in ,

15 Things to do in Washington DC

Washington D.C. is known for its museums, memorials and monuments. But if you look closely enough, you’ll find things to do in Washington D.C. that are off the beaten path.  

Washington D.C. is also home to the beautiful Tidal Basin, where you can stroll through rose gardens and admire views of Lady Liberty, or Jefferson’s obelisk from different angles. The Japanese cherry trees that surround the Tidal Basin burst into a sea of pink in April and brighten up the National Mall in May. 

Washington is home to some of America’s best history, but it’s also full of things to do for fun year-round! From climbing rocks at Great Falls Park to paddling down the Potomac at Great Falls National Park, there are things to do in Washington D.C. that are perfect for families, couples and adventurers of all kinds.

Read on for 10 things to do in D.C. that are off the beaten path, see our top picks for places to visit in Washington DC and find out why so many people think this is one of the best places to live in America.

Washington DC Things To Do

We’ve rounded up some of our favorite underrated adventures below. From hiking to kayaking, we’ve got you covered for all the things to do in Washington D.C. that don’t cost a cent!

1. Have a picnic on Theodore Roosevelt Island

Though it’s surrounded by stunning scenery, the secret’s out about this unique island park just north of Roosevelt Bridge. The island memorializes our 26 th president, along with his dedicated conservation efforts. Wander the trails winding through the lush forest before crossing over to Mason’s Island for some truly incredible views of D.C., but bring your own food, because there are no vending machines on this island. 

2. Cycle around the National Mall

This is a must-do for tourists who want to see some of D.C’s most famous monuments, including Lincoln Memorial and Vietnam Memorial. If you rent a bike from the stand beside the Washington Monument, you’ll be able to ride down Constitution Avenue with ease, but watch out for traffic! If you prefer to stay on the sidewalk, it’s only a quick walk down the road. This is also a good way to travel if you are traveling with kids.

3. Starbucks Coffee Tour

One of the quintessential American experiences is getting together with your friends at Starbucks for hours on end, talking about anything and everything while watching people wander in and out of the shop. But did you know that there are over 20 locations near the National Mall? You betcha! It’ll be worth it to take time out of your vacation to visit these iconic coffee shops, which include The Smithsonian location found beside one of D.C’s other famous museums, National Air & Space  Museum. And the best part is, it’s free!

4. Watch a Show at Ford’s Theater

Ford’s Theatre was the place where President Lincoln was shot and later died from his wounds. Today, however, you can come by to watch a show – musical or drama – performed on-site. The theatre is home to programs such as Hamilton, which has been named one of America’s “10 Best things to do in DC this summer” according to USA Today. You can also see Oedipus Rex performed entirely in Latin! As always when planning an America vacation, check your schedule before heading over; performances are held only Thursday through Sunday (except for Saturdays).

Ford’s Theater was where Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth on April 14th, 1865.

5. Enjoy the Scenery

If you visit DC in the summer, be sure to walk by the Tidal Basin where you’ll find cherry trees. These trees were originally planted as a gift from Japan back in 1912; there are two species of Cherry Trees – Yoshino and Kwanzan – along with some special-breed trees. They usually bloom from mid-April to late May so if you time it right, it can be a very rewarding experience. You will also see people holding cherry blossom parties under these majestic trees so why not consider this venue for your next birthday party? Just remember that tickets can often cost more than just a plane ticket on top of hotel rooms and other related expenses.

abraham-lincoln-memorial

6. See the Lincoln Memorial

Standing just across from the reflecting pool on the National Mall, The Lincoln memorial was designed to honor Abraham Lincoln and features 32 Doric columns representing the number of states in the Union at the time of his death. Visit at night for a spectacular view of Washington’s nighttime skyline.

7. Go Dining Under the  Stars

If you are feeling romantic, set the take-out dinner on a blanket in your backyard or simply go stargazing at one of DC’s gorgeous parks. My personal favorite is the bridge by Tidal Basin where all the cherry trees are so you get to see them too! This place gets crowded after sunset so if you can’t wait that long, head out for some fresh air at night and see what happens. Just don’t trip over fellow romantics who are trying to enjoy their time under the stars with loved ones.

8. Go Shopping for Books

There are many bookstores scattered across every corner of Washington DC but my personal favorite is Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe because it also has a restaurant attached to it which means that it has the best of both worlds. Which could be considered for some things to do in Washington dc this weekend. 

9. Find Your Way Around U Street Corridor

Washington DC attractions are countless, one like filled countless streets and alleys that wind through the entire city. If you’re a tourist who is new to this place, this can be a bit frustrating as well as confusing because you will end up getting lost on your way to your destination. However, if you just keep at it, eventually every street of the city will become familiar to you and eventually lead you back into U Street Corridor which has all of the best restaurants for food lovers like me!

10. Take a walking tour of Georgetown

Georgetown is one of Washington’s oldest neighborhoods, and its historic past is evident in the abundance of gorgeous brick buildings that line the streets. Driving in Washington DC is tough during rush hour, so avoid the roads at these times if you can. Parking is expensive but you can find cheap airport parking companies like Parkobility online to book your parking spots. Take a self-guided walking tour of Georgetown’s famous waterfront or meander through this charming neighborhood at your own pace. Whatever you do, just don’t miss out on a trip to Old Glory Doughnuts, located nearly under the Key Bridge on M Street!

national-arboretum-in-northeast-d.c

11. Explore the National Arboretum in Northeast D.C.

Located in Northeast Washington, the National Arboretum is a 446-acre stretch of cultivated gardens and natural woodlands, where you can stroll along trails through cascading falls or visit the nation’s largest grouping of cherry blossoms in spring.

12. Walk or Cycle Along the C&O Canal Towpath

In Georgetown, a well-loved waterside path called the Chesapeake & Ohio (C&O) canal towpath extends 184.5 miles along the Potomac River from Georgetown to Cumberland, Maryland. Once a commercial waterway for transporting coal and other goods up and down the river via barges, today the canal is a serene walkway for walking, bicycling, jogging and more.

13. Tour the Georgetown Neighborhood

One of DC’s most historic neighborhoods, tourists love to stroll along M Street where they can window shop or simply enjoy the scenery. Stop in at one of the many trendy shops selling shoes, clothes and housewares within five blocks of each other. Or visit famous old bookstores like Politics & Prose, Black Swan Books, or Labyrinth Books.

14. Stay Up Late to See the Neon Lights of Dupont Circle

It might be a while before another city can boast of having a circle with so much neon signage, restaurants, bars and lounges. There are several good hotels in this neighborhood that also have great safety features like late-night Trolley car service (runs until 2 am). Stop for dinner or drinks at one of many local restaurants like Dirty Martini, Acadiana, Thai X-ing, or The Diner. Grab some coffee at Open City, pick up some food at Whole Foods Market grocery store or see the latest foreign cinema art film at E Street Cinema (located inside the historic Warner Theater). 

15. Go Dining Under the  Stars

If you are feeling romantic, set the take-out dinner on a blanket in your backyard or simply go stargazing at one of DC’s gorgeous parks. My personal favorite is the bridge by Tidal Basin where all the cherry trees are so you get to see them too! This place gets crowded after sunset so if you can’t wait that long, head out for some fresh air at night and see what happens. Just don’t trip over fellow romantics who are trying to enjoy their time under the stars with loved ones.

white-house-travel

In the End

Washington D.C. is full of off-the-beaten-path things to do for fun year-round! The best part about these activities is that they’re all free, which means you can have a great time without breaking your bank account!

This post was created with our nice and easy submission form. Create your post!

Written by Salman Azhar

What do you think?

Leave a Reply

Greenpeace USA co-Executive Director Ebony Twilley Martin Demands Voting Rights Now! | Greenpeace USA