What is the one must-do activity when visiting Washington D.C.?

Answers from Our Experts (2)

Mary Beth Albright

Sleeping in the Lincoln Bedroom, attending a state dinner, and dancing onstage at an Inaugural Ball. But let's say those options aren't available to you this weekend. I could spend an entire day around the Jefferson Memorial (and not just because my husband proposed to me there). The Jefferson has it all — history (of course) and on a hot summer day it's always below 80 degrees in the cool marble memorial with Jefferson's statue towering above. Seclusion when you want it, which the other memorials don't have, the Jefferson's nooks along the Tidal Basin, where the famed cherry trees twist around their gnarled trunks to form private worlds for weary tourists. There's plenty of lawn space for picnics, an indoor exhibit (and bathroom), views of the White House and Washington Monumnet, and if you must work in some cardio, round out the day with a paddle boat rental. Sure the Jefferson is a bit more difficult to get to than the other monuments, but so worth it.

For true Jefferson fanatics, The Jefferson Hotel is offering a fun promotion this summer called "Where's Tommy?" The staff hid cartoons of Thomas Jefferson in some of the city's most monumental spots (the White House, the Capitol, the National Archives), so it's an easy way to make sure you hit DC's best locations. Before venturing out, you'll meet with a presidential historian to inform you about the sites you'll visit, then take off on a free Capital Bikeshare rental. Find Tommy in all locations and win a Jefferson bobblehead and -- best of all -- one of the hotel's excellent strawberry-aloe popsicles (two of Jefferson's favorite plants in his garden).

McLean Robbins

Washington, D.C. has a wealth of activities for all ages, cultures and interests. From the White House to the Washington Monument, the best part about visiting Washington is that most of the best things to do in the city are free and open to the public. But if you’re only visiting Washington for one day and have just a few hours free, we’d suggest a visit to the famed National Mall. The home of our esteemed President is lovely, but one can only get so close to 1600 Pennsylvania. Spend an afternoon touring the Air & Space museum, the Museum of Natural History and the National Gallery of Art. You’ll see some of the world’s most unique artifacts, from ancient Egyptian mummies to Monet paintings, all in just a few block radius. It’s quintessential Washington, D.C. — and best of all, it’s free.

Related Questions