What to do in DC?
Our nation's capital, Washington D.C. is the destination of over 15 million people each year, making it one of the United State's most popular tourist locations. With its rich history, beautiful architecture, and diverse cultures, there are many things you can do in DC. I recently spent a week in DC, so here are my favorite things to do.
Famous Monuments and Memorials
Of course, the monuments are a major attraction in DC. These structures commemorate famous moments, or people in American history. Some are thought provoking, some are awe inspiration, and some are emotionally engaging. Here is a list of my favorite monuments in DC.
- Washington Monument
- Jefferson Memorial
- FDR Memorial
- Lincoln Memorial
- World War 2 Memorial
- Vietnam Memorial
- Arlington National Cemetery
- Korean War Memorial
All of these, with the exception of Arlington National Cemetery, can be visited in one day on the same walk. A walking tour guides you from the Washington Memorial, through the FDR Memorial, and ultimately to the Lincoln and Vietnam Memorial. Note, the only problem with this path is that you enter the FDR Memorial from the wrong side.
Famous Buildings and Offices
There are also many buildings and offices you can visit in DC. Some offer tours, such as the Pentagon and Capital (must be booked with your Senator) and some simply allow you to walk through certain areas. Others are just buildings that everyone uses on a daily basis, but are famous, nonetheless. Here are my favorite buildings and offices in DC.
- The Capitol
- The White House
- The Library of Congress
- The Pentagon
- Union Station
- The U.S. Supreme Court
There are many fascinating and extremely well constructed museums in Washington D.C. There are so many, that it is impossible to visit all of them, while truly appreciating the artifacts and pieces inside. I've listed a couple museums that appeal to most visitors. These range from famous Smithsonians, to smaller "spy" museums.
- Smithsonian Air and Space Museum
- Smithsonian American History Museum
- Smithsonian American Indian Museum
- Smithsonian of Natural History Museum
- Holocaust Museum
- International Spy Museum
- The National Archives (where the Declaration of Independence is kept)
What I did in DC
I have listed many of the main attractions, but now I want to simply tell you the places I went and really enjoyed. Some of these I have already mentioned, and some I have not.
I had a thrill from simply walking down the mall. A great place to start in DC is Union Station. It is very large and beautiful. It's also fun using a station that is so famous. From there, you can walk to the Library of Congress, Supreme Court and Capitol. All three are very worth visiting.
As you make your way down the mall towards the Washington Monument, there are many museums to visit. I suggest taking a whole day to visit these museums, as you will appreciate them more this way. There is a great food court on the mall. About half way down the mall, on the China Town side, is the Old Post Office Building. It has now been turned into a food court. There is a myriad of interesting food choices. I chose a Greek take out place, where they served incredible gyros.
I immensely enjoyed my walk around the monuments at the end of the mall. Because I was alone, I managed to do an entire circle of the all monuments and memorials in a short amount of time, while appreciating them. I would suggest going out during late afternoon when crowds have dispersed. The lack of people definitely added to my experience.
The other highlight of my trip was the Air and Space museum. For boys of all ages, this place is a hit! I got a chance to see the history of aviation, which to me, was awesome. I also had the chance to try out their simulators with a friend I had met up with for a day. Together we took out enemy airplanes while our simulator tossed and turned, including upside down!
The best part about DC is that it's incredibly accessible. The DC metro runs the length of city, and all the way to Baltimore, where hotels are much cheaper. Passes can be expensive, so try to travel between 9:30 and 3, or later than 8 (but be careful about traveling around DC at night). The passes are greatly reduced when you travel during the off hours.
There are many things to do in DC, and these are just some of them! Walking around the city and looking for adventures is a great way to explore the city.