Washington, DC is the one American city you cannot skip! There is so much to explore, so much to learn and so much history to relive. America has a lot to see, but DC is without doubt one of the most unique cities to visit.
Let me just tell you, if you want to see all the major tourist attractions in DC in one weekend, you can! The beauty of Washington, DC is that the majority of the ‘tourist attractions” are in one area making it remarkably easy to get around in one weekend.
I would highly recommend starting at the National Mall and starting EARLY. The earlier the better when it comes to DC, you want to get there with plenty of time to find parking and get yourself situated for the day. Getting there early also allows you to get great pictures of the Lincoln Memorial, Reflection Pond and Washington Monument without the onslaught of tourist buses rolling in. If you are able to park near the Lincoln Memorial, it is significantly easier to plan your day cohesively.
A huge benefit to Washington, DC is that almost all of their museums have free admission! This makes the museums busier, but also saves you a ton of money! Below are my suggestions for a weekend itinerary in DC.
Day One Itinerary – The Major Attractions
- Lincoln Memorial – Probably one of the most iconic places in DC, this memorial hosts a 19 feet tall statue of Abraham Lincoln overlooking Washington/Washington Memorial.
- Reflection Pond – A gorgeous lake that sits between the Lincoln and Washington Memorial.
- Korean War Memorial– A stunning, revered area in memory of all who served in the Korean War.
- World War II Memorial – A huge memorial between the Lincoln and Washington Monuments. Dedicated to those who fought and served in WWII.
- Washington Monument– This is by far one of the most symbolic and largest tourist attractions in DC. Tons of greenery surrounds the monument allowing for hosted activities, picnics and gorgeous photos.
- White House -Arguable the most famous house in America, you can get a gorgeous unobstructed view minutes from the Washington Monument. Remember, this is a heavily guarded area, so there will be trained officer with guns here. If your interested in taking a tour, here are the details: WHITE HOUSE TOUR
- Smithsonian Natural History Museum – Probably my husband’s favorite location (he’s a huge animal lover). This sprawling museum can take as long as you want. There is so much to see and do and incredibly family friendly. I would recommend at least 2-3 hours to truly experience all that there is to see and do here!
Day Two Itinerary – Your Specific Attractions
- Arlington Cemetery – Tomb of the Unknown Soldier – Plan for anywhere from 1 hour to 2 and a half hours to go through this. This place is emotional hard to walk through as you feel the impact of those who sacrificed everything for the sake of freedom. This is one thing you cannot miss when you visit DC.
- Smithsonian Air & Space Museum – Currently in renovations – Plan for at least an hour and a half here. This is so fun to experience, especially if you have kids! The most family friendly museum and so many interesting artifacts.
- Capital Building – Big spacious area with tons of food trucks, greenery for a picnic and then exploring the Capital. If you’d like to take a tour of the capital, follow this link: CAPITAL TOUR.
- National Archives – This was #1 on my list of museums to visit in DC. Because of my heritage I was dying to go and see the Declaration of Independence in person. There are so many historical documents and letters to see while you are in the archives. I highly recommend taking the time to go here and see our countries founding documents.
This will tackle a huge list of the attractions most people want to hit in one day. What’s even better is that there are lines of food trucks on the side of the road so you can easily grab lunch or a snack when you get hungry on your travels. The biggest thing to note as you go through your day, is that you can hit as many or as few attractions as you want. It’s up to you and how quickly you go. Since it was just my husband and I we were able to see and experience a lot of things at a quicker pace than those who have kids or other loved ones to take care of.
If you’ve been to Washington, DC what were your favorite attractions? Stay tuned to more updates as continue to explore the area!