There is no shortage of places to visit in Washington, DC As a gathering place of people from all over the country and around the world, the nation’s capital truly has something for everyone. From museums and memorials to galleries and greenspace, you’re unlikely to run out of things to see in Washington, DC These are the top 7 places you should plan to visit while you’re in town.
7 Top Places to Visit in Washington, DC
The Lincoln Memorial
The Tidal Basin
Washington National Cathedral
National Gallery of Art
U.S. National Arboretum
Smithsonian’s National Zoo
U.S. Capitol Building
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Often photographed and one of the city’s top attractions, the Lincoln Memorial truly encapsulates the best of what Washington, DC has to offer. Its majestic design is awe-inspiring to behold, and reading the words of Abraham Lincoln etched all around the memorial only enhances this meaningful experience. For newbies to the city, history buffs, or architectural fans, the Lincoln Memorial is a must-see.
The Lincoln Memorial is open 24 hours a day, every day of the year. As it is a National Park Service site, you will find it staffed with helpful Rangers who can fill you in on its history and answer any questions you might have.
To get a great sense for the city and where its landmarks stand in relation to each other, take a stroll around the Tidal Basin. Often photographed and much admired by Washington, DC visitors, this beautiful vantage offers excellent views of three memorials: those to Thomas Jefferson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Tidal Basin is always free and open to the public. You can choose to take a paddle boat tour of the waterway for a fee, March 15 through October 9. If you can visit during cherry blossom season, be prepared for even more memorable views.
A stunning example of the architecture you’ll find in Washington, DC, the National Cathedral is open to the public with a paid admission ticket, with special tours available. Take note of the breathtaking stained glass windows that line the building’s interior, and ask your guide for more information about the impressive restoration of the West Transept and South Turret after the 2011 earthquake.
One of the top places to visit in Washington, DC, the National Gallery of Art is a wonderful place to spend a rainy day. Filled with exhibits by world-renowned artists, this gem is always free of charge and a great way to introduce children to fine art.
Located just outside the city, the National Arboretum is home to 446 acres of natural beauty. Established in 1927 by an act of Congress, this site includes the famed National Capital Columns and bonsai collection. Great for a photo op, picnic lunch, or lengthy stroll (the roads within the Arboretum span 9.5 miles), this is a can’t-miss thing to see in Washington, DC.
Rediscover your inner child at the National Zoo, where you’ll find everything from cheetahs to Andean bears to the ever-popular giant pandas. Admission is always free, and the zoo is open 364 days a year, making it an easy activity to fit in on your trip to Washington, DC.
For those who love history and government, the U.S. Capitol building has it all. See where famous minds have labored over the United States’ most famous (and infamous) legislation, and tour the crypt (designed by architect Charles Bulfinch and home to 40 Doric columns and a replica of the Magna Carta), rotunda, and the National Sanctuary Hall. To see the legislative chambers themselves, you would need a separate pass. While all tours are free of charge, advance registration is suggested.
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