Washington DC attractions offer something for every interest. In this exciting place, you'll find a world-class collection of museums, thriving theaters, and a unique grouping of national monuments and memorials. If you're planning a vacation around the Washington DC major attractions, be prepared to see some amazing sights and connect with American history along the way.
When you're talking about the Washington DC major attractions, you can't go wrong starting with the monuments and memorials clustered around the National Mall. This collection of monuments honors America's presidents and soldiers, who made major sacrifices for their country. Surely the tallest and arguably the most famous of the Washington DC attractions is the Washington Monument, which offers some amazing views from high above Washington. A short walk along the Tidal Basin will lead you to the Lincoln Memorial, where you can climb the stairs and see the statue of a seated and thoughtful president up close.
Several other popular Washington DC tourist attractions can be reached within a few more minutes of walking, including the National War II Memorial and the Jefferson Memorial. All of these monuments are free to visit and you don't have to plan ahead to visit. The only exception is the Washington Monument—it's still free, but you do need to pick up tickets if you want to see the views from the top.
The list of Washington DC tourist attractions also includes the many museums (and a zoo) of the Smithsonian Institution. This collection of amazing museums has been nicknamed America's Attic, and for good reason. The various museums display a tiny percentage of the collection that numbers in the billions. As you visit the various museums—also free to visit—you'll have the chance to see the actual Star-Spangled Banner, learn just how big the space shuttle really is, and view treasured works of art.
If you're wondering where to get started or you want to formulate a plan for visiting these Washington DC attractions, you should make your way to the Smithsonian Castle. A visitor center and attraction in its own right, the castle offers an array of details about the various museums as well as a video narrated by Ben Stiller, of Night at the Museum fame. You also can find out about the various tours that depart throughout the day, a fun way to see the attractions in a whole new light.
Other top attractions are connected to the Federal Government. The Library of Congress and National Archives both have intriguing exhibits honoring the heritage of the country. The Capitol Visitor Center, which opened in 2008, quickly became one of the most popular attractions in town. Here, you'll have the chance to watch the House of Representatives at work, meander through the exhibits, and grab a meal. The White House is also open to tours, as long as advance reservations have been made through your Congressperson. You also can drop by the visitor center without notice, which is a great way to learn more about the president's home at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Beyond the museums and monuments, the city supports a thriving theater scene. The Kennedy Center, one of the most visited Washington DC tourist attractions, hosts a full schedule of shows and special events. Throughout the year, people flock to this elegant theater to watch Broadway-style shows, operas, and other stage shows. The theater scene also includes edgy, experimental theaters and family-friendly matinees, meaning no matter your age or taste, you'll have the chance to see something amazing on stage.
If sports are more your scene, you'll find Washington DC major attractions that fit the bill. The Verizon Center welcomes sports fans throughout the year for NBA, WNBA, and NHL games, as well as Georgetown Hoyas college basketball. The Redskins play football at RFK Stadium in the fall and winter. When the weather's warm, you can join with others fans to watch the Nationals play baseball in America's capital city.