The USA – land of freedom and superlatives. Unsurprisingly, the United States capital also has a lot to offer. In fact, DC Sightseeing includes so much more than just a visit to the White House. No wonder Washington is number 8 out of the 10 most visited US cities. To make the best out of your visit, we put together a comprehensive and easy Washington DC itinerary 3 days with helpful recommendations from travelers and locals including everything you should see while spending 3 days in Washington DC.
What to find out in this post
- 1 Washington DC Facts
- 2 Washington DC Meaning & State
- 3 Where is Washington DC
- 4 The best time to travel to Washington DC
- 5 How to get to Washington DC
- 6 How to get around Washington DC
- 7 The perfect Washington DC Itinerary 3 Days
- 8 3 Days in Washington DC – Day 1: Memorials and Sights in the National Mall
- 9 Lincoln Memorial
- 10 Vietnam Veterans Memorial
- 11 Korean War Veterans Memorial
- 12 World War II Memorial
- 13 Martin Luther King Memorial
- 14 Washington Monument
- 15 The White House
- 16 Franklin Delano Roosevelt Monument
- 17 Thomas Jefferson Memorial
- 18 The United States Capitol
- 19 Washington DC 3 Day Itinerary – Day 2: Museums and More
- 20 Smithsonian Museums
- 21 Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture
- 22 Smithsonian National Museum of American History
- 23 Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
- 24 National Air and Space Museum
- 25 National Gallery of Art
- 26 Newseum
- 27 International Spy Museum
- 28 United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
- 29 Georgetown
- 30 Visit a Cat Café
- 31 National Mall at night
- 32 Washington DC in 3 days – Day 3: Day Trips from Washington DC
- 33 Arlington National Cemetery
- 34 View of DC
- 35 Mt. Vernon
- 36 Shenandoah National Park
Washington DC Facts
- Federal district
- Since 1800 capital of the United States of America
- Residence of the American President
- The seat of the International Monetary Fund of the World Bank
- Named after George Washington
Washington DC Meaning & State
We hear the name almost daily on the news, but what does the DC in Washington DC actually stand for? DC is the abbreviation for District of Columbia. The name Columbia can be traced back to the “discoverer of America” Columbus.
Despite many misunderstandings, the District of Columbia is not a state of its own, nor is it part of any state. Therefore Washington DC is the only city in the US that doesn’t belong to any state. Washington DC is often confused with the state of the same name on the west coast of Washington, USA.
Where is Washington DC
The picture clearly shows that Washington DC is located near the east coast of the USA, south of New York. It borders Virginia and Delaware.
The best time to travel to Washington DC
Washington DC can theoretically be visited in any season. The weather conditions change according to the season and can be compared with those in New York City or Central Europe. Accordingly, the best weather conditions can be expected between April and October. Between December and March, it can be relatively cold and rainy.
Many people get here during the Cherry Blossom Season to get some amazing views. The cherry blossom season takes places every year around April.
How to get to Washington DC
The easiest way to get to Washington further places is by plane. To save money on your booking, we recommend that you book your flight at least 6 weeks before departure. The best way to compare prices is via Skyscanner.
From New York City
Many combine their trip to the American capital with a trip to New York City. From NYC, there are several ways to get to Washington DC.
By bus from New York to Washington DC
There are several bus companies operating between the cities of New York City and Washington DC. The journey takes about 4 ½ hours. Tickets can be found starting already at $6. If you want to save some money, it’s worth booking your ticket in advance.
By train from New York to Washington DC
Another option is to take the train from New York City to Washington DC. The ticket price can differ quite a lot. Although you can find tickets for as little as $ 60, a standard ticket usually costs around $ 100. The journey takes about 3 hours.
With a rental car from New York to Washington DC
For many, it is a real adventure to drive through the USA. For this, you should rent a car. A good comparison site can help you to find the best deal. One of the most popular sites to find the perfect rental car is Carrentals.
With a tour from New York to Washington DC
Another way to discover Washington DC from New York is to take a tour. On the market, there are various tours of numerous providers. Our favorite platform for booking trustworthy tours is GetYourGuide.
How to get around Washington DC
Stay mobile – In the following section, we tell you the different options of how to get around the city.
Metro & Metrobus
The easiest option to get around Washington DC is by Metro or Metrobus. If you plan to travel a lot, make sure to purchase a SmarTrip Card which you can simply recharge whenever you need to. The Metro and Metrobus system brings you almost everywhere within the city. The Metro operates between 5 am and midnight (from 7 am on weekends).
This free (!) Bus operates on six different routes which include many of the Washington DC attractions that we will present to you in this article. The bus leaves every 10 minutes. Make sure to check the schedule and routes of the DC Circulator here.
By foot & bike
If you check the interactive Washington DC maps we have included for your 3 days in DC, you will probably note that most of the sights are in walking distance to each other. So it’s easy to just walk from one spot to another. Another great option is to rent a bike and explore the city by bike. It’s also much better for the environment 😉
By Hop-on Hop-Off Bus
Another easy option to discover all the sights is a Hop-on Hop-Off bus. It stops at all important Washington DC Sightseeing Spots. So you can simply jump off, have a look around and take the next bus to the next attraction. It’s especially great for travelers with limited time or that aren’t good on foot. Big Plus: During your ride, you will also get a bunch of interesting background information about the city and each stop.
By taxi or rental car (not recommended)
Another option is to get around by taxi or with a rental car. However, this is not only the most expensive option but also bad for the environment. Besides, during rush-hour, you might just be faster by metro, foot or bike.
The perfect Washington DC Itinerary 3 Days
3 Days in Washington DC – Day 1: Memorials and Sights in the National Mall
On our first day in the US capital, let’s go to the center of Washington DC, the national mall, and have a look at the main sights, monuments, and memorials.
Opening Hours Lincoln Memorial: 24 hours
Entrance Fee Lincoln Memorial: free of charge
Let’s start our Washington Itinerary with one of Washington’s main attractions, the Lincoln Memorial. Not only Martin Luther King chose this impressive location for his moving speech “I Have a Dream“, but also the famous movie Forest Gump has one of its most important scenes at exactly this spot.
The building itself was completed in 1922, following the example of classical Greek temples, which can be easily recognized by its 36 pillars of 10 meters (ca. 32,8 feet) height each. Inside, you can find the 6-meter-high (19,6 feet) statue depicting former US President Abraham Lincoln in a sitting position.
Fun Fact: The 36 pillars stand for the 36 states that used to belong to the United States when Lincoln was president
In front of the Lincoln Memorial, the Reflection Pool helps you take perfect photos and take a first look at the Washington Monument, the city’s tallest building.
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
Opening Hours Vietnam Veterans Memorial: 24 hours
Entrance Fee Vietnam Veterans Memorial: free of charge
This memorial is meant to commemorate the veterans of the Vietnam War, which took place between 1955 and 1975. The Memorial consists of three parts, which are visited frequently by relatives of veterans killed and missing during the Vietnam War. The largest part of the memorial is an impressive wall of polished granite engraved with the names of the 58,261 soldiers killed and disappeared during the Vietnam War. Next to it are a flagpole and the statue of Three Servicemen added to the Memorial in 1984. The last part of the memorial features the bronze statue Women’s Memorial, built to commemorate the 8 US women killed in the Vietnam War.
Korean War Veterans Memorial
Opening Hours Korean War Veterans Memorial: 24 hours
Entrance Fee Korean War Veterans Memorial: free of charge
Located in West Potomac Park near the Lincoln Memorial, the Korean War Veterans Memorial is a memorial to veterans of the Korean War. In 1995, this sculpture group was inaugurated here for the 42nd Anniversary of the US-South Korean truce. The statues show soldiers from the Korean War.
World War II Memorial
Opening Hours World War II Memorial: 24 hours
Entrance Fee World War II Memorial: free of charge
The World War II Memorial is another memorial in the heart of Washington DC. This is where the fallen US soldiers of Wolrd War II are commemorated. Even though this project has been worked on since the 80s, the monument was inaugurated in 2004. In the middle of the memorial is a fountain called the Rainbow Pool. It is surrounded by a semicircle of 56 columns, each representing a US state or US territory. Probably the most impressive thing about this memorial is the so-called Freedom Wall, where 4048 stars can be seen. Each star stands for 100 Americans killed during World War II.
Martin Luther King Memorial
Opening Hours Martin Luther King Memorial: 24 hours
Entrance Fee Martin Luther Memorial: free of charge
Since August 2011, another monument graces West Potomac Park, the Martin Luther King Memorial. The 9-meter (29,5 feet) statue of civil rights activist Martin Luther King attracts tourists from all over the world and recalls one of the most important speeches in American history: The I Have a Dream Speech. 14 quotes from this speech have been carved around the monument. However, the citation that most inspired the construction of this statue is the “Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope” which can be found directly on the statue.
Opening Hours Washington Monument: 09 am – 10 pm
Entrance Fee Washington Monument: free of charge, but the tickets have to be reserved either in the morning or against a fee online
If you are visiting Washington D.C, you cannot miss the Washington Monument, physically speaking. The Washington Monument is the tallest monument in the most popular tourist spot in Washington D.C, the National Mall. However, many people see it as just an amazing architecture feat, as a great opportunity to take stunning photos. But there is more than just that. The Washington Monuments is built to honor one of the greatest heroes in America history, George Washington. He is the same person you will see on your $1 bill. George Washington was the first president of the United States and one of the heroes of the Revolutionary War, the war that gave the United States its independence from Great Britain in 1776. Many Americans consider him as the most important person in U.S history for the sacrifices he made and the greatness he has brought to the country. Don’t miss the Washington Monument when you are on your Washington D.C trip!
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The White House
The White House is arguably one of the most famous houses in the world as the official residence of the President of the United States. Since 1800, the famous building has been used, the location of which was selected by George Washington himself. After being burnt down and rebuilt, the White House didn’t really get its name until almost 100 years later, after Theodore Roosevelt restored it in 1901 and had a west wing built.
During the Christmas season, the National Christmas Tree is also to be found here, which has been placed and decorated here every year since 1923.
How to visit the White House
Entrance fee White House: free of charge, registration required
The White House can theoretically be visited. A “first come, first served” policy applies to all visitors. As a US citizen, you can request a tour through your member of Congress. As a foreigner you have to address your embassy in Washington DC, e.g. as a German, you have to contact the German Embassy. More information can be found on the official website.
Another option is to visit the White House garden, which is open twice a year for a two-day visit (usually in April and October). I was fortunate enough to visit Washington DC on my first visit a few years ago, by chance that very day, and was thus able to explore the garden of the white house.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt Monument
Opening Hours Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial: 24 hours
Entrance Fee Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial: free of charge
Washington D.C. is filled with memorials to some of the country’s greatest leaders and icons. It can be difficult to choose which ones are worth seeing. While most people make it a point to go to the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument, the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial tends to be forgotten.
The FDR Memorial is one of the most underrated memorials in Washington D.C. It celebrates one of the most impactful U.S. presidents. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the U.S. president for four terms from 1933 to 1945. During this time, he dealt with major national difficulties, including the Great Depression and World War II.
Located on the Tidal Basin between the Thomas Jefferson Memorial and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, the FDR Memorial is separated into four separate sections, each of which represents one of FDR’s four terms as the President of the United States. Throughout each section, there are some of FDR’s most famous quotes inscribed on the granite walls and surrounded by beautiful, flowing waterfalls. Because of the design of this memorial, visitors quite literally walk through history while enjoying the beauty of nature.
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Thomas Jefferson Memorial
Opening Hours Thomas Jefferson Memorial: 24 hours
Entrance Fee Thomas Jefferson Memorial: free of charge
The marble structure of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial is hugely impressive with its tall columns and domed ceiling. Stood on the south bank of the Tidal Basin it is possibly one of the grandest but lesser-visited monuments in DC. This is perhaps due to its location being set quite away from the more popular tourist attractions.
Thomas Jefferson was the third president of the USA, elected in 1800. He was a Founding Father and also a scientist, linguist, meteorologist, book collector, architect, and farmer. The memorial is a tribute to his many accomplishments.
Construction of the Pantheon-like building began in 1939 and took four years to complete. Engraved on the walls inside are quotes from Jefferson’s various writings, including the Declaration of Independence. A massive 19ft (ca. 6 meters) bronze statue of Jefferson stands in the center, facing toward the White House.
It’s beautiful at sunset, great for photographing the changing colors of the sky as the building’s lights come on. In the other the direction you can see the Washington Monument and its reflection in the Basin.
The site is surrounded by Japanese cherry trees, famous for their blossoms during April which is the best time to visit.
Be aware, the Thomas Jefferson Memorial is a long walk from The Mall! That’s what we did, alternatively take an Uber, public bus or a hop-on, hop-off that stops there.
The memorial is never closed and visitors have access 24/7, even as it undergoes restoration until May 2020, although access is currently via the front only.
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The United States Capitol
Opening Hours Capitol: Monday – Saturday: 08.30 am – 04.30 pm
Entrance Fee Capitol: free of charge
In addition to the White House, the Capitol is one of the most important political buildings in the city. Since the first congress was held here in 1800, the American Capitol has become an integral part of American politics. Not only the Senate, but also the House of Representatives, the Supreme Court, and the Library of Congress can be found here. However, this impressive building received its typical dome shape only in the following years after 1800.
Visit the Capitol
The Capitol can be visited. In order to start your visit, just go to the Underground Visitor Center. You can also join a tour. To enter the Capitol, you must have your passport with you. To get a free ticket, simply go to the Visitor Center with your passport or make your free reservation online here before arrival.
Washington DC 3 Day Itinerary – Day 2: Museums and More
On our second day in Washington DC, we spend the morning strolling around the museums of Washington DC. The US capital is home to some of the most important museums world-wide, so you should definitely not miss checking some of them out. In the following, you will find some of the most popular ones, but there are many more. I am sure you will find something, you are interested in.
Pssst… My personal favorites where the Natural History Museum and the Holocaust Museum.
The capital of the United States of America has not only an abundance of national monuments and landmarks but also museums. It might take a few days to visit them all but I can assure you it would only enrich your entire trip to DC.
The Smithsonian Institution museums is a group of museums and research centers administered by the Government of USA. Collectively, there are twenty museums under the Institution and eleven of them are at the National Mall. They cover a wide range of topics and genres from art, history, to science and technology. Some of the most popular attractions include the National Museum of American History, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Smithsonian Institution Building, National Zoological Park, and National Air and Space Museum.
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Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture
Opening Hours National Museum of African American History and Culture: 10 am – 05.30 pm
Entrance Fee National Museum of African American History and Culture: free of charge, might be necessary to make a reservation, get all information here
The National Museum of African American History and Culture is the newest Smithsonian Museum, joining some of the greatest free museums in the world! This September 24, 2019, the museum turns three and it is definitely one of the highlights on the National Mall in Washington D.C. It was only fitting that this opened the last year of President Obama’s term as President.
The Museum contains over 37,000 objects that bring to life the stories of the African American experience, from the 1400s to the present day. With exhibits focusing on the roles African Americans played in America’s history and culture, including but not limited to music, art, sports, fashion, and film.
While the museum is free, you do need a pass. There are two ways to get a pass online in advance, or you could risk walking up at 6:30 am for limited walk-up tickets. My best tip, begin your experience on the lower floors of the museum since the design of the museum is working your way from the bottom up. If you find yourself on the national mall, then you cannot miss the museum since from both sides one can see the Capitol Building and the White House!
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Smithsonian National Museum of American History
Opening Hours National Museum of American History: 10 am – 05.30 pm
Entrance Fee National Museum of American History: free of charge, no reservation necessary
As the name of this important museum suggests, it deals with the history of America. The mission of this museum is, according to its own statements, is “to help its visitors to make sense of the past in order to create a more humane future“. In a diverse exhibition dedicated to a variety of topics, this museum introduces US history through numerous exhibits and information. The exhibits cover cultural, political, social, military and scientific aspects of American history. If you are interested in the American or history in general, or simply want to know more about the land of endless possibilities, you shouldn’t miss a visit to this museum.
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
Opening Hours National Museum of Natural History: 10 am – 05.30 pm
Entrance Fee National Museum of Natural History: free of charge, no reservation necessary
With more than 500 million exhibits, including but not limited to fossils, animals, plants, rocks, and meteorites, the National Museum of Natural History is one of the most important museums in the world. Since 1910, this impressive museum has opened its doors to young and old. Especially if you want to take a look at one of the numerous museums in the city with children, the Natural History Museum might be just the right experience for you. The exhibitions are displayed on an area of around 30,000 m² – there is plenty to see and do. Some of the imposing exhibits may already seem familiar to you from the movie Night at the Museum 2 starring Ben Stiller.
National Air and Space Museum
Opening Hours Air and Space Museum: 10 am – 05.30 pm
Entrance Fee Air and Space Museum: free of charge, no reservation necessary
After finding plenty of information about life on earth in the other museums of the National Mall, the National Air and Space Museum is all about space. This interesting museum, considered the fifth of the most visited museums worldwide, attracts millions of visitors each year. No wonder, because here you can find many original parts of historical events, such as Parts of the Apollo 11 mission or the plane of the Wright brothers and many more. Also for families traveling with children, this museum is definitely worth a visit.
National Gallery of Art
Opening Hours National Gallery of Art: Monday – Saturday: 10 am – 05 pm; Sunday: 10 am – 06 pm
Entrance Fee National Gallery of Art: free of charge
National Gallery of Arts and its Sculpture Garden is another impressive art museum in the cluster. It houses both Western European fine arts and American art exhibits from the 18th century and beyond. You will find a lot of classical and modern art big names like Edward Hicks, Thomas Cole, John Singleton Copley, Edward Savage, and much more.
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Opening Hours Newseum: Monday – Saturday: 09 am – 05 pm; Sunday: 10 am – 05 pm
Entrance Fee Newseum: $24,95
Important Information: The Newseum will be closed from December 31, 2019
In the Newseum, you will find everything important about journalism on 7 floors and an exhibition space of about 23,000 m². The museum, which is located near the Museum Mile of the National Mall since 2008, is primarily intended to highlight the importance of freedom of speech and freedom of the press. The museum is particularly interesting as it is an interactive museum that passes on information to its visitors in 15 theaters and 15 galleries.
Fun Fact: The Newseum is home to the largest piece of the Berlin Wall outside Germany.
International Spy Museum
Opening Hours International Spy Museum: 10 am – 06 pm
Entrance Fee International Spy Museum: $24,95
At almost 10,000 square meters you can learn all about espionage in the International Spy Museum. The museum has the largest collection of espionage items on public display in various exhibitions and thematic areas. Here you can learn more about the modern age, but also about the roots of espionage dating back to the Roman Empire.
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Opening Hours United States Holocaust Memorial Museum: 10 am- 05.30 pm
Entrance Fee United States Holocaust Memorial Museum: free of charge, but a ticket is needed. Find all information on the official Website
This moving museum is also located on the National Mall. On the one hand, it serves as a memorial for victims of the Holocaust and their relatives, and on the other hand, it raises awareness of this important topic. Although the museum might not be suitable as a fun family trip, it is still touching and educational. It contains more than 26,000 artifacts that recall the Nazi era and its cruel history, various pieces of evidence and learning materials.
Now that we have explored the National Park’s various memorials, museums and attractions, we head to one of the city’s most popular neighborhoods, Georgetown. This part of Washington is considered the oldest in the city and full of charm. Especially shopping queens and foodies are drawn to this area: In Georgetown, over 100 restaurants of all types are waiting to be discovered by you.
But Georgetown is also amazingly suitable for a walk and beautiful photos. Just stroll along the waterfront and soak in the wonderful atmosphere of this place. If you prefer a quieter pace, a walk along the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal might be even better for you. If you want to discover more nature, be sure to visit Dumbarton Oaks. This park is the favorite of many locals and is always well visited. Not a surprise if you ask me considering its impressive plant diversity.
Visit a Cat Café
Opening Hours Crumbs & Whiskers Cat Café DC: Monday – Friday: 1 pm – 8.30 pm; Wednesday closed; Saturday: 9.45 am – 7.45 pm; Sunday: 11 am – 6.30 pm
Crumbs & Whiskers was DC’s first cat café & now it’s DC’s favorite cat café. Who doesn’t love an opportunity to drink coffee & snuggle with cute kittens? The cafe itself is very instagrammable, and there’s plenty of treats to go around.
Crumbs and Whiskers rescue cats and kittens at risk for euthanasia or who are facing homelessness. They also serve as an adoption shelter for those looking to add a member to their family.
I especially love Crumbs and Whiskers because they have a kitten lounge! Many people don’t realize that kittens are usually the first to be euthanized. This is because taking care of them requires a lot more work. At Crumbs and Whiskers, you can have 30 minutes of intense kitten time for a $20 donation. Another awesome thing to do at Crumbs and Whiskers is…. Kitten Yoga! For $40, you’ll enjoy a zen workout experience while being surrounded by DC’s cutest feline companions.
You can reserve your spot at the Cat and Kitten Café online. It’s recommended that you book in advance.
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National Mall at night
A real highlight of my stay in Washington DC was our night tour at the National Mall. Simply have a look at the memorials that you have already discovered in daylight, once again at night. You will realize that they don’t really look the same way. Especially if you travel in winter or fall, when it gets dark early, this tour can already begin in the late afternoon or early evening. You can either stroll through the National Mall yourself and see the illuminated sights of Washington DC in the dark or join a tour that also gives you lots of interesting background information about each location.
Washington DC in 3 days – Day 3: Day Trips from Washington DC
Arlington National Cemetery
Opening Hours Arlington National Cemetery: 08 am – 07 pm
Entrance Fee Arlington National Cemetery: free of charge, no reservation needed
Metro stop: Arlington Cemetery Stop (Blue Line)
Important: This is a cemetery, please be respectful
Arlington National Cemetery is one of the most important military cemeteries in the United States. Especially war veterans are buried here: it’s already more than 400,000 veterans at Arlington National Cemetery. Between the cemetery walls, a few unique places can be visited. One of them is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which honors the unidentified fallen soldiers of various wars. Depending on the season every half hour (from April – September) or every hour (March – October) the change of guards is taking place there.
One of Arlington’s most-visited tombs is the grave of former President John F. Kennedy. His wife and two of his children are also buried next to him. At the grave stands the Eternal Flame, which burns continuously since his burial in 1963. But the graves of other important people are also part of the Arlington National Cemetery.
To get through the cemetery, which has a total area of approximately 252 hectares, you can either walk or use one of the shuttle buses.
The United States Marine Corps War Memorial
If you decide to visit the Arlington National Cemetery, which is located just outside the city limits of Washington, DC, you should definitely stop at the United States Marine Corps War Memorial. This statue, erected in 1954, is a memorial for all fallen Marine Corps since 1775 and its relatives. The scene depicted in the bronze statue is modeled on a wartime photo showing soldiers raising the American flag in 1945 on the Japanese island of Iwo Jima.
View of DC
Opening Hours view of DC: Monday: 09 am – 09 pm, Tuesday – Sunday: 09 am – 05 pm
Entrance Fee View of DC: $22 (free of charge for residents)
Metro stop View of DC: Rosslyn Stop (Blue, Orange or Silver Line)
One of the best views of any city is always a bird’s eye view! If we can get to the top of a building or an overlook on a mountain we’re there! When we heard about the new observation tower overlooking Washington, DC, called View of DC, we knew we had to visit.
It’s actually located in Arlington, Virginia, just over the Washington, DC border, but that’s because it’s the best way to get the most encompassing view of the city right next door. It’s also incredibly easy to get there: you simply take the area Metro to the Rosslyn stop and the tower is just steps from the escalators up to the street level.
Be sure to get your photo on the cantilevered balcony overlooking the Potomac River with Washington Monument in the background. We recommend visiting just 30 minutes before sunset so you’re able to see the view during daylight, sunset, and dusk, and potentially even when the stars come out!
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Opening Hours Mt. Vernon: 09 am – 05 pm
Entrance Fee Mt. Vernon: $12 – $20
When visiting Washington, D.C., one place that should be on your itinerary is President George Washington’s Mt. Vernon. Located south of Alexandria, Virginia, a short 30-minute drive from D.C., the historic home of George and Martha Washington is a hidden gem. The estate, including multiple gardens, historic replicas of the farm, a distillery and gristmill, the mansion where the Washingtons lived, and their burial site, is worth a full-day trip. The price of admission is $12-$20, and children under 6 are free.
If you don’t have a full day, one of the must-see highlights is a tour of the mansion, which is included with general admission. The tour is full overview of life when George and Martha lived there, from their meals to entertaining to the room and bed where President Washington died. Another highlight is the view of the Potomac River from the front porch of the mansion. It’s a perfect spot to sit and relax before exploring the rest of the estate.
Solemn but important stops while at Mt. Vernon are the old tomb, where President Washington was first buried, and the new tomb, where his remains were moved to, along with Martha’s, in 1831, according to his specifications in his will. Either tomb is a perfect location to pay tribute to America’s first president.
There are numerous other things to explore while at Mt. Vernon. The estate is so vast that even a whole day may not give the visitor enough time to truly enjoy everything it has to offer. But for history buffs, nature-lovers, families, or George Washington fans, Mt. Vernon is a must-visit.
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Shenandoah National Park
Opening Hours Shenandoah National Park: Find the Opening Hours here
Entrance Fee Shenandoah National Park: $25 per vehicle, $20 per motorcycle and $10 per person
It’s only an hour and a half to drive from Washington DC to Shenandoah National Park, but you’ll feel like you’re worlds away. Far from the crowded monuments and busy museums sits the nation’s second most popular National Park.
Luckily, you don’t have to be a hiking fool to enjoy Shenandoah. Herbert Hoover commissioned Skyline Drive to be the feature point of the park. It’s a 35 MPH road along the ridgeline of the Blue Ridge Mountains that offers gorgeous views to the valleys below. The entire route has more than 75 scenic overlooks along its 105-mile length.
The ends of Skyline Driver are at Fort Royal off I-66 in the north (mile 0) and Rockfish Gap off I-64 in the south (mile 105.5). There are two access points in the middle at Thornton Gap (mile 31.4) and Swift Run Gap (mile 65.5). The road’s high point is at Skyland (mile 41.7).
Highlights in Shenandoah National Park include hiking Hawksbill Mountain (the highest peak) or Dark Hollow Falls near the Byrd Visitor Center. Both of these feature hikes are between Thornton Gap and Swift Run Gap.
The area also features many show caves, like Luray Caverns, and historic homes like Montecillo, Thomas Jefferson’s home. A trip to the mountains might be just the thing to escape the heat and crowds of the city and see the other side of Virginia.