can take one of the statue’s crystal elevators to the upper observation deck for 360º city views.
Although visitors are welcome to tour the exterior of the attraction at any time, National Park Service rangers are currently only accessible to answer inquiries from 9:30 am to 10 pm. The monument is accessible to the general public daily from 9 am to 5 pm.
Where to find: United States, 1450 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20230
10. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial
The Martin Luther King Jr. Center is the next activity on the list of activities to do in Washington, DC. The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. granite memorial, which stands 30 feet tall, is situated close to the Tidal Basin. Everything about it is meant to honor King’s significant impact on American history, from its location at 1964 Independence Avenue (a tribute to the year Congress approved the 1963 Civil Rights Act to its artwork, which shows King rising from the “Mountain of Despair.”
Furthermore, in an effort to rank as one of the Town’s newest memorials, this imposing artwork initially welcomed visitors in 2011. The monument is the first tribute to African Americans on the National Mall. Previous visitors praised this memorial, saying that its potent imagery and elegant design would send chills down your spine.
Furthermore, the sculpture’s proximity to certain other memorials and monuments, such as the Korean War Veterans Memorial and the National World War II Memorial, makes it easy to access. Some reviewers, however, wished for more knowledge of Martin Luther King, his life, and his legacy.
Where to find: United States, 1964 Independence Avenue Southwest, Washington, DC 20003
11. The National Museum and Zoo of the Smithsonian
On the National Mall in Washington, D.C., you can find the Freer Gallery of Art & Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, which houses the Smithsonian’s National Museum & National Gallery dedicated to Asian Art.
11.1. Freer and Sackler Galleries
Freer and Sackler address broad issues of culture, identity, and the modern world while being committed to preserving, presenting, and interpreting outstanding works of art.
Freer and Sackler jointly retain exceptional collections of Asian art with more than 40,000 works spanning from the Neolithic age to the present and originating from the early Mid East through Beijing, Tokyo, Seoul, Southeast, and South Asia, and the Islamic world.
The Freer Gallery of Art, which opened about a century ago, also houses a sizeable collection of American works of art, many of which are from the late 19th century.
11.2. Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and National Zoo
The Smithsonian Institution, which runs the Smithsonian Museum Natural History Museum more than lives up to its name. Also, keep an eye out for orangutans swaying along cables among eight steel towers as you walk underneath the Orangutan Transport System (also known as the O Line).
If you’re more interested in South American exotic animals, visit the 15,000-square-foot Amazonia display, which is home to titi monkeys as well as yellow-rumped caciques.
11.3. Tourists’ Experiences at The National Zoo
Recent tourists lauded the zoo’s enjoyable surroundings and diverse species selection, but they cautioned that visitors should have reasonable expectations. Though some have suggested that the zoo be more thrilling, keep in mind that nearly 400 life forms are free to visit.
11.4. Additional Attractions on The National Mall
The Lincoln Memorial is located at the other end, at the westernmost point. Statues, galleries, monuments, art museums, botanical gardens, and more are examples of additional attractions. Cherry blossom trees grow over lakes and reflective pools in the summer.
Where to find: United States, Washington, DC 20560, 10th Street, and Constitution Avenue NW
12. The United States Capitol and Capitol Building
The Capitol Building visit is the next item on the list of activities to do in Washington, DC. The House of Congress and the Senate are located in the Capitol building, which is regarded as a symbol of the U.S. across the world. The massive dome, modeled after St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, towers over all other Washington structures.
12.1. History and Architecture of The Capitol Building
The edifice, like Washington, has expanded over time since the core part was constructed between 1793 and 1812. The most recent addition, completed in 1958–62, extended the principal facade where the president takes the oath of office. A marble patio on the opposite side provides stunning views of the mall and the city.
The United States Capitol is both a monument and a functioning office building, as well as one of the world’s most recognizable emblems of representative democracy with a fascinating history. Visitors are welcome to visit the edifice through the Whitehouse Visitor Center, which is located underground on Capitol hill’s east side.
12.2. Visitor Experience at The Capitol Building
Greater attention is placed on visitor convenience, security, and protection in the US Capitol Visitor Center, leading to easy and enjoyable tourist experiences there. Starting in the Visitor Center, visitors may explore the Exhibition Hall, look around the Gift Shops, or eat at the Restaurants before heading up to Capitol Hill.
12.3. Tours and Activities at The Capitol Building
Aside from the standard tour of the Statehouse, there are a variety of unique tours and activities available. All tourists who intend to explore the Capitol begin their journey at the Capitol Visitor Center.
Where to find: First Street Southeast, Washington, DC 20004, USA
13. US National Arboretum & the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum
Next on the list of things to do in Washington DC is visiting the United States National Arboretum. The United States National Arboretum, which lies northeast of the center of Washington, D.C., offers stunning outdoor spaces as a reward for tourists.
13.1. Outdoor Collections at the Arboretum
Dogwoods, azaleas, and magnolias are among the outdoor collections in the arboretum, although none of the plants constitute the area’s main draw.
13.2. National Capitol Columns and their History
Instead, the National Capitol Columns as well as its bonsai collection are the main reasons visitors flock here. The National Capitol Columns, which were constructed in 1828, were a part of the State capitol until 1958, at which point they were relocated to the arboretum in the late 1970s.
13.3. National Bonsai & Penjing Museum in the Arboretum
The columns are now a great location for picnics and taking pictures. The National Bonsai & Penjing Museum, which houses the bonsai trees in the area, has an incredible 300 tiny trees that are rotated by the staff among the museum’s three pavilions and special exhibitions gallery.
Where to find: United States, Washington, DC 20002, 3501 New York Avenue NE
14. National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery is famous for housing pictures of each former president, allowing viewers to reflect on each leader as they move through the more bizarre portrait hall. The National Portrait Gallery also holds important American people, from sports personalities to civil rights activists, in addition to the presidential pictures.
Not to mention that National Portrait Gallery and Smithsonian American Art Museum only occupy about half of the structure. Due to the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s rotating shows, visitors may be exposed to art created as a consequence of the Vietnam War, a museum for traditional and self-taught art, or a range of other exhibitions.
Where to find: St. Martin’s Pl, London, United Kingdom, WC2H 0HE
15. The United States Botanic Garden
The United States Botanic Garden (USBG), a living plant museum steeped in history and tradition, educates visitors about the significance and frequently irreplaceable worth of plants to human health and the planet’s delicate ecosystems.
On the premises of the U.S. Botanic Garden are the Conservatory, the National Garden, & Bartholdi Park.
Where to find: United States, 100 Maryland Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20001
16. International Spy Museum
The reinvented Spy Museum offers immersive content for adults and kids to step into the shoes of a spy and test their abilities thanks to interactive exhibitions and installations, the largest collection of spy artifacts in the globe, and first-person accts from top intelligence agents and experts!
Where to find: United States, 700 L’Enfant Plaza SW, Washington, DC 20024
17. Rock Creek Park
A popular destination for a wide range of outdoor activities, Rock Creek Park is a sizable urban park that spans first from Maryland-Washington, D.C. boundaries to the Potomac River.
17.1. Paved Roads, Trails, and Water Activities
Its paved roads and trails may be used by bicycles, and it offers over 32 miles of trekking paths and 13 miles of horse riding trails. Additional activities on the Potomac River include paddling and fishing. There are also many constructed features in the park, including beautiful bridges, fountains, and statues.
17.2. Landmarks and Buildings in Rock Creek Park
The park has several remarkable buildings in conjunction with the park’s more than 1,750 hectares of open area. The Nature Center has a children’s Discovery Room with books and games, live turtle and snake exhibits, and an observation deck. It serves as the beginning point of the ½ Woodland Trail and gives information about hiking.
17.3. Peirce Mill: A Historic Grain Mill
The Peirce Mill was the last of its type in the region and was in use as a grain mill from 1829 until 1897. The Old Stone house built approximately 1766, is the oldest structure still standing in Washington, D.C. Historical artifacts may be found in the former kitchen.
Where to find: NW, 5200 Glover Road
What Are the Best Things to Do in Washington DC?
- The Smithsonian Museums visit
- Taking a stroll past the Jefferson Memorial, Washington Monument, and Lincoln Memorial
- Investigating the White House’s exterior and inside
- Going to a show at the 9:30 Club or the John Kennedy Centre for the Performing Arts
- Exploring the many neighborhoods of Washington
- Animal viewing at the National Zoo
Start Planning a Trip to Washington DC Now!
Several of the most entertaining activities in Washington, DC, are listed here.
If you’re visiting Washington, DC, these are the things and locations you shouldn’t miss, regardless of your interests in politics, history, culture, gastronomy, or art, just enjoy breathtaking views of cherry blossoms across the lake.
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