The Best Things To Do In Washington, D.C.

If you’re planning to visit Washington, D.C., you have definitely chosen an amazing place to see! The Nation’s capital, the Federal city, The American Rome, The Capital of the World; these are just a few nicknames given to this world-renowned city.

Washington, District of Columbia (D.C.) is relatively a small city on the Potomac River, located between Virginia and Maryland. It’s not part of a state and it’s not a simple city – it’s a district.

While many other cities are relatively hard to visit and get a feel of in a short time, Washington, D.C.’s size allows you to see its full beauty simply by walking around. The best and most convenient place to start your day in D.C. is at the National Mall, and I’m not talking about a shopping center. The National Mall represents the whole area between the Lincoln Memorial and the US Capitol with the Washington Monument as a midpoint.

It’s best to begin with a tour at the US Capitol as it’s free and gives you a close look at the inside of one of the most gorgeous and historic buildings in D.C. However, be prepared to wait in line, since the admission and security check in take some time.

Just after you finished your tour, there are quite a few museums located on the National Mall that await you on your trip to D.C. as well. And yes, they’re also free! You can choose between the National and Space Air Museum, National Gallery of Art, National Museum of American History, National Museum of Natural History, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and so on. The choice is yours! You’ll probably not have enough time to see them all in one day, that’s why it’s best to choose which ones you want to see first, ahead of time.

Now that you’ve been to a couple museums, a beautiful castle is just ahead of you. The Smithsonian Institute building is known as the castle of Washington D.C. Once you’ll see it, you’ll truly be amazed by its beauty. Walk around, take some pictures of the beautiful surroundings around the castle and fully take in what’s in front of you: The Washington Monument, which is your next destination.

But before you start exploring The Washington Monument, all your past exploring may warrant some food. A great lunch option are the food trucks that are all around the Washington Monument. The prices are acceptable and a huge variety of food is available. You can enjoy your lunch right in front of the Washington Monument, which is a great opportunity to look around and take a short break.

After your meal, it’s time to see one of the most famous place in all D.C.: The White House. It will take you a little longer to get to it because The White House is not located on the National Mall area, but just across Constitution Avenue, which is right next to the Washington Monument. Once you have crossed it, you’ll be able to walk through The Ellipse, a park in front of the White House. With this route, you’ll see the front of the White House though you probably won’t be as close to the actual House as you thought. However, you can admire the back of the White House standing right next to the fence. You’ll need to walk a couple streets to get around to it, since there is no way to go through it.

When you’ve finally finished taking enough pictures of the White House, walk back through The Ellipse and go back on the National Mall area. There you’ll see the WWII Memorial; a truly gorgeous and historic place with a fountain and neat sculptures.

Just in front of the WWII Memorial, you’ll see The Lincoln Memorial. On your way to the Lincoln Memorial you can stop and take a look at the Korean War Memorial (on the left side) or the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (on the right side), depending on which side you decided to walk to get to The Lincoln Memorial.

And finally, the last stop is The Lincoln Memorial! The view and the monument itself is worth all your hard work and walking you’ve done throughout the day. Take your time with ol’ Abe and enjoy the moment. Read Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address written on the wall, then look around and take as many pictures as you can. It’s a great view looking down from the Memorial to the National Mall. Also, not many people know about this one, but there is a small museum located on the first floor, on your left inside the actual structure where Lincoln sits. Find the door, take the elevator inside and go on a fast tour to learn more.

Other things you could see and do in D.C.

If you have some more time in D.C. and want to see some of the city, here are some recommendations.

The Jefferson Memorial is one of those places you’ll fall in love with. The Memorial is surrounded by cherry trees and a beautiful walkway, which is even more beautiful at night. On the Jefferson walkway you can also find the MLK Memorial, which is a unique sculpture of Martin Luther King Jr. with an important message.

As mentioned, DC is known for its great museums which are all FREE! Besides the ones already listed, I especially recommend the US Botanical Garden and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Both will instantly leave a remarkable memory.

Also fun, if you want to see the process of making MONEY, you may like the idea of a FREE tour in the Bureau of Engraving/Printing in D.C., which is right next to United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. It’s a different experience, but bear in mind, the tickets sell out quickly, so if you want to get on a tour it’s best to wake up early in the morning. As a nice end of your trip, you can visit the Union Station. It’s architecture is beautiful and you can end your days in D.C. with a lovely meal inside.

As a reminder, the sights I’ve mentioned are all pretty far from each other, so when visiting D.C., it’s best to have a car or use the public transport system, which isn’t difficult to navigate, if you want to see everything!

I hope my recommendations have helped you. Have a great trip and enjoy your time in D.C.!

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Edy from Moldova is currently finishing up his year-long exchange at North Carolina as a FLEX Program exchange student. Follow his adventures on Instagram at @edwardxd!

One comment

  1. Great article! I love Washington, D.C. so much, I’ve been twice now and it’s one of my favourites cities! My favourite spot is the Lincoln Memorial but I had no idea about the museum! Might just have to make a third trip…

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