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Best Things To Do in Washington D.C.

Beyond the traditional D.C. attractions — the Smithsonian museums, the U.S. Capitol, the monuments — you'll find fresh food, arts and nightlife scenes. You can spend your morning perusing the city's cache of farmers' markets and contemporary exhibits and your afternoon taking in the scenery from the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument before catching a show at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. If you plan to visit at the end of March and into April, don't miss wandering along the Tidal Basin, where you'll find thousands of pink cherry blossoms bursting into bloom, not to mention excellent conditions for exploring the city's outdoor spaces and museums.

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How We Rank Things to Do
#1
Lincoln Memorial Free attraction
Monuments and Memorials, Sightseeing | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 5.0

Why go: Although the Lincoln Memorial is just one of the District's many monuments, the larger-than-life Honest Abe is also among ... read more»

#2
Vietnam Veterans and Korean War Veterans Memorials Free attraction
Monuments and Memorials, Sightseeing | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.5

Why go: One of the most moving war memorials, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial — or "the Wall," as it's commonly referred to ... read more»

#3
The Tidal Basin Free attraction
Sightseeing, Neighborhood/Area | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.5

Why go: If you've never been to D.C. before, plan to spend some time along the Tidal Basin, a 2-mile-long ... read more»

#4
Washington National Cathedral Free attraction
Sightseeing | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.5

Why go: Construction first began on this massive cathedral — the sixth largest in the world —  in 1907, but it wasn't actually ... read more»

#5
National Gallery of Art Free attraction
Museums | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.5

Why go: If you're any kind of art connoisseur, you should make a stop at the National Gallery of Art. Composed ... read more»

#6
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Free attraction
Museums | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.5

Why go: You need to be in the right frame of mind to visit this sobering museum, focused on the atrocities of ... read more»

#7
National Air and Space Museum Free attraction
Museums | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.5

Why go: Attracting somewhere around 9 million people each year, the museum contains a trove of celebrated aircraft, including Amelia Earhart's ... read more»

#8
National Museum of Natural History Free attraction
Museums | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.5

Why go: With more than 126 million artifacts on display, this robust Smithsonian museum attracts millions of visitors each year. Some of ... read more»

#9
John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Entertainment and Nightlife | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.5

Why go: Many travelers highly recommend a visit to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, built and named for ... read more»

#10
The White House and the Washington Monument Free attraction
Sightseeing | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.5

Why go: Even if you're only in town for a short trip, visiting the Washington Monument and the White House — two ... read more»

#11
U.S. Capitol and the Library of Congress Free attraction
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Overall Rating: Rating: 4.0

Why go: Arguably the most magnificent building in Washington, the U.S. Capitol Building is where visitors go to witness politics in ... read more»

#12
National World War II Memorial Free attraction
Monuments and Memorials, Sightseeing | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.0

Why go: A fairly new memorial, the National World War II Memorial was dedicated in 2004 to the 400,000 Americans who ... read more»

#13
National Archives Free attraction
Museums | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.0

Why go: A treasure trove of the United States' founding documents, the National Archives are high on travelers' to-do lists and almost ... read more»

#14
National Zoo Free attraction
Zoos and Aquariums | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 3.5

Why go: Approximately 2,000 animals call the 163-acre National Zoo home, from Asian elephants to great apes to sea lions. While ... read more»

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