Washington, DC, is one of my favorite cities. I love the vibe and the feel of the city. I try to visit the area every couple of years. In this article, I’ll review 14 things to do in Washington, DC.
Things to Do in Washington DC
You can’t go to Washington, DC, without seeing the numerous monuments there. Some of the monuments I saw were the Washington Monument, The Lincoln Memorial, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. The atmosphere near the memorial was very calm and peaceful. Everyone should check out the Dr. King Memorial if they get a chance. He did so much for many people and gave the ultimate sacrifice so that citizens could have equality.
2. The White House
You can’t go to Washington, DC, and not see the White House. The White House is the residence and workplace of the President of the USA. It is located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. I’ve had the opportunity to see the White House from a distance a couple of times. I have yet to be able to take a tour. It takes months for your tour request to be approved or denied.
3. Washington Nationals Game
If you’re an MLB fan, you must check out a Washington Nationals game. Nationals Park is a beautiful stadium. They are a team that plays in the National League East. There are a lot of good seats in Nationals Park that provide excellent views. Every ballpark isn’t like that. They also have an area outside the stadium called Fairgrounds, with a bar and food vendors. It’s a must-see if you like baseball.
4. U Street
This one is one of my favorite things to do in Washington, DC. U Street is one of the best places to go in the city for nightlife. There are several bars and restaurants to go to. Ben’s Chili Bowl is a must-visit if you’re ever in DC. They have great chili dogs and half-smokes. I try to go there every time I’m in DC. You may even see the owner, Virginia Ali, still doing some work.
5. Howard University
Howard University is one of the best HBCUs out there. The school was established in 1867. It is commonly referred to as the “Mecca” because of its success and diverse group of students. Also, five of the “Divine Nine” fraternities and sororities were founded there. If you are a fan of HBCUs, this should be on your list of things to do in Washington, DC.
6. Vietnam Veterans and Korean War Veterans Memorials
One of the most moving war memorials is the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, or “The Wall.” It is one of the sites where it is hard not to feel emotional while reading the names on the wall of more than 58,000 soldiers who laid their lives in our nation’s service during the Vietnam War. It is recommended to visit the site during the day with ample sunlight.
The Korean War Veterans Memorial is located in Washington, DC.’s West Potomac Park, southeast of the Lincoln Memorial and just south of the Reflecting Pool on the National Mall. It pays tribute to 1.5 million who served in the Korean War. It is a privately funded site displaying 19 stainless steel statues of soldiers in combat.
You can explore both memorials 24 hours a day; however, the site is only staffed by National Park Service rangers from 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
7. The Tidal Basin
This is another one of my favorite Washington DC sights. If you visit Washington, DC, spend some time along the Tidal Basin. It is a 2-mile-long pond once attached to the Potomac River and regarded as the backdrop to some of DC’s best-loved sites. Every spring, the Tidal Basin bursts with color as cherry blossom trees (gifted to DC from Tokyo) bloom into cotton candy-colored tufts and attract visitors. You can follow the path around the basin, but many recent visitors recommended testing the waters in a paddleboat.
8. Washington National Cathedral
The Washington National Cathedral is designed in a Gothic style; it is the 6th largest in the world. The construction of this massive structure started in 1907 and was completed in 1990. It is surrounded by gardens, creating a lovely atmosphere for visitors. Stroll around the cathedral, peer at its high vaults and flying buttresses, or admire its intricate glass-stained windows.
The cathedral’s grand architecture and colorful stained-glass windows will leave you in awe. If you’re religious, consider attending one of the free worship services offered every Sunday at 8, 9, and 11:15 a.m. Evening prayers led by the choir are available on Sundays at 4 p.m.
9. Library of Congress
The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world, with millions of books, recordings, photographs, newspapers, maps, and manuscripts in its collections. The Library is the main research arm of the US Congress and the home of the US Copyright Office.
The Library preserves and provides access to a rich, diverse, and enduring source of knowledge to inform, inspire, and engage you in your intellectual and creative endeavors. Whether you are new to the Library of Congress or an experienced researcher, we have a world-class staff ready to assist you online and in person. The Library of Congress comprises of three buildings and is open to the public Monday through Saturday, though each building maintains different visiting hours. There are no entrance fees for this attraction.
10. Arlington National Cemetery
The Arlington National Cemetery is the country’s largest military cemetery. It serves as the final resting place for more than 400,000 military veterans and their immediate families from the fronts of Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as World Wars I and II, the Korean conflict, Vietnam, the Cold War, and America’s Civil War.
The grounds honor those who have served our nation and provide our guests with a sense of beauty and peace. Rolling green hills are dotted with trees that are hundreds of years in age, complementing the gardens found throughout the cemetery’s 639 acres. This impressive landscape is a tribute to the service and sacrifice of every individual laid to rest within these hallowed grounds. The cemetery conducts between 27 and 30 funerals every weekday. The site is open to the public 365 days a year, with free admission for those who wish to tour the site and pay their respects.
11. Visit the Smithsonian Museum Air & Space Museum
If you love arts, culture, science, and some of the greatest inventions of the human race, visiting the Smithsonian Museum is one thing you’d want to do while in Washington. The museum contains national treasures and is visited by millions of people annually. The Smithsonian is a national air and space museum containing some of the oldest aircraft ever made. It has a vast catalog,, which includes the Wright flyer made in 1903. If you want to go there with your kids, there is also a gift shop with huge antiques you can get for them while visiting.
It’s always best to visit the museum in the morning when it’s less crowded, as it can get a little busy in the evenings, especially in the summer. The museum is free to visit, but you might have to pay for services like the IMAX theater and the planetarium, which cost $9 for adults and $7 for kids.
12. Cherry Blossom Festival
Next on the list of things to do in Washington, DC, is to participate in the Cherry Blossom Festival. Trust me, this is something you’ll want to experience, and it takes place in spring, around March. The four-week-long festival typically starts on the 20th of March and ends on the 28th of April. It is held to commemorate the gifting of the Japanese Cherry tree to the city of Washington DC by the mayor of Tokyo in 1912, Mayor Ozaki.
The festival features a huge display of colorful balloons, music, marching bands, shows, parades, and Japanese arts and culture. The cherry tree also blooms this season, covering parts of the city with its precious pink flowers. If you visit Washington, DC, in March, you will have a great time at the Cherry Blossom Festival.
13. Visit Adams Morgan
Adams Morgan is a neighborhood in Washington, DC, well known for its multiculturalism and vibrant nightlife. If you want to find Adams Morgan, take a walk by 18th Street at night, and you’ll find this neighborhood of nightly wonders. It’s hard to miss. Its colorful houses lined up on its streets alongside cafes, lounges, clubs, and even shops open all night for entertainment. You can do so much at Adams Morgan if you’re a night owl. It would be a shame not to visit it.
14. See the United States Capitol
Visiting the US Capitol should also be on your list while you are in Washington. It is not just a place where laws are made but is also an incredible display of architectural genius. It was built in the 1800s and houses the House of Representatives and Senate. The building also holds a part of history as it was destroyed by the British and rebuilt later.
The U.S. Capital allows visitors to visit its several exhibits and gift shops. You could also get a tour of the building every day of the week except Sundays. You can book a visit online ora tour on the premises.
Jason Butler is the owner of My Money Chronicles, a website where he discusses personal finance, side hustles, travel, and more. Jason is from Atlanta, Georgia. He graduated from Savannah State University with his BA in Marketing. Jason has been featured in Forbes, Discover, and Investopedia.