So much to do, yet so little time! A city as big as Washington, DC has so many things to do that it can be hard to decide what to do when visiting, especially for a few days. The same concept goes for only having a day to spend somewhere too. Living in the Washington, DC area has its perks when it comes to sightseeing at my leisure as much or as little as I want to and when, but I also experience the challenges of choosing what to do and when. Whether it be on the weekend or for a weekday, Washington, DC has so so much to offer and here I will be sharing with y’all some ideas for what to do if you only have one day to spend in the nation’s capital!
Things To Do for a Day in Washington, DC
- A picnic and stroll along the National Mall – the National Mall offers a vast variety of major sights to see in Washington, DC. From the Lincoln Memorial to the to the United States Capitol to the Washington National Monument to the Smithsonian Museums, there is A TON to see along the National Mall. I would highly recommend spending a few hours here and enjoying a picnic on the mall if the weather permits. Otherwise, I would suggest going to a restaurant or cafe nearby or even a food truck along the mall streets. There are so many opportunities for photos and simply taking in so many sights in an easily accessible and walkable area from one sight to the next. Rain or shine though, do not miss out on the opportunity to walk alongside some fundamental sites that this city has to offer!
- Visit a Smithsonian Museum – a ton of Smithsonian Museums are along the National Mall and offer several extraordinary artifacts, pieces of artwork, and much more! Museums include: The Smithsonian American Art Museum, The National Gallery of Art, The Museum of Natural History, The Air & Space Museum, The Renwick Gallery, The National Archives, and The Museum of American History. The National Archives, for instance, is the home of the original copies of the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution. Meanwhile, the Museum of American History can also be considered Kansas in its own unique way, since it is home to Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz‘s iconic red slippers. When walking along the National Mall, visiting one or two or even three of the Smithsonian Museums is an excellent way to spend a half a day or more. The best part?! ALL of the Smithsonian Museums are FREE!
- Lunch/dinner, dessert, & shopping in Georgetown – the notable Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, DC is home to Georgetown University along with a plethora of shops, restaurants, cafes, and dessert shops. Not to mention, there are oh so adorable streets – cobblestone, colorful, and all! You can easily spend either an afternoon or an evening in Georgetown. There are several notable chain shops and bakeries and *of course* Georgetown Cupcake. You can also walk along the waterfront and hang out there, especially in the warmer months. Whether it be shopping, strolling, eating, or all of the above, Georgetown is an easy way to spend a few hours or more.
- Enjoy dinner at The Wharf – personally, I have been really wanting to go enjoy an outing at The Wharf! However, I have yet to do so. The Wharf is right by the shipyard in Washington, DC and it is home to several restaurants, bars, shops, cafes, and much more. All in all, it is a super fun place to enjoy the local Washington, DC environment and social life here.
- Visit a non-Smithsonian Museum – although several of the museums here in Washington, DC are Smithsonian Museums, there are quite a few that are not. The National Museum of Women in the Arts, the Madame Tussands Wax Museum, the Holocaust Museum, and the International Spy Museum. You can also visit a historical building like the Washington National Cathedral, Tudor Place, and the Dumbarton House. While you do have to pay for admission for the majority of these museums, they are still very much worth the experience. More specifically, if you really want to go make a visit to them.
You can easily combine two or more of these ideas into one full day in Washington, DC. Fortunately, Washington, DC’s Metro transit system is easy to navigate and allow oneself to easily get around the city as well. Here’s to many adventures in this great city!
XOXO – Katie <3