Dive deep into our nation’s history with a visit to the White House, one of the Smithsonian Museums, or the U.S. Capitol Building. Explore the famous compact city by metro, by foot or by guided tour.
Though our nation’s capital is small, it is a vibrant city full of monuments, memorials, museums and historical sites that help tell the story of the history of the USA. People from all over the world visit this walkable city to see the famed cherry blossoms, the historic White House, the many museums of the Smithsonian Institution, and world-class theater at the Kennedy Center.
But DC isn’t just historic landmarks and artifacts. As one of the best restaurant cities, tourists can dine on international cuisine. Just beyond the city’s borders, visitors can take day trips to Old Town Alexandria or Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
Whether it’s an extensive bus tour of historic sites, or a walking tour of unique neighborhoods, Washington DC is diverse and accessible for visitors from all over the world.
Best Places to Visit in Washington DC
The tree-lined open space between Constitution and Independence Avenues stretches over two miles from the Capitol steps to the Washington Monument.
The White House: Just north of the Washington Monument sits the iconic and historic landmark.
Washington Monument: This monumental obelisk that honors George Washington is also the tallest freestanding stone structure in the world.
Lincoln Memorial: The 19-foot statue of America’s 16th president overlooks the Reflecting Pool.
Thomas Jefferson Memorial: The famed bronze statue of Jefferson is also the site of the annual National Cherry Blossom Festival. The 107-acre Tidal Basin is a focal point of the festival.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial: This memorial marks the site where MLK delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speach.
Neighborhoods in Washington DC
Capitol Hill: The historic U.S. Capitol Building acts as the meeting chambers for the House of Representatives and the Senate. Reserve tickets in advance for a free tour of the famous domed building.
Georgetown: Walk along cobblestone streets, dine at Michelin-rated waterfront restaurants, and ride bikes along Georgetown Waterfront Park’s riverside trails in this charming neighborhood that is also home to Georgetown University.
Mount Vernon: Visit the historic plantation of George Washington and tour the mansion, the first president’s tomb, and the extensive grounds, which include four gardens.
The Wharf: The waterfront city lines a mile-long stretch of the Potomac River and includes the nation’s oldest operating fish market, Anthem concert hall, and over 50 restaurants and shops.
Dupont Circle: This historic district is home to bars, shops, museums, and dance clubs.
Washington DC State and National Parks
Capitol Hill Parks: A collection of urban parks, which include Folger, Lincoln, Stanton and Marion Parks along with 59 inner-city green spaces.
Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park: This park includes a historic 19th century canal, which begins in Georgetown, and a 184.5-mile trail for biking and walking along the Potomac River.
George Mason Memorial Park: This small park near the Jefferson Memorial is dedicated to one of America’s founding fathers.
Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail: Explore this collection of historic pathways and waterways by bike, horse, boat or foot.
Popular Tourist Attractions
Smithsonian Museums: This collection of 19 museums, galleries and zoos includes the National Museum of the American Indian, National Air and Space Museum, National Zoo, National Museum of Natural History, the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the National Portrait Gallery.
National Gallery of Art: This free museum houses over 140,000 works of art that help visitors understand the development of Western art tracing back to the Middle Ages.
Holocaust Memorial Museum: As America’s official memorial to the Holocaust, this museum preserves over 12,000 artifacts, 85,000 photos and 49 million pages of documents related to Holocaust history.