Washington DC Attractions

The bustling and exciting city of Washington DC contains a multitude of must-see attractions, including the iconic statues, buildings, and museums that have become synonymous with Washington DC and have made regular appearances in TV shows and movies.

The National Mall, lined with important landmarks, museums, and monuments, is the best place to start. Iconic attractions along this stately stretch include the Washington Monument, the White House, the Capitol Building, and The Lincoln Memorial, all musts for history and politics buffs. Another world-renowned site in this area is the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, a thought provoking and hugely worthwhile exhibition. Culture lovers will enjoy the National Gallery of Art and kids of all ages will love the International Spy Museum. Another popular attraction on any tour of Washington DC is a drive along Embassy Row.

On sunny days, the National Zoo is a great kids' activity in Washington DC, with rare giant pandas that make a visit particularly memorable. The city's many parks and gardens are also great for running off excess energy and enjoying the beautiful weather in spring and autumn. Children will love the cotton-candy pink Cherry Blossom trees in the Tidal Basin each April.

Visitors intent on lots of sightseeing should purchase the Washington DC Explorer Pass, which entitles the bearer to admission to many of the top Washington DC attractions at reduced rates. However, many of the best things to see in Washington DC, including the Smithsonian Museums, the National Archives, and Ford's Theatre, are free to the public, making sightseeing in Washington DC a very affordable activity.



The Washington Mall

National Mall

Extending for more than two miles (3km), from the US Capitol to the Potomac River, the tree-lined grassy strip known as the National Mall is the central hub of tourist activity in Washington DC, containing many of the city's most famous attractions. It...  see full details



US Capitol, Washington DC

US Capitol

Situated on the top of Capitol Hill, with its giant white dome visible from all over the city, is the US Capitol, the heart of US government and Washington DC's most prominent landmark. It is one of the city's top tourist attractions, as...  see full details



White House

White House

The White House has been the private residence and administrative headquarters of every President of the United States since 1800. Today an American flag flies over the house whenever the president is in residence. Situated at the edge of the National Mall, the...  see full details



Washington Monument

Washington Monument

In recognition of his leadership in the fight for American independence, the Washington Monument was built to commemorate the 'Father of the Nation' and the first president of the United States, George Washington. As the tallest structure in the city, situated at the...  see full details



Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln Memorial

The grandiose Lincoln Memorial is a tribute to the 16th US president, who preserved the Union during the Civil War and ended slavery. It also serves as a Civil War memorial, symbolising the ideas of Freedom and American Democracy. The classical architecture modelled on...  see full details



J. Edgar Hoover Building

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Officially named the J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building, after its notorious long-time director, this rather ugly concrete structure is headquarters of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The FBI Experience, a self-guided tour, is open to the public and explores the Bureau's past and current...  see full details



The International Spy Museum, Washington DC

International Spy Museum

One of Washington's newest museums, the International Spy Museum features the largest collection of publicly displayed international espionage artefacts in the world. It is the result of years of planning and advice by former officials of the CIA, FBI, and KGB, as well...  see full details



National Museum of American History

Smithsonian Institution

Nicknamed the nation's attic, the Smithsonian Institution is one of the world's finest research centres, incorporating 19 excellent museums, nine research centres, and a zoo spread over Washington DC, New York, Virginia, and Panama. Most of the museums are located in Washington DC....  see full details



National Gallery of Art

National Gallery of Art

Two buildings, the West and East Wings, make up the visually stunning National Gallery of Art that is the most popular art museum in North America. Together they house one of the world's leading collections of Western paintings, prints, photographs, graphics, and sculptures...  see full details



Tower of Faces, Holocaust Memorial Museum

US Holocaust Memorial Museum

A living memorial to the Holocaust, the US Holocaust Memorial Museum hauntingly commemorates the abuse and murder of millions of Jews by the Nazis between 1933 and 1945. The permanent exhibition is divided into three floors, starting with the Nazi occupation of Poland,...  see full details



Ford Theatre, Washington DC

Ford’s Theatre

On April 14th, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated while watching a performance at Ford's Theatre in Washington, DC. His killer, an actor named John Wilkes Booth who sympathised with the Confederates in the ongoing Civil War, then jumped to the stage and shouted...  see full details



National Archives

National Archives

While looking at historical papers may sound dull compared to some of Washington DC's more 'fun' museums, the National Archives is one of the most popular attractions in the city, housing priceless documents from US history, including the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of...  see full details



Washington National Cathedral

Washington National Cathedral

One of the largest cathedrals in the US, the Washington National Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, is a magnificent Neogothic structure standing 301 feet (91m) tall. The interior of the cathedral is just as grand,...  see full details



Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Kennedy Center

One of the most prestigious performing arts centres in the US, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is also its busiest, hosting roughly 2,000 performances each year for an audience totalling nearly two million people in its eight separate performance...  see full details



National Zoo

National Zoo

The Smithsonian National Zoological Park, commonly known as the National Zoo, is a wonderful attraction for families on holiday in Washington DC. As part of the Smithsonian Institution, the zoo has no entry fee and offers visitors the chance to explore 163 acres...  see full details