Oh where to start! This was such a fun trip. Washington DC is filled with history. Get a good pair of walking shoes because you will need them to see all of the incredible sights in Washington D.C. This city is so fun to visit.
Visit Washington DC Using the Metro
To see as much as possible with the least amount of walking we broke up sites by the Metrorail stops. The places we stopped included:
- Dupont Circle
- Woodley Park
- Smithsonian Station
- Union Station
- Capitol South
- Metro Center
- Foggy Bottom
- Federal Triangle
- McPherson Square Station
- Archives-Navy Mem’l-Penn Quarter Metro Station
Smithsonian Station Metro Stop
The Smithsonian Castle is one of the closest buildings to the Smithsonian Station stop. It is a great place to start your visit to Washington DC. Not only is the Smithsonian Castle a national landmark it also serves as a visitor information place.
Kitty corner from here is the National Mall Carousel and if you walk down Jefferson Drive to the corner where it meets 9th street you will find a lovely garden and a nice spot to take a photo.
Directly behind the Smithsonian Castle is the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art and the Arthur M. Sackley Gallery of Asian Art.
National Air & Space Museum
This National Air & Space museum is about a half mile walk from the Metro station.
The famous 500+ foot tower is part of the National Mall and just over a half mile walk from the Smithsonian Metro Station. Visitors can climb or take an elevator to the top of the Washington Monument. Reservations are recommended.
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
The Holocaust Memorial Museum is a short walk from the Smithsonian Metro stop. I tried to book tickets to this museum three months in advance and was not able to get tickets online. On the first morning I was in Washington DC I stood in line to get a timed ticket. It was worth the 2-hour wait. A visit to the Holocaust museum is profoundly somber. It makes you think about your own personal prejudices.
Bureau of Engraving and Printing
The Bureau of Engraving and Printing is located next to the Holocaust museum. It is free to visit, but you do need to stand in line to get your timed ticket. Stop by here first, get your ticket, explore the surrounding area, and then come back at your designated time.
Before you begin your tour you can look at a small museum and listen to a short presentation. Once your tour begins, you cannot take any photos. It was a fascinating tour to see how much work goes into printing money.
Capitol South Metro Station
The Capitol South Metro Station stop puts you in reasonable walking distance to the U.S. Botanic Garden, the U.S. Capitol , the Library of Congress, and the Supreme Court building.
U.S. Botanic Garden
Take a relaxing stroll through the U.S. Botanic Gardens. The conservatory is beautiful. The hydrangeas were in full bloom when we visited.
U.S. Capitol Building
We were lucky that our co-worker’s daughter worked at the Capitol at the time of our visit, so we had an amazing private tour.
Library of Congress
In my humble opinion, the Library of Congress is the most beautiful building in Washington D.C. I love books and literature, so this was a must see for me. Even if you do not care for books, stop in just to see the inside of the building. It is visually stunning and heavily ornate in an Italian Renaissance-style. This building was opened in 1897.
U.S. Supreme Court
The Supreme Court is across the street from the Capitol and next door to the Library of Congress.
Federal Triangle Metro Station
The Federal Triangle stop places you near the National Christmas Tree and the White House South Lawn, and the National Museum of American History
National Christmas Tree & South Lawn
National Museum of American History
The museum is about .2 mile walk from the station and is located next to the National Museum of Natural History.
Metro Center Metro Stop
From the Metro Center stop you can easily walk to Ford’s Theatre and Madame Tussaud’s wax museum. It is also has easy access to many restaurants.
Generally, I do not care for tours. I would rather just explore on my own. However, the Ford’s Theatre was one of the most interesting tours I have ever been on. This excursion is in four distinct parts: a self-guided tour of the museum about Abe Lincoln, a guided tour of the theatre where he was shot, a guided tour of the Petersen House across the street, and the self-guided exhibit of the aftermath of the events. Reservations are recommended.
McPherson Square Station
If you want an easy walk to see the White House, take the Metro to the McPherson Square Station. Heading down Vermont Ave NW to H street you will see Lafayette Square. From here walk towards Pennsylvania Avenue NW for a great view of the White House. There are many choices in restaurants in this area as well.
Archives-Navy Mem’l-Penn Quarter Metro Station
To see the National Archives Museum, the National Museum of Natural History or the Pennsylvania Avenue National Historic Site get off at the Archives-Navy Memorial Penn Quarter Metro Station.
Pennsylvania Avenue National Historic Site – White House Visitor Center
The Pennsylvania Avenue National Historic Site White House Visitor Center is a tribute to all things related to the White House. I was not able to reserve a tour of the White House, so this was an interesting stop to learn more about the day-to-day interactions within the White House.
Foggy Bottom Metro Stop
The Foggy Bottom Metro Stop is about a mile walk to the Lincoln Memorial site. From here you can also see many national monuments including Vietnam Veterans Memorial, War Memorial and World War II memorial
Lincoln Memorial & Reflecting Pool
We timed to visit the Lincoln Memorial at dusk. Walking from the Metro station you can’t even see Lincoln himself until you get closer.