Wondering what to do during your trip to Washington DC? I know, it’s super hard to try and do all of the things in just one trip! Based on my visit in June of this year, here are 5 suggestions of things to do in Washington DC.

1. See the Monuments at Night

One of the best things to do in Washington DC is to check out the monuments and buildings at night. I never actually considered it until a DC resident (and awesome friend) suggested it. The whole area takes on a very different vibe at night and each building/monument is very carefully lit to properly showcase each location. There are tons of people walking around, so you don’t have to worry too much about your safety. You DO need to wear comfortable shoes as it’ll take at least a couple hours if you want to see all of the monuments and buildings at night. If I had the time, and energy, I would visit a few places each evening so I could spend a bit more time at each location.

2. Visit the Smithsonian Museums + Botanical Gardens

My other suggestion for things do do in Washington DC is a really obvious one. Take advantage of the free museums and botanical gardens. I only had one day to hit up some of the Smithsonian Museums and decided to split my time between the Museum of Natural History and the United States Botanic Garden. I also popped in to the Smithsonian Institution Building (the Castle), though the majority of it was closed to the public. My suggestion for slow(er) travelers is to only try 1-2 museums per day and take lots of breaks. I was rocking a broken toe (or two) on this trip and all the walking was a bit difficult, though absolutely worth the pain!

If you have time, you can also go to the Zoo. It’s not located in the Mall area, but isn’t too far away. Keep in mind that it is on a hill. You can walk down it, and then trek back up the other side (one mile uphill) or take the shuttle up to the top and then make your way down again.

3. See the White House and US Capitol Building

If you have a good-weather day in DC, that would be a great time to check out the White House and the even-more-impressive US Capitol Building. These two are pretty remarkable on any given day, but are gorgeous with deep blue skies behind them. The White House is definitely MUCH smaller than you’d expect, and the best view is from the rear entrance.

4. Eat all the food!

Washington DC has some AMAZING food. I was only there for a few days, but tested out a couple fantastic gastro-pubs, had Balkan food for the first time, had a bangin Mexican brunch, and went to my favorite cupcake obsession, Sprinkles. Whatever you feel like eating, Washington DC will have it! It, of course, will be a bit pricey, but the flavors will be on-point!

5. Take a day trip to Baltimore

If you seriously need a break from the hustle and bustle of Washington DC, why not take a day-trip to Baltimore? It’s not too far away and there are definitely a few super cool spots worth checking out, namely Cafe Hon in the Hampden area and Fells Point. Also, make sure you get some crab cakes – I doubt they’ll be as good as my cousin’s, but they’ll certainly be some of the best in the country!

As I said before, you’ll never quite have enough time to check out all of the things to do in Washinton DC. They key is to pick a few of ‘must do’ items and leave some room in your itinerary to see where the city takes you. I absolutely loved my few short days in DC and am looking forward to returning next summer!

What are your favorite things to do in Washington DC?