The capital of the United States of America, is home to politics, monuments, museums, and many more. We only had one day here, and to make the most of it, we explored some of the best things to do in Washington DC. 


Washington DC was named after the first president George Washington, but its full title is Washington D.C (District of Columbia). The Legislative, Presidential, and Judicial are the three branches of the US Federal, that’s based in Washington DC.

A French architect by the name of Pierre Charles L’Enfant designed Washtington DC. Making it the only city to be planned and designed. His task was to design the new capital of the United States. The architects plan was based on other cities in Europe such as Paris and Amsterdam. Unfortunately, there was a falling out between President Washington and Pierre Charles L’Enfant. After the falling out, they brought in Andrew Ellicot, who made some changes to the plan. These changes are still credited as Pierre Charles L’Enfant work.

The tallest building in Washington DC is the Washington Monument. 

Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC
Lincoln Memorial

Best things to do in Washington DC 

We had such a short period of time to explore this city, but this did not stop us from seeing the best places in Washington DC. 

Jefferson Memorial 

Cost: Free 

The exterior of the memorial has columns making the outline of a circular shape with a dome perched on top. President Franklin D Roosevelt commissioned the building of the Jefferson memorial, as a memorial for one of the founding fathers of the United States. The architect designed it in such a way that it represented Jefferson’s library, with his own writings illustrated on the walls. On one of the panels of the wall is extracts from the declaration of independence.

The Jefferson memorial overlooks the tidal basin. As you look back at the Jefferson Memorial from a distance, the statue of Jefferson standing prominently in the middle. As the light begins to far away, the tidal basin casts shadows across the water, making this a stunning sight to see.  

One of the best things to do in Washington DC is visit the United States Capitol
United States Capitol

Lincoln Memorial 

Cost: Free 

Built in honour of the 16th president of the United States of America, and designed in the form of columns in a Greek style temple. President Lincoln famous Gettysburg address, and second inaugural speech is inscribe on the wall of this memorial, with President Lincoln, seated comfortably in the centre.

Martin Luther King Jr spoke his famous ‘I have a dream’ from these steps.  

Bev & Shams Adventures outside the White House in Washington DC
Bev & Shams Adventures outside the White House in Washington DC

Overlooking the Lincoln Memorial, is the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, and the Washington Monument. As the night draws in, the bright light from the monument pierces the waters of the Lincoln Memorial reflecting pool. 

Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool 

Cost: Free 

The Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool is one of the largest reflecting pools in the United States of America, and is in the shape of a rectangle.  The design of the pool, highlights the surrounding areas, especially the reflection of the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. To get the best experience when visiting the Reflecting Pool is either during the day or night, when the light sparkles in the water.

Washington Monument 

Cost: Free 

The Washington Monument was built to commemorate George Washington, the first president of the United States of America. It is currently the tallest stone structure in the world standing at about 554 feet tall. Construction started 1848, but due to funding the building ceased, it was finally completed in 1888. The top of the Monument looks very similar to an Egyptian style structure.This due to the pyramid shape at the top, but there is a contrast at the base, with the 50 American flags that are flown. 

You may have seen this in the distance as you explored Washington DC. So being able to get up close and really see its height looking down at you. The one thing you probably wouldn’t have noticed from a distance, is the different colouring of the stone. After some years, the construction of the Washington Monument continues, with different stone. The colouring on the monument, is clear on closer inspection.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial 

United States Capitol 

Cost: Free 

This is home to the United States Congress, and the seat of the Legislative branch, and located at the end of the National Mall. The design of the United States Capitol, seems very similar to many other buildings in Washington DC, but on a grand scale.

Washington Monument reflecting in the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, in Washington SC
Washington Monument reflecting in the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool

The White House 

Cost: Free 

The official residence and work place of the president of the United States of America, and has been since about 1800. Columns are on both the north and south facing, the south has the semi-circle effect, and is one of the most heavily guarded buildings. On both the north and south of the building are beautiful water fountains. It was unfortunately not possible to explore the inside of The White House, but it looks so grand from the outside, we just can’t imagine how amazing it must be on the inside.   

There is no reason to restrict yourself to Washington DC, how about exploring what is out of the city. We were on a tour, which covered Philidelphia, Washington DC, and Niagara Falls from the USA side. On our trip we also stopped off at the following: 

Hersey’s Chocolate World 

Cost: Free entry, other areas of Hersey’s is pay as you go 

Located a couple of hours drive from Washington DC, is Hersey’s Chocolate World. This is where you will learn how they make their chocolate, and at the end of the tour, you can buy as much chocolate as you like from their store. 

The tour takes you around the factory on a ride, that shows the workings from the start of the chocolate process, till the end. We have never eaten Hersey’s chocolate before, and in our honest opinion, we did not like it. Hersey’s chocolate is somewhat different to what we are use too! The factory tour on the other hand was interesting and well worth the couple of hours drive out of Washington DC to learn how chocolate is made.  

If you’re on a magical road trip around the USA, then you’ll want to pass Philadelphia! Why not stay at some of the best hotels in Philadelphia!

Your say

Have you visited Washintgton DC? What was your highlight? Have we missed anything on this list that we should have included? We would love to hear from you, just leave a comment below.

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Jefferson Memorial in Washington DC
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Things to do in Washington DC

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