Washington, DC is full of amazing things to see and do. Not only are there some of the best museums and monuments, but the city is filled with free museums. You can go to the Smithsonian museums, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Air and Space Museum, and so much more for free. 

With so many great ways to save and amazing things to do in Washington DC , it can feel daunting when planning your trip. Rushing through a museum isn’t how you get the most out of it, but with this guide, you’ll learn which sights are a must and how to get more out of the experience: 

Top Sights and Destinations in Washington, DC 

Here are just a few of the top destinations in Washington DC that you must see on your trip: 

The White House 

The White House is one of the most famous buildings in the world, and seeing it is an absolute must. While you can just admire it from afar, there are ways to get up closer. You can visit the White House Visitor Center or request to go on a self-guided tour through the East Wing, White House Rose Garden, China Room, and the State Dining room. 

U.S. Capitol Building 

The U.S. Capitol Building is just as infamous as the White House. It is here where Congress meets and debates, and you can sit in and watch the proceedings in real-time. This has been a right of the public since the 1800s, and if you’re interested in politics, it’s a must for visitors to the city. 

National Mall 

The National Mall is home to some of the best museums in the city, the Washington Monument, and the Lincoln Memorial. It’s an absolute must to spend your time around here, either to relax or to see all the amazing sights and museums that are nearby. 

The National Mall is home to: 

  • National Gallery of Art
  • National Museum of the American Indian
  • National Museum of African American History and Culture
  • The Freer Gallery of Art
  • National Museum of African Art
  • United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
  • National Museum of Natural History
  • National Museum of American History
  • Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
  • The Smithsonian Castle
  • National Archives Museum

Library of Congress 

This is the largest library in the world and a must-see for anyone who loves knowledge, beautiful buildings, or books. There are more than 30 million books placed on miles of bookshelves. Most of the books aren’t even on display.

How to Get More Out of Your Trip 

If you want to do a lot but are short on time, then the best way to enjoy all the above destinations is to book a guided tour. Guided tours let you learn on the go, and can be a lot of fun, too. Not only can you get on a guided tour around the city, but you can also make sure to follow one of the museum tours for insightful information that’s easy (and fast) to digest. 

If you aren’t interested in guided tours, you can take a self-guided tour instead. Nowadays, these are usually app-based, so you can pick and choose what you want to learn as you go.