Nestled on the East Coast of the United States, Washington D.C. is a capital that’s perfect for a first-time visit to the east coast. Plus, it has a heap of the best places to see in Washington D.C. that are dotted all across the city. There’s also plenty of fun things to do in the nation’s capital this season—even if you might be participating from home. Here are some actually cool Things to Do in Washington DC right now.
Things to Do in Washington DC
Stroll the National Mall
The First Things to Do in Washington DC is to Stroll the National Mall. A perfect starting point for some of the most famous museums and monuments in the city, the National Mall. The mall itself is a long strip of the grassy park and pond area, which stretches from the Capitol building in the east to the Lincoln Memorial in the west.
Take a stroll across the mall, which is especially great on a sunny day and easily one of the best places to see in Washington D.C. for a stroll.
Tour the Library of Congress
The Library of Congress is both the world’s largest library and the oldest cultural institution in the whole country. Try taking a free, one-hour guided tour of the building, which is great for us history buffs. Honestly, it’s so stunning and easily one of the best places to see in Washington D.C.
Plus, various exhibitions and galleries can also be found here, showing some of the very best collections in the Library.
Washington National Cathedral
Construction first began on this massive cathedral – the sixth-largest in the world – in 1907, but it wasn’t actually completed until 1990. Designed in the Gothic style, the Washington National Cathedral sits surrounded by gardens, creating a pleasant atmosphere for visitors. Take a stroll around the cathedral and peer at its high vaults and flying buttresses, or step inside to admire its intricate glass-stained windows. Another highlight is the cathedral’s Gargoyle Tour. This tour – offered between May and September – gives you a chance to gaze up at the building’s stony grotesques and gargoyles. (There’s even a Darth Vader gargoyle that was appointed in the 1980s along the right-hand side of the northwest tower.)
Recent visitors were wowed by this cathedral’s grand architecture and colorful stained-glass windows. If you’re religious, consider attending one of the free worship services, which are offered every Sunday at 8, 9, and 11:15 a.m. Evening prayers led by the choir are also available on Sundays at 4 p.m.
See the Lincoln Memorial
No trip to D.C. would be complete without a stop next to Abe Lincoln on the Lincoln Memorial. It may be the best Things to Do in Washington DC. Although the Lincoln Memorial is just one of the District’s many monuments, the larger-than-life Honest Abe is also among travelers’ favorites. History buffs might enjoy the man of few (albeit powerful) words’ two famous speeches, the second inaugural address and the Gettysburg Address, which are both etched into the memorial’s opposing walls. Meanwhile, art history and architecture aficionados will enjoy admiring the building’s striking design by Henry Bacon, complete with 38 Doric columns, 36 of which signify the states in the Union at the time Lincoln passed away.
Certainly one of the most iconic memorials in the city, the Lincoln Memorial sits at the west end of the National Mall, just on the edge of the Potomac River.
Once you’ve taken your picture with the seated, marble version of the nation’s 16th President, be sure to turn around to take in the gorgeous views of the Reflecting Pool and the Washington Monument, which is perfect to see around sunset.
Nationals Park, home to the Washington Nationals, is one of the finest baseball stadiums in America; from the upper decks, you just might spy the top of the U.S. Capitol Building. While you’re cheering on the Nats, you can enjoy a burger from Shake Shack, cocktails made with D.C. liquor, or a half-smoke from Ben’s Chili Bowl, a local institution. Since it opened in 2008, the ballpark has become the glittering centerpiece of a revitalized Southeast Waterfront—so don’t forget to check out the neighborhood while you’re here.
The Exorcist Stairs
For some, these stairs might look like little more than a daunting climb, but fans of the 1973 horror movie The Exorcist will likely recognize the site of the climactic final showdown between the self-sacrificing priest and the demon who possesses twelve-year-old Regan. The stairs themselves, which provide a shortcut between Prospect Street NW above and Canal Road NW below, are made somewhat inherently creepy by their narrow dimensions and ivy-covered walls. The payoff upon reaching the top is minimal, revealing a rather bland concrete pathway leading to the steps. Still, it’s a worthwhile stop for movie buffs or anyone looking to incorporate a touch of spookiness into their daily workout.
Drive east along M Street. Just before it turns into Canal, you will see a gas station on the right. Pullover & park in the extra parking off the gas station. You will be right at the bottom of the stairs.