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Things To Do In Washington DC

Updated on July 23, 2013
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There are so many things to do in Washington DC that it is quite impossible to visit all of them in a single trip. The great news is that most of these hot spots are free. Some of the attractions we've listed are not in DC, but are very close by.

With parks, monuments, tours, shops, events, hot spots, great points of interest, museums, opportunities for hikes, affordable hotels, famed restaurants and a real nightlife, you cannot be bored in D.C. However, the best things to do in Washington DC are often centrally located and based on government. There is so much to see and do, but here are the top DC attractions you absolutely can't miss:

Visit the Smithsonian

You can start by visiting the Smithsonian Institution Building where you will get info and maps on all the other museums in Washington DC. This institute has national treasures covering the widest range of subjects from space exploration to art. Plan to explore the museums that you find most interesting. Where possible, ensure you see an IMAX movie at the National Air and Space Museum or at the National History Museum.

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Visit the 3 Houses of Government

To fully understand the division of power within the American democracy, be sure to explore the U.S. Supreme Court, the White House and the U.S. Capitol Building. Plan ahead because some of the tours have to be scheduled in advance through Congressional Representatives.


Below you will see the US Supreme Court, The White House, and the US Capitol buildings respectively.

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Tour National Memorials and Monuments

DC has some spectacular national monuments. If you visit during the day, be sure to take a tour bus. Also, listen to the informative and insightful park ranger talks so that you avoid the congested city traffic. However, the best time to view them is in the evening and at night when parking is easier and they are illuminated and less crowded.

Below you will see images of the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial respectively.

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Kayak, Bike or Walk along the C & O Canal

This wonderful historic park offers a great relief from the hectic city life that is common to all Washington DC residents. Take your family for this walk and learn all about the historically relevant C & O Canal. You can also spend a couple of hours kayaking to enjoy the breathtaking scenery or explore the bike trails in this region.

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See Georgetown

Georgetown is the country's historic waterfront that bustles with activity on a daily basis. This area is the perfect shopper's paradise in the city with the streets lined with restaurants catering to all nationalities. You can tour the historic sites, enjoy a meal at one of the local restaurants to start the day off and then do some shopping.

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Explore Mount Vernon

Mount Vernon is the other full- day excursion site with the recent addition of a new education center and museum. Explore the state-of-art theaters and galleries, visit George Washington's 500- acre estate, tour his 14- room beautifully restored mansion that is now fully furnished with original objects that date back to the 1740's. Ensure you have enough time to visit the outbuilding on this palatial estate including the slave quarters, the smokehouse, the coach house, stables and kitchen.

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Great Falls Park

Finally, you can also picnic at this 800- acre park that is located some 14 miles outside Washington DC. Great Falls has a wide range of activities including horseback riding, bicycling, rock climbing, kayaking and hiking along the spectacular views offered by the Potomac River. Overall, ensure you do not miss out on these amazing things to do in Washington DC.


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