Visiting the nation’s capital is a unique experience filled with history, culture, imagination, and more. With so many museums, monuments, exhibits, and historical sites to visit, Washington, D.C. vacation planning can seem like a tedious task. When mapping out your visit, be sure to add these stops to your itinerary.
The White House
The White House is an impressive residence where every president, with the exception of George Washington, has resided. Schedule a tour in advance to see portions of the interior and learn more about the history of the home. At least walk by to take a look from outside the gates. The building and grounds are just as beautiful from the outside. It’s a can’t-miss at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
The Washington Monument
The Washington Monument is another iconic attraction from the nation’s capital that you don’t want to miss. Photographs really don’t do the 555-foot monument justice. Check out the 50 flags surrounding the base or ride the elevator to the top to get a view of the National Mall and other parts of the city. Stop by 15th and Constitution to check it out.
Arlington National Cemetery
Pay your respects and honor the soldiers fallen in combat at the Arlington National Cemetery. It’s the final resting place for more than 400,000 U.S. soldiers and other individuals. The cemetery has been in place since 1864, with headstones honoring those all the way back to the Civil War. It sits right outside the city in Arlington, VA.
Library of Congress
The Library of Congress is one of the top places to visit in Washington, D.C. for book lovers and readers of all ages. It is the largest library in the world with more than 161 million items cataloged on the shelves. Sign up for a free guided tour to get a closer look. You’ll find it located at 101 Independence Ave SE.
National Air and Space Museum
The National Air and Space Museum has a collection of aircraft, like the Wright Brothers plane and Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of Saint Louis on display. Additionally, it features moon rocks and other space artifacts for people to explore. Check out the planetarium and IMAX theater when you make a stop at 600 Independence Ave SW.
National Zoological Park
If your Washington, D.C. vacation includes children or animal lovers, then don’t forget to add the National Zoological Park to your itinerary. It’s home to more than 2,000 animals, including a pair of Giant Pandas. The animal habitats closely replicate those seen in the wild, giving the animals a more comfortable living environment and giving visitors a chance to learn more about the beautiful creatures. The zoo is located at 3001 Connecticut Ave NW.
National Museum of American History
What’s a Washington, D.C. vacation without seizing every opportunity to learn more about American history? Do this at the National Museum of American History where you’ll see the actual flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the National Anthem, gowns worn by First Ladies, and many more exhibits and artifacts. Find the museum at 14th Ave NW and Constitution Ave.
As the headquarters of the Department of Defense, the Pentagon is definitely a place not to miss. Tours take you through a small portion of the building — they have to protect military secrets after all — and include the crash site from September 11. Honor brave heroes and learn more about the history of the military on a Pentagon tour. You’ll find the massive building just across the Potomac River in Arlington, VA.
Just across the Reflecting Pool from the National Monument sits the 19-foot marble statue of Abraham Lincoln. The Lincoln Memorial was completed in 1922 to honor the 16th president. However, the monument itself plays an important role in U.S. history, too. It’s the site of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream Speech” among other events.
Georgetown Historic District
The Georgetown neighborhood’s history goes back all the way to the 1700s. It’s home to beautiful architecture, unique boutiques and cafes, and the oldest Roman Catholic college — Georgetown University. Explore this old neighborhood between Rock Creek Park and K Street NW.