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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.

National Mall, Washington DC. Courtesy of Amy S Eckert

Museums and Galleries

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  1. 1. National Air and Space Museum - Museums and Galleries

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

    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.Show this on map

    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

  2. 2. National Archives - Museums and Galleries

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

    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.Show this on map

    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

  3. 3. National Museum of the American Indian - Museums and Galleries

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

    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.Show this on map

    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

  4. 4. Newseum - Museums and Galleries

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    Newseum, Washington DC. Courtesy of Newseum

    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.Show this on map

    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

  5. 5. Museum of Natural History - Museums and Galleries

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

    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.Show this on map

    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

  6. 6. International Spy Museum - Museums and Galleries

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    The

    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.Show this on map

    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

  7. 7. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum - Museums and Galleries

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    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington DC. Courtesy of United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

    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.Show this on map

    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

  8. 8. Smithsonian American Art Museum - Museums and Galleries

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

    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.Show this on map

    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

    Smithsonian American Art Museum

Attractions

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  1. 9. National Zoo - Attractions

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

    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.Show this on map

    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

  2. 10. FDR Memorial - Attractions

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

    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.Show this on map

    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

  3. 11. Washington National Cathedral - Attractions

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

    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.Show this on map

    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

  4. 12. Arlington National Cemetery - Attractions

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

    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.Show this on map

    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

  5. 13. US Capitol - Attractions

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    US Capitol, Washington DC. Photo by Jake McGuire, courtesy of washington.org

    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.Show this on map

    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

    U.S. Capitol Website

Special things to do

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  1. 14. National Mall - Special things to do

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    National Mall, Washington DC. Courtesy of Amy S Eckert

    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.Show this on map

    Cost

    Free

    Opening hours

    Daily all day

    Address

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

    Transport

    Smithsonian metro

    Website

    National Mall

  2. 15. Open Top Sightseeing - Special things to do

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

    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.Show this on map

    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

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