Washington D.C. Top 45 Attractions

Known for being the capital of America, there are so many things to do in Washington DC that there is something for everyone here.

Whether you want to visit some of the historical icons such as the White House, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial and Veteran's Memorials, or you have a greater interest in the National Gallery of Art, you are sure to be kept busy on a D.C. vacation.

One of the nation's greatest museums, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum often tops most traveler's lists. Perhaps you would like to round your trip out with a fantastic performance like those at the John F. Kennedy Center.

We've gathered the top tourist attractions in Washington DC to add to your DC bucket list.

Best Things To Do in Washington, D.C.

Table of Contents [Show]

Affiliate links may be used in this post. I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you if you use my affiliate link.

1: Washington Monument

Washington Monument

This stone pillar is not only the nation's tallest obelisk but also the world's. It stands at over 555 feet, a grandiose dedication to the United States' first president and commander-in-chief of the Continental Army. The monument is in the same area as the Reflecting Pool and the Lincoln Memorial, so it's one of the great Washington, DC attractions to see all three.

Address: 2 15th St NW, Washington, DC 20007

Website: www.nps.gov

2: White House

White House

The White House is a spectacular tribute to the resilience of the nation and the character of its presidents; it has been set ablaze, reconstructed, and added to for years and still remains in good condition today. It has been the official residence of every president of the United States since John Adams. Tour guides can take you to the White House as part of your tour with them around noteworthy places in the city, or you can take yourself and snap the obligatory pictures in front of the fence.

Address: 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20500

Website: www.whitehouse.gov

Also Read: Top 10 Most Famous Historic Homes in America

3: Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln Memorial

This is another one of the most famous historical attractions in Washington, DC. The Lincoln Memorial honors just whom it says: Abraham Lincoln, the nation's 16th president. It sits west of the nearby Reflecting Pool and the Washington Monument.

Inside the memorial, you can find the biggest attraction of the memorial, a large statue of Lincoln in a seated position. Near this are two of his most famous speeches, the Gettysburg Address and the Second Inaugural Address.

Though Lincoln's speeches are the only two present here now, there have been many other historical speeches that have taken place at this site, including Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have A Dream."

Address: 2 Lincoln Memorial Cir NW, Washington, DC 20037

Website: www.nps.gov

4: Vietnam Veterans and Korean War Veterans Memorials

Vietnam Veterans and Korean War Veterans Memorials

Located in West Potomac Park, the Korean War Veterans Memorial stands in the shape of a triangle intersecting a circle. There are two statues depicting a squad on patrol. Part of the wall lists the troop statistics, including the number of soldiers dead, missing, injured, and captured.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial's most well-known piece is the Wall, but there is also the Vietnam Women's Memorial and the Three Soldiers Statue. The main part of this memorial can be found in Constitution Gardens, next to the National Mall.

Address: 900 Ohio Dr SW, Washington, DC 20024

Website: www.nps.gov

Also Read: 12 Famous Landmarks in Washington, D.C.

5: National Mall

National Mall
Shutterstock/Kamira

The National Mall is one of the most popular tourist spots in Washington, DC. The National Mall includes some of DC’s most popular, most famous, and most famous memorials. It also includes lesser-known memorials.

You can walk around the National Mall and get a look at all of them easily in one day. If you happen to go during Cherry Blossom Season, the National Mall is one of the best places to see the Cherry Blossoms.

The Memorials and Sights at the National Mall include:

  • The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial
  • The Korean War Veterans Memorial
  • The Lincoln Memorial
  • The Martin Luther King Junior Memorial
  • The Thomas Jefferson Memorial
  • The Vietnam Veterans Memorial
  • The World War II Memorial
  • The Washington Monument

There are many more great sights available nearby. Take time to consult a map before your go and plan your day wandering around this beautiful and interesting area.

Address: Constitution Ave NW, Washington DC, DC 20565

Website: www.nps.gov

6: Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

This museum is one of the best things to do in Washington DC if you want to experience the complete historical collection of aircraft and spacecraft! The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum is also known for its explorations of planetary science, terrestrial geology, and geophysics.

Some of the many impressive exhibits include Chicago, the first aircraft to fly around the world, Apollo 11 command module, Soviet SS-20 and US Pershing II Rockets, Ballistic Missiles, and the spacesuit worn by David Scott on Apollo 15.

Address: 600 Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20560

Website: www.airandspace.si.edu

Also Read: Top 10 Space and Aviation Museums in the USA

7: John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Dreamstime/Michael Wood

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is one of the Washington, DC attractions for art and theatre lovers. With over 2000 shows every year, there is always something going on at this campus of theatres.

It was named in memory of JFK, who was instrumental in building this American Cultural Center. The National Symphony Orchestra and the Washington National Opera perform at the Kennedy Center.

The Kennedy Center is on the Banks of the Potomac River within walking distance of the National Mall and the Watergate Hotel.

Grab dinner in the Foggy Bottom area before a nighttime show or after a matinee performance.

Address: 2700 F St NW, Washington, DC 20566

Website: www.kennedy-center.org

8: Smithsonian National Zoo

Smithsonian National Zoo
Dreamstime/Alan Kolnik

Animal lovers and families alike will enjoy a day at the National Zoo. The zoo is free and houses thousands of animals for you to meet. The zoo is open from 8 am to 4 pm. If you are visiting in the summer, come early to avoid the crowds and the afternoon heat.

Spend the whole day here enjoying the company of your favorite animals, and if that seems like too much time, head up to the Hillwood Estate Museum and Gardens or back to DC for an airconditioned museum tour.

To keep the animal theme going, head to the National Museum of Natural History for the afternoon.

Grab dinner in Georgetown at one of these great restaurants:

Address: 3001 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008

Website: nationalzoo.si.edu

Also Read: 30 Best Zoos in the USA

9: Old Town Trolley Tour

Old Town Trolley Tour
Dreamstime/Jiawangkun

Whether you are visiting Washington, DC, new to the area, or a long-time local, you are missing out if you have not taken a Trolley Tour. These tours are some of the best things to do in Washington, DC.

There are two 90-minute tour options: the Silver Pass and the Gold Pass. The Silver Pass is the basic tour experience. The Gold Pass includes a trip to Arlington National Cemetery. They also offer separate guided tours of Arlington National Cemetery. Grab a meal after your tour at one of these nearby restaurants: Asia Nine, Ristorante Tosca, or The Oceanaire.

One of the top, most romantic tours available is offered by this company. The Monuments By Moonlight Tour is full of enchanting moments just waiting to happen. Grab a romantic dinner ahead of time at Fogo de Chão, which is nearby.

Address: 1001 E St NW, Washington, DC 20004

Website: www.trolleytours.com

10: Food & Drink Tours

Food & Drink Tours
Dreamstime/Richard Gunion

Washington, DC is full of great places to eat and drink. If you like food or consider yourself a foodie, one of these tours might be the perfect thing to do in Washington, DC.

Foodies and Food fans will love the Mangia Food Tours. They offer an Italian Food Tour and a Georgetown Foodie Tour. Another great tour provider for foodies is Blue Fern Tours. They offer food tours of Georgetown, U-Street, Fell’s Point, and Old Town Alexandria. They also offer Distillery tours.

Fans of Brews will love the DC Brew Tours. There are plenty of breweries on the list of places to visit in Washington, DC and this company offers tours to many of them.

If you prefer Wine to Brews, try one of Vino Virginia’s wine tours. Spend the day exploring Virginia’s Wine Country.

Another great tour operator is Spirited Tours which offers both wine and beer tours.

11: Big Bus Tours Washington, DC

Big Bus Tours Washington, DC
Dreamstime/Erik Lattwein

Big Bus Tours offers a unique tour experience in their Hop-on Hop-off tours. This style of tour is one of the most interesting Washington, DC attractions.

They have four tour options. The Classic Tour Option is a one-day ticket. The Premium Tour Option is a two-day ticket. The Deluxe Tour Option is a three-day ticket. Lastly, they also have a two-hour long night tour available.

The Classic, Premium, and Deluxe tours follow the Red Loop schedule, which includes: The International Spy Museum, The Washington Monument, the National Mall, Arlington Cemetery, City Center, and the White House. There are eight stops in total where you can get off and explore and then hop on the next Big Bus to arrive.

The Night Tour follows a slightly different schedule and is not a Hop-on Hop-off tour. Combining the Night tour with any of the other options is a great way to see Washington, DC.

Address: 610 10th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

12: Ghost Tours

Ghost Tours

Washington, DC is full of history and that means it is full of ghosts. There is no shortage of Ghostly tours to enjoy. No trip to Washington, DC would be complete without at least one of these tours.

  • DC by Foot offers two family-friendly ghost tours and four adults-only scandal tours.
  • Scary DC offers group and private tours in Georgetown.
  • Nightly Spirits offers a combined Ghost tour with a pub crawl.
  • UCPlaces offers an app and free audio tour. Just download, follow the map, and enjoy.
  • National Nightmares offers public and private haunted tours.
  • DC Ghosts offers 60 minute and 90-minute ghost tours.

Whether you like to be scared or are just looking for a good time, these tours are the best DC has to offer.

13: Segway Tours

Segway Tours
Dreamstime/Tupungato

Segway tours offer one of the most unique things to do in Washington, DC. Zip around the DC area and take in the sights. The tour stops at all the well-known monuments where you will get to hear the tour guide share information and stories.

Segways are a great way to see Washington, DC on a sunny summer day. This tour is great for people who like to be outdoors but want to travel faster than they would on foot. In addition, Segways are easy to learn how to use, and you can speed up or slow down based on how comfortable you are.

The tours are informative and fun, and the tour guides are always locals. Headsets are provided so that you can hear the tour guide's commentary even when the Segways are moving.

14: The Pentagon

The Pentagon
Dreamstime/Jeremy Christensen

The Pentagon is one of the secret destinations in Washington, DC’s for tours. It is not well known that you can request a tour of the Pentagon. To request a tour, go to their website. Reservations are required and must be made 14-90 days before your tour.

The tour is about 60 minutes and covers about a mile and a half of walking throughout the building. You will learn about the history and importance of the Pentagon and get a peek at the inside. 

This is an excellent tour for those interested in military history and the history of the Department of Defense. Your tour guide will be an active Military serviceman or woman who receives training before becoming a tour guide.

Address: Washington, DC 22202

Website: pentagontours.osd.mil

15: Library Of Congress

Library Of Congress
Dreamstime/Sean Pavone

The grand architecture of the Library of Congress makes it a must-see Washington, DC tourist attraction for anyone interested in the history and architecture of old buildings. It is also a must-see for anyone who loves art or books as the building has plenty of both to look at.

The Library of Congress offers self-guided tours at the moment. In the past, they have offered guided group tours, which will hopefully resume in the future. There are a number of interesting exhibits to see and plenty to marvel at. Make sure to stop by the gift shop on your way out.

After being inside for a while, and if the weather is good, grab some food from a nearby restaurant and head to a nearby park. After lunch, head to the Capitol Building for a tour there.

Address: 10 First St SE, Washington, DC 20540

Website: www.loc.gov

16: Capitol Hill

Capitol Hill
Dreamstime/Jon Bilous

There is plenty to see and do in the Capitol Hill area. The most obvious and one of the most popular attractions in Washington, DC is the Capitol Building.

They offer guided tours and exciting exhibits that include the history of the Capitol Building and Congress.

Also in the Capitol Hill area is the Library of Congress (mentioned above #15) and the Eastern Market (mentioned below #45).

There are several great parks to visit:

  • The Spirit of Justice Park
  • Bartholdi Park
  • Folger Park
  • Providence Park
  • Garfield Park
  • Marion Park
  • Seward Square
  • Stanton Park

Fans of Shakespeare will enjoy visiting the Folgers Shakespeare Library. The library also has a theater and holds the occasional performance.

Lastly, you can visit the United States Supreme Court. They offer self-guided tours, educational lectures, and exhibits.

Address: First St and East Capitol St NE, Washington DC, DC 20004

17: Smithsonian Institution Building

Smithsonian Institution Building
Dreamstime/Sean Pavone

The Smithsonian Institution Building is one of the most often overlooked hidden gems of Washington, DC. Everyone thinks about going to their museums; very few stop in at their main building.

The Smithsonian Institution Building is the oldest of the Smithsonian buildings and museums. It offers a collection of small exhibits from each of the bigger museums.

Just outside the Smithsonian Institution Building are the Smithsonian Gardens. They are beautiful to walk through any time of year, but especially beautiful in the Spring and Summer.

Address: 1000 Jefferson Dr SW, Washington, DC 20560

18: National Gallery of Art & the Sculpture Garden

National Gallery of Art & the Sculpture Garden
Dreamstime/Kmiragaya

The National Gallery of Art & the Sculpture Garden is one of the best things to do in Washington DC if you are interested in art.

They have over 60 rooms and 3,000 works of art that span from Medieval to Modern times and cover paintings, sculptures, and more.

There is so much to see you will likely need the whole day to see the museum. However, if you finish in half a day or less, there are plenty of other areas nearby to checkout.

For example, the National Museum of Natural History is full of interesting exhibits and can be gone through fairly quickly. However, if you are a fan of science and history, you may want a whole day for this museum.

Address: Constitution Ave NW &, 7th St NW, Washington, DC 20408

Website: www.nga.gov

19: International Spy Museum

International Spy Museum

The International Spy Museum is one of the newer museums in Washington, DC. It opened in 2002. It houses everything from James Bond’s car to code-breaking and historically accurate accounts of spies.

The museum can take anywhere from 2 hours to a whole day to explore. If you go first thing in the morning, you'll likely be done by lunchtime.

Head over to the National Museum of African American History and Culture and grab lunch in the Sweet Home Cafe before exploring or head to the National Museum of the American Indian and grab lunch in the Mitsitam Cafe before exploring.

Address: 700 L'Enfant Plaza SW, Washington, DC 20024

Website: www.spymuseum.org

20: National Museum of African American History and Culture

National Museum of African American History and Culture
Dreamstime/Giuseppe Crimeni

The National Museum of African American History and Culture is the Smithsonian's newest museum; it opened in 2016. Exhibits in the museum chronicle the history, culture, and lives of African Americans.

There are over 36,000 artifacts and multiple floors with a variety of different exhibits. Wander the whole museum or focus on the rooms or topics you find most interesting.

A visit to this museum could easily take a day so grab some lunch at the Sweet Home Cafe. They offer a variety of dishes with ties to African Americans and their cultures.

If you do finish with time to spare, head next door to the National Museum of American History. If you do not have time in the day to go to both. Seeing these two Washington, DC attractions back-to-back is recommended. Plan to see one on day one and the other on day two.

Address: 1400 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20560

Website: nmaahc.si.edu

21: National Museum of the American Indian & the Mitsitam Café

National Museum of the American Indian & the Mitsitam Café

The National Museum of the American Indian is another cultural and historical powerhouse. This is another one of the most amazing things to see in Washington, DC. The museum houses one of the world's most comprehensive collections of Native American objects, artifacts, and media.

The museum often has shows, dances, and other tribal and cultural events. They cover the history of Native Americans from the tip of South America all the way to the Northernmost tip of North America.

The Mitsitam Cafe is one of the most unique places to eat in Washington, DC. Like the Sweet Home Cafe at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Mitsitam Cafe serves specialities from Indigenous cultures across the American continents.

If you could only see two history museums in DC, the Museum of the American Indian and the Museum of African Americans are the two you cannot miss. They are vibrant and unique.

Address: Independence Ave SW & 4th Street Southwest, Washington, DC 20024

Website: americanindian.si.edu

22: National Postal Museum

National Postal Museum
Dreamstime/Ritu Jethani

The National Postal Museum is located near Union Station, so you can hit both of these Washington, DC attractions in one day.

The museum houses many interesting exhibits about the history and evolution of the United States Postal Service. Right across the street from the Postal Museum is the National Guard Memorial Museum.

This museum is on the small side, so head over to Judiciary Square and the National Building Museum. A little further beyond that are the National Museum of Crime and Punishment, the National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

There are a bunch of great places to eat along the walk:

Address: 2 Massachusetts Ave NE, Washington, DC 20002

Website: postalmuseum.si.edu

23: Penn Quarter

Penn Quarter

In and around the Penn Quarter area, you will find a collection of great places to go in Washington, DC. In addition, this area is full of great restaurants where you can grab a bite to eat as you wander around these great tourist destinations. These include:

  • Smithsonian American Art Museum
  • The National Portrait Gallery

The Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery are both housed in the same building. The museum focuses on art from artists who lived or are living in the United States.

  • The National Museum of Crime and Punishment

This fascinating museum focuses on the history of crime, punishment, law enforcement, and the forensic science that has made it all possible.

  • The National Building Museum

This exciting museum looks at the history of architecture and buildings. Check their website for current exhibits.

  • Ford’s Theatre

This theater is famous for being the assassination site of President Abraham Lincoln.

  • The Warner Theatre

This Historic Theatre hosts theatrical productions, dance shows, music, and even television presentations.

  • The National Museum of Women in the Arts

The National Museum of Women in the Arts focuses on female artists and their artwork. Their goal is to promote modern and historical female artists.

24: National Geographic Museum

National Geographic Museum

The National Geographic Museum is one of the must-see things to do in Washington, DC for fans of National Geographic Magazine, TV, or documentaries.

The exhibits at this unique museum showcase not only some of the wildest, most beautiful, and most amazing places on earth but also the photographers, scientists, and other National Geographic explorers that explored and/or discovered these wonderful places.

This museum is located a couple of blocks north of the White House. The area is full of great places to eat. Stop by one of these great restaurants after you finish up at the museum:

Address: 1145 17th St NW, Washington, DC 20036

Website: www.nationalgeographic.org

25: National Archives Museum

National Archives Museum
Dreamstime/Sergii Figurnyi

The National Archives Museum houses the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, and The Bill of Rights.

Other exhibits include topics such as Women’s rights, National Park Documents, and public vaults with even more interesting documents to peruse. The National Archives Museum is one of the most overlooked attractions in Washington, DC.

The National Archives Museum is near the National Museum of American History, the National Museum of Natural History, and the National Gallery of Art & the Sculpture Garden.

As the National Archives Museum deals with documents from the United States History, the National Museum of American History would be the #1 choice for a two-museum day.

Great Restaurants in the area include:

Address: 701 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20408

Website: museum.archives.gov

26: National Museum of Health and Medicine

National Museum of Health and Medicine

The National Museum of Health and Medicine houses a number of exhibits that look at the history and evolution of science in health and medicine.

If you are interested in health, medicine, or the history of medicine, exploring this museum is sure to be one of the coolest things to do in Washington, DC.

The National Museum of Health and Medicine is North of Washington, DC in the Silver Spring area. The National Zoo is between it and DC, so if you are only renting a car for certain days, put these two together as a trip.

Also, in the area is the Hillwood Estate Museum and Gardens. Both the Zoo and the Hillwood Estate have restaurants where you can grab a bite to eat.

Address: 2500 Linden Ln, Silver Spring, MD 20910

Website: www.medicalmuseum.mil

27: Hillwood Estate Museum and Garden

Hillwood Estate Museum and Garden
Dreamstime/Calvin L. Leake

This Washington, DC attraction is outside the city limits in the Northwest Washington, DC area next to Rock Creek Park. The Hillwood Estate Museum is in the historic Mansion and consists of more than 15 interesting rooms and exhibits.

When you finish inside, wander around outside in the gardens. This is one of the most beautiful places to see the cherry blossoms in the Spring. There are 25 acres, so there is plenty to keep you occupied if you make this a full-day deal.

Grab lunch or dinner at the restaurant on the estate, the Merriweather Cafe. The Hillwood Estate also hosts Art events as well as The Japanese Star Festival in July.

Head to the Rock Creek Planetarium for a special nighttime show or a stargazing session.

Address: 4155 Linnean Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008

Website: www.hillwoodmuseum.org

28: Tudor Place Historic House & Garden

Tudor Place Historic House & Garden

The Tudor Place Historic House and Garden is a hidden gem and worthy sight to see in Washington, DC. The estate was originally owned by Martha Curtis Peter and Thomas Peter. Martha was the granddaughter of Martha Washington and was born at Mount Vernon.

Combine a morning trip to Mount Vernon with an afternoon trip to the Tudor Place Historic House & Garden. A trip to Mount Vernon will likely take all morning, so make sure to schedule your visit for when they open.

The Tudor Place Historic House and Garden close at 4 pm, so make sure you arrive by 2 pm to have enough time for leisurely exploration.

The Tudor Place Historic House and Garden are in the Georgetown area, so finish your day walking around Georgetown and grabbing a bite to eat at one of the many great restaurants.

Address: 1644 31st St NW, Washington, DC 20007

Website: www.tudorplace.org

29: Arlington National Cemetery

Arlington National Cemetery
Dreamstime/James Robins

The Arlington National Cemetery is one of the most popular places to visit in Washington, DC for people interested in military history or with military family backgrounds. However, even if you do not fall into either of these categories, a quick trip to the Arlington National Cemetery and a tour is worth visiting.

You can do this as part of a DC tour or as a single event on its own. The Arlington National Cemetery is across the water from the National Mall. So, if you are not visiting as part of a tour, you can spend part of the day at the Arlington National Cemetery and the rest of the day at the National Mall. Grab a quick bite in the Rosslyn area before heading back into DC.

Address: Arlington, VA

Website: www.arlingtoncemetery.mil

30: Dinner Cruise

Dinner Cruise
Dreamstime/Tdoes1

The dinner cruise lasts two and a half to three hours and travels along the Potomac River. Enjoy a riverside view of the beautiful parks, Memorials, and Riverside Washington DC Attractions.

The cruise includes a 3-course meal and unlimited coffee, hot or cold tea, and water. Wine, beer, and cocktails are available for an additional price.

If you're still thinking about what to do in DC as a couple, a romantic dinner on the water is one of the best things you will love. If you aren't a late-night person, they also offer brunch cruises. As well as special cruises for certain holidays such as the 4th of July, New Year, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and Valentine’s Day. If you want to take a special occasion dinner, make sure to sign up early as they are popular and fill up fast.

31: Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens

Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens

These unique and beautiful gardens are one of the most delightful things to do in Washington, DC. Festivals celebrating different seasons and plants happen year-round, such as the Lotus and Waterlily Festival.

The longest path or trail in the park is about half a mile, so there is no need to worry about getting overheated. You can stop at any time. There are numerous paths so anyone who wants can spend hours wandering the paths and enjoying the wildlife and plants.

If you finish with this park and still want some outdoor time head over to the United States National Arboretum. Check out the Bonsai Museum while you are there.

Grab Lunch or Dinner in one of these great restaurants:

Address: 1550 Anacostia Ave NE, Washington, DC 20019

Website: www.nps.gov

32: Theodore Roosevelt Island

Theodore Roosevelt Island
Dreamstime/Cvandyke

Theodore Roosevelt Island is one of the Washington, DC attractions that every outdoors lover should see. There are miles of trails to hike and explore. They offer ranger-led programs and ranger-led "safaris".

Parking for the Island Park is on the Arlington National Cemetery side of the Potomac River. Also nearby is Potomac Park along the George Washington Memorial Parkway.

Take a picnic to Roosevelt Island, so you have all day to explore and then head into Georgetown by way of the Francis Scott Key Bridge or head into Rosslyn for dinner.

Website: www.nps.gov

33: Cascading Waterfall

Cascading Waterfall

Cascading Waterfall is found in the Columbia Heights area, which is a great vacation spot in Washington, DC. The metro travels up to Columbia Heights, so you do not need a car to stay here and travel into the city.

The Cascading Waterfall is an art installation in Meridian Hill Park in the southern part of Columbia Heights near the Cardoza Education Campus. A stop at Meridian Park is a great place for a picnic. Busboys & Poets is a popular local cafe that has a great history.

This area is also near the National Zoo, Hillwood Estate Museum and Gardens. Also in the Columbia Heights area is the Mexican Cultural Institute and the Cultural Office of the Embassy of Spain. These two venues have a number of exciting events happening every week.

34: United States Botanic Gardens

United States Botanic Gardens
Dreamstime/Sergey Novikov

The United States Botanic Gardens is a popular Washington, DC tourist attraction. In the heart of DC, between the National Museum of the American Indian and the United States Capitol Building, this building and the surrounding gardens are a sight to see.

After exploring the conservatory, the national garden, and Bartholdi Park, take a look at the nearby memorials and monuments. These include the First Ladies Water Garden, the Garfield Monument, the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial, the Peace Monument, the Capitol Reflecting Pool, and the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial.

The tour of the museum is relatively quick, so you will have plenty of time to wander around the grounds of the Capitol and the National Mall.

Other interesting things to see here are the Native American Veteran’s Memorial outside the National Museum of the American Indian, the National Gallery of Art’s Sculpture Garden, the Smithsonian Pollinator Garden, the Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden, and the Enid A. Haupt Garden.

Address: 100 Maryland Ave SW, Washington, DC 20001

Website: www.usbg.gov

35: Rock Creek Park

Rock Creek Park

Rock Creek Park is near the National Zoo, Hillwood Estate Museum and Gardens. If you are interested in visiting any or all of these places, it might be worth renting a room in the area and then either driving into DC or taking the Metro.

Rock Creek Park is a national park with 1,754 acres to explore. There are a number of historical landmarks. If you are a late-night person, head to the Rock Creek Planetarium for a show or a nightly stargazing activity.

Rock Creek Park also offers Ranger-led activities and horseback riding. There are plenty of walking and hiking trails. If you are into golfing, head to the nearby Rock Creek Park Golf Course.

Address: Washington, DC 20008

36: Catacombs of Washington, DC

Catacombs of Washington, DC

Visit the Catacombs of Washington, DC at the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America. This hidden gem is mostly for show, but it is interesting and fun. The monks at the Monastery are happy to give visitors a tour and explain the history of the Catacombs.

Don’t miss the Franciscan Monastery Garden or the nearby Fort Bunker Hill Historic Landmark. Other interesting things to see in the vicinity are the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Like the Monastery, whether you are religious or not, the architecture and history of the building are worth seeing and learning.

The Catacombs are also near the United States National Arboretum and Kenilworth National Park and Aquatic Gardens.

Address: 1400 Quincy St NE, Washington, DC 20017

37: Union Station

Union Station
Dreamstime/Ioan Florin Cnejevici

Union Station is one of the best things to see in Washington, DC, that doesn't take long. Grab a bite to eat at one of the restaurants inside and enjoy the architecture, then catch the metro to your next sight-seeing destination. You can get just about anywhere from Union Station.

Other attractions nearby include:

You can also pair your trip to Union Station with one of the tours mentioned above.

Address: 50 Massachusetts Ave NE, Washington, DC 20002

Website: www.unionstationdc.com

38: Chinatown

Chinatown
Dreamstime/Jon Bilous

Visit Chinatown in the Penn Quarter area. Some of the things to do in Washington, DC’s Chinatown include the Chinatown Historical Landmark, the Friendship Archway, the Gallery Place Shopping Mall, and the Chinatown Community and Cultural Center.

This DC area is quite small, so you will have plenty of time to wander around in the nearby Penn Quarter area. If you are looking for great cultural celebrations, visit during Lunar New Year.

Restaurants in and around Chinatown include:

39: Cherry Blossoms (Tidal Basin, East Potomac Park)

Cherry Blossoms (Tidal Basin, East Potomac Park)
Dreamstime/Ramblingman

The Cherry Blossoms found around Washington, DC are a must-see attraction in the Springtime. They are only around for a few weeks, so you need to time your trip perfectly if you want to see them.

You can enjoy the Cherry Blossoms at the Tidal Basin, East Potomac Park, The National Mall, and the National Arboretum. There are many other places to see the Cherry Blossoms as the trees are found all over DC. These spots, however, offer some of the grandest Cherry Blossom views.

If you visit DC in the last week of March or the first week of April, you can even participate in the Cherry Blossom Festival. Some of the boat tour companies offer Cherry Blossom tours if you want to see the blossoms from the Potomac River.

40: Ford’s Theatre

Ford’s Theatre
Dreamstime/Sean Pavone

Ford’s Theatre is worth a visit even if you only take a peek inside. This Washington, DC attraction is famous for Lincoln’s assassination. They offer tours of the theatre and tell stories, including the history of the Lincoln assassination.

Ford’s Theater is in Penn Square, so enjoy some of the other DC attractions in the area. Penn Square is full of DC Museums, Attractions, a wide variety of delicious restaurants to choose from, and it is within walking distance of the National Mall and all the Smithsonian Museums.

Delicious Restaurants to try:

Address: 511 10th St NW, Washington, DC 20004

Website: www.fords.org

41: Adventure Park

Adventure Park

Head out of the city for a day of ropes courses, climbs, ziplines, labyrinths, and other fun outdoor activities. If you need a break from Attractions in Washington, DC, take a break and have some fun.

You can pack a picnic lunch or grab food at the Adventure Park Food Truck. They offer several courses at varying levels of difficulty.

They have several special events every month so check their website to see what is on the schedule while you are in town.

If you and your significant other enjoy doing outdoor things together, they also have a romantic Nighttime Adventure available. You will need a car for this day trip, but it is well worth the extra cost.

If you decide to rent a car, make sure to rent it for a few days and hit all the out-of-town Washington, DC attractions while you have the car available.

Address: 11113 W Baldwin Rd, Monrovia, MD 21770

Website: www.adventureparkusa.com

42: The DC Improv Comedy Club

The DC Improv Comedy Club

One of the fun things to do in Washington, DC that is often overlooked is the DC Improv Comedy Club. If you like to laugh and enjoy comedy, spend a night relaxing from all your museums and learning and get some light-hearted fun in.

DC Improv Comedy Club offers a diverse selection of Comedy shows; check their schedule before you arrive to see if anything looks interesting. They also offer Improv classes.

The menu consists of the typical bar fare along with salads, desserts, and juices.

Address: 1140 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036

Website: www.dcimprov.com

43: George Washington’s Mount Vernon

George Washington’s Mount Vernon
Dreamstime/Jon Bilous

This Washington, DC attraction is outside of Washington, DC to the south, about 30-45 minutes by car and 2-3 hours by bus. This is an all-day trip if you take the bus but can be shorter if you travel by car.

They offer tours of the estate and self-guided tours of the gardens. In addition, you can tour the Mansion and meet "Living History Actors" who play the parts of people who would have worked for Washington's.

There is a great restaurant and food court available at Mount Vernon. If you are interested, they also offer Potomac River Cruises from DC to Mount Vernon. The restrictions here are that the boat has limited runs. This restricts how much time you will have to tour Mount Vernon.

Address: 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy, Mt Vernon, VA 22121

Website: www.mountvernon.org

44: Argentta Spa at the Watergate Hotel

Argentta Spa at the Watergate Hotel

If you need a break from all the walking, talking, learning, and thinking you have been doing, take a day at the Argentta Spa at the Watergate Hotel. Check out their menu ahead of time and schedule your appointment. They do not accept drop-ins.

They offer 50 minutes, 80 minutes, 110 minutes, 1 hour 20-minute Signature Massages, and 1 hour 50-minute Signature Massages.

If you are traveling with your significant other, a couples massage. If you are traveling with friends, book a group session.

Address: 2650 Virginia Ave NW, Washington, DC 20037

Website: www.thewatergatehotel.com

45: Eastern Market

Eastern Market

Nestled in the Capitol Hill area, this Farmers' and Crafters' market boasts some delicious meal vendors. Not far from the other great Capitol Hill Tourist Attractions, this market is a great place to go in search of delicious and affordable food.

This small market will not take you longer than an hour to peruse unless you stop and sit down to eat. Afterwards, head back to the National Mall to continue exploring or catch the Metro up to Union Station and head to the Postal Museum.

Address: 225 7th St SE, Washington, DC 20003

Website: www.easternmarket-dc.org

Plan your trip to Washington, D.C. soon!

This list of best things to do in Washington, DC are by no means the only tourist and sight-seeing options. However, these are some of the top attractions in Washington, DC, along with references to nearby attractions and restaurants.

Hopefully, this list was helpful, and you now have an idea of what you might like to do while in Washington, DC. If you only have a few days to a week, make the most of it. Head to the websites and see what is currently being exhibited so you can make the most informed decisions about what you want to see in DC.

Washington, DC Travel Guide

Explore Guide