Landmarks & Things to See in Washington DC

There’s no lack of Washington D.C. Landmarks: The edifices along the National Mall make up the most iconic collection of historical buildings in the country. While some of the Mall’s landmarks are memorials, many still serve as government buildings, allowing visitors an insider’s glimpse into the governing process of the United States. A trip to D.C. isn’t complete without stopping by at least a few of these quintessential destinations.

White House

One of the most famous buildings in the world, the White House serves as home to the President of the United States. (Perhaps you already know that!) Take photos by the wrought-iron fence in front of the house on Pennsylvania Avenue, or contact your member of Congress to schedule a self-guided tour.

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

Washington Monument

The tallest structure in all of D.C., this 554-foot obelisk forms the centerpiece of D.C.’s monument zone. Visitors can now take an elevator up to the observation deck, following three years of repair work after a 2011 earthquake. From the top, gaze across the entire city and the National Mall below.

2 15th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20007

Jefferson Memorial

A short walk around the Tidal Basin from the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument, this is D.C.’s most elegant landmark. The circular structure with ionic columns encloses a 19-foot bronze statue of Thomas Jefferson. Come springtime, white and pink cherry blossoms frame the scene.

701 East Basin SW
Washington, D.C. 20242

MLK Memorial

One of the newest landmarks in the city, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial is a breathtaking addition to the National Mall’s monument zone. At the center of the memorial sit two stone structures inspired by Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, in which he said “Out of a mountain of despair, a stone of hope.” Visitors pass through the memorial’s Mountain of Despair as they walk towards the Stone of Hope, which features the profile of the civil rights leader.

1964 Independence Ave SW
Washington, D.C. 20024

Capitol Building

Sitting high on Capitol Hill at the far eastern edge of the Mall, the domed Capitol Building is the seat of the U.S. Congress and one of the most recognizable landmarks in the city. Walk around the grounds, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted (of NYC’s Central Park fame), for stunning views across the city, or venture inside for individual, family, and small group tours.

East Capitol St & First St SE
Washington, D.C. 20004

Potomac River

Rent a canoe at the Thompson Boat Center and paddle up the river or sign on for a river cruise. Check out the Arlington National Cemetery just across the river.

2900 Virginia Avenue NW

Arlington National Cemetery

The changing of the guard isn’t limited to London – it also happens at the National Cemetery, just across the Arlington Memorial Bridge in Virginia. Here, grave sites of America’s war heroes and presidents, as well as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, serve as a solemn reminder of past American sacrifices.

Across the Potomac River
Arlington, VA