This post was most recently updated on March 25th, 2023
Washington, D.C., is a city steeped in history, culture, and politics, and it’s no wonder that it’s a popular destination for tourists from all over the world. If you only have 24 hours to explore this amazing city, don’t worry – there are plenty of must-see sights that you can fit into your itinerary. In this article, we’ll provide you with a guide to touring Washington D.C., in 24 hours, including the top attractions and the best ways to get around.
Morning: The National Mall
The National Mall is a two-mile-long park that stretches from the U.S. Capitol Building to the Lincoln Memorial. It’s home to some of the most iconic landmarks in Washington, D.C., including the Washington Monument, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and the World War II Memorial. Start your day early and head to the National Mall to beat the crowds and enjoy the serene beauty of this iconic location.
Begin your tour at the U.S. Capitol Building, the home of the U.S. Congress. Take a guided tour of the building and learn about the history and inner workings of the American government. After your tour, walk down the National Mall towards the Washington Monument, a towering obelisk that stands at the center of the park.
Next, visit the National World War II Memorial, which was built to honor the 16 million Americans who served in the war. The memorial features 56 granite columns and a beautiful fountain that serves as a symbol of peace and unity. From there, walk over to the Lincoln Memorial, which is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the city. The memorial features a larger-than-life statue of Abraham Lincoln and offers stunning views of the National Mall and the Potomac River.
Afternoon: Museums and Monuments
Washington D.C. is home to some of the most important museums in the world, and the best part is that most of them are free to the public. Spend the afternoon exploring the various museums and monuments located throughout the city.
Start with the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, which features exhibits on the history of flight and space exploration. The museum is home to some of the most famous aircraft in history, including the Wright Brothers’ Flyer and the Apollo 11 command module.
Next, head over to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, which is home to some of the most important artifacts in American history. See the original Star-Spangled Banner, the first ladies’ inaugural gowns, and other iconic pieces of Americana.
After visiting the museums, take a stroll down the National Mall to see some of the other monuments and memorials. Make sure to stop at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, which features a 30-foot statue of the civil rights leader and quotes from some of his most famous speeches.
Evening: Georgetown and the Potomac River
After a full day of touring, head to Georgetown, one of the most charming and historic neighborhoods in the city. Stroll along the cobblestone streets and admire the beautiful rowhouses and boutiques that line the sidewalks.
Once you’ve worked up an appetite, head to one of Georgetown’s many restaurants for dinner. There are plenty of options to choose from, ranging from upscale bistros to casual eateries.
After dinner, head to the Potomac River for a sunset cruise. Several companies offer tours of the river, which provide stunning views of the city skyline and the monuments that are illuminated at night. This is the perfect way to end your day in Washington, D.C., and see the city from a different perspective.