Washington is a city with a lot of history and great monuments. To make the most of your holiday in the capital of the United States, here are the museums and attractions you can't miss.
1. Washington Sightseeing Pass, the city's sightseeing card
If you are going to spend several days in Washington sightseeing and want to enjoy the city to the fullest, I recommend you get the Washington Sightseeing Pass, a tourist card that gives you access to the main sights while saving you money and time, so you can visit as many places as you want!
This pass is perfect for travellers who are visiting Washington for the first time and want to take it all in, for those who travel with an open and flexible plan seeing sights as they go, or for families with children who prefer to visit the city at their leisure aboard a tour bus and take advantage of the discounts at restaurants and shops that this pass provides.
The Washington Sightseeing Pass is activated the first time you use it and you can choose from 1, 2 or 3-day sightseeing passes that include a 24-hour sightseeing bus ticket so you can enjoy the sights of the capital as you sit back and listen to the guide tell you interesting facts about the sights you're seeing.
You can also use it as a means of transport to get around different parts of the city thanks to the Hop-on / Hop-off system. This is very comfortable and practical if you need to give your legs a rest or if you are travelling with small children.
This is the pass you've been looking for to make the most of your holiday in Washington!
Isabel's Traveler Tip
The opening hours of tourist attractions may vary during the holiday period, so always check before you visit.
2. City Tours with access to the White House and Lincoln Memorial
The Capitol is the symbol of American democracy and a must-see on your list of things to see in Washington.
You'll probably recognise the white façade and great dome of this iconic building from seeing it hundreds of times in the movies, but with this VIP ticket to the Capitol and National Archives you'll have the chance to see it from the inside with a guided tour of such popular sites as the Rotunda, National Statuary Hall, the House of Representatives and the Senate, where some of the most important decisions that drive the country's politics are made.
You'll also enter the National Archives building, where the original Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution are on display.
Not only that, but this is a pretty comprehensive tour because it also includes a bus tour of Washington's major monuments where you'll make a few photo stops. You can even enjoy a fun cruise on the Potomac River and lunch at L'Enfant Plaza.
If you're passionate about politics and history, don't hesitate because you're in for a treat with this tour of Washington.
3. Guided tour of the Museum of African American History
The best way to discover the roots of the African-American community and experience the cultural diversity of this city is to take this half-day tour of Washington to follow in the footsteps of the first African-Americans in Jamestown and learn about the civil rights movement.
You will visit such important sites as the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, Martin Luther King Jr Memorial, Ben's Chili Bowl Mural, Lincoln Park, Carter G. Woodson Home National Historic Site, the African American Civil War Memorial and Museum, among many others.
If there's one thing I like about this tour, it's that the tour guide strikes the perfect balance between educational and fun - you'll learn a lot about African American culture and history in the United States!
What are the main monuments in Washington DC that I should visit?
Often overshadowed by other touristy cities such as New York or Boston, the capital of the United States is an exciting place brimming with history and culture. This translates into important monuments and museums that fill the streets of Washington, making it a desirable destination for a city break at any time of the year.
Many of the monuments you will have the opportunity to see during your trip to Washington will probably be familiar to you having seen them in the movies on countless occasions but nothing compares to seeing them in person.
Washington's must-see sights that you must see when you visit the capital are:
- The White House
- The Capitol
- Abraham Lincoln Memorial
- Arlington National Cemetery
- Thomas Jefferson Memorial
- Washington Cathedral
- Martin Luther King Jr Memorial
- The Washington Obelisk
- The National Mall
- Vietnam Veterans Memorial
- The Korean War Veterans Memorial
- The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial
- The Iwo Jima Memorial
How to book tickets to Washington's monuments?
There are travellers who like to travel the world with an open and flexible plan, seeing tourist attractions as they go. There is no doubt that this is an exciting way to get to know new places, as there is nothing planned and unexpected surprises are always possible.
However, there are certain risks involved, as unexpected situations can arise when trying to buy tickets to visit a monument once at the destination, when the tickets are sold out after queuing endlessly at the ticket office - every tourist's nightmare!
Washington is a city that receives many visitors and where long queues often form at the ticket offices of its monuments and museums. To avoid being caught in such a scenario, my advice is to book your tickets to Washington's monuments online and in advance of your travel date.
Nothing gives greater peace of mind when travelling than having everything well tied up from home, don't you think? In Hellotickets you can compare prices, schedules and availability of tickets and tours for monuments and museums in Washington, and you will surely find the one that best suits you!
Which monuments or museums are worth visiting in Washington?
Washington is a monumental city, full of history, culture and museums. There is much to do and see but there is no doubt that some of the must-see monuments and museums here are:
- The White House: the official residence of the President of the United States.
- The Capitol: the symbol of American democracy
- The National Mall: a park in the centre of the capital that is home to some of Washington's most important memorials.
- The Abraham Lincoln Memorial: a massive memorial dedicated to the nation's 16th president.
- The Washington Obelisk: a monument erected in honour of the nation's 1st president.
- The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial: dedicated to the American civil rights activist who gave the famous "I Have a Dream" speech.
- The Thomas Jefferson Memorial: built in memory of the nation's 3rd president and one of the Founding Fathers.
- Arlington National Cemetery: the largest cemetery in the world where the remains of thousands of American soldiers and figures rest.
- The Air and Space Museum: see aircraft and spacecraft from different eras in realistically presented exhibits.
- The Library of Congress: the oldest cultural institution in the United States and the largest library in the world.
- The National Gallery of Art: a museum containing one of the world's most important collections of art from the Middle Ages to the 20th century.
- The National Archives Museum: exhibits many of the nation's founding documents such as the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence.
- The Museum of Natural Science: one of the largest and most visited museums in the world for its excellent nature collections covering paleontology, zoology, geology and more.
- The Iwo Jima Memorial: erected in honour of the soldiers of the US Army Infantry Corps.
How does the Sightseeing pass work?
If you want to make the most of your holiday in Washington by sightseeing and you are going to spend several days in the city, then I advise you to get the Washington Sightseeing Pass, a tourist card with which you will be able to access the main tourist attractions and which will also save you money and time.
The way the Washington Sightseeing Pass works is very simple. You can choose between a 1, 2 or 3 day sightseeing pass and it is activated the first time you use it, from then on you can visit as many places as you want!
With this sightseeing pass you will have access to more than 15 attractions and it includes a 24-hour sightseeing bus ticket to travel around Washington without leaving your seat or to use it as a means of transport to move between different parts of the city.
Plus, by presenting the Washington Sightseeing Pass at certain restaurants and shops, you can take advantage of great discounts and save a little extra during your trip. It's all great benefits!