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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good itinerary coupled with a great guide

Our guide was Montie. The cart had a family of 4 plus my wife, my 7-1/2 year-old grandson and me. Montie was very good at explaining the attractions and their histories in a way that engaged all of us. As a bonus, Montie had funny anecdotes to tell us about them. He was very open to any questions our group had and, being quite knowledgeable, knew the answers to most. My family all learned a lot on the 2 hour tour and, perhaps the best accolade was that my grandson asked if we could do another tour with Montie!

This was a great tour. Enjoyment for the entire family.

Edgar was an excellent guide. He was so informative and made the trip fantastic!

Our tour with signature tours was great for adults and children alike.

We brought two little kids with us on the 3 hour evening tour. We were able to get on and off the sites, the guide was knowledgeable and helpful and we saw so much!

Washington DC Must See Sights Half-Day Tour Reviewed by Anonymous, 05/28/2019

Mr. History was our tour guide - he and whole tour were amazing!

Our tour was incredible and Mr. History our guide was so engaging! He made what we were seeing come alive and we learned so many facts and background information that we did not know. He also gave our son a chance to say the Gettysburg Address to everyone - what a great impression on an 11 year old boy! Thanks for a great opportunity!

Excellent bike tour. Great guide, bikes, facility and value.

My son and I were in town for the weekend for an ice hockey tournament and we needed an activity to kill a few hours. A friend suggested we rent a couple of bikes and ride around DC. In searching for bike rentals, I came across the Fat tire bike tours. We could not be happier with our experience. The facility was clean and cool, to accommodate the hot day. We were greeted at the door, and everyone was super friendly. After a brief tutorial, they set us up with some very nice bikes, clean helmets and bottled waters and we were on our way. If only I could remember our tour guides’ name, to give credit where it’s due. He was very knowledgeable, engaging and looked out for the safety of our group. If you are in DC, this is a must do. And for the thirty some odd dollars for the tour, it was well worth it.

Washington, DC 3-Hour Bike Tour Reviewed by William, 05/27/2019