Ultimate Guide to the 8 Best Things to Do in Washington DC

Enhance your vacation experience in The Evergreen State by meticulously planning your itinerary. To facilitate this process, we’ve provided detailed information and recommendations on the best things to do in Washington DC.

Best Things to Do in Washington DC 

Best things to do in Washington DC

U.S. Capitol, Lincoln Memorial, Rock Creek Park – Washington D.C. is rich with tourist attractions. The capital is the best things to do in Washington DC for those who appreciate cultural and historical sites, boasting numerous museums and monuments distinguished by their iconic architectural styles.

What to Do in Washington DC

There are countless activities to enjoy in Washington, D.C. Below are some recommendations for the best things to do in Washington DC.

1. Marvel at the Majestic Heart of Democracy in the U.S. Capitol

Washington DC attraction

This building, which dates back to 1800, is approximately 10 minutes from downtown Washington or about a 40-minute drive from IAD airport. This tourist attraction showcases architectural buildings and statues of historical figures from the American government, offering visitors a glimpse into history.

Location: Washington, DC 20004, United States
Operating hours: 8.30 AM – 4.30 PM (Monday-Saturday)
Tickets: free


2. The Smithsonian Museum – Best Things to Do in Washington DC

kid-friendly things to do in Washington DC

Visiting the Smithsonian Museum is one of the kid-friendly things to do in Washington DC. There are several Smithsonian Museums you and your family can explore, including:

  • Smithsonian National Museum of American History 

This museum is located at 1300 Constitution Ave. NW, this museum showcases exhibitions of objects pertaining to American history. Visitors can admire statues of influential figures, replicas of vintage vehicles, and more.

  • Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum 

Situated at 600 Independence Ave. SW, this museum features exhibitions of aircraft, space jets, and other artifacts related to aviation and space exploration.

  • Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Found at 10th St. & Constitution Ave. NW, this museum offers displays of ancient objects and replicas of various animal fossils, providing insights into the natural world.

Operating hours: 10 AM – 5.30 PM daily
Tickets: free

3. Stand in Awe at the Iconic Symbol of Freedom at the Washington Monument

Washington Monument

The iconic monument is just 6 minutes from downtown Washington and 30 minutes from IAD Airport. 

This monument, dedicated as a memorial to George Washington, offers the opportunity to ascend to the top for panoramic views of the city. The optimal time to visit is during dusk or nightfall for the most breathtaking vistas.

Location: 2 15th St NW, Washington, DC 20024, United States
Operating hours: 9 AM – 5 PM daily (inside tour), 24 hours daily (outside)
Tickets: free, USD 1 for online cancellation

4. Discover Freedom’s Legacy at the Iconic Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln Memorial

To reach this location, you only need to drive about 14 minutes from downtown. At this monument, a symbol of freedom and unity in American society, you’ll encounter a statue of President Lincoln, widely regarded as one of America’s greatest presidents, along with The Reflecting Pool.

Location: 2 Lincoln Memorial Cir NW, Washington, DC 20002, United States
Operating hours: 24 hours daily
Tickets: free

5. Indulge in the Timeless Allure of Power and History at the White House

White House tour

If you desire a complimentary tour of the White House, some advanced planning is necessary. Specifically, you must reach out to your country’s embassy to arrange it. Typically, the White House tour lasts for three hours.

During your visit, you will have the opportunity to witness the iconic historic structure. Additionally, as you traverse the corridors, you will encounter numerous photographs showcasing past American presidents. Moreover, the attentive staff will guide you through notable rooms such as the East, Green, Blue, and Red Room, where the president and first lady host various events, meetings, and celebrations.

Location: 1450 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, D.C., 20004 United States
Operating hours: 7.30 AM – 4 PM daily
Tickets: free


6. Witness the Honorable Guard Change at Arlington National Cemetery

 unique things to do in Washington DC.

Visiting Arlington National Cemetery is one of the unique things to do in Washington DC. It is only about 13 minutes away from downtown. 

Visitors can witness the honorable guards taking turns on duty, as there is no entrance fee for this site.

This national cemetery serves as the final resting place for over 300,000 soldiers who lost their lives during American conflicts. Additionally, it is the burial site of several influential figures, including President John F. Kennedy and William Howard Taft.

Location: Arlington, VA, United States
Operating hours: daily from 8 AM – 5 PM
Tickets: free


7. Immerse Yourself in the Serene Beauty of the Tidal Basin

Tidal Basin

The Tidal Basin is approximately a 15-minute drive from downtown Washington and a 34-minute drive from IAD airport. This inlet, nestled near the Potomac River, offers picturesque views of the reservoir and cherry blossom trees that bloom in spring.

Additionally, this attraction boasts monuments and memorials dedicated to important figures in American history, such as Martin Luther King Jr., Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Thomas Jefferson.

Location: West Potomac Park, Washington, D.C., United States
Operating hours: 24 hours daily
Tickets: free

8. Escape Into the Natural Haven of Rock Creek Park

free things to do in Washington DC

Exploring the nature of Rock Creek is one of the recommended free things to do in Washington DC. This oasis in the heart of the city is approximately a 37-minute drive from Dulles Airport or about 15 minutes from downtown. 

There is no entrance fee to access this serene and verdant park area. Additionally, a variety of activities such as cycling, hiking, golfing, horseback riding, jogging, and tennis are available for visitors to enjoy during daylight hours.

Location: Washington, D.C., United States
Operating hours: daylight hours (nighttime closure due to deer management)
Tickets: free

Traveling Tips

Best things to do in Washington DC

Ensure your holiday in Washington DC is enjoyable by paying attention to several important factors:

  1. Select the optimal time to visit. For ideal sightseeing weather, aim for spring (March to May) or fall (September to November).
  2. Equip yourself with comfortable walking shoes, as exploring the city entails a considerable amount of walking.
  3. Save money on your Washington trip by booking hotel accommodations, restaurant reservations, and attraction tickets online.

So, among the many best things to do in Washington DC mentioned above, what do you want to add to your itinerary list? Visit Airpaz for the best flight and hotel deals for your trip!


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