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Historical Things To Do In Dc

See Washington Dc From 10000 Feet In The Air When You Go Skydiving

Dancing in Washington, D.C.

Another great way to see the capital is on the way down from a 10,000-foot jump. Youll also get a great view of the scenic Chesapeake bay.

All thats required is a 30-minute training course prior to taking a heart-pounding 60-second free fall. Then, Once the parachute opens, its a gentle 5-7 minute trip to the ground.

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Places to Visit Close to Washington: If you have time to explore outside the city, there are many easy Day Trips from Washington, D.C., and our page on Top-Rated Weekend Getaways from Washington D.C. can give you plenty of ideas for longer excursions.

Exploring Maryland: There are a number of tourist attractions in Maryland, including those in historic Annapolis and Baltimore with its lively harbor area. The state is also famous for its beaches and oceanfront resorts, many of which are within easy weekend reach from Washington. You can learn more about these on our page Top-Rated Resorts in Maryland.

Discovering Virginia: The District of Columbia lies between two states, and to its south, you can visit attractions in Virginia, including those in the capital city of Richmond. Or you could spend a weekend immersed in colonial history with the help of our page Top Tourist Attractions in Williamsburg & Easy Day Trips.

See The Changing Of The Guard Ceremony At The Arlington National Cemetery

Visit Arlington National Cemetery to see the Changing of the Guard ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The ceremony is held every hour on the hour from Oct. 1-March 31, and every half hour from April 1-Sept. 30. Then, continue your exploration of the countrys largest military cemetery, where you can also visit the gravesite of President John F. Kennedy.


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Visit The National Air & Space Museum

There are two locations of the National Air & Space Museum and both are worth a visit. The main location is on the National Mall near the other Smithsonian museum.

The other location, the Odvar-Hazey Center, is in Dulles, not far from the airport. Both museums display hundreds of the worlds most significant aviation and space artifacts, but the experience differs at each.

Tours you may enjoy:

Relive Lincolns Final Hours On A Lincoln Assassination Walking Tour

13 Absolute Must

For history fans with more morose sensibilities, some walking tours around DC offer a trip through the President Lincolns final day, complete with a final stop at the infamous Ford Theater where he was fatally shot.

The tour also includes looks at old photographs from that time period that will help set the mood. Intrigue and mystery await!

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Go To One Of Dcs Michelin Starred Delights

If you prefer high-class restaurants, the fine dining options in DC are competitive with most major cities in the world. Ranging in type from new American fare to sushi, theres plenty of variety in the Michelin-star world of DC.

Some of the hottest restaurants on the Michelin list are Plume, Roses Luxury, Blue Duck Tavern, and Pineapple & Pearls. For a complete list of the 2018 Michelin star rankings, check out this post.

Where To Stay In Washington Dc For Sightseeing

Pennsylvania Avenue connects the White House and Capitol Building, while alongside it, the National Mall stretches past the Smithsonian museums to the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial. Most of the top tourist attractions are near these, so prime locations center between Capitol Hill and Foggy Bottom, south of Dupont Circle. For a charming historic neighborhood, with public transport to attractions, consider Georgetown. These highly-rated hotels in Washington are handy for visitors:

Luxury Hotels:

  • Also in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood, Hyatt Place Washington DC/Georgetown/West End is almost equidistant from the National Mall and Georgetown . There’s an indoor pool, and breakfast is complimentary.
  • Close to Union Station and a short walk from the Capitol Building and Library of Congress, Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill is near the stop for the free DC Circulator bus, accessing downtown and the National Mall museums and memorials.

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Kenilworth Park Aquatic Gardens Boardwalk

The Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens is a stunning park dedicated to the wetlands around the Anacostia River. With over 4,000 years of history, the area before the arrival of European Settlers was a fantastic ecosystem that supported a variety of life and Indigenous people.

Sadly, as the modern farming practices and the industrial revolution took over the area, trees were cleared and it altered the ecosystem forever.

Today, there are several ponds full of lilies and lotuses that have grown in the ponds for hundreds of years. Use the boardwalks to walk over the marshes that stretch down to the Anacostia River. Along with beautiful flowers, the area is home to a vast number of birds and reptiles.

Address: 1550 Anacostia Ave NE, Washington, DC 20019

Bens Chili Bowl & Mural

Things to do in Washington DC| Smithsonian Natural History Museum | Family Outing in Washington DC

Bens Chili Bowl has been a staple in Washington DC for over 60 years. It is located on U Street, which was historically known as Black Broadway, because it was the entertainment center for African Americans during the time of segregation.

Although the city was segregated, Bens Chilli Bowl lived by the ideology of inclusivity. Everyone was welcome to eat and enjoy their incredible food, such as the famous half-smoked sausage.

The restaurant is so renowned that ten days before his inauguration, Barack Obama ate there. On the side of the building, youll find a stunning mural dedicated to famous and influential black people. The mural is often updated and changed to reflect different people.

Address: 1213 U St NW, Washington, DC 20009

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Tour The National Mall

This is the highlight of most visits to DC.

There are dozens of memorials to visit, but many of the most popular are all on or around the National Mall, including the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, and the Jefferson Memorial .

We cover the memorials on our National Mall and our All in One Walking tours.

If you’d rather go out on your own, we have a self-guided National Mall tour! and a GPS enabled audio tour.

Or if you’re looking for less walking and more hop-on/hop-off style touring, check out our Bus Tour page to find the best bus tour.

Explore The Historic Fish Market

The fish market in DC is a strange attraction to see. Filled with a handful of floating stalls on the waterfront, it looks like it hasnt changed much in a while, boasting decades-old facades and peeling paint. But the charm of the fish market is just how unpretentious it feels vendors are there to sell fish, and sell fish alone.

Each vendor has ice boxes showcasing their catches of the day, and lines here often get very long to buy the cream of the crop. In addition to buying several varieties of fish and shellfish here, there are also stalls that sell meals like gumbo, fried shrimp, etc.

For seafood lovers, this is a unique place in DC thats definitely worth a visit, if even just to see where the magic happens.

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Visit The World War Ii Memorial

Another moving tribute on the National Mall is the World War II Memorial. In the center of the monument is a shallow pool surrounded by 56 pillars one for each of the states and territories of the U.S. that sacrificed soldiers to the war.

On one side is a Freedom wall that has 4,048 gold stars, each representing 100 Americans who died in the war.

Try Out The Exclusive Fbi Experience

10 Historic Things to Do in Washington DC

Editor’s Note: Photo taken from the establishment’s official social account

Set in the national headquarters of the FBI, this tour has become an instant hit since its opening in 2017. Providing the opportunity to explore many exhibits and artifacts, this tour will have you walking in the footsteps of the FBIs history. For those interested in law enforcement and exploring the history of the FBI, this experience is not to be missed! Make sure to plan in advance as you must contact your congressional representative at least four weeks in advance to schedule this experience in a highly secured federal building.

The FBI Experience

The Wharf in DC is a hip new area along the Potomac River with a variety of shops, restaurants, and a concert hall . With a publicly accessible pier, a popular activity is to get a few scoops of ice cream from Ben and Jerrys and sit on one of the many benches. A great location in any weather, at the end of the pier there is a fire pit to keep you warm if it is cold in the evening. Head down to The Wharf for a great time along the Potomac River!

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Visit The Jefferson Memorial

The Jefferson Memorial is a huge presence in DC, along the Potomac River. Its a great place to see the Cherry Blossoms from when they are in bloom, or to have a picnic on a sunny day.

Of course, youll want to hike the stairs for a view of the towering Thomas Jefferson statue that stands in the middle.

Book your Washington DC Guided Night Tour here.

Tips And Tours: How To Make The Most Of Your Visit To Washington Dc

Sightseeing by Day:

  • Washington, D.C. has so many famous sites that it’s difficult to keep track of all there is to see and do. One of the best ways to explore this city is on a classic Big Bus Hop-on Hop-off Tour, seeing the sites from an open-top red bus and getting on and off wherever you choose.

Sightseeing by Night:

  • At night, Washington is transformed as the floodlights are beamed up the monuments, giving them a completely different look from their daytime appearance. The Washington, D.C. Monuments by Moonlight Night Trolley Tour is a 2.5- hour guided tour that provides an easy way to see the city at night.

Sightseeing by Bicycle:

  • Active travelers will enjoy the Washington D.C. Monuments Bike Tour to visit the Washington Monument, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, and Jefferson Memorial on a three-hour ride. Hybrid bikes and the relatively level terrain make this suitable even for those who are not avid cyclists. As many places to visit have security checkpoints and do not allow backpacks, it is wise to carry as little as possible while touring.

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Learn About The Fascinating History Of Aviation At The Smithsonian National Museum Of Air & Space

If youre a fan of aviation and engineering, then you must check out the Smithsonian National Museum of Air & Space.

At any given time there are countless fascinating exhibitions on display ranging from WWII German bombers all the way to the invention of the balloon.

If youd like to get a taste of what the museum is like, they virtual activities through their website.

Sit Back At A Locally

(5) Places You DON’T Want to Overlook In Washington DC! FREE Tourist Attractions!

DCs coffee scene is fabulous, and this is coming from someone who spends a LOT of time in coffee shops working onahemthis site. You can head to a city favorite like Compass, Peregrine, or La Colombe, or go to a one-off tea shop like Calabash in Shaw.

If you dont want to decide between your coffee brews and your cocktails, check out Tryst in Adams Morgan, which serves coffee, tea, AND cocktails behind their bar. Why choose if you can have both?

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Another Unique Dc Thing To Do

Admittedly, this isn’t an attraction or tour, but for many people, a visit to DC offers a rare chance to ride a world-class subway.

DC has a well-connected public transportation system and difficult to understand parking regulations.

For this reason, it is best to park your car for the day in a garage, at your hotel, or even at one of the suburban Metro stations and use public transportation to get around the city.

Head To A Show Or Concert

Because Washington DC is so centrally located, many artists that are making the rounds in the US stop here. As a result, you can see basically any artist you love at some point in this city.

Venues range from giant stadiums, like the Verizon Center or the 9:30 Club, to smaller, more intimate spaces, like Sixth and I Synagogue. Here is a regularly updated list of upcoming shows in DC.

If fine arts is more your thing, check out the listings for touring Broadway plays, National Symphony concerts, or ballet shows. Many of these take place at the iconic Kennedy Center, right on the river. Others are hosted around the city at various venues.

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Snap A Couple Of Pictures At The Washington Monument

The Washington Monument may look like a simple giant obelisk, but its so much more than that.

Its a meeting spot, a photo opportunity, and its surrounded by other historical monuments as well as the scenic Potomac Canal.

A day tour through the gorgeous, history-soaked capital with the Washington Monument as the centerpiece is the perfect way to introduce yourself to DC.

National Museum Of American History

Tourist Attractions in Washington DC

The National Museum of American History features the best of American memorabilia.

They collect and care for objects that represent the experience of the American people.

The most popular exhibit is the Star-Spangled Banner, the flag that inspired Americas national anthem.

Another popular exhibit is the dresses worn by Americas first ladies.

Other artifacts include Lincolns top hat and the ruby slippers from the Wizard of Oz.

For visitors who want a closer look, theres a private tour available for $79.50

Included are a personal private guide and a 2.5-hour in-depth tour of the museum.

Other bus and sightseeing tours are available starting at $36.

  • Opening Hours: Daily 10am-5:30pm

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Gettysburg National Military Park

A pivotal scene of American history took place on the fields of what is now Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania, about 82 miles from Washington, D.C. The three-day Battle of Gettysburg, fought on July 1st – 3rd in 1863, was the most decisive moment in the Civil War, with heavy casualties that set back the Confederate side and changed the course of the war in favor of the North.

It’s best to begin a visit at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and then explore the monuments and memorials on the 6,000-acre battlefield. The museum provides historical background on how the war started and details of events of the three-day battle, as well as explaining the results of the war. Exhibits present thematic topics such as “Causes of War from 1776 to 1861” and “Aftermath of the Battle.”

A highlight of the museum is the Battle of Gettysburg Cyclorama painted in the late 1880s by the French artist Paul Philippoteaux.

The Museum & Visitor Center at the Gettysburg National Military Park has a bookshop and a café. The Museum & Visitor Center is also the starting point for guided tours of the battlefields. Guided tour options include a Battlefield Car Tour and a Battlefield Bus Tour, both led by licensed battlefield guides. The private company, GettysBike Tours, offers bicycle tours led by Licensed Battlefield Guides.

Learn About The Holocaust So That It Never Happens Again At The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

The best way to prevent one of the worst moments in human history from ever happening again is but learning about it.

The Holocaust Memorial Museum in DC displays photos, films, and artifacts, as well as offering academic research and resources to get involved.

There are also ways to connect with survivors and days of remembrance are offered to pay respect to the dead.

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Take A Boat Tour Of The National Harbor

The Potomac River in DC is as scenic a body of water as they come and it offers an excellent view of some of Washingtons most important landmarks including National Harbor, Jones Point Lighthouse, Mount Vernon, Fort Washington, and Little Hunting Creek.

Take a self-guided boat tour past all of these locations and more, and enjoy the additional benefit of the local wildlife, which includes bald eagles. It doesnt get much more U.S.A. than that!

Monticello: Thomas Jefferson’s Neoclassical Mansion

Things to Do in Washington, D.C. | Historic Anacostia Neighborhood Tour

In the lovely Virginia countryside, Monticello is a Neoclassical architectural masterpiece constructed between 1769 and 1784 for Thomas Jefferson. The 11,000-square-foot house features 43 rooms, including the private quarters that were used by Jefferson’s family and the grand reception rooms, such as the Parlor, where social gatherings and dances took place.

The most iconic room in Monticello is the majestic Dome Room, with an inspiring domed ceiling, circular windows, and an oculus skylight reminiscent of the Pantheon in Rome.

The entire building is surrounded by gardens, orchards, farmland, and an 18-acre ornamental forest. The floral gardens include oval flower beds that feature specific varieties and a winding walkway, inspired by romantic English gardens, bordered with an abundance of lush, colorful blossoms.

Visitors may choose from several different guided tour options: a tour of the house and gardens, a “behind-the-scenes” tour of the family quarters and the servants area, or an “after-hours” tour in the early evening after the regular closing time.

Address: 931 Thomas Jefferson Parkway, Charlottesville, Virginia

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