Things to Do in Washington DC
With its broad, tree-lined streets, neoclassical architecture, and love for stone monuments, Washington DC is the picture-perfect capital city. From the nice, deep-dive museums of the Smithsonian Institution to the world-famous dome of the Capitol, there’s nothing quite like exploring the depths of America’s history while also absorbing modern-day art and culture.
So whether you enjoy gazing at the tall tributes to our nation’s leaders or connecting with works of contemporary art in the historic Foggy Bottom neighborhood, Georgetown Inn West End provides easy access to all this impressive city offers. To make your planning even easier, here’s our quick guide to some of our favorite experiences in DC.
Collectively known as the Smithsonian Institution, this series of museums will fuel your boundless quest for knowledge. Boasting 19 museums, galleries, gardens, and a zoo, the Smithsonian Museums contain over 140 million exhibits, objects, and works of art in all.
One of our favorite Smithsonian stops is the Natural History Museum. Its massive dinosaur display and ancient Egypt exhibit appeal to both children and adults. Another notable stop is the Air and Space Museum, which draws large crowds excited to learn about space travel and our solar system.
On another day, watch giant pandas, Tian Tian, Mei Xiang and Bei Bei, chomp on bamboo at the National Zoo. Add in the legendary art treasures of the National Gallery, Portrait Gallery, and the Phillips Collection, and Washington DC becomes a true cultural experience.
What’s even more remarkable than the impressive lineup of Smithsonian Museums? The fact that all of these exhibits can be experienced absolutely free.
Only in DC will you find such an important and unique experience as the Newseum, a museum dedicated to the importance of a free press and the First Amendment. Brilliant exhibits walk visitors through an understanding of how the free press operated during the world’s largest historical events.
The Newseum is known as one of the most interactive museums in the U.S., spanning seven floors with 15 galleries and 15 theaters. Of special note is the 9/11 Gallery and the Berlin Wall Gallery, which displays the largest concrete section of the original wall remaining in the world. You can even get a bird’s eye view of the most famous street in the nation on the Greenspun Family Terrace.
Naturally, when coming to Washington DC, you’ll want to visit the grandeur of the White House. This official residence of the President of the United States was built in the 1800’s and still stands as an amazing testament to American history, politics, and leadership.
If you want to join a free, public tour of the White House, submit a letter of request to your own member of Congress. Don’t wait too long to send that letter — it’ll take at least three weeks to process your request.
Known as “America’s Front Yard,” the National Mall is a beautiful stretch of paths and parks dotted with the capital’s famed museums, memorials, and national landmarks. While there, you can see the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the Washington Monument, and so much more. A must-see memorial is the stunning and formidable carving of Martin Luther King, Jr., which includes notable quotes from his speeches and life.
Once you’ve seen all you can of landmarks on the National Mall, pick a spot of green and enjoy views of the Potomac on one side and the United States Capitol Building on the other. If you're in town during the spring, stop for a cup of coffee along the Tidal Basin, which offers the best views of the city's iconic Cherry Blossoms.
Located on the far west side of the National Mall is the iconic Lincoln Memorial. This landmark attracts millions of visitors each year and was constructed to honor President Abraham Lincoln after he was assassinated in 1865. But the 19-foot statue represents so much more than our sixteenth president and has set the stage for other important moments in our history, such as Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech. If you’re in DC, don't miss the Lincoln Memorial for a moving cultural experience.
Capital One Arena
If you’re looking for a competitive sporting event or mind-blowing concert to enjoy while in DC, the Capital One Arena is the place to do it. With 20,000 seats and over 220 events per year, the arena is home to the NBA’s Washington Wizards, the NHL’s Washington Capitals, the WNBA’s Washington Mystics, the AFL's Washington Valor, and the NCAA’s Georgetown Hoyas men’s basketball team. The arena also hosts high-caliber shows and concerts such as U2, Justin Timberlake, Bon Jovi, Prince, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Beyonce, and even Disney on Ice.
Arlington National Cemetery
One of the more thought-provoking experiences in the DC area is the beautiful and sobering Arlington National Cemetery. The 624 acres of green, rolling hills honors fallen soldiers and their families and serves as a tribute to the sacrifice of each individual laid to rest there. Seeing row upon row of the iconic white crosses provides a powerful perspective on the costs of American freedoms and is a uniquely important way to interact with American history. While there, visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and watch the Changing of the Guard.
We Are Your Georgetown Residence
After a long day exploring the city’s most famous landmarks, come home to the Georgetown Inn West End. When you choose to stay with us, you’re choosing a unique, pied-à-terre experience that combines timeless hospitality with a classic, Washington DC location.