Top Ten Washington D.C. Attractions

top ten washington DC attractions

Whether you are planning your first Washington D.C. vacation or are a local planning an itinerary for friends and family, it's easy to get overwhelmed in our nation's capital. Use this list of the top ten Washington D.C. attractions to make sure you hit all of the major hotspots.

The White House
No trip to Washington D.C. would be complete without a visit to the home of President and First Lady Obama. You can certainly walk past 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but to get past the gates, you'll need to request tickets one to six months in advance from your Congressman. Tours are free. Special Spring Garden Tours are also available.

The Capitol
Want to see the heartbeat of our nation's government? It's all happening at The Capitol, a top Washington D.C. attraction. Book a tour through your representative or senator to hear the inside scoop from someone in your state or District!

Eastern Market
A favorite Washington D.C. attraction of locals and visitors alike, Capitol Hill's Eastern Market neighborhood hosts a weekend farmer's market and flea market featuring some of Washington D.C.'s best local goods. This attraction offers something for the gourmand, the treasure hunter and the antiquer, offering a continually rotating array of merchandise and regular vendors.

National Gallery of Art
Explore one of the country's largest selections of fine art from the Renaissance period through modern day. Divided into a contemporary and a historic wing, you'll find works by names like Monet, Picasso, Degas, Renoir and more, plus a rotating selection of temporary exhibits. Come hungry - the National Gallery boasts one of the best museum cafeterias in D.C.!

Stroll up M Street to explore some of Washington D.C.'s finest shopping, visit the campus of Georgetown University, sneak past the Exorcist stairs, or enjoy a cocktail as you watch the yachts pass by on the waterfront.

National Zoo
Sure, every city has a zoo -- but not many are as large or as varied in animal species as the National Zoo. Explore zebras, pandas, monkeys, hippos, polar bears, reptiles, exotic birds and yes, prairie dogs while enjoying a peaceful afternoon in the sunshine. This free Washington D.C. attraction is perfect for all ages.

Smithsonian Museums
What's the best part about this particular Washington D.C. attraction? It's FREE! Well, that's probably not the best part -- the Smithsonian Institution owns many of the country's best museums, all within a few blocks of each other on the National Mall. We love them all so much that it's nearly impossible to pick just one -- see Dorothy's Red Slippers, the Hope Diamond, and learn about the history of flight and giant sea creatures ... all in a few hours time!

Library of Congress
Check out a draft copy of the Declaration of Independence, the Gutenberg Bible or not one but two Stradivarius violins at the country's most famous library. While you can't check out books (only Members of Congress, Supreme Court Justices and other high-ranking government officials can do that), you can certainly peruse the stacks and various exhibits at your leisure.

Presidential Memorials - Lincoln and Jefferson
Stroll the memorials surrounding the Tidal Basin (particularly during Cherry Blossom season or at night) and you'll see one of D.C.'s most magnificent sights -- the marble statues of Lincoln and Jefferson in their larger-than-life homes, some of the most recognizable Washington D.C. attractions.

Kennedy Center
Searching for the perfect cultural experience top off your Washington D.C. visit? Consider a trip to the Kennedy Center, which houses the National Symphony Orchestra, Washington National Opera and numerous Broadway quality shows. Don't miss the free daily Millennium Stage concerts!

Photo by ~MVI~ on Flickr
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