How to See Washington DC in 2 Days

Link to slide to bottom
  • DC Tidal Basin and Cherry Blossoms

    Planning a weekend in Washington DC? You’re in for a few days of fascinating history, inspiring landmarks, and great restaurants. But if you only have 2 days, you’ll need to plan ahead to make maximize your time. Read our itinerary that will help you see the best of Washington DC in 2 days.

    Day 1

    Start your first day off by hopping on the city’s most unique sightseeing tour, the DC Tour. This is a quick, 90-minute tour that starts on the streets of DC and continues into the Potomac River on an amphibious vehicle that goes from land to water without missing a beat. You’ll see many of the city’s most popular landmarks, including several of the monuments and museums, learn some history, and get to see great views from the water. It’s a fun way to get your vacation started.

    After your DC Tour, head to the National Mall to get a closer look at our nation’s most beloved monuments. Start at the Lincoln Memorial and plan on spending about 90 minutes seeing the World War II Memorial, the Vietnam Veteran’s Wall Memorial, the Korean War Memorial and the Washington Monument. They are all in close proximity to each other so you can take your time at each.

    Grab a delicious lunch at any of the restaurants close to the Washington Monument, there are several within less than a mile of where you’ll be. You’ll have your choice of anything from American favorites like Hard Rock Café and Five Guys to international delights in seafood, Indian, Greek, Mexican, Thai and more.

    Elephant at Smithsonian Museum of Natural History

    After lunch, get ready to immerse yourself in culture at the various Smithsonian Museums, all offer free admission and a wealth of education and enlightenment. Plan on spending the rest of the day exploring a few institutions. Start at the Museum of American History, located next to the Washington Monument. Then, take some time to tour through the Museum of Natural History. After, you can check out the National Gallery of Art and then, the Air and Space Museum.

    As the day winds down, it’s a great time to relax and reflect on all that you’ve seen on your first day in DC. For a delicious dinner, head to Georgetown, DC’s most historic neighborhood and the city’s top nightlife and dining destination. There’s a plethora of restaurants, from casual to fine dining and everything in between. Georgetown is the perfect way to end the day in the Capital City.

    Day 2

    The Tidal Basin is a good place to start your second day in DC. Depending on what time of year you’re visiting, you’ll be treated to great natural scenery; if it’s springtime, the world famous Cherry Blossoms will create a spectacular backdrop. You’ll also see the FDR Memorial, the Thomas Jefferson Memorial and the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. Give yourself about an hour here before heading to your next destination.

    For the next few hours, plan on spending your time exploring the US Capitol, the Library of Congress and the Supreme Court. If you’re there on a day when they offer tours of each of these buildings, take some time to see the inside and learn about their role in the US Government.

    Outside US Botanical Gardens

    Next, head to the US Botanical Garden, located at the foot of the US Capitol Building. Here you’ll enjoy the natural beauty of more than 4,000 plant and flower species. There are several exhibits within the conservatory that are not only filled with different plants, flowers, ferns, vines and more, but also showcase the importance of plant life to people. Give yourself an hour to enjoy this special place.

    By now you’re ready for lunch and you’ll have a choice of many restaurants to indulge your appetite. There are dozens of exceptional eateries very close to the US Botanical Garden offering a choice of American and international cuisine.

    After you’ve satisfied your hunger, it’s a great time to head over to some of the city’s most unique attractions. The International Spy Museum is a one-of-kind museum dedicated to the craft of spying. You’ll be immersed in the history of the industry, see hundreds of spy gadgets, tools and other items related to espionage and enjoy learning about real life spies throughout history into present day.

    One of the most chilling historic events was the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln and so, a visit to Washington DC is not complete without a stop to the site of that horrific event. Ford’s Theatre is still a working theater, presenting plays and performances by some of the top artists of our time. But it’s also home to the Lincoln Museum, where you can learn about the conspiracy to assassinate the President. Plan on spending about an hour here before heading next door to learn more about that fateful night.

    The Petersen House is where President Lincoln was brought after being shot at Ford’s Theatre and where he passed away just hours later. Today, you can tour the house that is a National Historic Site. On the tour, you’ll see furnishings, including a bed that is much like the one where the President died, period pieces and other items from that era. You’ll be able to take a self-guided tour and see first hand where the events of that solemn night took place.

    A visit to Washington DC must include a look at The White House. If you’ve never seen it in person, it is a sight to behold. Although you need to book a tour many months in advance, you can still view it from the outside, see the grounds and get a feel for the significance of this imposing building.

    Now that you’ve seen so much of the city, a great place to bring your visit to a close is Chinatown. Here, you can walk underneath the well known Friendship Arch, enjoy some authentic Chinese cuisine for dinner, browse through some of the shops and learn a little about this historic Washington DC neighborhood.