Washington, DC is no stranger to popular attractions. Beginning with the obvious, its government buildings, monuments and memorials are some of the most beloved sites in America. Modern culture also buzzes here with live music, new restaurants, and a vibrant arts scene. We also need to show love to some of the special neighborhoods throughout town.
For the first-time visitors, or the locals looking to dive deep into the capital scene, here’s our essential list of Washington, DC’s best attractions.
The National Mall
While Washington, DC has a lot to offer beyond this stretch of land, The National Mall is an absolute must for any out-of-towners. Beginning with the U.S. Capitol Building, you can embark on a seemingly endless series of prominent buildings, and breathtaking sites. Some of our favorite cultural institutions on the mall include the United States Botanic Garden, as well as Smitsonian standouts like the National Air and Space Museum National Museum of African American History and Culture.
For truly American sights, you of course can visit the iconic Lincoln Memorial, the Reflecting Pool, and the Washington Monument. Across the way, you have the Jefferson Memorial peering out over the Tidal Basin and cherry blossoms in the early spring. There’s also the White House, and numerous other institutional, landmark locations.
One of the most lively areas of Washington, DC is the Capitol Riverfront and Washington Navy Yard. A history area of the city, it’s home to the U.S. Navy Museum. The Riverfront is also home to the Washington Nationals home park. Baseball games in the spring, summer, and fall, as well as the occasional concert combine to make this one of DC’s more special venues.
Canal Park is another great spot on the Capitol Riverfront, hosting free outdoor movies in the summer, a farmers market, and a seasonal ice rink in the winter. You can find great restaurants at The Salt Line and Osteria Morina. Those looking for a truly unforgettable experience at the Capitol Riverfront can book a lesson at the Trapeze School.
When we’re talking about the top attractions in Washington, DC for a traveler’s bucket list, we have to spend some time celebrating our neighborhood of Dupont Circle. In addition to staying at The St. Gregory Hotel, there are so many enjoyable things to do in Dupont Circle. We most often praise the bustling arts scene, and favorite neighborhood museums and galleries like the Phillips Collection and the Andersen House.
Dining in Dupont Circle is also an absolute treat, with a wide variety of tried-and-true favorites. You can find fresh local produce and delightful gelatos at the Dupont Circle Farmers Market. Also, be sure to enjoy a meal at Tredici Enoteca, our onsite Mediterranean-inspired restaurant that’s become a local standby for in-the-know foodies.
One of our other favorite neighborhoods in Washington, DC is Georgetown. Down on the waterfront, you can find excellent restaurants, and a pathway for strolling and looking out over the river. There’s also a seasonal ice rink down at Georgetown Waterfront Park that’s beautiful during the winter. Head up to M Street to shop at the city’s best boutiques, and treat yourself to some famous treats from the original Georgetown Cupcake.
DISCOVER MORE OF DC
Our nation’s capital is one of the world’s leading cultural destinations. Discover more of our favorite recommendations, from dining hotspots to insider museum exhibitions, on the St. Gregory’s blog.