Washington DC Attractions

The bustling and exciting city of Washington DC contains a multitude of must-see attractions, including the iconic statues, buildings and museums that have become synonymous with the capital and have made regular appearances in TV shows and movies.

The National Mall, lined with important landmarks, museums, and monuments, is the best place to start. Iconic attractions along this stately stretch include the Washington Monument, the White House, the Capitol Building and the Lincoln Memorial, all musts for history and politics buffs.

Another world-renowned site in this area is the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, a thought provoking and hugely worthwhile exhibition. Culture lovers will enjoy the National Gallery of Art and kids of all ages will love the International Spy Museum. Another popular attraction on any tour of Washington DC is a drive along Embassy Row.

On sunny days, the National Zoo is a great kids activity in Washington DC, with rare giant pandas making a visit particularly memorable. The city's many parks and gardens are also great for running off excess energy and enjoying the beautiful weather in spring and autumn. Children will love the cotton-candy pink Cherry Blossom trees in the Tidal Basin each April.

Visitors intent on lots of sightseeing should purchase the Washington DC Explorer Pass, which entitles the bearer to admission to many of the top Washington DC attractions at reduced rates. However, many of the best things to see in Washington DC, including the Smithsonian Museums, the National Archives and Ford's Theatre are free to the public, making sightseeing in Washington DC a very affordable activity.

The Washington Mall

National Mall

Extending for more than two miles (3km), from the US Capitol to the Potomac River, the tree-lined grassy strip known as the National Mall is the central hub for tourists in Washington DC. It's home to the tapering Washington Monument; the Lincoln,...  see full details



US Capitol, Washington DC

US Capitol

Sitting atop Capitol Hill with its giant white dome visible from all over the city, the Capitol Building is probably the most prominent landmark in Washington DC. The heart of the US government, it contains the Senate, the House of Representatives, the...  see full details



White House

White House

The residence and headquarters of the President of the United States since 1800, the White House sits at the edge of the National Mall. The palatial building has undergone numerous alterations under each incumbent, like the exercise pool for Roosevelt's polio affliction,...  see full details



Washington Monument

Washington Monument

In recognition of his leadership in the fight for American independence, the Washington Monument was built to commemorate the first president of the United States, George Washington. The tallest structure in the city, the gleaming white obelisk offers 360-degree views of some of...  see full details



Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln Memorial

The grandiose Lincoln Memorial is a tribute to the 16th US president, who preserved the Union during the Civil War and ended slavery. In the centre of this temple is a huge marble statue of Abraham Lincoln, staring out over the...  see full details



J. Edgar Hoover Building

Federal Bureau of Investigation

The FBI Experience, a self-guided tour, is open to the public and explores the Bureau's past and present. The tour takes visitors through crime laboratories and past displays of thousands of confiscated weapons and illegal items seized during narcotics operations. There are...  see full details



The International Spy Museum, Washington DC

International Spy Museum

The International Spy Museum features the largest collection of publicly displayed international espionage artefacts in the world. It is the result of years of planning and advice by former officials of the CIA, FBI and KGB. Interactive exhibits cover the history of...  see full details



National Museum of American History

Smithsonian Institution

Nicknamed the nation's attic, the Smithsonian Institution is one of the world's finest research centres, with 17 of its museums and a zoo located in Washington DC. The museums contain collections of historical importance on almost every subject. They include the National...  see full details



National Gallery of Art

National Gallery of Art

Two buildings, the West and East Wings, make up the visually stunning National Gallery of Art that is the most popular art museum in North America. Together they house one of the world's leading collections of Western paintings, prints, photographs, graphics, and sculptures...  see full details



Tower of Faces, Holocaust Memorial Museum

US Holocaust Memorial Museum

The United States Memorial Museum is a memorial to the millions of Jews murdered by the Nazis between 1933 and 1945. There are three floors, starting with the occupation of Poland, then the Holocaust and finally the aftereffects of the war and...  see full details



Ford Theatre, Washington DC

Ford’s Theatre

On April 14th, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated while watching a performance at Ford's Theatre in Washington DC. He was shot by an actor named John Wilkes Booth who sympathised with the Confederates in the ongoing Civil War. Today, Ford's Theatre is both...  see full details



National Archives

National Archives

While looking at historical papers may sound dull compared to some of Washington DC's more light-hearted museums, the National Archives is one of the most popular attractions in the city, housing priceless documents from US history, including the Declaration of Independence, the...  see full details



Washington National Cathedral

Washington National Cathedral

One of the largest cathedrals in the US, the Washington National Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, is a magnificent Gothic Revival structure standing 301 feet (91m) tall. The interior is just as grand, with...  see full details



Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Kennedy Center

One of the most prestigious performing arts centres in the US, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is also its busiest, hosting roughly 2,000 performances each year for an audience totalling nearly two million people in its eight separate...  see full details



National Zoo

National Zoo

The Smithsonian National Zoological Park, commonly known as the National Zoo, is a wonderful attraction for families on holiday in Washington DC. As part of the Smithsonian Institution, the zoo has no entry fee and offers visitors the chance to explore 163...  see full details



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