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Things to do in Washington D.C.

American history permeates a visit to Washington DC. Most memorials and museums, like the Museum of Natural History, the National Archives and the US Capitol, are located on or around the downtown National Mall, easily visited via Open Top Sightseeing. Arlington National Cemetery, just across the Potomac River in Arlington, is a popular destination, while families love the National Zoo in Woodley Park. Most attractions offer free admission and are open daily.

Political Washington

Walk through history in the home of the free

Show themed tour
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington DC. Courtesy of United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
1

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Remembering WWII genocide victims

The sombre United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in downtown Washington DC details German anti-Semitism and the extermination of social outcasts during World War II. Honouring the heroes who saved Jews, it also stresses the importance of modern genocide prevention.



Cost

Free

Opening Hours

Daily 10am-5.30pm

Address

100, Raoul Wallenberg Place, Washington D.C. 20024

Transport

Smithsonian metro

Website

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Website

National Air and Space Museum, Washington DC. Courtesy of Smithsonian
2

National Air and Space Museum

Icons of flight

Exhibits in the downtown National Air and Space Museum include the Wright Flyer, Spirit of St Louis, Apollo 11 space module and a lunar rock that can be touched. A new America by Air exhibition was added in 2007.



Cost

Free

Opening Hours

Daily 10am-5.30pm

Address

4th Street and Independence Avenue SW, Washington D.C. 20560

Telephone

+1 202 633 1000

Transport

L'Enfant metro

Website

National Air and Space Museum Website

International Spy Museum, Washington DC. Courtesy of Washington DC Convention & Tourism Corporation
3

International Spy Museum

Espionage on display

Located in the Penn Quarter, the International Spy Museum houses the world's largest collection of spy-related artefacts, from tiny hidden microphones to fantastic disguises and covert messages. Exhibits explore espionage from biblical times through the Cold War to the present.



Cost

US$18; seniors US$17; 5s-11s US$15

Opening Hours

Daily 10am-6pm

Address

800, F Street NW, Washington D.C. 20004

Transport

Gallery Place-Chinatown metro

Website

International Spy Museum Website

National Archives, Washington DC. Courtesy of Washington DC Convention & Tourism Corporation
4

National Archives

America's most historic documents

Located downtown, the National Archives protect the federal government's most important documents. The most impressive and popular displays are originals of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the Magna Carta, signed in 1297.



Cost

Free

Opening Hours

Mar 15-Labor Day daily 10am-7pm; Day after Labor Day-Mar 14 daily 10am-5.30pm

Address

National Archives and Records Administration, 700 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington D.C. 20408

Telephone

+1 866 272 6272

Transport

Archives-Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter metro

Website

National Archives Website

National Museum of the American Indian, Washington DC. Courtesy of Washington DC Convention & Tourism Corporation
5

National Museum of the American Indian

Native life and culture

Exploring native communities through artefacts, art, music and dance, the National Museum of the American Indian is located on the downtown National Mall. Call in at the two museum shops, Chesapeake and Roanoke, which sell native-made crafts, books and toys.



Cost

Free

Opening Hours

Daily 10am-5.30pm

Address

4th Street and Independence Avenue SW, Washington D.C. 20560

Telephone

+1 202 633 1000

Transport

Federal Center metro

Website

National Museum of the American Indian Website

Newseum, Washington DC. Courtesy of Newseum
6

Newseum

History of news media

The recently opened Newseum on the downtown National Mall explores the history and importance of free press in a democratic society. Exhibits include historical newspapers and newsreels as well as information about the technology employed to create up-to-date news footage.



Cost

US$20; concessions US$13-US$18; under-7s free

Opening Hours

Daily 9am-5pm

Address

555, Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington D.C. 20001

Telephone

+1 888 639 7386

Transport

Archives-Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter metro

Website

Newseum Website

American Art Museum, Washington DC. Courtesy of Washington DC Convention & Tourism Corporation
7

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Fine American craft

The downtown Smithsonian American Art Museum houses American artworks, including everything from colonial portraits to nineteenth-century landscapes and 20th-century realism and abstraction. A beautiful new glass gallery leading to the National Portrait Gallery also hosts performances and concerts.



Cost

Free

Opening Hours

Daily 11.30am-7pm

Address

8th and F Streets, Washington D.C. 20001

Telephone

+1 202 633 1000

Transport

Gallery Pl-Chinatown metro

Website

American Art Museum Website

Museum of Natural History, Washington DC. Courtesy of Washington DC Convention & Tourism Corporation
8

Museum of Natural History

Understanding the natural world

The 45-carat blue Hope Diamond and a collection of dinosaur skeletons are the most popular exhibits at the downtown Museum of Natural History. The new 4,000 square foot "Butterflies and Plants" exhibition explores the evolution and diversity of butterflies.



Cost

Free

Opening Hours

Daily 10am-5.30pm

Address

10th Street and Constitution Avenue NW, Washington D.C. 20560

Telephone

+1 202 633 1000

Transport

Smithsonian metro

Website

Museum of Natural History Website

US Capitol, Washington DC. Courtesy of Washington DC Convention & Tourism Corporation
9

US Capitol

Seat of government

Located at the easternmost end of downtown National Mall, the US Capitol with its famous dome stands regally atop Capitol Hill. Besides housing Congress, it is a historical and artistic monument and is also open for guided tours.



Cost

Free

Opening Hours

Mon-Sat 9am-4.30pm

Address

Capitol Hill, Washington D.C. 20003

Telephone

+1 202 225 6827

Transport

Capitol South metro

Website

US Capitol Website

Arlington National Cemetery, Washington DC. Courtesy of Amy S Eckert
10

Arlington National Cemetery

Honouring America's heroes

Famous for its thousands of white headstones, the vast Arlington National Cemetery has been the final resting place of American military heroes since the Civil War. Arlington's tombstones honour numerous astronauts as well as, most famously, John F Kennedy.



Cost

Free

Opening Hours

Apr-Sep 8am-7pm; Oct-Mar 8am-5pm

Address

Arlington VA, Washington D.C. 22211

Telephone

+1 703 607 8000

Transport

Arlington Cemetery metro

Website

Arlington National Cemetery Website

National Zoo, Washington DC. Courtesy of Washington DC Convention & Tourism Corporation
11

National Zoo

Beautiful animal park

Home to over 2,000 animals, the National Zoo in Woodley Park is beautifully landscaped and a family favourite. Most visitors come to see the two Giant Pandas, on loan from China since 2000, together with their cub Tai Shan.



Cost

Free

Opening Hours

Apr-Oct 6am-8pm; Nov-Mar 6am-6pm

Address

3001, Connecticut Avenue, Washington D.C. 20008

Telephone

+1 202 673 7800

Transport

Woodley Park-Zoo/Adams Morgan metro

Website

National Zoo Website

FDR Memorial, Washington DC. Courtesy of Washington DC Convention & Tourism Corporation
12

FDR Memorial

Monument to Roosevelt

One of the newest memorials in the city, the FDR Memorial honours President Franklin Delano Roosevelt with this beautiful park on the Tidal Basin. The site depicts FDR's presidency in four outdoor galleries with inspiring quotes, artworks, gardens and waterfalls.



Cost

Free

Opening Hours

Daily all day

Address

900 Ohio Drive SW, Washington D.C. 20024

Telephone

+1 202 426 6841

Transport

Smithsonian metro

Website

FDR Memorial Website

Washington National Cathedral, Washington DC. Courtesy of Washington DC Convention & Tourism Corporation
13

Washington National Cathedral

Historical Gothic structure

Gothic architecture, artworks and a quiet setting attract visitors to the 1907 Washington National Cathedral. Located in Woodley Park, this was the scene of Martin Luther King's last sermon and Dwight Eisenhower's funeral. Woodrow Wilson is also buried here.



Cost

Free

Opening Hours

Sun 8am-6.30pm; Mon-Fri 10am-5.30pm; Sat 10am-4.30pm. Closed during special services.

Address

3101, Wisconsin Avenue, Washington D.C. 20016

Telephone

+1 202 537 6200

Transport

Tenleytown-AU metro

Website

Washington National Cathedral Website

National Mall, Washington DC. Courtesy of Amy S Eckert
14

National Mall

Washington's landmarks

A downtown park extending two miles from the U.S. Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial, the National Mall boasts Washington DC's most famous landmarks: the Washington Monument, World War II Memorial, Vietnam Memorial and, of course, the White House.



Cost

Free

Opening Hours

Daily all day

Address

Between Constitution and Independence Avenues SW, Washington D.C. 20004

Transport

Smithsonian metro

Website

National Mall Website

Open Top Sightseeing, Washington DC. Courtesy of Washington DC Convention & Tourism Corporation
15

Open Top Sightseeing

City landmarks bus tour

The Open Top Sightseeing double-decker bus takes visitors past Washington DC's most famous landmarks. Tickets are sold on board and allow visitors to hop on and off as often as they like. A good place to start is Union Station.



Cost

US$28; children US$14 (two day ticket)

Opening Hours

Daily 9am-7pm

Address

Union Station, Washington D.C. 20002

Telephone

+1 877 332 8689

Transport

Union Station metro

Website

Open Top Sightseeing Website

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