Top 10 Things To Do Indoors When It Rains In Washington, D.C. - Updated 2024

things to do indoors in dc
Swadeep Singh
Swadeep Singh 
| 5 min read

It is the capital of a country that boasts the largest economy, the world has unofficially approved this nation as the global superpower. This is The United States, and that city is Washington DC, also known as DC. Washington is deemed as the city of art and culture due to the number of museums and memorials built here, but the metropolitan area also comprises several outdoor recreation areas, for instance, the Meridian Hill Park, Rock Creek Park, and Kingman Island. But there is also one spectacular thing noted for this city, which is its rainy days per year. It receives showers for as few as eight days a month annually, and if you happen to travel DC during the precipitations, you wouldn’t enjoy the outdoors as much as you could when it’s sunny. Thus, we are here to present you with a list of things to do indoors when it rains in Washington DC.

1. Shop and dine at Union Station

Union Station Main Hall
Source: Photo by Flickr user Mr.TinMD used under CC BY-ND 2.0

Union Station DC is doubtlessly the most live spot in this city, it’s a major train station and in addition to that, it’s a shopping mall. There are three floors constructed exclusively for shopping and dining, coupled with the regular platform areas. The station structure is over a century old, which is splendidly restored in its actual beaux-arts and classical-style architecture to this day. Thus, even when you’re not concerned about its mall, you should still visit the Union Station just to admire its timeless beauty.

Shop and dine at Union Station

Address: 50 Massachusetts Ave. NE Washington, DC 20002

Website: Union Station

Opening hours: 5am - 2am

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2. Visit the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (from USD 104.94)

things to do indoors in dc | visit the smithsonian national museum of natural history

Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History is the most visited museum of this country, also the fourth most-visited museum of the world. This place has justifications for being so alluring, as they exhibit the real 45 carats Hope Diamond that is linked with the mysterious fate of its owners, real mummies, dinosaur skeletons, fossil labs, replicas of a 45-ton (90000 lbs) whale, elephants and so on. Along with that, Smithsonian has a collection of 126 million specimens of interesting items. You wouldn’t be able to explore this massive museum without an expert’s help, hence you should book this tour.

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National Museum of Natural History Guided Tour

Duration: 2.5 hour

22 reviews

3. Catch an Imax movie at the Smithsonian - Lockheed Martin IMAX Theater

Do you know that watching a regular movie is different than watching an IMAX movie? Allow me to explain the dissimilarity here. The regular movies are shot on either 35mm or 70mm films, but the IMAX ones are shot on a larger format, thus an IMAX screening could measure up to 6 stories tall if needed. For our normal movies shot on IMAX, we can expect the sharp 4k laser projection, both in 2D and 3D. Book a ticket if you haven’t experienced IMAX until now, you will certainly feel the difference. Plus watching a movie is the best pastime when it rains.

Smithsonian - Lockheed Martin IMAX Theater

Address: 600 Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20597, USA

Website: Smithsonian - Lockheed Martin IMAX Theater

Opening hours: 10am - 7:30pm

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4. Hang out at the Kramerbooks & Afterwords Café

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Elvert Barnes used under CC BY 2.0

The Kramerbooks & Afterwords Café has not just a bakery but a whole restaurant attached to it. If you happen to be a passionate reader who loves spending much of his leisure reading books while sipping coffee, why not do both the things at one place. Another positive thing about this café is its timings. It opens very early in the morning and closes a few hours after midnight.

Kramerbooks & Afterwords Café

Address: 1517 Connecticut Ave NW Washington, DC 20036

Website: Kramerbooks & Afterwords Café

Opening hours: Sun - Thu: 7:30am - 1am; Fri - Sat: 7:30am - 3:59am

Price: 11-30 USD

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Washington Tour Guide

Annie Leguennec

Annie Leguennec

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'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's founding Fathers. My tours are conducted in English, French and Italian.

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!!

Tours by Stephanie

5. Enjoy bowling and bocce ball at Pinstripes

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

Fresh Air dining is our favorite season! . . . #pinstripesoverlandpark #bowling #bocce #bistro #pinstripes #patio...

Posted by Pinstripes on Friday, October 8, 2021

It’s raining, you’re bored, and that is why you are thinking about Pinstripes, right? Usually, people would come here for a round of bowling and bocce, and order food in the meantime. It has an Italian-American restaurant where you can get the authentic wood-fired pizzas, craft beers, but the distinctive feature that makes Pinstripes so lively is its indoor play area.

Enjoy bowling and bocce ball at Pinstripes

Address: 1064 Wisconsin Ave NW Washington, DC 20007

Website: Pinstripes

Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 11am - 11pm; Fri: 11am - 1am; Sat: 10am - 1am; Sun: 10am - 10pm

Price: 11-30 USD

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6. Explore the United States Botanic Garden

2017 United States Botanic Garden
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Farragutful used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Visiting a botanic garden doesn’t sound exciting, but this experience is going to be wonderful. The U.S Botanic Garden has over 7000 plant species, including rare genus from the different parts of the world. Agreed, it’s not a fun place, but it’s an excellent place to get educated and educate your young ones about the importance and irreplaceable value of plants. It’s all about teaching them about the conservation and sustainability of ecology. Admission is free here.

United States Botanic Garden

Address: 100 Maryland Ave SW Washington, DC 20001

Website: United States Botanic Garden

Opening hours: 10am - 5pm

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7. Read a book in the Library of Congress (from USD 39.0)

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

If you like reading and you’re also in this city, can there be anything more remarkable than visiting the Library of Congress? Collectively, with over 38 million books, multi-million manuscripts, maps, and historical photographs duly arranged in shelves, it’s the largest library of the United States and ranks second in the world. Similar to many other federal libraries, your admission will be free, you will just have to acquire a reader identification card if you’d like to read a book here, which is also free. Get it all done and dive into the ocean of books.

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Washington DC: Capitol Building and Capitol Hill Walk

Duration: 3.5 hour

240 reviews

8. Pay a visit to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (from USD 43.0)

Exterior of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Source: Photo by Flickr user Phil Kalina used under CC BY 2.0

The fresh generation knows too little about the World Wars, specifically the genocide and the Holocaust. Their knowledge towards this depressing subject is limited with just cinemas like Schindler’s List or with the wrongfully illustrated campaigns inside their modern console games. Now it’s our humble request that when you’re in Washington, please visit the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and pay a tribute to the victims of the world’s most horrendous crime. If you have kids take them too, make them aware of the horrors of the war and educate this generation what hate can do to this beautiful world.

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Washington D.C. Twilight Evening Bus Tour

Duration: Wheelchair accessible

195 reviews

9. Tour the Washington National Cathedral (from USD 12.0)

Washington National Cathedral
Source: Photo by Flickr user Tom Thai used under CC BY 2.0

It’s the sixth-most visited cathedral of the world, plus it’s the cathedral where presidential prayers have held, and the fine artistic grace with its interior and exterior makes it’s no less than a wonder. The Washington National Cathedral has 14th-century gothic architecture overall, and not just the Christians but people of different faiths come here too just to admire this holy place. The church site features a rock of our moon on its stained window and it is honored by the name ‘The Space Window’, the tomb of former US President Woodrow Wilson and more highlights.

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Washington National Cathedral Admission Ticket

Duration: 1 to 3 hours

10. Channel your inner James Bond at the International Spy Museum (from USD 26.0)

International Spy Museum
Source: Photo by Flickr user NCinDC used under CC BY-ND 2.0

It’s the largest spy museum in the world, and unlike the phony and unreal gizmos that we see in the James Bond movies, this gallery has those real espionage artifacts that were used in the past. Over 200 spy gadgets and technology are arrayed on the display here. Along with that, visitors can access some interactive areas. They can learn how spying worked in the old days and also receive detailed information about some international historical spies if they’re curious. And by the way, there is one special interactive James Bond exhibit too.

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International Spy Museum Admission

Duration: 2 hours

216 reviews

But what if the rain stops in the midst?

Don’t worry, we have presented you with only the treasured and possibly the signature attractions of this city in this article. Your trip to Washington wouldn’t be complete if you skip visiting these iconic places, especially the museum and the memorials. Thus, in our opinion, even if it’s not raining or snowing outside, one must put these things on priority when traveling to Washington.

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Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
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Also known as Bobby, Swadeep Singh is a businessman since 2013 but he has forever nurtured a passion for writing. Traveling never makes him exhausted, which is why he's never known turn down any...Read more

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