Washington DC Visitor's Guide: Best Things to do in Washington, DC!
Washington Monument The Mall Washington DC

Washington DC Visitor’s Guide: Best Things to do in Washington, DC!

To see Washington in one day was a challenging undertaking. How convenient that pretty much all important Washington sights are gathered at one central point: At the mall (no, this is not a shopping mall) there are important government buildings, numerous museums of the Smithsonian Institution like the Museum of Natural History, The Capitol, the White House or the Washington Monument. But be aware: the mall is quite long and if you want to see the really huge museums from the inside, then comfortable sneakers are definitely recommended!

What to do in Washington DC: A trip through history.

The most impressive thing to me, was the fact that history is being made in Washington DC. You’ll see the huge buildings like the Capitol and you’ll reminded immediately of the importance of the politics that are being made here.

What to do in Washington DC The Mall

Best Things to do in Washington DC in only one day

To see Washington DC in one day is quite manageable. As the most important sights are located along the Mall, it’s easy for orientation. Although it can be a bit to walk! If you want to see more and walk less, I’d recommend to take one of the Hop-On-Hop-Off buses in Washington DC, that will make your visit much easier!

#1 The White House

Best Things to do in Washington DC The White House

Probably one of the most important buildings in Washington DC: The White House, residence of the President of the United States. I have to admit, I imagined it would be much bigger!

#2 The Washington Monument

Washington Monument The Mall DC

A piece of very unusual architecture! The obelisk of the Washington Monument is located in the middle of the Mall on a small hill. From here, you have the perfect view to the Capitol and to the Mall in general. And on sunny days (and with a wide-angle lens) you get surreal photos like this one.

Are you planning to see more of the United States? ➜ Check out my other blog posts on destinations in the US!

#3 Lincoln Memorial

It’s quite unusual to see a place like Washington DC with your own eyes. Suddenly places you’ve only known from the news become real! At the Mall in Washington DC, you’ll find several buildings that will seem familiar!

Washington DC What to do Lincoln Memorial

#4 The Capitol

Washington DC Visitors Guide
At the end of the Mall: The Capitol

I could only admire the Capitol, the seat of the Congress of the USA, from a distance, as time was too short. One day is definitely quite little for a city like Washington DC. In hindsight, I would have preferred to take a little more time for the Capitol and joined one of the guided tours there. Tours through the Capitol have to be booked in advance.

Book your tour to visit the Capitol!

Book your tour through Washington DC with a priority pass for the Capitol

#5 Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Budget tip! Most of the public museums are free of charge in Washington DC! I couldn’t visit them all, so I opted for the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Not only is it an interesting museum if you are visiting with kids, even me as adult was amazed by the extensive exhibitions!

Elefant at Smithsonian Museum of Natural History Washington DC
Smithsonian Museum Butterfly Garden The Mall Washington DC
Butterfly Garden
Washington DC
Butterflies all over the Butterfly Garden

Of course there is much more to discover in Washington DC – but a walk through the mall covers the basics like the White House, the Washington Monument and the Capitol and gives a good overview of the center of power in the USA. And you can spend hours in each of the museums along the mall. But if you don’t have much time, it’s best to choose one or two museums according to your own interests. In any case, a visit is always worth it – simply because admission to all museums is free!

Bist Du auf den Geschmack gekommen? Dann lege doch einfach bei Deiner nächsten USA-Reise einen Zwischenstopp in Washington DC ein.

Book your accomodation for Washington DC!


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12 Responses

  1. Great photos of DC! I have been wanting to go back and really tour the capitol as an adult. We went as kids on a field trip and I didn’t quite appreciate all the history and importance back then. I would love to go back to the Smithsonian especially!

  2. I’m going to DC in 2 weeks so I’ll look forward to checking out a lot of this. The city has such beautiful architecture. I can’t wait!

  3. Ahh, but the butterfly gardens aren’t free. I think you hit DC on the head. You come for the monuments but stay for the museums. You have seen each and every one of the monuments so often that you NEED to see them in person. They are big. The museums are, perhaps, the best free attraction anywhere. Where else can you see the Hope Diamond, an Apollo capsule and the American flag that inspired the Star Spangled Banner.

  4. Lovely pictures. I specially liked the street with the leafless trees, the close up shot of the Roman lettering and the one with the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool.

  5. I was just in DC and went to see where Obama is moving to. We found the house, and low and behold, there were moving trucks parked outside and security teams installing cameras. Not surprisingly, Obama and Michelle were not there carrying in any boxes…

  6. I’ve heard lots of others tell me that when they got there it was much smaller than they had imagined – it is funny seeing buildings that seem familiar to you in real life though! The Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool looks so beautiful and peaceful though, I could do a lot of thinking there.

  7. It’s always so interesting to see how places compare to what you had always imagined, isn’t it? We felt the same way when we saw the White House and some of the monuments. I love that the Smithsonian Museums are free too!

  8. I love visiting Washington D.C. All the beautiful monuments and architectural buildings are truly fascinating. The first time I visit Washington D.C., I was surprised that it offered free museums too but I couldn’t be more happier. I love learning and exploring new things so it really made my trip better.

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