There is so much to see and do in Washington, D.C. As one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country, the nation’s capital is filled with a wide assortment of shopping, dining, entertainment and cultural attractions. While many people visit the city for its monuments and memorials, the District of Columbia is also home to diverse neighborhoods and public parks. Planning a trip to the District can be a daunting task, so consider this list of the top things to do in Washington, DC.
The Old Town Trolley Tour
Named “Washington’s Best Tour” by Washingtonian Magazine, Old Town Trolley provides the best live narrated tour in DC. View many of the most popular attractions, including the Lincoln Memorial as well as the National Cathedral, Embassy Row and other sites unique to Washington. Listen as your professional guide provides insight into the monuments as well as little known facts about the city. With 20 stops, you also have the chance to hop on and off for a closer look at many of the city’s top landmarks.
The National Mall
Anchored by the Capitol Building, the National Mall is lined with the museums of the Smithsonian Institution. It is also filled with many well-known monuments and memorials. Stroll along “America’s Front Lawn” and visit the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial and the Reflecting Pool as well as the Vietnam Veterans, Korean War and World War II Memorials.
Travel across the Potomac River to visit Mount Vernon, home of George Washington. Take a scenic cruise along the Potomac and see the city skyline from the water as you listen to an informative narration about the landmarks that line the river. Tour the beloved home of George and Martha Washington as well as many of the estate’s gardens and outbuildings.
The Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum
The most popular of the Smithsonian Museums, the National Air and Space Museum chronicles the history of American flight from the Wright Brothers to the moon landing and beyond. See the Flyer that made the historic first controlled, powered flight in Kitty Hawk, Charles Lindberg’s Spirit of St. Louis and touch a real moon rock. Trace the interconnected stories of the world’s most significant aviation accomplishments.
Smithsonian Museum of Natural History
The most visited museum of its kind in the world, the Museum of Natural History features a collection of exhibits and galleries that explore our natural surroundings. Learn about dinosaurs, discover the story of man, the importance of the world’s oceans and view the famous Hope Diamond through the museum’s interactive displays.
Washington, DC Food Tours
Food Tours will help you discover Washington’s eclectic mix of neighborhoods. Get off the beaten path and stroll through Dupont Circle, Georgetown and Little Ethiopia. Sample gastronomic delights that have made the District a haven for foodies as you soak in the sights and sounds of these historic, culturally diverse neighborhoods. Listen as guides detail the history of the neighborhoods while providing insight into the District’s food, art and music scenes.
The National Gallery of Art & Sculpture Garden
The National Gallery of Art and Sculpture Garden contains a stunning collection of more than 11,000 objects across a wide range of media. Paintings, sculptures and other artworks date from the Middle Ages until the present, including pieces by Renoir, Monet and Cezanne. The Sculpture Garden is a beautifully landscaped park containing 17 sculptures, a decorative fountain and several places for a relaxing picnic lunch.
Another one of the most popular things to do in Washington DC is to visit the National Zoo. This 163-acre zoological park is set within Rock Creek National Park. The zoo features animals from more than 400 different species, including the Giant Panda. Exhibits highlight over 2,000 animals from Asia, Africa, Australia and the Americas. Nearly 25 percent of the inhabitants are threatened or endangered in the wild. Giant pandas, great apes, big cats and so many more, the National Zoo has them all.
Monuments by Moonlight Tour
See the nation’s capital in a different light during the Monuments by Moonlight Tour. Cruise by many of the city’s popular landmarks. Experience the White House and Capitol Building as well as many of the monuments and memorials along the National Mall bathed in the glow of decorative lighting under a blanket of stars. This guided tour includes an insightful narration that provides a great overview of the city as well as the backstory of spirits rumored to haunt the nation’s capital.
Ford’s Theater has served as a warehouse, church and theater. It is now a National Historic Site. It is forever enshrined by the fateful event that took place on the night of April 14, 1865 when John Wilkes Booth shot Abraham Lincoln. View artifacts related to the assassination, including the pistol that Booth used. Cross the street to the Petersen Boarding House where the mortally wounded president was carried and see the room where the Great Emancipator died.