washington, d.c.

Brimming with historic landmarks, poignant memorials and world class museums

welcome to the district

The nation’s fascinating capital - a wonderful city to explore on foot!
Start your adventure by strolling down the National Mall, where Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument stands tall, proudly narrating tales of America's past. The U.S. Capitol, a hub of political legislature, adds an extra dose of grandeur to the landscape.

Walk through nearby West Potomac Park, and you'll stumble upon memorials paying homage to iconic figures like Martin Luther King, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Thomas Jefferson. Every step is a journey through the annals of U.S. history.

Afterwards, feel the pulse of power as you stand outside the perimeter fence of the White House and marvel at the architectural splendour of the Supreme Court and the Library of Congress, the largest library in the world! The National Cathedral, a masterpiece in itself, also beckons with its awe-inspiring design.

Round out your D.C. adventure by exploring the treasure trove of knowledge at the Smithsonian Institution. With 21 museums and galleries, it's a mind-boggling exploration spanning natural history, science, art, and aerospace. And the best part - admission is free!

So, if it's history, museums, and memorials that you’re into it is impossible to go past Washington, D.C. - our only advice is to grab your camera and make sure you stay there long enough to see it all!
Lincoln Memorial at sunset in reflecting lake

Things to see & do

Browse through our recommended selection of things to see and do in Washington, D.C. Many of these are included in our suggested itineraries, however, if there is
anything you see that particularly takes your interest, please let us know and we will include it in your holiday package or put you in touch with the right people.

National Cathedral

Step into a realm where spirituality and grandeur converge in an awe-inspiring display of stone and glass. One of the largest cathedrals in the United States, this Gothic masterpiece features stunning architecture, adorned with exquisite stained glass, creating a divine haven for worship and a prestigious venue for national events.

National Mall

Stroll through National Mall, a sprawling open park area, linking the U.S. Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial and adorned with historic gems like the Washington Monument and the World War II Memorial. Join the millions of annual visitors who walk the paths to appreciate its historical and cultural significance. 

The White House

Catch a glimpse of the White House, perhaps the planet's most famous 'house,' serving as the official home and workplace of the U.S. President. Visitors can catch a free glimpse from the perimeter fence or public tours may be able to be arranged if requested and booked well in advance through the local embassy. The White House Visitor Center on Pennsylvania Avenue is also well worth a visit to enjoy a sneak peek into the life and legacy of this iconic residence. 

National Air and Space Museum

Explore this world renowned Smithsonian gem celebrating the epic tales of aviation and space conquest. Housing treasures like the Wright brothers' flyer and the Apollo 11 command module, this museum is a major drawcard for enthusiasts, showcasing the history and incredible stories of flight and space technology. A must visit destination to include in your Washington, D.C. stay.

U.S. Capitol Building

Visitors can enter the U.S. Capitol Building where history unfolds beneath its iconic grand dome. This legislative powerhouse, witness to pivotal moments in US history, opens its doors for tours revealing 'The Rotunda'- a large circular haven adorned with historic paintings and statues of former Presidents. Immerse yourself in the beating heart of the nation's governance and relive the stories etched within its hallowed halls. 

 

Lincoln Memorial

Walk up the famous steps of the Lincoln Memorial, arguably the pinnacle of Washington, D.C.'s iconic monuments and marvel at the colossal, seated statue of Abraham Lincoln inside - a tribute to his leadership in the Civil War and dedication to abolishing slavery. The Lincoln steps have been the stage for some iconic moments in history, including Martin Luther King Jr's famous 'I Have a Dream' speech.

Washington Monument

Walk along the National Mall and gaze up at the Washington Monument, also known as ‘The Pencil ’. This towering stone obelisk is one of the city’s most visible monuments, standing more than 165 metres high in honour of the nation’s first President. Secure your spot in advance to ride the elevator to the observation deck, treating yourself to breathtaking views of the Mall and its surroundings.

National Archives Museum

Browse through the National Archives Museum, a sanctuary for the nation's crown jewels - historic documents like the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. Immerse yourself in the tangible threads of American history and governance as you stroll through this archival wonderland, where each document provides a glimpse into the soul of the nation. 

Experience live sport

Experience live sport - the American way! Catch the adrenaline, the cheers, and the thrill of a live game - because experiencing sports the American way is an absolute must! Washington, D.C. is home to 5 pro teams covering all of the major sports. Chat with Travel USA to score your tickets and we'll look to lock in your seats before you even pack your bags!

Jefferson Memorial

Take a leisurely stroll around the Tidal Basin to visit Jefferson Memorial, a majestic tribute adorned with a bronze statue of Thomas Jefferson and excerpts from the Declaration of Independence. Amidst the serene setting, this monument stands as a beacon, honouring the ideals of liberty and democracy.

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial

Take a stroll through Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, a powerful tribute to the iconic civil rights leader. The memorial features a statue of Dr. King emerging from a stone of hope, surrounded by quotations from his speeches echoing justice, equality, and freedom. It stands as a poignant reminder of his enduring legacy and the ongoing fight for civil rights in America.

Library of Congress

Explore the Library of Congress from books to manuscripts, maps, and photos this is the world’s largest treasure trove of knowledge - a literary wonderland. Secure your timed entry pass online, up to 30 days in advance, and unlock a world where each page holds a piece of history, waiting to be explored.

Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Centre

Make time to visit the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Centre, an extension of the National Air and Space Museum. located just across the state line in Virgina close to Washington Dulles Airport. It boasts an extensive collection featuring iconic exhibits like the Space Shuttle Discovery and the SR-71 Blackbird, making it a must-visit secondary destination for enthusiasts of aviation and space exploration.

Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial

As you stroll through West Potomac Park be sure to visit one of our favourite tributes, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial. Spread across four outdoor spaces, each symbolising one of FDR's four terms, it weaves together sculptures, waterfalls, and poignant quotes. Delve into Roosevelt's leadership during the Great Depression and World War II, immersing yourself in a wonderful testament to a transformative era.

Visit Georgetown

Experience the charm of this historic neighbourhood where cobblestone streets and elegant row houses help create a charming vibe. Known for its waterfront, boutique shops and diverse dining options it is a popular destination for tourists. Movie buffs can even stumble upon the iconic Exorcist stairs, adding a touch of cinematic history to your visit.

National Museum of Natural History

Journey through time at the National Museum of Natural History and view cultural artifacts from across the globe as you explore this treasure trove of dinosaur fossils, gems, minerals, and ancient human remains. Drawing millions of visitors every year, it stands as a major resource for exploring the wonders of the natural world.

Korean War Veterans Memorial

Witness the solemnity of the Korean War Veterans Memorial, adorned with 19 stainless steel statues representing soldiers from diverse branches of the U.S. military. This memorial pays homage to the brave individuals who served during the Korean War. Today, it stands as a poignant testament to the valour and sacrifice of those who served in this historic conflict. 

National Museum of the American Indian

Embark on a journey through indigenous history at this cultural treasure trove that showcases the rich diversity and heritage of Native American peoples. The museum is home to an expansive collection of artifacts, artworks, and multimedia exhibits celebrating Native cultures and their enduring significance. The museum's architecture, inspired by Native traditions, harmoniously integrates with its surroundings.

United States Supreme Court

Visitors to DC can experience the look and feel of the Supreme Court - the nation's highest court, where landmark legal decisions unfold. On weekdays, sections of the court are open to the public, with court sessions operating  on a first-come, first-served basis. It's a unique opportunity to gain fascinating insights into the workings of the U.S. legal system and witness the weight of justice being deliberated. 

National World War II Memorial

Whilst visiting the National Mall visitors can walk the circuit around the National World War II Memorial, a poignant tribute honouring the 16 million who served in the U.S. Armed Forces during WWII. It boasts 56 pillars symbolising the U.S. states and territories at the time of the war and a central plaza featuring fountains and a Freedom Wall inscribed with the thousands of names of those who lost their lives. 

National Museum of American History

Explore the rich history and culture of the United States at the National Museum of American History, home of more than 1.7 million objects, including the original Star-Spangled Banner and Abraham Lincoln’s top hat and an array of iconic items that encapsulate American innovations, traditions, and the incredible journey of the nation. 

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall

Stand alongside the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, a solemn tribute to those who served and sacrificed during the Vietnam War. The black granite walls are etched with the names of fallen soldiers, providing a reflection of the visitors alongside, creating a profoundly powerful and emotional experience of remembrance for the lives lost in service.

International Spy Museum

Unleash your inner detective at the International Spy Museum, a unique and interactive museum dedicated to espionage and intelligence activities. Dive into the shadowy realm of secret agents with exhibits showcasing spy gadgets, covert operations, and historical tales of espionage.

Arlington National Cemetery

Embark on a solemn journey to Arlington National Cemetery. Located across the Potomac River in Virginia, this hallowed burial ground pays homage to brave men and women who have served in the U.S. military. Movie scenes come to life with its vast rolling hills and iconic sites like The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the eternal flame that still burns brightly at President John F. Kennedy's gravesite. 

National Gallery of Art

Explore the National Gallery of Art, known for its impressive architecture and boasting an extensive and diverse collection featuring masterpieces by legends like Leonardo da Vinci, Vincent van Gogh, and Claude Monet. Step into a world where every stroke and canvas tell a timeless tale, making it a must-visit for art enthusiasts.

 

External view of The White House

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Our packages and featured 'things to see and do' have been created to excite, inspire and inform Kiwi travellers about what we recommend they do when travelling to the USA. All of these can be personalised to your individual needs and preferences. Contact us to discuss your requirements so we can work together to create the perfect adventure for you.
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