With so many things to do and see in Washington, D.C.
, including historical monuments, government buildings, free museums, and more, it can be overwhelming to narrow down a list of must-visit places. To make it easier for you, Culture Trip has come up with a list of 20 must-see attractions in the nation’s capital.
Washington Monument and the National Mall
The National Mall is one of the most picturesque areas of the city, highlighted by the towering Washington Monument in the center, and lined with several commemorative monuments. Even if you are in town only for a short trip, this is a must-visit stop for any first-time visitor.
Washington Monument, 2 15th St NW, Washington, D.C., USA, +1 202 426 6841
Georgetown and the Waterfront
Stroll through the bustling streets of Georgetown, filled with shopping destinations and restaurants, and then make your way to the Georgetown Waterfront to take in views of the Potomac and enjoy a meal at one of the dining venues overlooking the water. Wander off the main area to look at some of the most expensive real estate in the city.
Georgetown Waterfront, Water St NW, Washington, D.C., USA, +1 202 895 6000
The Kennedy Center
Visit The Kennedy Center, a performance arts space, to see a free show (daily at 6 p.m.) or one of their current performances, and make sure to stop by the rooftop terrace for panoramic views of D.C. and the Potomac River. The nine different performance stages present the best in music, dance, theater, international, and children’s programs.
John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F St NW, Washington, D.C., USA, +1 202 467 4600
World War II Memorial
Flanked by the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial, the beautiful World War II Memorial, complete with bronze sculptures and stone architecture, pays tribute to the Americans who served in the war, honors those who fell, and recognizes the victory of freedom over tyranny.
World War II Memorial, 1750 Independence Ave SW, Washington, D.C., USA
The White House
As the name suggests, Newseum is an engaging and dynamic museum of news and is a must visit, even if it’s one of the few ticketed museums in the city. See a piece of the original Berlin Wall, the 911 Gallery, Pulitzer Prize photographs from over the years, and finish with fantastic views from the rooftop terrace.
Newseum, 555 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, D.C., USA, +1 202 292 6100
Ben’s Chili Bowl
Diner, American, $$$
U.S. National Arboretum
Commune with nature at the U.S. National Arboretum, which houses multiple gardens, a gorgeous bonsai exhibit, a koi pond, and even some original columns from the Capitol building. Away from the tourist crowds, this is a local favorite—pack a picnic if it’s a lovely day outside.
U.S. National Arboretum, 3501 New York Ave NE, Washington, D.C., USA, +1 202 245 2726
This Gothic-style cathedral is a majestic building decorated with over 200 gargoyles and grotesques. The National Cathedral, architecturally and visually striking, also features over 200 stained-glass windows, mosaics, artistic metal work, wood carvings, and more.
National Cathedral, 3101 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, D.C., USA, +1 202 537 6200
Arlington National Cemetery
The final resting place for thousands of service men and women, the Arlington National Cemetery is also where President Kennedy is buried. The white headstones that seem to stretch to the horizon are a striking and somber tribute. It also houses the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, guarded uninterrupted since 1937.
Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA, USA, +1 877 907 8585