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Top 10 Things To Do In Washington DC in 2024

Washington DC is a busy city, full of famous places and stories about America because it was specially planned as the national capital and designed to be different from the states. President George Washington picked its exact location along the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers. The city is home to the Touchstone Museum, which sets the benchmark for other museums. DC also has a lot of monuments and memorials that teach us about the country’s past. It is also known for its vibrant neighborhoods, each with its unique character and attractions. From the trendy shops and eateries of Georgetown to the bustling nightlife of Dupont Circle, there’s no shortage of things to see and do. Many attractions within the city are free to visit, making it a budget-friendly destination compared to other places across the country. Here is the list of things to do in Washington DC.

List of Top 10 Things To Do In Washington DC

  1. National Mall
  2. Smithsonian Museums
  3. White House
  4. Smithsonian’s National Zoo
  5. Tidal Basin
  6. Georgetown
  7. Capitol Hill
  8. Adams Morgan
  9. Library of Congress
  10. United States Capitol Building

1. National Mall

The National Mall is an iconic symbol of American history and democracy. It attracts millions of visitors annually spanning over 146 acres. Originally designed in 1791 by Pierre Charles L’Enfant, the Mall has evolved into a cultural hub showcasing the nation’s heritage.

The Mall is full of famous places, including the Washington Monument, dedicated in 1885 and standing 555 feet tall, symbolizing George Washington’s leadership. Nearby, the Lincoln Memorial, completed in 1922, honors Abraham Lincoln’s legacy with its iconic statue and inscriptions of his speeches. The World War II Memorial, inaugurated in 2004, pays tribute to the 16 million Americans who served during the war.

Apart from monuments, the Mall hosts events like presidential inaugurations, marches, and concerts, making it a dynamic space for civic engagement. Its design, with long reflecting pools and tree-lined pathways, encourages contemplation and remembrance, fostering a deep connection to America’s past and its enduring ideals.

There are museums where visitors can learn even more about America’s story. Visiting the National Mall is a great way to connect with America’s past and enjoy its beauty at the same time.

2. Smithsonian Museums

The Smithsonian Museums in Washington DC represent a treasure trove of cultural, scientific, and historical significance. This was established in 1846. The Smithsonian Institution boasts 19 museums, galleries, gardens, and the National Zoo, making it the world’s largest museum, education, and research complex. With over 154 million artifacts and specimens in its collections, the Smithsonian offers a comprehensive exploration of American history, art, culture, and natural sciences.

Visitors can marvel at iconic exhibits such as the Hope Diamond at the National Museum of Natural History, or explore the interactive displays at the National Air and Space Museum, which houses the Wright Brothers’ 1903 Flyer and the Apollo 11 command module. Art can admire masterpieces at the National Gallery of Art, including works by Rembrandt, Van Gogh, and da Vinci. The Smithsonian’s diverse range of museums includes the National Museum of African American History and Culture, showcasing pivotal moments in African American history.

The Smithsonian Museums offer a journey through time and knowledge, captivating millions of visitors annually with unparalleled collections and educational experiences.

3. White House

The White House serves as the official home and workplace of the President of the United States in Washington DC. Construction of this iconic building began in 1792 and was completed in 1800. This will make it one of the oldest public buildings in the nation’s capital. The White House has undergone numerous renovations and expansions over the years, with the most extensive renovation taking place during Harry Truman’s presidency in the mid-20th century.

Visitors to Washington DC can take guided tours of the White House to explore its rich history and architectural splendor. Highlights of the tour include the East Room, used for ceremonies and receptions, the State Dining Room, where formal dinners are held, and the Oval Office, the President’s official workspace.

The White House also serves as a symbol of American democracy and an important site for diplomatic meetings, policy announcements, and historic events, showcasing its enduring significance in the nation’s governance.

4. Smithsonian’s National Zoo

The Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington DC is a premier destination for wildlife. This most loving place offers a captivating sight into the world of exotic animals. Founded in 1889, it boasts a rich history and is home to over 2,700 animals representing nearly 390 species. This makes it one of the oldest and most diverse zoos in the United States.

Visitors to the National Zoo can marvel at iconic species such as giant pandas, elephants, lions, and gorillas. The zoo has been actively involved in conservation efforts, including breeding programs for endangered species. For instance, the birth of a giant panda cub named Bei Bei in 2015 garnered widespread attention and highlighted the zoo’s commitment to wildlife preservation.

The National Zoo offers educational programs, research initiatives, and interactive experiences for visitors of all ages free of cost. With its beautiful landscapes and commitment to conservation, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo remains a beloved attraction in the heart of Washington DC.

Also Read: Tallest Buildings In Washington DC

5. Tidal Basin

The Tidal Basin is a historic and iconic reservoir that holds significant cultural and recreational value. Built-in the 19th century as part of the city’s landscape design by Pierre L’Enfant, the basin covers an area of 107 acres and is connected to the Potomac River. Its construction was completed in the 1880s and has since become a central feature of the National Mall.

One of the most famous aspects of the Tidal Basin is its renowned cherry blossom trees. In 1912, Japan gifted over 3,000 cherry trees to Washington DC as a symbol of friendship, and since then, the annual National Cherry Blossom Festival celebrates their bloom, attracting millions of visitors each year. The peak bloom dates for these cherry blossoms are carefully monitored and projected, drawing crowds eager to witness the stunning pink and white blossoms against the backdrop of the Jefferson Memorial and other monuments.

Aside from the cherry blossoms, the Tidal Basin offers picturesque views of the Washington Monument, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, making it a must-visit destination for locals and tourists.

6. Georgetown

Georgetown is a historic neighborhood in Washington DC offers a rich culture, architecture, and history. It was established in 1751. Georgetown is one of the oldest parts of the city, predating the establishment of the federal district. Its cobblestone streets and well-preserved 18th and 19th-century buildings evoke a sense of timeless elegance.

Visitors to Georgetown can explore a myriad of attractions. Georgetown University, founded in 1789, is one of the nation’s leading academic institutions, known for its distinguished alumni and rigorous programs. The C&O Canal, constructed in the early 19th century, runs through Georgetown, offering picturesque pathways for walking, jogging, and biking along its towpath.

M Street and Wisconsin Avenue are bustling with upscale shops, restaurants, and boutiques, catering to diverse tastes and interests. The neighborhood’s waterfront area has undergone extensive revitalization, with attractions like the Washington Harbour and the Georgetown Waterfront Park providing scenic views of the Potomac River.

7. Capitol Hill

Capitol Hill is located in Washington DC and serves as the seat of the United States Congress. It is home to the legislative branch of the U.S. government and has played a pivotal role in American politics since its construction began in 1793. The Capitol Building, with its distinctive dome and neoclassical architecture. It stands as a symbol of democracy and national governance.

Visitors to Capitol Hill can explore a range of activities, including guided tours of the Capitol Building itself. These tours provide insights into the legislative process, the history of Congress, and the significance of key rooms such as the Rotunda and Statuary Hall. The Capitol Visitor Center opened in 2008, enhances the visitor experience with interactive exhibits and educational resources.

Beyond the Capitol Building, Capitol Hill also encompasses the Library of Congress, the Supreme Court, and numerous historical monuments and memorials. The area’s rich heritage and political importance make it a must-visit destination for anyone interested in American history and government.

Read Also: Universities in Washington, D.C.

8. Adams Morgan

Adams Morgan is a vibrant neighborhood known for its diverse culture, lively nightlife, and eclectic dining scene. Named after two former schools in the area (Adams and Morgan), the neighborhood has a rich history dating back to the late 19th century when it was primarily a white, middle-class area.

However, Adams Morgan underwent significant demographic shifts in the 1950s and 1960s, becoming a hub for African American and Hispanic communities. This cultural diversity is reflected in its restaurants, shops, and street art, making it a popular destination for locals and tourists alike.

One of the must-do activities in Adams Morgan is exploring its bustling nightlife. The neighborhood boasts numerous bars, live music venues, and dance clubs, offering a range of entertainment options for visitors. Additionally, the annual Adams Morgan Day festival, which started in 1978, celebrates the neighborhood’s multicultural heritage with music, food, and arts.

9. Library of Congress

The Library of Congress in Washington DC is the largest in the world by shelf space and number of books with over 170 million items in its collections. It was established on April 24, 1800. This iconic institution serves as the research arm of the United States Congress and houses invaluable historical artifacts, including Thomas Jefferson’s library.

Visitors to the Library of Congress can explore its stunning architecture, such as the iconic Main Reading Room with its impressive dome and intricate murals. The library’s collection encompasses a wider range of materials, from rare manuscripts and maps to photographs and audio recordings, making it a treasure trove for researchers, scholars, and history enthusiasts.

The Library of Congress presents guided tours, exhibitions, and educational programs, offering a special chance to explore the diverse cultural heritage of the United States. Whether admiring its magnificent architecture or exploring its varied collections, a trip to the Library of Congress ensures a rewarding experience for everyone.

10. United States Capitol Building

The United States Capitol Building is located atop Capitol Hill in Washington DC.  Construction of the Capitol began in 1793, with notable architects like William Thornton, Benjamin Henry Latrobe, and Thomas U. Walter contributing to its design and expansion over the years. The building’s cornerstone was laid by President George Washington in 1793, and the original construction cost was $1,237,000.

Visitors to the Capitol can explore its historic chambers, including the Senate and House of Representatives, marvel at the impressive Rotunda with its stunning frescoed dome, and learn about the nation’s legislative process through interactive exhibits in the Capitol Visitor Center. The Capitol is also home to the renowned Statuary Hall, where every state is commemorated with two statues of notable figures. Drawing in more than 3 million visitors every year. Tours of the Capitol provide a captivating insight into its storied history and profound political importance as an architectural marvel.


Washington DC is a fantastic city with lots to offer. Whether you are interested in history, museums, or just enjoying a stroll through neighborhoods, DC has something for everyone. It is a place where you can learn, explore, and have a great time, making memories that will stay with you long. This article has listed things to do in Washington DC.


What Does DC Stand For?

DC is short for the District of Columbia. It’s not a state but a special place created by the US Constitution. The Constitution says that DC, which can’t be bigger than 10 square miles, would be where the US government is based. That’s why it’s called DC.

Why Is Washington DC So Famous?

Washington DC is famous because it spans 68 square miles and houses key government buildings such as the U.S. Capitol, the White House, and the Supreme Court.

Is Washington DC A Good Tourist Destination?

Given the multitude of national monuments, world-class museums, and beautiful parks in the U.S. federal capital, fully exploring them in a short time is nearly impossible. To make the most of your visit, thorough research, and careful planning are highly recommended.

Is Toronto More Expensive Than Washington, DC?

To maintain the same lifestyle in Toronto as $8,000 affords in Washington, DC (including rent and after-tax income), you’d need around $6,102.9 (C$8,271.2). So Toronto is more expensive than Washington DC.

Is Washington D.C More Expensive Than London?

The cost of living in London is 17% higher than in Washington DC. United States, indicating that expenses for various necessities and services are more expensive in London compared to Washington DC.

Oleksandra Mamchii

Working as a academic lead at Best Diplomats.

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