Are you heading down to Washington D.C. soon? If you are, prepare yourself for a lot of walking! There are a lot of things to do and see in Washington D.C. and a lot of these things are free, which is pretty awesome. There are lots of museums, monuments, and parks to walk around and enjoy, all of which are linked together around the National Mall. Some activities and museums you will have to wait in line for – such as the Holocaust Museum, Ford Theater or going up to the top of the Washington Monument, but there are many other things you can enjoy without standing in ticket lines. During my trip to D.C. we did a mixture of both. We decided to designate one day specifically to ticketed events, that way there was only one day that we had to get to the attractions earlier than on every other day. Here is a break down of what my 3-day Washington D.C. itinerary looked like.
Walk the loop that goes around all of the Monuments/Memorials in the National Mall. Start at the George Washington Memorial then head to the World War II Memorial, the Vietnam War Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, and the D.C. War Memorial.
The Washington Memorial
The World War II Memorial
The Vietnam War Memorial
The Lincoln Memorial
The Korean War Memorial
The D.C. War Memorial
After checking out the monuments, head over to the Smithsonian Museums to see the course of Americas history, check out space shuttles and airplanes, view art, take a stroll through the gardens, whatever you might fancy! Chances are you are not going to fit in all of the museums in on one day just because there are so many different ones to check out and explore. On my visit to D.C. I went to 4 of the museums on the same day as the monuments, and by the end of the day had already walked 12 miles.
Museum of American History
Museum of Natural History
National Art Gallery
National Air and Space Museum
On the second day, take advantage of the sites located outside of the National Mall by using Washington D.C.’s metro system. By using the metro system, you can visit the National Zoo and Arlington Cemetery, and still hit anything you may have missed in the National Mall in between.
On the third day in D.C. check out anything else that you may have missed out on the first couple days. When I was in D.C. we decided to leave the 3rd day to any ticketed museums or events, such as the Holocaust Museum, paddle boating at the Jefferson Memorial, going up to the top of the Washington Memorial, Ford’s Theater and many other places as well! I only went to the Holocaust Museum and paddle boating because we didn’t plan well enough to get tickets for everything the morning of. Out of everything listed here, the only tickets that cost money are to go paddle boating. You can rent a paddle boat for $16 for 2 people or $26 for 4, and you get the paddle boat for an hour!
Paddle Boating at the Jefferson Memorial
Another thing you should do before you leave is check out anything else you may have missed. On my trip down to Washington D.C., on the last day we stopped off at the Capital Building and at the Botanical Gardens after doing any ticketed museums/events. If you didn’t get a chance to see the monuments/memorials at night before your last day in D.C. you should definitely muster up your energy to walk down to the National Mall one more time at night before you leave! Trust me it is definitely worth it!
United States Botanical Gardens
Capital Building at night
Lincoln Memorial/World War II Memorial at night
For more in depth explanations on what you can with 3 days in D.C. check out my posts: