Things to do in
Washington, DC

The US capital offers up plenty of famed monuments and museums for your touring pleasure.

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Our most recommended things to do in Washington, DC

Washington DC: 1-2-Day Hop-On Hop-Off City Sights Bus Tour

1. Washington DC: 1-2-Day Hop-On Hop-Off City Sights Bus Tour

Visit iconic and historic landmarks in Washington, DC and enjoy sweeping views from open-top buses. Take advantage of the freedom to explore and hop on and hop off at any and all stops on the 2 routes around the city. The Red Loop, the official tour of the National Mall, visits historic sites and landmarks including the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, US Capitol, and much more. Ready to shop and learn more about the history in Washington, DC? The Blue Loop will transport you across the Potomac to visit Arlington Cemetery and through the history (and to the shops and restaurants) of the beautiful Georgetown. Only a short stay in Washington, DC? The Classic Iconic Washington, DC Landmarks by Day ticket provides you 1-day hop-on, hop-off access with 1-hour free bike rental. Staying a little longer? Choose between the Premium or Deluxe Iconic Washington, DC Landmarks by Day tickets. Both provide you 2-day hop-on, hop-off access to all Big Bus Tour loops. With your Deluxe ticket, enjoy your unlimited 2-day hop-on hop-off access of Big Bus' Tour around the National Mall. With this ticket you'll also get a 90-minute panoramic night tour which allows you to see the beautiful landmarks illuminated at night.

Washington, DC: ARTECHOUSE Immersive Art Experience Ticket

2. Washington, DC: ARTECHOUSE Immersive Art Experience Ticket

Pre-book your entry ticket to ARTECHOUSE DC and immerse yourself in multi-sensory digital art. Augment your experience by downloading the complimentary ARTECHOUSE XR app which brings virtual art to life. ARTECHOUSE DC was the first ARTECHOUSE location to open. Located just off the National Mall and nearby Smithsonian museums, ARTECHOUSE DC brings a new kind of art experience to the nation’s capital. Experience the nation’s first multi-sensory innovative art destination with evolving immersive exhibits by artists who intersect art, science, and technology. See experiential large-scale installations and witness creative innovation without limits in unique art spaces designed for curiosity-seekers of all ages. You can also enjoy a cocktail, beer, or wine at the ARTECHOUSE Extended Reality Bar located inside the exhibit space. Powered by the ARTECHOUSE app, the XR Bar features a menu of exclusive cocktails inspired by the current exhibition, which also come to life in extended reality through the app. Download the ARTECHOUSE XR App (download information found in your confirmation voucher) and use it to enrich your experience while exploring the digital playgrounds. Staff is on-hand to explain the uses of the app during your visit. Pixelbloom: Jump into a Cherry Blossom Metaverse (March 11 – May 30, 2022): Part of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, this exhibit merges the digital and physical worlds in a one-of-a-kind dynamic experience inspired by nature’s beauty. With floor-to-wall surround projection and a spatialized audio system, it breathes new life into cherry blossoms in peak bloom through an explosion of vibrant colors and textures, intensifying the cherry blossoms’ allure in a way that is only possible in a virtual environment.  

National Harbor: The Capital Wheel Flexible Date Ticket

3. National Harbor: The Capital Wheel Flexible Date Ticket

The Capital Wheel is located just minutes from downtown Washington DC, at the National Harbor. Relax inside a fully enclosed, climate-controlled gondola with family and friends as you soar 180-feet above the Potomac River. With each gradual rotation, experience a bird’s eye view of the Washington Monument, Capitol Rotunda, Masonic Temple of Alexandria, and much more. Every spin offers a unique way to take in the sights. Admire a breathtaking sunset or capture a photo in front of the dancing light show that illuminates The Capital Wheel every evening. The National Harbor is the perfect one-stop destination offering great restaurants, shops, hotels, and outdoor fun. You can enjoy a drink from the Flight Deck located directly under The Capital Wheel while you unwind by the water’s edge.

Washington DC:Gourmet Brunch or Dinner Cruise on the Odyssey

4. Washington DC:Gourmet Brunch or Dinner Cruise on the Odyssey

Cruise on the Potomac River and see the sights of Washington DC from a luxury boat, The Odyssey. Board the boat and enjoy a personal greeting. Smile for the ship's photographer to capture the memory, then embark on an elegant dining cruise along the Washington DC shoreline. After being seated at your private table, tuck into your gourmet brunch or 3-course dinner consisting of creative meals prepared fresh daily by the on-board executive chef. After your meal or relax on any of the 3 climate-controlled decks as you watch the monuments glide by. Sample Dinner Menu Starters (choice of one): Caesar Salad Buttermilk Caesar Dressing | Shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese | Herb Croutons | Italian Parsley Lobster Soup Brioche Croutons | Scallions Main Course (choice of one): Jumbo Forest Mushroom Ravioli Spanish Red Lentils & Sage | Arugula | Shallots | Toasted Walnuts | Basil Pesto Oven Roasted Frenched Chicken Breast with Rosemary & Thyme Warm Yukon Gold Potato Salad with Scallions | Haricot Verts | Creamy Cremini Mushroom Sauce Broiled Fresh Salmon Filet Roasted Yukon Potatoes | Steamed Bok Choi | Creamy Vegetable & Fresh Herbs Sauce Braised Beef Short Rib Idaho Potato & Horseradish Mash | Baby Carrots | Pearl Onions & English Peas | Cabernet Sauvignon Sauce Pan-Seared Fresh Pacific Cod Baby Spinach & Potato Mash | Steamed Rock Shrimp | Lemon Beurre Blanc Sauce Desserts (choice of one): New York Style Cheesecake Strawberry Compote Triple Chocolate Mud Pie Orange & Ginger Preservatives Duo of Sorbet Seasonal Sorbet | Fresh Fruit Freshly Cut Fruit and Fresh Strawberries Madagascar Vanilla & Orange Sauce | Fresh Mint Odyssey Signature Warm Butter Cake Vanilla Bean Ice Cream | Blackberry Sauce Menu items are subject to change.

Washington DC: Monuments by Moonlight Nighttime Trolley Tour

5. Washington DC: Monuments by Moonlight Nighttime Trolley Tour

See the most popular monuments of the U. S. capital illuminated at night on a 2.5-hour trolley tour! The route follows streets that have been traveled by presidents and make stops at the Lincoln Memorial, the Martin Luther King Memorial, and the World War II Memorial A professional tour guide will entertain and inform you with stories about the Capitol’s colorful past. You’ll hear tales about the curse of the Hope Diamond and the restless spirits who make the city their home. You’ll also hear about the Medal of Honor winner whose leg was amputated. He donated the leg to a museum and would frequently go to the museum to visit it! Trolley stops:  • FDR Memorial  • Lincoln Memorial  • Vietnam Veteran Memorial  • Korean War Memorial  • Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial  • World War II Memorial Washington turns into a very different place after dark, and with the Monuments, by Moonlight tour you’ll see the city in just the right light!

Washington DC: Museum of the Bible Exclusive Early Admission

6. Washington DC: Museum of the Bible Exclusive Early Admission

Steps from the National Mall, the Museum of the Bible is an innovative, global, and educational institution with the purpose to invite all people to engage with the Bible. Showcasing rare and fascinating artifacts spanning 3,500 years of history, the museum offers visitors an immersive and personalized experience with the Bible, and its ongoing impact on the world. Admission includes access to 7 floors of informative and interactive displays and exhibits including a 12-minute film immersing viewers in the remarkable story of how the followers of Jesus grew into a thriving community and a 30-minute Hebrew Bible experience, where viewers encounter significant narratives including the stories of Noah's ark, the burning bush, and the Passover. This ticket allows you to explore the museum without the crowds with exclusive early access to the Museum from 9 AM, 1 hour before the Museum is open to the General Public at 10 AM (except on Sundays, when there is no Early Access). You also have the option to upgrade your ticket to include the 6-minute “Washington Revelations” Flight Simulator video. Take a dazzling, multi-sensory tour, "flying" past biblical references in and around Washington, D.C., from the Lincoln Memorial to the Library of Congress. Guests must be at least 42” in height to purchase this option.

Washington, DC: Full-Day Tour with a Scenic River Cruise

7. Washington, DC: Full-Day Tour with a Scenic River Cruise

Discover all the delights of Washington DC with this day-tour around the city, hitting hotspots such as the White House, the U.S. Capitol Building, and the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. Board your glamourous, climate-controlled, panoramic bus at the U.S. Navy Memorial. Head to all the major highlights of regular sightseeing tours and enjoy a lunch break and an opportunity to travel through the Tidal Basin. Learn about some of the most fascinating landmarks in the USA, including the White House, U.S. Capitol Building, and National Archives, plus breathtaking memorials of Thomas Jefferson and Franklin Roosevelt. After lunch, summer brings the opportunity for a boat ride through Georgetown and the DC Waterfront. In winter, this Washington bus tour culminates with a visit to the Pentagon and several more fascinating war memorials. During your tour learn from your live tour guide who hops off the bus with you to ensure you receive an intimate and personalized experience of each attraction.  Your guide will educate you on the important details of each monument. From March through September, take in the fresh air on a scenic 1-hour cruise along the Potomac River. The full itinerary of this tour includes: • Jefferson Memorial • U.S. Capitol Building • FDR Memorial • World War II Memorial • Iwo Jima Memorial • Vietnam Memorial • Martin Luther King Memorial • Lincoln Memorial • White House • Korean War Memorial

Washington DC: Buffet Lunch or Dinner Cruise on the Spirit

8. Washington DC: Buffet Lunch or Dinner Cruise on the Spirit

See the sights of Washington DC from onboard the Spirit of Washington with a 2-hour lunch or 2.5-hour dinner cruise on the Potomac River. Enjoy a buffet dining experience as you sail, and delight in panoramic views. Board your vessel and receive a personal greeting. Have your photo taken by the ship's photographer to capture the memory before being seated at your private table. Once there, gorge on your lunch or dinner buffet consisting of creative entrees prepared fresh daily and listen to the onboard music. After your meal, visit any of the three climate-controlled decks as you glide by the sights.

Washington, DC: National Archives - Guided Museum Tour

9. Washington, DC: National Archives - Guided Museum Tour

Your local English speaking guide will not only be an expert on the archives, but will also share a mix of historical & political information, background stories and surprising details with you. Tour highlights: • The National Archives Rotunda to learn about the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution while standing in front of the perfectly-preserved documents from the 17th and 18th centuries • The Bill of Rights and the Federalist Papers featuring the signatures of world-famous statesmen like Alexander Hamilton • The Public Vaults Exhibits, where letters written by presidents including George Washington and John F. Kennedy are on display • The Emancipation Proclamation, which helped end slavery in the 19th century • A citation issued to civil rights activist Rosa Parks, illustrates how long these racial issues lasted • In the Rubenstein Gallery, examine even older documents like the Magna Carta of 1297 With over half a million artifacts at the National Archives, you’ll be thankful to your passionate, and engaging guide for navigating you, bringing a personal touch to each tour, adding own favorite anecdotes and tips along the way.

Washington, DC: International Spy Museum Voucher For Entry

10. Washington, DC: International Spy Museum Voucher For Entry

Visit Washington DC's International Spy Museum and test your spy skills on missions that explore the mysterious world of espionage. Exchange your voucher onsite for a timed entry (dependent on museum availability) and view the largest collection of international espionage artifacts ever placed on public display. During periods of heavy volume, guests may not have access or may receive a timed entry for a later date and/or time. The International Spy Museum is the only public museum in the world to provide a global perspective on the vital role intelligence has played throughout world history and continues to play today. Take a shot at code-cracking, think like an analyst, and learn how key decision-makers use intelligence around the globe. Situated two blocks from the National Mall and The Wharf, discover the newly-reopened facility features completely-reimagined exhibits and never before seen artifacts. Visitors are invited to step into the shoes of a spy and test their spy skills through state-of-the-art interactive and immersive RFID technology.

Frequently asked questions about Washington, DC

What top attractions are a must-see in Washington, DC?

Planning Your Visit

  • White House Tickets

    Make a reservation through your congressional office up to six months in advance and no less than 21 days. The self-guided tour takes place Tuesdays - Thursdays from 7:30AM to 11:00AM; Fridays from 7:30AM to 12:00PM; Saturdays from 7:30AM to 1:00PM. You must bring your government-issued identification on the day of the tour. Non-US citizens must contact their embassy in Washington DC for assistance. Admission is free.

  • US Capitol Tickets

    It's recommended to book the free, 90-minute tour well in advance either through your senator's or representative's office. You can also make a reservation online yourself. The Visitors' Center is open Monday through Saturday from 8:30AM to 4:30PM. Admission is free.

  • Washington Monument Tickets

    Due to the limited number of visitors allowed each day, tickets are issued on a first-come, first-served basis. You can either pick up your tickets at the Washington Monument Lodge on 15th Street or reserve your ticket in advance online for a fee of $1.50 per ticket. Every ticket indicates a specific entry time. Opening hours are daily from 9:00AM to 10:00PM (Memorial Day through Labor Day), otherwise from 9:00AM to 5:00PM. Admission is free.

  • What else is for free?

    It's free to visit the memorials, the Smithsonian Museums, and the National Zoo. Admission is also free to enter the US National Archives, but it's advised that you make a reservation in advance at a fee of $1.50 per ticket.

Good to know

  • Language
    English
  • Currency
    USD ($)
  • Time Zone
    UTC (-05:00)
  • Country Code
    +1
  • Best time to visit
    Spring - it's just getting warmer and it may not be as crowded as the summer!

Other Sightseeing Options in Washington, DC

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What people are saying about Washington, DC

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 6,986 reviews

Excellent tour!! Peter was personable, professional and knowledgeable. My elderly parents were visiting from Illinois and Peter was especially patient and kind. The tour was just the right amount of time and we received a very thorough and comprehensive tour. Thank you Peter! You help to make our day!

The guide was knowledgeable, professional and kind. I enjoyed the pace of the guided tour and how specific highlights of the collection were shared. This allows you to choose what you wish to visit for a more in-depth look.

Loved the ride and spectacular viewsVery safe and 15 minute ride to enjoy all encompassing city views,Buy the souvenir pic with the wheel in the background, makes for a nice memory.

Very well done. Navigation takes some getting used to at first, but then you find your way around. I would do it again and again!

This was the best guided tour I have ever done in DC! I highly recommend