24 Cool and Uncommon Things to Do in Washington DC 2023

If you are planning a visit to Washington DC and want to plan your tour in advance, there are hundreds of fun things to do in Washington. This article will explain the most joyful of these activities.

Before you start exploring the best things to do in Washington DC, know that to fully appreciate its beauty, you have to schedule a trip that is at least 15 days long. Even with that, don’t expect to do justice with all the activities that you can do in the city.

This time frame will allow you to enjoy diverse sites, museums, and activities to some extent allowing you to form a complete mental image of the place.

Best Things to do in Washington DC

Here are only a few activities that should make the highlight of your trip. Most of these activities require you commit a whole day to every single one of them.

1. National Mall

National Mall - things to do in washington dc

For those of us who are more interested in celebrating our national identity than in other leisurely activities, visiting National Mall should top the to-do list. And don’t just compromise on a few hours or half-day visit. The abundance of monuments and institutional buildings in the Mall makes spending a day here worthwhile.

At first, you would love the greenery that lies abundant in the lawns. But you know you have every right to expect more than just snowy – in winter – or green – in summer – scenes.

The place is home to the White House. The US Capitol is also located within these premises at the eastern edge. And then you have to check out Lincoln Memorial as well as you have already entered the premises of National Mall.

2. Library of Congress

Library of Congress - things to do in washington dc

If you are a booklover, you have no right to question what to do in Washington that can satiate your desires for knowledge. Because of its notoriously book-loving society, you have plenty of options to meet people with similar interests.

Even if you are not a book person, this library has a lot in stores for your entertainment. On top of millions of books in this library from rare titles to oldest manuscripts, this library maintains a variety of historically significant photographs, murals, boasts maps, newsreels, and other forms of expression.

3. Adams Morgan

Adams Morgan - things to do in washington dc

If you’ve got a weekend in Washington DC and if you love having fun in a funky manner, Adams Morgan is heaven for you.

This vibrant neighborhood may appear a collection of colorful houses at first. But on weekends, the place unveils its late-night celebrations. From eating to singing to enjoying graffiti art; you have gotten lots of options to enjoy here.

4. Eastern Market

Eastern Market - things to do in washington dc

Unlike modern malls in Washington DC, this market appears as though it has materialized out of an eighteenth-century novel.

This indoor-outdoor shopping space features different vendors each day who sell books, groceries, jewelry, and art.

5. Heurich House Museum

heurich house museum - things to do in washington dc

This building is an addition that emphasizes the diversity of locations and cultures in Washington DC. The surprising building stands tall in the middle of this busy city and homes Victorian fireplaces, boutiques, and furnishings on its first few floors.

6. Go Ape Zipline and Adventure Park

Go Ape Zipline and Adventure Park - things to do in washington dc

If you are searching for an adrenaline rush in DC, this is the park that should receive you. Zipline is the most significant attraction here. Other options include treetop and airborne challenges. You can plan a day-long trip here to do all the adventurous things to do in DC.

7. Capitol Hill Books

Capitol Hill Books

Another attraction for book lovers is the book store – Capitol Hill Books. The shop stores heavily discounted titles most of which are second-hand.

Remember to visit the books only if you are a book lover or you might see the wrath of its strict founder.

8. Old Town Trolley Tour

Old Town Trolley Tour

For those of you who are running out of time and still have a long list of places to visit in the capital, the Old Town Trolley Tour is the way to go.

All you have to do is to hop on one of these trolleys and keep looking out for your favorite destinations with the help of informative guides. Once spotted the right place, you can hop off at one of the 17 bus stops to visit the place. After site-seeing, you can resume the tour with the next trolley arriving at the bus stop.

9. The Pentagon

The pentagon

So, it’s a political institution and shouldn’t be open to visitors. But surprisingly it is. All you have to do is to schedule the visit for visit between 10 am and 4 pm on weekdays at least two weeks before the planned visit.

10. Washington Harbour

Washington Harbour

This river-view attraction has a lot to offer in addition to its beautiful scenery. If you aren’t interested in water sports, walking, biking, dining, shopping, and art gallery visiting will entertain you.

Otherwise, boating is the activity for most tourists visiting Washington Harbour during summer.

11. International Spy Museum

International Spy Museum

As the name suggests, this museum spreads awareness about espionage tricks and techniques. Visit it to learn about some famous figures in spying history.

You can also choose to play spying games that are open to the whole family.

On top of being a museum, this place offers fun ways for touring families to spend fun time together. Its group activities and games are the most fun things to do with friends.

12. Washington National Cathedral

Washington National Cathedral

For those of us who want a spiritual-religious retreat in the busy metropolitan area, Washington National Cathedral is the go-to attraction.

It’s the largest American church that can host fifteen thousand people at a single service.

13. Odyssey Dinner Cruise

Odyssey Dinner Cruise

Just like Old Town Trolley Tour, the Odyssey Dinner Cruise packs more than a single destination in the trip. You can take start your trip from the Potomac River and visit different monuments from your dinner table on the cruise.

After dinner, you get the option to hit the dance floor.

14. Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens

Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens

When we started the article, we mentioned the diversity of locations you can find in the city. And how can a city give a complete tourism package if it isn’t giving resorts that have plenty of natural landscapes?

This park will keep you grounded in the middle of your busy schedule to Washington DC museums, art galleries, nightlife, and political institutions.

15. Theodore Roosevelt Island

Theodore Roosevelt Island

You may have to put in some efforts to reach this isolated place as you can only reach it here on foot. Once there, you will find yourself in the middle of hills, tree canopies, and fields.

Hiking is another activity that is offered on this Island.

16. National Gallery of Art

National Gallery of Art

This is another piece of Washington DC’s tourism that carries the diversity unique to the city.

Everything from its building to the artifacts held within its premises, this gallery presents high standards of sophistication and art. You will find paintings, sculptures, busts, and portraits indoors. Its notorious garden – Sculpture Garden – maintains a collection of weird and unconventional pieces that fascinate the visitors.

17. National Museum of Natural History

National Museum of Natural History

The museum promises the surprising yet realistic history of the world. It attracts tourists, students, and researchers to understand the process with which our world developed progressively in the past millennia.

18. Argentta Spa at the Watergate

Argentta Spa at the Watergate

You wouldn’t want to forget self-care amid a busy trip to the capital. Take these vacations as an excuse to treat you to massage, sauna, facial, or bath.

Argentta Spa is part of the Watergate Hotel but it’s open even for those people who aren’t staying with them.

19. DC Improv Comedy Club

DC Improv Comedy Club

You don’t have to miss comedy if you are visiting the capital. This comedy club is not the only one this city offers but it’s most notorious because of the talented artists, cozy environment, and easy feeling that is part of this club.

If you are visiting alone and have grown tired of engaging in all the things to do by yourself, visiting a comedy club will help you discover new friends.

20. Meridian Hill Park

Meridian Hill Park

If you are a history student, you would love this park for its reminders about war and war heroes. The sight brings out a feeling of nostalgia as it’s located within the natural surroundings of the park.

Although you would love most of the sceneries that are presented at this hill park, its cascading waterfall is most notorious among visitors.

21. Chocolate House DC

Chocolate House DC

Craving some chocolate during your trip? Visit The Chocolate House.

The name is self-explanatory. Moreover, you would get to enroll in cooking classes. Don’t forget to look up their schedule to arrive at just the right cooking class.

22. United States Botanic Garden

United States Botanic Garden

It’s another place for naturalists to hang out in Washington DC. Being a botanic garden, it presents plants in themes. So, one part will feature tropical plants while others will specialize in flowering plants from the jungle.

23. Smithsonian Institution Building

Smithsonian Institution Building

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear its name? If you are thinking of an institute that looks cold and uninviting, you would be amazed to hear that this building is actually a castle that exemplifies Romanesque and Gothic architecture.

24. Old Ebbitt Grill

Old Ebbitt Grill

Take Away

If you are planning to visit Washington DC soon, schedule a longer trip to appreciate the abundance of attractions present there. But if that’s not possible for you, you can still enjoy most of the destinations and tick off the best things to do in Washington DC using easy hacks like Old Town Trolley Tour or Odyssey Dinner Cruise.

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