Sightseeing Destinations

sightseeing destinations

Is it your first time in the area? Here are our recommendations on the best sights and destinations in Washington, DC, as well as some other fantastic day trip options.

National Mall

Panorama of Washington DC's Tidal Basin with Views of Washington Monument and Jefferson Memorial

You'll hear DC locals talking about "the Mall"; they aren't about to go shopping. They're referring to the National Mall, a 2.2 mile long stretch of land in the heart of downtown DC. The Mall contains just about everything you've got on your bucket list. The monuments, memorials, and more are all here. Click here for a satellite view of the Mall.

Here are links for more information on the top sights in and around the National Mall:

Monuments & Memorials:

Notable Buildings, Museums, and More:

Note: Tours of the White House must be arranged through your congressperson well in advance. If you're considering visiting, we suggest you reach out immediately, as tour appointments can sometimes take months.

 

Smithsonian Institution

Smithsonian Castle, Plane at Air & Space Museum, T-Rex at Natural History Museum, Panda at Zoo

The Smithsonian Institution is made up of museums, galleries, and a famous zoo, located throughout the DC area. Not only are they world-class, they're all 100% free to visit! We've linked to our favorites below. To see all your choices, click here to visit the Smithsonian website.

DC CHerry blossoms

Cherry Blossoms at the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC

In 1912, Washington, DC, was gifted 3,000 cherry trees from the city of Tokyo. Over 100 years later, the spring blossoms are still one of America's most beautiful sights. The capital's cherry blossom season is famously temperamental. The city is said to be in "peak bloom" when 70% of the trees are actively flowering, and this can happen anywhere from March 15 to April 18, lasting for only a few days.

Our best advice to anyone hoping to view the cherry blossoms is to keep your dates flexible. Forecasts of the year's peak bloom will begin to appear in late winter, and waiting until then to set plans will help you to be in the right place at the right time. And don't despair if your timing's a little off - though "peak bloom" only lasts for a few days, blooms are still beautiful for 1-2 weeks, and the National Cherry Blossom Festival runs from late March to mid-April.

For up-to-date bloom predictions and even more cherry blossom information, check out this cherry blossom guide.

 

Dining 

Collage of Indian Food, Sushi, Pizza, a Half Smoke Sausage, and Outdoor Dining

Washington, DC, is one of the nation's best food cities, and the pursuit of a good meal can be just as rewarding as a visit to a museum or monument. With local specialties, exotic cuisines, fast-casual spots, and world-class fine dining, you'll find something great no matter your tastes.

Click here for our list of recommended DC restaurants.

 

Other DC-area Must Sees

Arlington Graves

There are many fantastic sights that aren't right on the Mall, but are well worth visiting. Click the links below for information.

In Washington, DC:

In nearby Virginia:

 

Other Day Trips and Destinations

The Skyline of Baltimore's Inner Harbor

If you're looking for something a little different, there are several other fantastic destinations accessible from Cherry Hill Park. 

Baltimore (45 minutes from CHP) 

This historic harbor city merits a vacation of its own. Tour historic ships and the National Aquarium in Baltimore's Inner Harbor, or cruise the tip of the Chesapeake Bay via water taxi. Visit fantastic museums and enjoy excellent dining, including the city's famous crab cakes. Baseball lovers can catch an O's game at Camden Yards, one of the nation's most highly praised ballparks. Baltimore is also home to Fort McHenry: see the same view of the harbor Francis Scott Key saw when he wrote “The Star Spangled Banner”.

For more information, click here.

Annapolis (45 minutes from CHP)

Annapolis is more than the state capital: it's a charming bayside town with historic buildings and picturesque, brick-lined streets. Enjoy water views, boutique shopping, excellent dining, and a relaxed pace.

For more information, click here.

Gettysburg (90 minutes from CHP)

Tour the site of the Civil War's deadliest battle and stand in the spot where Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous address. The nearby historic town offers dining and shopping.

For more information, click here.