Discover our recommendations for the top 8 things to do in Washington, DC, plus some of the best tours to maximize your time in the nation’s capital.
Washington, DC – Capital of the United States of America, home to the U.S. government, and consequently filled with a fascinating history and world-renowned architecture.
The attractions in Washington, DC are extensive and wholly magnificent. DC is also a vibrant and lively city; for those seeking bountiful shopping, modern dining, and buzzing nightlife, there is plenty to do in Washington.
Historical and Political Attractions in Washington, DC
The White House
Probably the most famous residence in the world, the primary home and working space for the US president; a tour of the White House should be on your list. To visit the inside, you need to submit a tour request in advance.
The iconic and magnificent U.S. Capitol building is one of the must-see DC attractions. Here, the Congress and Senate debate policies and make laws. The public can tour inside, and passes can be obtained from your local Representative.
The Library of Congress is the world’s most extensive library and houses exhibitions and galleries displaying highly acclaimed collections. It is also free and open to the public; an excellent choice for one of your things to do in Washington, DC.
Afterward, enjoy a pleasant walk outside, across the National Mall. The impressive view of the green parks, dotted with grand architecture, stretches through the Lincoln Memorial.
Eleven of the nineteen Smithsonian museums and galleries are located along the National Mall. Of all the things to do in Washington, DC, the Smithsonian Museums offer world-class collections, which are so wide-ranging, that they cannot fail to have something to interest everyone. The National Air and Space Museum, the Museum of Natural History, the Museum of American History, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture are some of the most popular.
Jefferson Memorial and Lincoln Memorial
Two magnificent memorials honoring the 2nd and 16th Presidents of the United States, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln, respectively. For lovers of history and architecture, these attractions in Washington, DC are definitely worth the visit. Turn around and be mesmerized by the light that dances off the Reflecting Pool; a sight which becomes even more captivating when it is lit up after sunset.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial
Honor the life and legacy of civil-rights hero Martin Luther King, Jr. One the newest additions to the extensive list of DC memorials, the MLK Memorial is located at the Tidal Basin, next to the National Mall.
Go back in time and pay a visit to the house of the first US president, George Washington. This grand estate located just outside of Washington, DC at Mount Vernon, Virginia, offers extensive views across the landscape, which includes a working farm, blacksmith shop, kitchen garden, and whiskey distillery.
Foodie Things to Do in Washington, DC
With the eclectic range of food that can be found across Washington, DC, from Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian to Afro-Caribbean and, of course, traditional US fare, you will see why this city has a thriving food scene.
Union Terminal Market
Take a trip to the Union Terminal Market, named the epicenter of Washington’s culinary creativity, and explore over 40 local vendors within its gourmet food hall and cluster of restaurants. With a small movie theatre and ice cream factory, a visit here should be on your list of things to do in D.C.
Georgetown Food & History Tour
For an ideal combination of food and history, book on a Georgetown Food & History Tour in historic Georgetown. Your time will be spent working up an appetite, and discovering more about its origins, famous residents and culinary delights, and pausing to refuel at some of the best foodies stops in the area.
Tours and Experiences in Washington, DC
With so much to do in Washington, DC, maximize your stay by touring the city on a double-decker bus tour. Vamzio offers several hop-on-hop-off double-decker tours of the city, as well as a range of other exciting tours and experiences in Washington.
Hop-on hop-off bus tours
Both Vamzio’s 48 hour and 24-hour hop-on hop-off bus tours stop at 20 different fantastic D.C. attractions. The flexibility of the tours enables you to get off the bus as you please to explore these destinations, and then return on board when you’re ready to continue. And as you tour, the knowledgeable and experienced guides will offer narrated stories and anecdotes.
Washington D.C. Twilight Tour
For a different perspective on Washington, DC, see the city come alive at night on an enchanting Washington, DC Twilight Tour. The capital’s memorials and monuments deliver a breath-taking view as the sun sets behind them, whilst Downtown D.C. lights up, buzzing with the capital’s nightlife.