15 Things To Do in Washington DC
Washington DC-- the capital of the United States of America and a name associated with power, liberty and freedom. It’s a city full of intrigue, history and cultural significance. Named after George Washington, America’s first president and a founding father of the USA, Washington DC was founded in 1790 to house the newly formed United Stated government after the Revolutionary War. Today it stands as a beacon of freedom and remains America’s national capital, and has become a bustling metropolis full of culture, art, history and entertainment.
We recently partnered with Travel Mindset and Sofitel Washington DC in the capital city to explore all that this amazing destination has to offer. DC is a clean, safe, walkable city, and is the perfect size for a long weekend trip. We spent 3 nights at the Sofitel Washington DC Lafayette Square (which is in the perfect location to explore the city— See our full review of Sofitel DC here!) Beyond incredible historical significance, Washington DC is home to an impressive arsenal of world-class museums, loads of art galleries and a thriving culinary scene. It would take weeks to explore all that DC has to offer, and like any city worth visiting, it can be a little bit overwhelming trying to plan your own trip. That is exactly why we’ve put together this list to help you get a head start on planning!
15 THINGS TO DO IN WASHINGTON DC
1- Visit the Smithsonian’s brand new African American History Museum
Set aside a good amount of time to visit this incredible museum- it’s expansive and you’ll want to see it all! Start at the bottom floor to see the journey from slavery to freedom, then work your way up to see the incredible impact African Americans have made in culture, politics, sports, and entertainment. *Make sure to book your time slot ahead of time to get in!
2- Bear witness to the atrocities of the Holocaust at the Holocaust Museum
Everyone should visit this museum in their lifetime. Elie Weisel, the famous author and Holocaust survivor who oversaw the creation of this museum made these remarks at its dedication: “Oh, I don’t believe there are answers. There are no answers. And this museum is not an answer; it is a question mark. If there is a response, it is a response in responsibility.”
3- Watch sunrise from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial
Usher in the morning and watch the sun rise over the Washington Monument and the reflecting pool from the from the steps of the magnificent Lincoln Memorial! It’s a view you won’t forget!
4- Have your mind blown at the ArtecHouse art + tech gallery
Spend a few hours at this amazing gallery and prepared to be amazed— it’s a gallery dedicated to art and technology that is constantly showcasing new exhibits. We saw ‘Infinite Space’ by Refik Anadol and we still can’t get over it!
5- Take a tour of the White House
America’s most famous residence is as stunning as it is historical, and if you’re lucky enough to get an open slot, you can take a self-guided tour through part of the residence that has housed every president except George Washington!
6- Spend an afternoon browsing the National Gallery of Art
Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Bellini, Dürer, van Gogh, Monet, Picasso, Matisse…. need we say more?
7- Take in the Grandeur of the United States Capital Building
Admire the architecture and take in the significance of the building that houses both the United States Congress and the seat of the legislative Branch.
8- Spend an afternoon shopping in Georgetown
You could easily spend a full day exploring this bustling neighborhood full of shops, restaurants, and a lively crowd that fills the streets every weekend!
9- Visit the striking Washington Monument
This soaring monument to America’s first president can be seen from all over the city— but it is most impressive from up close!
10- Explore the beauty of the Jefferson Memorial
The beautiful memorial to the founding father and the author of the declaration of independence sits on a tidal basin just off to the mighty Potomac river, and it is a must-see!
11- Have an aperitif at Opaline Restaurant
Take an afternoon break from museum hopping and enjoy a cocktail or glass of wine inside or al fresco at Sofitel DC’s Opaline Restaurant. Don’t forget to get something delicious from the raw bar as well!
12- Take a stroll around the National Mall
The National Mall stretches from the Lincoln Memorial all the way to the United States Capital and it flanked on both sides by an impressive collection of museums and galleries.
13- Eat lunch from a food truck on the National Mall
DC is known for its food truck scene, and there’s no better place to see them than on the roads straddling the national mall! Take a midday break from your museum hopping, grab your favorite street food, and enjoy it on the lawn of the national mall.
14- Learn about the history of the press at the Newseum
The brand new Newseum will give you an amazing insight into the role that the press plays in our lives, and this beautifully done museum will draw you in for hours!
15- Visit one of the Smithsonian’s 17 free museums
The Smithsonian Institute is the world’s largest museum complex with 17 museums in the DC area— and they are all free! The only question left is how many you can squeeze in on your trip?!
16- (BONUS!) If you are lucky enough to visit DC at the right time, attend the annual Sofitel En Blanc!
Le Diner en Blanc is a world-famous, exclusive picnic where everyone wears white and you find out the location a few hours before it starts. As an official sponsor of the event, Sofitel offers a VIP option where you don’t have to bring your own food + drink and everything is done for you! Make sure to book your spot well in advance— it is such a fun night!
Washington DC is a destination with something for everyone! We hope this list helps jumpstart your trip-planning to the American Capital, and if you have any must-do to add to the list, let us know in the comments below!
Until next time! Xx
This post was sponsored by Travel Mindset and Sofitel DC but our opinions, as always, are our own!