Top ChoiceMuseum in National Mall

National Gallery of Art

National Gallery of Art

Two buildings. Hundreds of masterpieces. Infinite enjoyment. The neoclassical West Building showcases European art through to the early 1900s; highlights include works by da Vinci, Manet, Monet and Van Gogh. The...

Top ChoiceMuseum in National Mall

National Air & Space Museum

National Air & Space Museum

The legendary exhibits at this hugely popular museum include the Wright brothers' flyer, Chuck Yeager's Bell X-1, Charles Lindbergh's Spirit of St Louis, Howard Hughes' H-1 Racer and Amelia Earhart's natty Vega...

Top ChoiceMonument in National Mall

Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln Memorial

Anchoring the Mall's west end is the hallowed shrine to Abraham Lincoln, who gazes across the Reflecting Pool beneath his neoclassical, Doric-columned abode. The words of his Gettysburg Address and Second...

Top ChoiceChurch in Upper Northwest DC

Washington National Cathedral

Washington National Cathedral

Constructed between 1907 and 1990, this huge neo-Gothic cathedral blends the spiritual with the profane in its architecture. Most of its richly colored stained-glass windows celebrate religious themes, although...

Top ChoiceLandmark in Capitol Hill & South DC

US Capitol

US Capitol

Since 1800, this is where the legislative branch of American government (ie Congress) has met to write the country's laws. The lower House of Representatives (435 members) and upper Senate (100) meet respectively...

Top ChoiceLandmark in White House Area & Foggy Bottom

White House

White House

The 'President's House,' built between 1792 and 1800, is an iconic, imposing building that's thrilling to see but difficult to access. Tours must be pre-arranged: Americans must apply via one of their members of...

Top ChoiceMuseum in Upper Northwest DC

Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens

Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens

The former estate of Marjorie Merriweather Post of Post cereal fame, this lavishly decorated 1920s mansion showcases her extraordinary collections of Russian imperial art (icons, paintings, jewelry, Fabergé eggs)...

Top ChoiceMuseum in Dupont Circle & Kalorama

Phillips Collection

The country's first modern-art museum (opened in 1921) houses a small but exquisite collection of European and American works. Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party is a highlight, along with pieces by Gauguin,...

Top ChoiceMonument in National Mall

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Maya Lin's design for this hugely evocative memorial takes the form of a black, low-lying 'V' – an expression of the psychic scar wrought by the Vietnam War. The monument descends into the earth, with the names...

Top ChoiceLibrary in Capitol Hill & South DC

Library of Congress

Library of Congress

The world's largest library – with 164 million books, manuscripts, maps, photos, films and other items – awes in both scope and design. The centerpiece is the 1897 Jefferson Building. Gawk at the Great Hall, done...

Top ChoiceMuseum in Upper Northwest DC

Kreeger Museum

One of DC's top attractions for architecture buffs and those with an interest in 20th-century art, this museum is housed in a stunning 1963 International Style building designed by American architect Philip...

Top ChoiceMuseum in Capitol Hill & South DC

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

For a deep understanding of the Holocaust – its victims, perpetrators and bystanders – this harrowing museum is a must-see. The main exhibit gives visitors the identity card of a single Holocaust victim, whose...

Top ChoiceLandmark in Downtown & Penn Quarter

National Archives

National Archives

It's hard not to feel a little in awe of the big three documents in the Archives: the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Taken together, it becomes clear just how radical the...

Top ChoiceMuseum in Downtown & Penn Quarter

Reynolds Center for American Art & Portraiture

Reynolds Center for American Art & Portraiture

The Reynolds Center is one of DC's finest museums. This Smithsonian venue combines the National Portrait Gallery and the American Art Museum into one whopping collection of American art that's unmatched anywhere...

Top ChoiceGardens in Georgetown

Dumbarton Oaks

Dumbarton Oaks

The mansion's 27 acres of enchanting formal gardens are straight out of a storybook. The springtime blooms – including heaps of cherry blossoms – are stunning. The mansion itself is worth a walk-through to see...

Top ChoiceArchitecture in Dupont Circle & Kalorama

Embassy Row

Embassy Row

Want to take a trip around the world? Stroll northwest along Massachusetts Ave from Dupont Circle (the actual traffic circle) and you pass more than 40 embassies housed in mansions that range from elegant to...

Top ChoiceGardens in Logan Circle, U Street & Columbia Heights

United States National Arboretum

United States National Arboretum

The greatest green space in Washington unfurls almost 450 acres of meadowland, sylvan theaters and a pastoral setting that feels somewhere between bucolic Americana countryside and a classical Greek ruralscape....

Landmark in Capitol Hill & South DC

Supreme Court

Supreme Court

The highest court in the USA occupies a pseudo-Greek temple protected by 13,000lb bronze doors. Arrive early to watch arguments (periodic Monday through Wednesday from October to April). You can visit the...

Historic Site in Downtown & Penn Quarter

Ford’s Theatre

On April 14, 1865, John Wilkes Booth assassinated Abraham Lincoln here. Free timed-entry tickets provide access to the site, which has four parts: the theater itself (where you see the box seat Lincoln was...