Explore Washington D.C.

Top Things to Do in D.C.

It’s easy to ride the Metro or hop on a bike and explore all that the nation’s capital has to offer. The backbone of the city is built on arts and culture. Enjoy awe-inspiring art galleries, unmatched museums, thriving performing arts and music scenes and so much more.

National Mall

Planner Pierre L'Enfant's grand landscape from the U.S. Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial, with Smithsonians, renovated Washington Monument, and tributes to World War II, Vietnam veterans, Korean War veterans and Martin Luther King Jr. Free.

The White House

Presidential residence from the time of John Adams. Photo ops from north and south gates. Self-guided public tour requests must be submitted through a member of Congress at least 21 days ahead. Tours Tu-Th 7:30 am-11:30 am, F-Sa 7:30 am-1:30 pm. The visitor center at 1450 Pennsylvania Ave.

U.S. Capitol Visitor Center

The entryway to the U.S. Capitol with exhibits, artifacts, replicas of Capitol Hill, an 11-foot-tall model of the Capitol dome and interactive kiosks. No passes required to enter the center. Guided one-hour Capitol tours (M-Sa 8:40 am-3:20 pm) begin with a 13-minute film.

Air and Space Museum

Under renovation; check website for open exhibits. World’s largest collection of aircraft and space vehicles (Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis, Bell X-1, 1903 Wright Flyer).

Supreme Court

The nation’s highest tribunal. Justices convene October through June in public sessions. Lines form to hear whole argument (seating starts at 9:30 am) or three-minute portion (seating starts at 10 am). Lines re-form after lunch. M-F 9 am-4:30 pm. Free. When court isn’t sitting, lectures on the half-hour from 9:30 am-3:30 pm.

American History Museum

With five million visitors annually, this museum is one of the Smithsonian’s most popular. As a repository for the country’s cultural, scientific and technological heritage, it holds a collection of more than three million fascinating artifacts, including Thomas Jefferson’s desk, Kermit the Frog, Julia Child's kitchen, a piec

Jefferson Memorial

At the Tidal Basin, John Russell Pope’s neoclassical marble monument for the third U.S. president and main author of the Declaration of Independence. Accessible 24 hours. Rangers on duty to answer questions daily from 9:30 am-10 pm. Bookstore. Parking (south side).

Natural History Museum

Exhibits tracking the natural world since prehistoric time (anthropology to zoology). In the Rotunda, taxidermic African elephant Henry in a replica Angolan habitat. Hall of Geology, Gems and Minerals (Hope Diamond), Ocean Hall, Hall of Human Origins. Butterfly Pavilion ($6.50-$7.50; Tu free with timed tickets).

Kennedy Center

A living memorial to President John F. Kennedy offering performances in the Opera House, Concert Hall, Eisenhower and Terrace theaters plus the Family Theater and Theater Lab. Millennium Stage hosting free shows daily at 6 pm. Tours weekdays. Gift shops and roof terrace with sweeping city views.

Arlington National Cemetery

Interred here, thousands of veterans and government personnel. Daily burials of veterans and war casualties. Daily 8 am-7 pm. $3.25-$15, uniformed military free. See website for group tour details/rates.

Mount Vernon

George Washington's hilltop home by the Potomac River, with 14 rooms furnished per a 1799 inventory. The first couple's tomb, gardens, a blacksmith shop, 16-sided treading barn, reconstructed slave cabin. High-tech Ford Orientation Center  and Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center. Fred W.

National Gallery of Art/West Building

One of the world’s finest collections of American and European paintings and sculpture dating from the 13th century, including “Ginevra de’ Benci,” this hemisphere’s only da Vinci painting. M-Sa 10 am-5 pm, Su 11 am-6 pm. Free. Gift shop, cafés, sculpture garden.

National Zoological Park

Founded in 1889, a 163-acre zoo with more than 2,000 animals like giant pandas Tian Tian and Mei Xiang plus female cub Bei Bei. Elephant Trails exhibit with a wooded exercise trek. Asia Trail with giant sloths and clouded leopards. American Trail with North American species (sea otters and seals).


Centered at M Street and Wisconsin Avenue NW, D.C.’s oldest neighborhood (1751) still buzzes with activity. Locals and visitors come for the shopping, dining, historic homes, music clubs and riverside recreation. Famous folks from Francis Scott Key to John F.