Washington, DC
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Top attractions in Washington, DC

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Top 10 attractions to see in Washington DC

When describing the US capital, suffice it to say that big things come in small packages. Within the 61-square-mile district, you can brush up on your American history, then walk among the locals and discover the spirit of the city's oldest neighborhoods.

The US Capitol

Each state donated two statues to fill the Capitol's National Statuary Hall. At 19 feet 10 inches tall, Hawaii's King Kamehameha I is the largest and weighs a hefty 15,000 pounds.

Capitol Hill

Not only is it where US government business unfolds, but Capitol Hill is also one of the city's oldest neighborhoods. Shops and restaurants abound on Barracks Row along 8th Street SE.

The White House

It's the famous mansion with an equally famous address. The White House is also one of America's most haunted houses, where Lincoln and others have made their ghostly presence known.

Washington Monument

The Washington Monument first opened to the public in 1888 and has remained the world's tallest stone object and obelisk, soaring 555 feet over the National Mall. The view from the top is breathtaking.

Lincoln Memorial

The most visited site in DC and houses the 19-foot high statue of the "Great Emancipator." The Lincoln memorial was also the backdrop for MLK Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" speech in 1963.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Known as "the Wall," it commemorates the 2.7 million men and women who served during the conflict and bears the 58,286 names of those who died or are considered missing in action.

Korean War Veterans Memorial

The 19 statues of the Korean War Veterans Memorial represent the four branches of military on a patrol day in Korea, and their faces reflect the ethic backgrounds of Americans who served in the 38-month long war.

Arlington National Cemetery

John F. Kennedy and William H. Taft are the only two presidents who rest in peace in the Arlington National cemetery. Memorials also honor those who died on the Space Shuttle Challenger and Columbia.

Smithsonian Institution Building

Coined "the Castle" for its Romanesque and Gothic design, the building is the Smithsonian Institution's headquarters and offers four exhibits to visit, plus two stunning gardens to admire.

The US National Archives

The US National Archives is the place to see history in print. The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Emancipation Proclamation among others are on display.

Planning Your Washington, DC Visit

White House Tickets

Make a reservation through your congressional office up to six months in advance and no less than 21 days. The self-guided tour takes place Tuesdays - Thursdays from 7:30AM to 11:00AM; Fridays from 7:30AM to 12:00PM; Saturdays from 7:30AM to 1:00PM. You must bring your government-issued identification on the day of the tour. Non-US citizens must contact their embassy in Washington DC for assistance. Admission is free.

US Capitol Tickets

It's recommended to book the free, 90-minute tour well in advance either through your senator's or representative's office. You can also make a reservation online yourself. The Visitors' Center is open Monday through Saturday from 8:30AM to 4:30PM. Admission is free.

Washington Monument Tickets

Due to the limited number of visitors allowed each day, tickets are issued on a first-come, first-served basis. You can either pick up your tickets at the Washington Monument Lodge on 15th Street or reserve your ticket in advance online for a fee of $1.50 per ticket. Every ticket indicates a specific entry time. Opening hours are daily from 9:00AM to 10:00PM (Memorial Day through Labor Day), otherwise from 9:00AM to 5:00PM. Admission is free.

What else is for free?

It's free to visit the memorials, the Smithsonian Museums, and the National Zoo. Admission is also free to enter the US National Archives, but it's advised that you make a reservation in advance at a fee of $1.50 per ticket.

Good to know

  • Language
    English
  • Currency
    USD ($)
  • Time Zone
    UTC (-05:00)
  • Country Code
    +1
  • Best time to visit
    Spring - it's just getting warmer and it may not be as crowded as the summer!

Things to Do in Washington, DC

Top Attractions in Washington, DC

Cities in United States

Other Sightseeing Options in Washington, DC

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What people are saying about Washington, DC

Guide was knowledgable and engaging and we enjoyed the tour.

Well paced engaging tour with knowledgeable tourguide. Small group ensured ease if getting sround. Tasted a good variety of foods. Could have traded a historical building or two for another food sample.

A fast and nice way to get a good overview of DC

It was nearly 35 C in DC. Luckely the tour provided us with enough cold water for free! And kept us in the shade as much as possible. There ar enough stops. In total we biked 10km (6 miles). First to the White House. Then Trump Hotel, FBI and J. Edgar Hoover Building, US Navy Memorial and National Archives Building, Newseum to the Capitol Hill. Then along al the Smotisonians and Memorials along the National Mall. It was a nice group and 3 hours pass very quick although with this heat it was enough for the day!

Washington, DC 3-Hour Bike Tour Reviewed by Hans, 08/16/2018

The day made me feel proud to be an American.

The trip was very organized and everyone was kind and helpful. We have many freedoms in this country and thanks to George Washington, one of our founding Fathers, we were able to travel to Mt Vernon and walk where he may have walked. It was amazing!

The trip was a pleasure and the customer service was excellent.

I missed the trip because of unforeseen, I called the office and rescheduled me for the next day without any problem. Cam drove us around safely and Brian made the tour very pleasant, they are all great people!

Washington DC: Full-Day Tour and Boat Cruise Reviewed by Alejandro, 07/31/2018

Lydia was an outstanding docent and very knowledgable.

Although we were in the middle of a tremendous downpour we made the best of the walking tour. Lydia was a real trooper always displaying the positive side of the rainy weather. The historical aspect of the tour was great. The food would have been better enjoyed if we could have had small portions and more than 4 tastings. Overall I enjoyed myself and now have a expansive view of Georgetown.

Washington D.C.: 3.5-Hour Georgetown Food Tour Reviewed by Claudinette, 07/26/2018