The Getaway
20 Amazing Things to Do in Washington D.C.

The capital of the United States of America, Washington D.C., has many exciting places to visit for those who like history and would like to know more about the nation's founding. Washington, D.C., is home to numerous memorials and monuments to the history of America. Visit the home of the President of the United States of America on a tour. You might not be able to see everything, but you will be able to see some of one of the most important buildings in the United States.

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01 Appreciate Every U Street Era

You'll find the diverse Adams Morgan neighborhood with its Victorian row houses just 1.5 miles north of the Oval Office. The area has a vibrant nightlife, and 18th Street is full of restaurants, watering holes, and indie stores. Historic U Street, the street that never sleeps, is a few minutes away. Try the half-smoke sausage at Ben's Chili Bowl, a local landmark, or sample the injera and tibs in Little Ethiopia. Howard University, another bastion of African American culture and identity, has spawned some of the most famous black alums in the country—it's a stone's throw from U Street.

02 Stay at the Inimitable Mansion on O Street

If the idea of secret passages, hidden doors, and rooms excites you, you might want to book a night at the quirky Mansion on O Street. Initially a sprawling family home, this hotel now has 100 rooms for guests. The rooms contain temporary items that are for sale, so you're sure to have a unique experience. With eccentric interior design and a former client list that includes presidents and Mrs. Rosa Parks herself, this museum is worth a visit.

03 Dynamite Comes in Small Plates by José Andrés

José Andrés, the James Beard Award-winning chef and philanthropist has six restaurants in D.C. Small plates dining became trendy in America thanks to Andrés and his assortment of tapas-style dishes. You're spoilt for choice when it comes to dining out in the capital, but Zaytinya, Andrés's restaurant near the Smithsonian, should be at the top of your list. The menu here comprises mouthwatering Eastern Mediterranean food—think Greek, Lebanese, and Turkish cuisine with delicious breads and spreads.

04 Cover Your Tracks At the International Spy Museum

Do you consider yourself a future James Bond or Sydney Bristow? Whether you're a wannabe secret agent with half-baked, TV-inspired aspirations or a polyglot with serious intent to go undercover for the CIA, you'll enjoy this foray into the world of espionage. The International Spy Museum is a fun time for the whole family, and you'll need about four hours to get the most out of the interactive activities. Your mission will involve deciphering codes and learning mindblowing information about spycraft.

05 Feel Tension Ebb Away at the National Arboretum

Take some snacks along for a picnic and relish the peace and quiet in this immaculate urban green space. Major gardens within the arboretum include the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum, the National Herb Garden, and single-genus collections like the stunning azaleas that burst into color every spring. Non-garden elements serve as an additional feature, with the National Capitol Columns given pride of place. The USDA conducts botanical research at the National Arboretum, and you can learn more at the onsite museum.

06 Be On Your Best Behavior at the FBI Experience

Get some insight into the Federal Bureau of Investigation with a self-guided tour at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C. Learn how domestic intelligence has kept Americans safe for decades and view some of the fascinating artifacts from high-profile criminal cases. To ensure entry to the FBI Experience, you'll have to book a visit a month before showing up at J. Edgar Hoover Building—you have been officially warned.

07 Watch Top Notch Performing Artists at Wolf Trap

A 20-minute drive from the National Mall will leave you at the entrance of Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, where nature meets culture. This venue has much to offer, from an opera company to Children's Theatre-in-the-Woods. Wolf Trap hosts dozens of shows during the summer season, but there are events throughout the year, so check out the organization's website for all the toe-tapping details.

08 Get to Grips With America's Might at the Pentagon

The Pentagon is an iconic structure and one that was forever changed by the events of 9/11. You can discover more about the Department of Defense HQ and its operations on a tour, but you must book two weeks in advance to get a glimpse inside the world's largest office building. Note that these visits are only available to cleared U.S. citizens, and you won't be able to take your mobile phone and similar electronic gadgets onto the premises.

09 Pore Over Pieces at the National Museum of Women in the Arts

Feminists and allies, this one's for you. NMWA is the only major art museum on the planet dedicated to women artists of the past and present. The architecture is impressive, and in 2023, the museum underwent renovations to give visitors an even better experience. The curated works are nuanced, inspirational, and pack a punch, just like their makers.

10 Catch a Game at Nationals Park

If you're in D.C. during the warmer months, head for the Capital Riverfront area. This neighborhood has its fair share of appeal, even if you don't score tickets to a ball game. You can kayak, cool down with a sundae from one of the city's favorite ice cream shops, Ice Cream Jubilee, and grab a drink. On match days, the Riverfront thrums with energy, and that feeling is amplified once you're inside the stadium. The Washington Nationals won the World Series in 2019, so the home team has an expectant fan base. During the fourth inning, the President's Race sees four mascots duke it out to see who on Mt. Rushmore will win the day.

11 Discover the Legacy of the Lincoln Memorial

815411544 BackyardProduction / Getty Images

One of the most famous buildings in Washington, D.C., is the Lincoln Memorial. The larger-than-life statue of Abe Lincoln gets thousands of tourists from around the country and the world. The walls of the building are inscribed with quotes from some of his most famous speeches. The quotes still inspire people to this day. The monument is very popular, so get there early or just before sunset to avoid the crowds.

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12 Adventure Beyond the Gates of The White House

884618936 lucky-photographer / Getty Images

The famous home of the United States President while he is in office. Tours are available for American Citizens of sections of the famous home. International visitors need to apply to join a tour. The surrounding lawns are used for events throughout the year, such as the Easter Egg Hunt and the lighting of a Christmas tree. People often make the observation that the building is smaller than they expect it to be.

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13 Honor our Heroes at the World War II Memorial

488540954 VickyRu / Getty Images

This fairly new memorial was dedicated in 2004 to the more than 400,000 American troops that died during World War Two. The circle of 56 pillars represents the 56 states and territories of the USA. The pillars surround the rainbow pool, and at night the illuminated memorial is beautiful and haunting. The monument may be fairly new, but it is one of the most visited places in the city.

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14 Take in the Majesty of the US Capitol Building

The United States Capitol, often called the Capitol Building, is the home of the United States Congress and the seat of the legislative branch of the U.S. federal government. Washington, United States Itza Villavicencio Urbieta/ Getty Images

Considered to be the most beautiful building in Washington D.C., Tourists can see the politics of the USA in action as both houses of Congress debate and create laws. You can visit the main center on any day, but those wanting to see the galleries will need to contact their house representative. International visitors can only visit the main section due to security restrictions.

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15 Pay Tribute to Vietnam and Korean War Memorials

The Vietnam War Memorial is one of the most poignant memorials of any war—a basic wall with the names of the 58 000 soldiers who died in Vietnam. The soldiers are listed by the date of their death, and few people can visit the site without crying. The Korean memorial shows 19 figures in states of combat. This privately funded memorial remembers the 1.5 million Americans that served in Korea.

16 Meander at the Artistic Gems of the National Gallery of Art

Spend a day looking at the art of the National Gallery of Art. The building is stunning to look at, and many people visit just to look at the architecture. You will find an east and west wing with one dedicated to modern art and one to older works. In the summertime, the museum hosts free jazz evenings.

17 Unveil the Marvels of the Smithsonian Museum

One of the most famous museum collections in the world. The museum is divided into a zoo, an air museum, and a national collection. You can spend days looking through the whole collection. The most famous section is the Castle, and the building is known around the world. The museum still has thousands of items awaiting collection due to the size of the collection.

18 Stroll Along the Serene Tidal Basin

The Tidal Basin serves as a scenic backdrop to some of the best-loved sites in Washington, D.C. The two-mile-long pond is a lovely place to take a walk and enjoy the city's scenery. You will see locals running along the pathways or sitting on a bench taking in the beautiful scenery.

19 Experience the Magic of JFK Center for Performing Arts

This magnificent building serves as a memorial to the late president and as a place for the performing arts in the city. A summer concert season runs every year with performances by the National Orchestra and choirs from around the country. The building serves as home to the Suzanne Farrell Ballet and the Washington National Opera.

20 Discover the Awe-inspiring Beauty of Washington National Cathedral

This is the sixth-largest cathedral in the world, and construction was started on the building in 1907. The cathedral was only finished in 1990, but it is now considered one of the best examples of Gothic architecture in the world. The Gargoyle tour is done between May and September and includes a Darth Vader Gargoyle that was added in 1980.

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