33 Best Things To Do In Washington, DC - Updated 2024

things to do in washington dc
| 9 min read

Washington, DC is famous for its plethora of museums and monuments. Travelers flock to the city for its history and position as the political powerhouse of America. But Washington DC is more than just a place to take a picture by the White House and learn about past presidents and significant structures such as historic hotels. DC is a dynamic city that is at the forefront of social change, political activism, and the future of America. Visitors to this magnificent city soon realize its endless opportunities for fun and excitement. A thriving tourist destination, the city offers plenty of accommodation options, so knowing where to stay in Washington DC is a relatively easy task. For those looking to plan ahead for their visit, check out these best things to do in Washington, DC.

1. Explore Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum (from USD 104.0)

There is no place that tells epic tales of air and space the way Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum does. Situated on the historic National Mall, this renowned museum showcases the world’s most esteemed assortment of artifacts in captivating galleries and engaging exhibits. Discover wonders such as Buzz Aldrin’s iconic spacesuit, authentic moon rocks, and the legendary Apollo 11 module.

You can also immerse yourself in the chronicles of flight, awe-inspiring moon landings, and the intense Space Race during your visit. So you can embark on a hassle-free exploration, opt to join this private and guided tour that takes about two and a half hours. Just note that the available departure times are every 10am and 1pm.

Visited this place?

National Air and Space Museum Private Smithsonian Tour

Duration: 2 hours

110 reviews

2. Visit Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial

Source: Photo by Flickr user U.S. Department o... used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

At the intersection of Independence Avenue and West Basin Drive SW, within the revered National Mall, lies the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. This profound space is a reflection on the enduring legacy of a luminary figure in the civil rights movement that is Martin Luther King, Jr.

The memorial’s centerpiece is a magnificent 30-foot (9.14 meter) sculpture of Dr. King, no less, that was meticulously crafted by the skilled hands of Master Lei Yixin from China. This site is open to the public and offers free admission to behold Dr. King’s timeless message. While entry is without charge, please be mindful that parking and transportation fees may apply.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial

Address: 1850 West Basin Drive SW, Washington 20024

Website: Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

Price: Free

Visited this place?

3. Drive along Rock Creek Parkway

Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway - Dumbarton Bridge
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user AgnosticPreachersKid used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Rock Creek Park runs through the center of DC from the Maryland border to the Potomac River. The oldest urban national park in the United States, Rock Creek’s original purpose was to serve as a parkway and continues to this day. The parkway and the wooded land on either side offer a plethora of beautiful hiking trails that run along the creek.

For one of the most scenic drives in any city in the world, head north on Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway from the National Mall toward Beach Drive. Then, stay on Beach Drive and continue north to the Maryland border. You won’t regret this incredible scenic drive that will make you forget that you are in a major metropolitan area.

Rock Creek Park

Address: 5200 Glover Rd, NW Washington, DC 20015

Website: Rock Creek Park

Opening hours: Dawn - dusk (daily)

Price: Free

Visited this place?

4. Explore the lily and lotus ponds at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens

Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens
Source: Photo by Flickr user Robert Lyle Bolton used under CC BY 2.0

Often referred to as one of the best-kept secrets in Washington DC, Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens is a National Park Service site that is tucked in the northeastern corner of the district and along the border with Maryland. A historic water garden that has been maintained since its transfer to the federal government in the 1930s, this beautiful park boasts over 40 ponds filled with lotus and lily flowers in the warmer months of the year.

With a half-mile (0.8 kilometers) of trails and a boardwalk along a freshwater tidal marsh, the park is home to a variety of plants and animals that will delight you. It is also connected to the Anacostia River Trail so you can take long walks along the river in this scenic part of the city.

If you are in DC in July, make sure to visit during the Lotus and Lily Festival, an annual event that, similar to the Cherry Blossom Festival, occurs when the lotus and lily plants are at peak bloom.

Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens

Address: 1550 Anacostia Dr. NE, Washington D.C.

Website: Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens

Opening hours: 8am - 4pm (daily)

Price: Free

Visited this place?

Washington Tour Guide

Annie Leguennec

Annie Leguennec

<p>My name is Annie. I am a local Tour guide based in Philadelphia enjoying fully what the city has to offer with its deep history, street arts, murals, architecture, traditional food. black history, Farmer Markets, green space, a melting pot of neighborhoods and its great locals. I am looking for to welcome you and show you this incredible city where you will gain a better understanding of the city&#39;s rich heritage and its continuing legacy as the birthplace of the United States of America. Book my tour. Explore and learn about this unique city where you will walk on the footsteps of our America&#39;s founding Fathers. My tours are conducted in English, French and Italian.</p>

Tours by Annie

Washington Tour Guide

Stephanie Eley

Stephanie Eley

I'm a graduate of ITMI, International Tour Management Institute and 17 years as a licensed Tour Director and Program Director. My expertise began in NYC and Washington, DC where I'm a licensed guide and has expanded to Europe, South America, Cuba and the Western / Southwestern National Parks of the US. I'd love to introduce you for a day or a week to Denver, Colorado and the 4 corners region of the US: Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona! Let's GO!! stepheley@gmail.com

Tours by Stephanie

5. Check out the Library of Congress

Library of Congress, Washington DC
Source: Photo by Flickr user Pierre Blaché used under CC0

Known as the national library of the US, the Library of Congress is one of the original federal institutions in Washington DC. Housed within three different buildings on Capitol Hill, the library’s collection is claimed to be the largest in the world. During the War of 1812, much of the library was burned. A few years later in 1815, with a major restoration of the building and purchase of Thomas Jefferson’s entire personal library of over 6,000 books, the Library of Congress was started anew. Make sure to visit this massive federal library when you are in DC.

Library of Congress

Address: 101 Independence Ave SE, Washington, DC 20540, USA

Website: Library of Congress

Visited this place?

6. See the unique architecture of The National Building Museum

National Building Museum DC 2007 004
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Gryffindor used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

One of the best things to see in Washington, DC, The National Building Museum (former Federal Pension Bureau) showcases the architecture and engineering that has shaped the world’s growth from the past to the present. Completed in 1887, this National Historic Landmark is a short walk from the National Mall and steps from a Metro stop. This museum will awe you with its often-overlooked yet stunning architectural design.

A visit here is well worth your time. Be sure to at least walk by this famous historic building in the nation’s capital and maybe even venture inside!

The National Building Museum

Address: 401 F St NW, Washington, DC 20001, United States

Website: The National Building Museum

Price: 7 - 10 USD

Visited this place?

7. Try out the exclusive FBI Experience

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Set in the national headquarters of the FBI, this tour has become an instant hit since its opening in 2017. Providing the opportunity to explore many exhibits and artifacts, this tour will have you walking in the footsteps of the FBI’s history. For those interested in law enforcement and exploring the history of the FBI, this experience is not to be missed! Make sure to plan in advance as you must contact your congressional representative at least four weeks in advance to schedule this experience in a highly secured federal building.

The FBI Experience

Address: 935 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20535, United States

Website: The FBI Experience

Price: Free

Visited this place?

8. Walk along The Wharf

The Wharf
Source: Photo by Flickr user Daniel Lobo used under CC0

The Wharf in DC is a hip new area along the Potomac River with a variety of shops, restaurants, and a concert hall (The Anthem). With a publicly accessible pier, a popular activity is to get a few scoops of ice cream from Ben and Jerry’s and sit on one of the many benches. A great location in any weather, at the end of the pier there is a fire pit to keep you warm if it is cold in the evening. Head down to The Wharf for a great time along the Potomac River!

Visited this place?

9. Stop by Washington National Cathedral

The Funeral of President George H.W. Bush
Source: Photo by Flickr user Trump White House... used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

The seat of the archbishop of Washington, Washington National Cathedral is a cathedral constructed in the Neo-Gothic style. Likened to the English Gothic style made popular in the 1300s, this religious site is visited by over 400,000 people annually. President Theodore Roosevelt in 1907 laid the cornerstone of this historic church that has served many living presidents and also served as the state funeral location for four former presidents. A visit to the Cathedral also offers beautiful views out over Washington, DC from its bell tower, a must-do for those that want to appreciate the beauty of the city.

Washington National Cathedral

Address: 3101 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC 20016, USA

Website: Washington National Cathedral

Visited this place?

10. Visit Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
Source: Photo by Flickr user Daniel Lobo used under CC0

The largest Roman Catholic church in North America, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is a beautiful structure that is well worth visiting. It was constructed in the 1920s in the Romanesque Revival and Byzantine Revival styles. The basilica is located next to the Catholic University of America, serving as a prominent structure in the skyline. Thus far, the Basilica has been visited by three popes.

Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

Address: 400 Michigan Ave NE, Washington, DC 20017, USA

Website: Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

Visited this place?

11. Grab coffee at La Colombe

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Known for their iconic locations, most often old buildings repurposed into their coffee houses, La Colombe is one of the hottest coffee companies in DC. Making delicious coffee with the option of plant-based milk, everyone will sure to be able to get their perfect coffee. Additionally offering cold brew nitro coffee on tap, this coffee shop will delight you with wonderful-tasting coffee. Make sure to visit one of La Colombe’s most iconic locations at Blagden Alley when you are in DC for some of the best coffee around.

La Colombe

Address: 924 Blagden Alley NW, Washington, DC 20001, United States (4 other locations)

Website: La Colombe

Opening hours: 8am - 3pm (daily)

Visited this place?

12. Visit the World War II Memorial at night

WWII Memorial, at night
Source: Pixabay

Washington D.C. is notorious for its grand monuments, all paying homage to crucial aspects in American history. The monuments are where tourists pay respects to former presidents, marvel at early American architecture, and snap a picture-perfect photo for Instagram. While monuments such as the Washington Monument or the Lincoln Memorial are quintessential D.C. landmarks, arguably the most beautiful monument in the city is the World War II Memorial and it is less-known to D.C. visitors. At night, this gorgeous monument and its fountains are illuminated, offering stunning views of the city to those who choose to visit, after dusk.

World War II Memorial

Address: 1964 Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20227, USA

Opening Hours: Open 24 hours

Website: World War II Memorial

Tip from Trip101 local expert



The World War II Memorial in Washington D.C. is a very somber yet beautiful site to visit. A Visit to the Memorial at night offers a very different experience than during the day, and you are more likely to experience the site with few other visitors. The best time to go is May through September as the fountains are turned off when temperatures reach freezing.

Visited this place?

13. Do a self-walking tour of the Federal Triangle

Federal Triangle, Washington, DC
Source: Photo by Flickr user Warren LeMay used under CC0

With the White House, Washington Monument and the United States Capitol Building all within reach, the Federal Triangle is a popular spot for those looking to do some traditional Washington D.C. sightseeing. The best part of all, this part of the city is completely walkable, with great spots to sightsee, eat and snap a picture on the way to your next destination.

Federal Triangle

Website: Federal Triangle

Visited this place?

14. Escape the city and go to Great Falls National Park

Great Falls National Park
Source: Photo by user m01229 used under CC BY 2.0

Immersions in natural landscapes are also excellent activities in Washington, D.C. It might not be on a metro line just yet, but half an hour outside the city lies Great Falls National Park, Washington D.C.’s own Niagara Falls, and a great place to go to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. You can enjoy a hike here, have a picnic and of course, view the picturesque falls of the Potomac River.

Great Falls National Park

Address: National Park Service George Washington Memorial Parkway, 9200 Old Dominion Dr, McLean, VA 22102, USA

Website: Great Falls National Park

Tip from Trip101 local expert



Cactuses along path

Great Falls has some of the best hiking trails just outside of D.C. I highly recommend crossing the river and visiting the C & O Canal to take a walk along the Billy Goat Trail but remember to bring water and snacks. This trail is long and can be tough in a few spots, so you should also make sure you wear good hiking shoes and are prepared for the weather. You will be delighted with beautiful views and a wonderful time out in nature!

Visited this place?

15. Enjoy fresh food, one-of-a kind trinkets and hand-made artisan crafts at Eastern Market

Eastern Market - interior
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user AgnosticPreachersKid used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Probably one of the only places in the country where you’ll be able to haggle for your goods, the Eastern Market is a D.C. gem, stocked with fresh produce, hand-made goods and plenty of unique souvenirs for travelers. But note, this market is open only on weekends.

Eastern Market

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

Website:Eastern Market DC

Visited this place?

16. Bar hop on U-Street

2009 03 20 - 2911 - Washington DC - U St at 13th St
Source: Photo by user thisisbossi used under CC BY-SA 2.0

While there are plenty of places in the D.C. area to go for a glimpse of nightlife in the Capitol, the heart of the party happens at U-Street, where traditional D.C. bars meet trendy, urban clubs. For those looking to drink, dance, explore rooftops and get a taste of the city after dark without having to metro or Uber from place to place, U-Street is a guaranteed good time. How about starting off at the U Street Music Hall?

U Street Music Hall

Address: 1115 U St NW A, Washington, DC 20009, USA

Website: U Street Music Hall

Visited this place?

17. Take a walk along the waterfront in Georgetown

Georgetown Waterfront Park
Source: Photo by Flickr user NCinDC used under CC BY-ND 2.0

Likely one of the most picturesque walks in all of Washington, nothing beats a walk along Georgetown’s waterfront, on a sunny day. The waterfront is where travelers will see the D.C. elite, college students, tourists and locals all come together to dine, stroll, feed ducks and unwind, after a long day. When you’re finished exploring the quaint yet luxurious streets of Georgetown, grab a bite and head to the waterfront, to finish off a perfect day.

Georgetown Waterfront Park

Address: Water St NW, Washington, DC 20007, USA

Website: Georgetown Waterfront Park

Visited this place?

18. See a Nationals game

Nationals Park 181
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Nymfan9 used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Baseball culture is alive and well in the District, where locals head to Nationals Park, to see their favorite team in action. Nationals Games are great opportunities to get together with friends, enjoy a beer and cheer on the District’s favorite baseball team. Feeling sporty? Make sure to get tickets in advance, as games tend to sell out quickly.

Nationals Park

Address: 1500 S Capitol St SE, Washington, DC 20003, USA

Website: Nationals Park

Tip from Trip101 local expert



Something that is always a great time is going to a ball game at Nationals Park. Make sure to show up early to experience the before-game party at the surrounding outdoor restaurants and pop-up eateries. Once the game starts, it just seems right to get a ballpark hotdog. So why not head over to the famous Ben's Chili Bowl stand to experience two of D.C.'s great things, a chili dog and a ball game! Even if there is not a game on, check and see if the bullpen will be hosting Truckaroo while you are in D.C., where a plethora of food trucks congregate and you can experience many of D.C.'s best food trucks!

Visited this place?

19. Explore DC's Chinatown

Chinatown - Washington, DC
Source: Photo by Flickr user soomness used under CC BY 2.0

Discovering the thrills at Chinatown is definitely among the roster of must-do things in Washington DC. This vibrant hotspot has evolved into a mecca for those looking for anything from upscale Asian cuisine, local street food, or the city’s most lively Chinese New Year Parade – but D.C.’s Chinatown is more than just a place to try incredible dim sum, though it is incredible.

This part of the city is also the place to catch a concert at Verizon Center, shop the luxury boutiques of City Center, and more.


Website: Chinatown

Visited this place?

20. Shop, dine and relax at National Harbor

Capital Wheel at National Harbor, Maryland, USA
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user MamaGeek used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Just outside of the city lies National Harbor, a Washington D.C. favorite for those looking to shop ‘til they drop, eat to their hearts’ content and enjoy a beachy atmosphere by the boardwalk and Ferris wheel. The city is also known for its incredible parties, including New Year’s Eve at the Gaylord National Convention Center, and the recently opened MGM Casino. Those looking to shop, dine and party in the District need to look no further than National Harbor.

National Harbor

Address: Fort Washington, MD 20745

Website: National Harbor

Visited this place?

21. Experience the Cherry Blossom Festival

Cherry Blossom Festival Washington DC
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Eric T Gunther used under CC BY-SA 3.0

In 1912, the mayor of Tokyo, Japan, gave Washington D.C. some of its most beloved treasures – cherry blossom trees. Every year, tourists from all over the world flock to see the gorgeous trees in bloom, at Washington D.C.’s Cherry Blossom Festival, taking place from late March to early April. The festival itself is a tribute to Japanese culture and the friendship between the two countries, and attendees can experience traditional Japanese music, dance and street food while appreciating the gorgeous pink petals on the trees.

Cherry Blossom Festival

Website: Cherry Blossom Festival

Tip from Trip101 local expert



While the Cherry Blossom Festival is truly an experience on its own, if you watch the National Park Service announcements, they can only do their best to predict when the peak blossom will be. Fortunately, this means that if you are in D.C. the week before or after the festival, you will still get to see a plethora of cherry trees in bloom. If you want to avoid the most crowded areas around the Tidal Basin, take a short walk or drive to Haines Point for a loop that passes hundreds of cherry trees in bloom!

Visited this place?

22. Explore the Smithsonian Museums

Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History (7508870948)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Alex Proimos used under CC BY 2.0

The Smithsonian Institution are the world’s largest network of museums, with 19 participating museums and nine research centers. From art to history to science, and more – visitors to Washington D.C. have no shortage of their pick of museums. While must-see museums include the Museum of Natural History, the Zoo, and the National Museum of American History, popular museums with D.C. locals include the recently renovated Renwick Gallery, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Gardens, and the newly opened National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Smithsonian Institution

Website: Smithsonian Institution

Tip from Trip101 local expert



You can never go wrong with a trip to the Smithsonian Museums. With so many of them situated around the National Mall, a great option for your group is to designate a meeting place and time before splitting up and exploring the museums that you are each most interested in! Remember to take photos so that everyone can share what they saw over dinner.

Visited this place?

23. Take a free tour of the White House

Front of The White House (7505676818)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Alex Proimos used under CC BY 2.0

Yes, the president’s home is open to tourists – but only for those who plan ahead. For a guided tour of the famous White House, travelers can go online to the White House’s website and reserve a spot – but plan early, because the nearest available date for the tours is six months in advance.

The White House

Address: 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20500, USA

Website: The White House

Visited this place?

24. Attend an embassy party

Source: Photo by Flickr user docmonstereyes used under CC BY 2.0

You could read about France on Wikipedia – or you could learn about it at a black-tie gala at the French Embassy, with unlimited French food and drinks. One of the most overlooked, yet incredible parts of being in the District is the proximity to hundreds of different cultures, all within blocks of each other on Embassy Row. Foreign embassies in Washington D.C. are always looking for ways to share their culture with the American people, and what better way than to invite them for a night of food and fun? Travelers interested in learning about other cultures without having to leave the United States should plan ahead and find out what embassies are having their events during your visit. Be sure to pick out a suit or dress ahead of time, as most of these events are formal, ticketed affairs.

Embassy Parties

Website: Embassy Parties

Visited this place?

25. Have dinner at Busboys and Poets

2020.04.07 DC People and Places, Washington, DC USA096 14208
Source: Photo by Flickr user Ted Eytan used under CC BY-SA 2.0

A Washington D.C. treasure, Busboys and Poets is a favorite for locals looking for a quick bite to eat, a place to plug in and do some work or enjoy an open mic night, with amateur and renowned poets alike. The city is a hub for creatives – anyone from writers, to painters to musicians, and they all come together at Busboys and Poets, giving the restaurant the unique and creative energy it thrives on.

Busboys and Poets

Address: 4 locations in Washington DC, please refer to website for more information.

Website: Busboys and Poets

Tip from Trip101 local expert



A restaurant where you are always guaranteed quality food in a relaxed atmosphere, Busboy and Poets is a great place where you are sure to find something for everyone in your group. Offering great brunch options till 3 pm every day, the Sweet Potato Hash is my go-to brunch option. For a delicious meal later in the day I recommend the Mediterranean Lamb Burger or any of their entrees. You'll be sure to find something for everyone with delicious vegetarian and vegan options as well. Their Vegan “Chorizo” Pasta and the Vegan Nachos some of my favorite meatless dishes that they have on offer.

Visited this place?

26. Walk along the Tidal Basin

IMG 2333 - Washington DC - Tidal Basin - Cherry Blossoms
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Andrew Bossi used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Though a bit of a walk from the White House or the Washington Monument, the Tidal Basin is worth the trek. Bordered by the West Potomac River, the Tidal Basin is one of the most picturesque areas for a stroll, in Washington D.C. The Tidal Basin is a reservoir that is the focal point for many of D.C.’s lesser-known, but equally as beautiful monuments, including the Jefferson Memorial, The FDR Memorial and the MLK Memorial. While the Tidal Basin is a beautiful spot year-round, the best time to go is in the spring, when the flowers on the cherry trees are in full bloom – during this time of the year, the Tidal Basin becomes the most romantic and picture-perfect spot in the entire city (and arguably the world). Don’t feel like walking? You can also boat along the tidal basin, too!

Tidal Basin

Address: Washington, DC, USA

Website: Tidal Basin Boating

Visited this place?

27. Catch a show at the 9:30 Club

9:30 Club
Source: Photo by Flickr user Matthew Straubmuller used under CC BY 2.0

There’s a saying in D.C. – the 9:30 club is where famous people perform before they become famous – and it’s true. Musical acts such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Cyndi Lauper, the Beastie Boys, Adele and more have performed at the venue, early on in their careers. Tickets to shows are generally inexpensive compared to other popular concert venues in the area, and the creative vibes, eclectic crowds and party atmosphere of the venue are a must, for music lovers visiting the city.

9:30 Club

Address: 815 V St NW, Washington, DC 20001, USA

Website: 9:30 Club

Tip from Trip101 local expert



This truly is the destination to see the big acts before they make it big! The 9:30 Club is my go-to concert venue for a personal and up-close concert experience. Personally, I enjoy watching the concert from the second level (where I feel just as close to the action) so that I am not packed in with everyone right in front of the stage. Finding parking can be pretty hard, so taking the Metro to U St. makes it a less than ten minutes walk to the venue, and then you don't have to worry about how many drinks you have during the concert.

Visited this place?

28. Get a drink at the POV Rooftop Bar

W Hotel entrance- Washington, D.C.
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user AgnosticPreachersKid used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Yes, the 17 USD cocktails are worth it. Washington D.C.’s favorite rooftop bar is located at the top of the W Hotel in downtown D.C. – and a spot near the edge of this trendy rooftop bar can guarantee you a perfect view of the monuments and access to one of the hottest summer venues in Washington. Ensure you are dressed to impress, as D.C. dress codes are in full force. By day, the rooftop bar is the perfect place to have a casual brunch overlooking the city, but by night, it transforms into a hub of nightlife and cocktail culture.

POV Rooftop

Address: 515 15th St NW, Washington, DC 20004, USA

Website: POV Rooftop

Visited this place?

29. See a show at the Kennedy Center

2009 05 17 - 6179 - Washington DC - Kennedy Center
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Andrew Bossi used under CC BY-SA 2.0

The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is D.C.’s version of Broadway. From ballet to operas to plays to comedy shows, anything and everything culture related in Washington D.C. takes place at the Kennedy Center. Looking to make a date night out of your trip to D.C.? Start off with a dinner in Georgetown and head over to the Kennedy Center to experience one of the city’s most beloved spectacles.

Kennedy Center

Address: 2700 F St NW, Washington, DC 20566, USA

Website: Kennedy Center

Tip from Trip101 local expert



Shows at the Kennedy Center can be a hot commodity, especially when they are well-known names. Be sure to get your tickets online at least a week before the show (the farther out the better) as there is no guarantee that you can get multiple seats next to each other from the box office on the night of the show. Make sure to dress appropriately for going out to see a show, and if you are getting dinner beforehand, make sure to get a reservation at the restaurant so that you don't have to wait and cut it close for the start of the show.

Visited this place?

30. Start a self-guided walking tour of Embassy Row at Scott Circle

Westin Embassy Row
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user AgnosticPreachersKid used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Washington D.C. truly is a place to embrace diversity. It is one of the most linguistically diverse cities in the world, with over 168 languages spoken in the city alone – this comes to no surprise as Washington is the home of Embassy Row, a cultural powerhouse in the city, where ambassadors and foreign diplomats come together to enhance foreign relations for their home country. Embassy Row is located in a section of northwest Washington D.C., near DuPont Circle, an easily accessible area, decorated with the culture of its inhabitants.

Here is where one can go to see statues of famous international figures, houses adorned with flags or doors decorated as they are found around the word. The best part of Embassy Row is its walkability. For those looking to take a trip around the world while only walking a few blocks, start at Scott Circle, the beginning of this powerful and prestigious area.

Embassy Row

Address: Washington, DC 20008, USA

Website: Embassy Row

Visited this place?

31. Watch history unfold at the Newseum

Newseum, Washington, D.C. (2013) - 03
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Another Believer used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The Newseum is one of Washington D.C.’s most dynamic museums, guiding visitors in an interactive experience, through time. The Newseum traces the evolution of print and electronic communication, around the world, from its pre-technological origins to the era of social media and the future of media. The modern, seven-level museum boasts 250,000 square feet (23,226 square meters) and features 15 theaters and 15 galleries.

The museum also displays more than 80 international newspapers in their original languages and hosts the largest display of sections of the Berlin Wall, outside of Germany, as well as an original antenna from the roof of the World Trade Center, pre-9/11. Here, visitors can learn about the origins and evolution of news, as well as the importance the United States puts on freedom of the press.


Address: 555 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001, USA

Website: Newseum

Visited this place?

32. Have a picnic at the National Mall

<div class="fn">
Aerial view of the National Mall, Washington, D.C.</div>
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Carol M. Highsmith used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

Each year, the National Mall attracts millions of visitors who come together to commemorate presidents, honor veterans, participate in protests and enjoy the beauty of Washington D.C. The National Mall is undoubtedly one of the most iconic parks in Washington D.C. – as well as one of the best places to go to experience the city in action while relaxing. Grab a blanket, a bite to eat and bask in the Washington sun as you get a feel of what Washington D.C. is really about.

National Mall

Address: Washington, DC 20565, USA

Website: National Mall Map

Visited this place?

33. Become a spy at the International Spy Museum (from USD 26.0)

At the International Spy Museum in Washington DC, you will embark on an interactive experience. You will be assigned a secret identity and work your way through the museum’s many exhibits while you develop your skills as a spy. While you move through the museum and across its multiple floors, you will also explore the variety of exhibits that showcase a multitude of artifacts and devices that spymasters have used throughout history. Make sure to visit this exciting spy museum during your time in DC!

Visited this place?

International Spy Museum Admission

Duration: 2 hours

216 reviews

Wander through Washington DC

With its importance as the historical and political powerhouse of America, Washington DC is a must-see city. Its endless museums, great nightlife, and global feel give every visitor something unique to do. Whether it’s attending an embassy party, visiting the Smithsonian, or catching a show at the 9:30 Club, the top things to do in Washington, DC, will help you have an eventful trip.

Visited this place?

Frequently asked questions about the best things to do in Washington, DC

1. What are some fun and free things to do in Washington DC?

Don’t break the bank when exploring DC and try out these fun activities: i) explore the lily and lotus ponds at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, ii) try out the exclusive FBI Experience, iii) explore the thrills at DC’s Chinatown, and iv) drive along Rock Creek Parkway.

2. What are some must-visit places in Washington DC at night?

Make your evenings in DC extra interesting by: i) bar hopping on U-Street, ii) seeing a show at the Kennedy Center, iii) exploring the excitement at National Harbor, and iv) visiting World War II Memorial that features a beautifully lit fountain at night.

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


Get Trip101 in your inbox

Unsubscribe in one click. See our Privacy Policy for more information on how we use your data

A story teller, jet setter, and self-proclaimed media maven -- Hannah is always planning her next adventure, as well as her next professional endeavor. Her affinity for wandering the world and...Read more

 Want to contribute as a Local Expert?
Explore Washington
Looking for accommodation?
Good things are meant to be shared!
Back to top
Visited any of these places? Click this button to activate our "Add a Tip" feature to share your experience.