Top Things to Do in D.C.

No matter the season, first-timers and repeat visitors alike find plenty of new things to do in D.C., but the classics never go out of style.

Bookended by the U.S. Capitol building to the East and the Lincoln Memorial to the West, the 3-mile-long, 400-feet-wide National Mall serves as an essential starting point for getting to know D.C. The eastern end closest to the Capitol is framed by the Smithsonian Institution’s many iconic buildings: National Museum of American History, National Museum of Natural History, National Gallery of Art (East and West buildings) and National Air & Space Museum among them.

On the western end, visitors find the city’s famous monuments, from the meditative expanse of the Franklin D. Roosevelt memorial and the Washington Monument to the Mall’s newest addition, the imposing granite structure immortalizing Martin Luther King Jr.

Other essential things to do include taking in a show (some free) at Kennedy Center, getting to know George Washington at his Mount Vernon, stopping for photo ops at the White House, and meeting the town’s beloved pandas at the National Zoo. Don’t forget to pack comfortable walking shoes!