Besides being the capital of the United States and the seat of political power in the country, Washington, D.C., is a gorgeous, storied town with a lot to offer the curious traveler. Whether you’re from the area, or you’re just popping by for a visit, the city is full of incredible sites, landmarks, and attractions that you won’t want to miss. From the buildings where the biggest decisions in the free world are made daily, to commemorative monuments that remind us of our history as a nation, everyone should make a point of getting to The District at least once in their life. If you’re only in town for a short while and you’re not sure where to start, don’t sweat — we’ve got you covered with this short list of the best Washington, D.C., tourist attractions. From ball games and a massive “mall” to gorgeous vistas, incredible museums, and much, much more, there’s something in the nation’s capital for everyone.

National Pastime in the Nation’s Capital

Nationals ParkWashington DC has some of the most passionate sports fans in the country and catching a ball game at Nationals Stadium is a great way to spend a sunny day in town. Baseball games are perfect for the whole family since you don’t even have to be a fan to enjoy them! (We can practically smell the beer and hot dogs as we speak!) Pro Tip: After the game’s over — and hopefully the Nationals won! — pop across the way to Silver Diner for some delicious bites and drinks.

Washington, D.C., Sightseeing Tour

City Cruises Washington, D.C.

In the mood to see the city from a different perspective? Head out on the water on the Monuments Sightseeing Tour From Alexandria and Georgetown. While aboard the cruise, you’ll see the famous monuments of Washington, D.C., as you travel along the Potomac River, with stunning reflective views of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Washington Monument, the Arlington Memorial Bridge, and more. Plus, the whole trip is narrated by an expert, so you’ll learn a bit while you have fun, too!

Washington, DC Bottomless Mimosa Brunch Cruise

Treat yourself and your family and friends to a Signature Brunch Cruise on the Potomac River while giving yourself a little downtime to relax and unwind while taking in scenic Potomac River views. While onboard, enjoy a brunch buffet, unlimited mimosas, a fully stocked cash bar, onboard entertainment, and some of Washington, DC’s most incredible views of Iconic sights. Dine and dance from climate-controlled interiors, or soak in the picturesque backdrop from our outdoor decks as you plan your visit to sights in Washington, DC that cannot be missed.

National Mall

The Lincoln MemorialDon’t worry: You won’t find any Macy’s or Sears at the National Mall! Instead, you’ll see breathtaking scenery, more National Landmarks than you can count, and plenty of food trucks, drink stands, and frozen treat vendors. While strolling the National Mall, you’ll see a number of American monuments and historic buildings, including the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, the United States Capitol, the Jefferson Memorial, the Constitution Gardens, and more. Plus, if you make the trip during the early spring, you can even catch the world-famous cherry blossoms blooming near the Tidal Basin!

A Cruise to Mount Vernon

If you’re looking for a truly American experience, you can’t go wrong with a Mount Vernon from DC cruise. Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1960 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, allowing folks to visit Mount Vernon is a 200-year-old tradition started by George Washington himself. As the only round-trip Mount Vernon cruise direct from Washington, D.C., the cruise includes admission to Mount Vernon with three hours to explore the estate and gardens. You’ll also enjoy a narrated riverfront tour as you pass both historic and modern landmarks, such as Alexandria, the Ronald Reagan Airport, and Fort Washington.

George Washington's home in Mount Vernon

Top Washington, D.C., Museum

If you’re into history, aviation, or sweet spaceships (who isn’t?) you won’t want to miss out on the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. You and your guests will love checking out early plane models, artifacts that took humans to new heights (literally), and out-of-this-world space exhibits. And, if it’s a hot one, you can all enjoy the air conditioning as you walk through the fascinating galleries, take in the planetarium, and visit the museum store and in-house cafe. Plus, kids love it, so it’s fun for the whole family!

Washington, DC, is a huge tourist destination for museumgoers and The Smithsonian operates more than 20 museums to check out in the area with something of interest to everyone in your group.

Home to some of the best tourist spots around, Washington DC has some main attractions to visit such as; the White House and the U.S. Capitol as well as monuments and historic sites dedicated to notable figures who had a great impact on our nation’s history.

If you’re looking to cap off a day in Washington, D.C., with some drinks and delicious food, you can’t beat the Navy Yard. As one of the liveliest neighborhoods in town, you’ll be able to pop into a slew of riverfront bars and restaurants — and you’ll have earned it, since you’ll have likely worked up a sizable appetite strolling the National Mall! We recommend stopping by Chicken + Whiskey for some (you guessed it) delicious Peruvian rotisserie chicken and an incredible selection of spirits — or pop into the Side Door for some incredible pizza.

Washington, DC is a treasure trove of iconic sights and experiences. Its cultural history and centuries-old monuments and landmarks make it an exciting and eclectic destination. Vibrant neighborhoods, museums aplenty, dining cruises, and baseball make it one of the most exciting tourist spots to soak it all in!

FAQs – DC Tourist Attractions (2024 & 2025)

What is the best time to visit Washington, D.C.?
The city is a year-round destination, but the cherry blossom season, typically from late March to early April, offers a particularly beautiful setting. Summer brings festivals and outdoor concerts, making it a lively time to visit​​.

Which attractions are a must-see in Washington, D.C.?
Key landmarks include the White House, the Washington Monument, and the National Air and Space Museum. The White House requires advance booking for tours, while the Washington Monument and the National Air and Space Museum are known for their historical significance and interactive exhibits​​.

Is it recommended to visit the Lincoln Memorial at night?
Yes, visiting the Lincoln Memorial at night is highly recommended due to the stunning illumination of the monument, which offers a different experience compared to daytime​​.

Are there affordable dining options in Washington, D.C.?
Yes, the city offers a variety of cheap dining options that serve delicious dishes, including places like Baan Thai and Ben’s Chili Bowl​​.

What are some budget-friendly hotels in Washington, D.C.?
Options for budget-friendly accommodations include the Hampton Inn Washington DC NoMa Union Station among others, providing good value for visitors​​.

How can tourists get around Washington, D.C.?
The city has an extensive public transportation system, including metro, buses, and taxis. Staying near a metro station is convenient for traveling between attractions​​.

Does Washington, D.C., have a good nightlife?
Yes, the city offers a vibrant nightlife with various clubs and bars, especially in neighborhoods like Adams Morgan and Dupont Circle​​.

What activities are there for families in Washington, D.C.?
The city is family-friendly, offering attractions like the Smithsonian National Zoological Park and the International Spy Museum, which are suitable for all ages​​.

What are some nearby day trip options from Washington, D.C.?
Nearby towns such as Baltimore and Rosedale in Maryland are great for day trips, offering a quick getaway with different scenery​​.

Can Washington, D.C. be fully experienced over a weekend?
Yes, a weekend is sufficient to explore major attractions like the White House, various memorials, and museums, and even enjoy the city’s nightlife​​.

When is the cherry blossom season in Washington, D.C.?
The cherry blossom peak bloom varies but is typically between late March and early April, making it a spectacular time to visit the city​​.

What types of cruises are available in Washington, D.C.?
City Cruises in Washington, D.C., offers a variety of cruises including Mount Vernon cruises, sightseeing tours, brunch cruises, and dinner cruises. Each cruise provides a unique way to experience the city’s landmarks from the Potomac River​​.

Can I book a private charter with City Cruises in D.C.?
Yes, private boat charters are available for various events, including corporate gatherings, weddings, and party cruises. These private charters offer a personalized experience on the water with stunning views of Washington, D.C.​​.

What landmarks can I see on a Washington, D.C. City Cruise?
On a City Cruise in D.C., you can see iconic landmarks such as the Washington Monument, U.S. Capitol, Lincoln Memorial, and more. These cruises offer a scenic and informative way to view the city’s historical sites​​.

Are there dining options available on the cruises?
Yes, City Cruises in Washington, D.C., provides dining options on their brunch and dinner cruises. Guests can enjoy a meal while taking in the views of the city from the Potomac River​​.

How can I book a City Cruise in Washington, D.C.?
Booking can be done directly through the City Cruises website. It’s recommended to book in advance to ensure availability, especially for popular times and special events​​.

Is there a dress code for the cruises?
While specific dress codes may vary depending on the type of cruise, most dinner and brunch cruises recommend smart casual attire. It’s always a good idea to check the specific requirements for your chosen cruise when booking​​.

What is the duration of a typical City Cruise in D.C.?
Cruise durations can vary, with sightseeing tours generally being shorter and dining cruises lasting longer to allow for a relaxed meal. Exact times can be found on the City Cruises website for each type of cruise​​.


Original post date: May 17, 2023