Explore DC by Bus!
The free-to-ride DC Circulator travels along specific routes designed for easy-on, easy-off access at points of interest throughout the nation's capital. Explore neighborhoods such as Adams Morgan, Dupont Circle, Georgetown and Capitol Hill with the Circulator. The bus even offers a dedicated National Mall route for super easy access to DC’s majestic lineup of monuments and memorials.
Check out the Smithsonian Museums
These are America’s museums, so there is no charge to visit them! All Smithsonian museums have interactive components and unparalleled collections of artifacts. The hard part is choosing which ones to visit. Visitors often flock to the National Air and Space Museum for its journeys into space and the National Museum of American Historyfor its in-depth look at our nation’s past. Also, be sure to check out the recently renovated Freer | Sackler Galleries, which are dedicated to Asian art.
Explore the National Mall
Touring the National Mall should top your list of must-do’s when you visit the District. Free monuments, memorials and museums are all around, including the famous Lincolnand Jefferson memorials and the popular National Museum of African American History and Culture. Walk next to the Reflecting Pool and you can hear American history in your footsteps, from the sacrifices made by soldiers to the powerful words of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Walk through the US Capitol Building
You’ll begin your exploration of the U.S. Capitol inside the Capitol Visitor Center, which features an exhibition hall that tells the story of the Capitol and Congress. To continue your journey into the historical portions of the building beyond the Visitor Center, you’ll need to book a free guided tour. The excursion begins with an orientation film, then takes you to the famous Rotunda, the Crypt and much more.
Visit the largest Roman Catholic church in America
The domed Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Brookland stands as the largest Roman Catholic Church in North America and one of the ten largest churches in the world. Free guided or self-guided tours are available of the massive edifice, which is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and includes numerous shrines to her and a three-story high mosaic portrait of Jesus. The Basilica is open every day of the year.
Check out Chinatown
The 60-foot-tall, intricate Chinatown Archway is a signature of DC’s Chinatown neighborhood. It’s also a classic Instagram spot and overlooks one of the busiest intersections in the city, at 7th and H Streets NW. The Archway, which was constructed in 1982, features 7,000 tiles and 272 painted dragons and is filled with an array of colors.
Step into the living memorial that is the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Dedicated to one of the worst tragedies in world history, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum educates its visitors on the dangers of hatred and the atrocities of genocide, as well as how society can confront challenges to freedom and human dignity. Its in-depth exhibits form some of the most essential viewing that DC’s museums have to offer.
SMITHSONIAN'S NATIONAL ZOO
Enjoy thousands of exotic animals, educational animal demonstrations, the Asia Trail (where our giant pandas live!), and many other exhibits. Open daily except Dec. 25. Call for hours: 202-633-1000. Free admission. Guided tours by appointment; call (202) 633-3025 or (202) 673-4823 (TTY).