Activities to Do in Washington D. C.Tour the National Mall, Explore the Smithsonian Museums, Explore Capitol Hill, Tour the White House, Visit Ford's Theater, Tour the Pentagon and many more.
The list of things to do in Washington D.C is endless, intriguing and completely fascinating. This thriving city is home to some of the best museums and monuments in the United States. It is an ideal destination for those who love history, art and cultural heritage, thus, there is much to see and do for all kinds of travellers
Visiting the museums and monuments probably are the best activities to do in Washington DC. You can spend hours in one of these museums and still not manage to see it all. The Smithsonian Institute itself will need more than just a day to explore. Art has its own special place in Washington DC and visits to places like the National Gallery of Art is every art lovers’ dream.
Besides the famous monuments and museums, Washington DC things to do should also include exploring its amazing shopping venues. Right from high-end luxurious shopping malls to fascinating and intriguing flea markets, Washington DC has it all. Whether you indulge in exploring the fascinating streets of the city on segways or bikes or enjoy a chic dinner at a revolving restaurant, the list of things you can do in Washington DC is endless!
Places to Visit and Things to Do in Washington D.C.
People Also Ask About Washington D.C. Things To Do
What are the best things to do in Washington D.C?
1. Tour the National Mall: Located right in the center of Washington D.C, the National Mall is one of the most popular attractions in the city. It is home to some of the most iconic landmarks of the United States. The National Mall is a park with several monuments and memorials that represents the past, present and future of the country. At the park you can explore the National Art Gallery, the U.S. Botanic Garden, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, take a walk on the famous America’s Front Yard and explore the Smithsonian Museums. There are also several beautiful sculptures around the National Mall.
- Location: Washington, D.C., DC, United States
2. Explore the Smithsonian Museums: The Smithsonian Museums is collectively known as the Smithsonian Institutions and visiting these Museums should definitely be part of your things to do in Washington D.C list. It is a complex consisting of 17 of the world’s most renowned museums and galleries. These include the Natural History Museum, Air and Space Museum and the National Zoo. The Museums hold over 150 million specimens, artworks and objects that showcase various aspects of the world. Adults can be part of the after-hours party that features various themes and where you can indulge in cocktails, live music, food and enjoy the company of people from all walks of life.
- Location: Washington D.C
- Timing: 10 am to 5:30 pm
3. Explore Capitol Hill: The Capitol Hill represents the American people, their government and as the epitome of one of the largest democracies in the world. It is home to the House of Representatives and the Senate for the last two hundred years. It was started in 1793 and visitors have a separate entrance where they can explore and experience this outstanding monument. Exploring the temporary exhibits, perusing through the wide variety of things present at the Gift Shop or indulging in a sumptuous meal at the Restaurant is one of the best things to do in Washington D.C for any visitor.
- Location: First St NE, Washington, DC 20515
- Timing: 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. Sunday Closed.
4. Witness the Changing of the Guard: Plan your visit to include the Changing of the Guard in your things to do in Washington D.C. You can be part of this incredible experience at the Arlington Cemetery. It takes place at the top of one of the two hills between the Memorial Amphitheatre and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The timings for the Changing of the Guard changes depending on the time of the year. April 1 to September 30th it takes place every 30 minutes from 8 am to 7 pm and between October 1st to March 31st every 60 minutes from 8 am to 5 pm.
- Location: Arlington, Virginia
- Timing: 8:30 am to 7 pm
5. Tour the White House: A tour of the White House is one of the most incredible activities in Washington D.C. that you can indulge in. But it is imperative that you plan ahead as this is entirely on a first come first serve basis. You need to make reservations for your spot in advance and you can do so anywhere between 3 months to no later than 21 days before your visit. The White House Visitor Center has several exhibits and artefacts that showcases the history of this most significant landmark of the United States. There are specially designated weekends in the Spring and Fall where you can get a special White House Grounds and Gardens tour.
Location: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC
Timing: 7:30 am to 11:30 am
6. Visit Ford's Theater: Ford’s Theatre is the site of Abraham Lincoln’s assasination and it features museum exhibits, live theatre and it also functions as a seat of learning. This is a guided tour and you will get to learn in detail about the history and heritage of Ford’s Theatre. It is one of the best things to do in Washington D.C whether you are a history buff or not. The Presidential Box where Lincoln sat on that fateful day is also part of the Museum now.
- Location: 511 10th St NW, Washington, D.C., DC 20004
- Timings: 8:30 am to 5 pm; performances from 8 pm
7. Tour the Pentagon: The Pentagon is one of the largest office buildings in the world and visiting here is definitely one of the most incredible Washington D.C things to do. The guided tours are given by military personnel and can be availed only on reservation. The tour is for one hour and gives a collective overview of the US Department of Defense and its four branches; the Navy, Army, Airforce and Marines. There is a Pentagon Memorial dedicated to the 9/11 attacks and this section is open to the public and does not require reservation.
- Location: Washington, D.C., DC 22202
- Timing: 9 am to 4 pm
8. Explore US Capitol Building: The US Capitol Building is one of the most impressive architectural specimen and symbolically significant buildings in the world. A tour of this historical landmark would definitely enhance your list of things to do in Washington D.C.. The building is divided into 5 levels and the guided tours include visits to the Crypt, Rotunda and the National Sanctuary Hall. You need separate passes to tour the Senate and the House Galleries. Visitors from the US and around the world are welcomed at the Capitol Visitor Center and no identification is required to enjoy the tour.
- Locations: US Capitol Grounds
- Timings: 8:30 am to 4:30 pm
9. Visit National Gallery of Art: The National Gallery of Art is spread across a sprawling 6 acre property with a beautifully manicured garden in the heart of the city. There are 21 contemporary sculptures scattered across the garden where you can take a leisurely stroll before or after you have explored the National Gallery of Art. The Gallery’s permanent collection features over 150,000 decorative artworks, sculptures, photographs, paintings and prints. Admiring these inspiring works of art is definitely one of the most intriguing activities to do in Washington D.C.
Location: Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.
Timings: 10 am to 5 pm
10. Explore Air and Space Museum: A visit to the Air and Space Museum is, without a doubt, one of the best things to do in Washington D.C..The Museum holds thousands of displays and objects that are related to air and space travel. Here you can get a close up view of the 1903 Wright Flyer and the Spacesuit worn by Neil Armstrong while travelling by Apollo 11 to space. The exhibits cover the history of space and air aviation, planetary science, astronomy and space science. You can also enjoy science demonstrations, how the International Space Station stays in its orbit and so much more.
- Location: 600 Independence Ave SW, Washington, D.C
- Timings: 10 am to 5:30 pm
What are the best adventure activities to do in Washington D.C?
1. Rock Climbing at Great Falls State Park: The park offers an amazing view of the cascading Great Falls and great opportunities for rock climbing, rappelling and some fun splashing in the puddles.
2. Enjoy boat rides on the Potomac River: You can choose from a wide variety of rides such as kayaking, paddleboarding, row boats or aquatic bikes. If you are looking for a high intensity adrenaline rush then you can join one of the SUP Fitness classes that combines SUP, paddle sprints and weight training.
3. Bike or Segway City Tours: Enjoy the sights and attractions on segways or bikes while you also explore the wonderful networks of the streets in Washington D.C. The best time to enjoy such Washington D.C. things to do is at night.
4. Learn stunts at TSNY: The Trapeze School New York in D.C. will teach you a number of tricks and stunts such as the knee hang and catch. In this class you will get to catapult through the air and straight into the grasp of the instructor.
What are the best things to do in Washington D.C for couples?
1. Dine at Skydome Restaurant - Dining at the Skydome Restaurant is no ordinary date. You get to enjoy an incredible meal along with a panoramic view of the city and the Reagan National Airport. To add to the experience, the dining room spins and completes one rotation in 45 minutes.
2. Ride to the top of the Washington Monument - Indulge in a panoramic view of the city of Washington from the tallest building in the city, the Washington Monument. From the top you can get a great view of the White House, the National Mall, and the Tidal Basin. This is best enjoyed in the evening where you can also catch the sunset over the Potomac River.
3. Ice Skating on the Watergate Rooftop - The activity itself is one of the most exhilarating activities to do in Washington D.C. while the view is the cherry on top. Top it off with hot chocolate and s’mores in between laps.
4. Visit the United States Botanic Gardens - Romance and flowers have always gone hand in hand and a visit to the Botanic Gardens is one incredible experience. Here you can get a glimpse of blooms from all over the world, butterfly gardens, endangered plants and cast iron fountains.
Which are the best places for shopping in Washington D.C?
1. Gallery Palace: This is one of the most popular shopping centers in Washington D.C. This is the perfect destination to combine shopping, entertainment and dining all under one roof. It features stores from iconic brands like Ann Taylor LOFT, Urban Outfitters, Bed Bath and Beyond, etc.
2. Eastern Market: If you like to visit flea markets then do not miss out on the Eastern Market. Here you will find vendors selling local, imported and vintage products at an amazingly low rate.
3. Lettie Gooch: If you are looking for unique and funky products then Lettie Gooch is the place for you. You get to choose from quirky leather outfits to classy evening gowns, all at very affordable prices.
4. City Center DC: Shop for luxurious international brands in fashion, skin care and home wares from City Center DC. Exploring and shopping in these luxurious stores is one of the best activities to do in Washington D.C.
What is the best time to visit Washington D.C?
The best time to visit Washington D.C. is between March to April and September to November. In the Spring you can enjoy the Cherry Blossoms around the Tidal Basin and the fall is a great time to enjoy exploring the city’s attractions.
What is famous in Washington D.C?
Washington DC is famous for its historical government buildings such as the Capitol Hill, the White House, the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial. ‘It is also home to some of the best museums in the world including the Smithsonian Institute and the Air and Space Museum.
Is Washington D.C worth visiting?
Yes, Washington D.C is definitely worth visiting right from the museums to monuments and its many other attractions. The best part is that most of the museums and monuments have free entrance.
Is Washington D.C safe?
Yes, Washington D.C is safe to visit as it is the only city in the US that was listed in the top ten safest cities in the world. The city is ranked 7th in digital security.
How many days do you need in Washington D.C?
5 to 7 days is ideal to explore all the attractions, museums, monuments and more that Washington D.C. has to offer.
How to reach Washington D.C?
- By Air: Washington D.C is well connected and has three airports catering to its visitors. There are two international airports - Washington Dulles International Airport and the Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. The Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport caters to flights within the country. Dulles Airport also caters to domestic travels to Washington DC.
- By Rail and Roads: Trains and road transport is also available to Washington DC from several nearby cities in the United States.