When’s the last time you rode to the top of the Washington Monument? Or toured the White House?
Admit it: It’s been a while.
We locals love living here, but when it comes to the most Washington of Washington experiences, we tend to roll our eyes and assume it’s all for tourists.
Our Great Washington Bucket List will tell you why that’s a mistake. We set out to pull together a collection of things we’d regret not doing if we moved away. As it happened, many of these were those same activities residents too often dismiss as hopelessly touristy.
They’re not. What is hopelessly touristy is not doing them right. Here’s our collection of the 50 memorable Washington sights, sounds, and places you really shouldn’t miss—and some tips for how to see them like a local.
- 50 States Bike Ride
- Air Force Memorial Concert
- Annapolis Day Trip
- Arlington National Cemetery
- Blossom Kite Festival
- Boundary Stones Tour
- Cherry Blossoms at the Tidal Basin
- City Sights—From a Metrobus
- Civil War Battlefields
- Congressional Cemetery
- Ford’s Theatre
- Fourth of July Fireworks on the Mall
- Frederick Douglass House
- George Washington’s Mount Vernon by Boat
- Great Falls Rafting
- High Heel Race
- House of Representatives Debate
- Inaugural Ball
- Kennedy Center
- Kingman Island Bluegrass & Folk Festival
- Library of Congress Main Reading Room
- Lincoln Memorial
- Marine Corps Marathon and Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run
- Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon
- Monument Tour
- Mount Vernon Trail
- Museums Around the Mall
- National Arboretum by Moonlight
- National Archives and DAR Library
- National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial
- National Zoo Elephant Trails Tour
- Old Rag Mountain
- Only-in-Washington Food Experiences
- Passport DC Embassy Tour
- Peking Duck at Peking Gourmet Inn
- Political Protest
- Pope-Leighey House
- President Lincoln’s Cottage
- Prime Rib at the Prime Rib
- Rock Creek Park on Horseback
- Rolling Thunder
- Round Robin Bar
- Sculpture Garden Ice Rink
- Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
- Supreme Court Oral Argument
- US Holocaust Memorial Museum
- Washington Monument
- Washington National Cathedral Tower
- The White House
- White House Correspondents’ Dinner Event
Contributors to this package were: Sherri Dalphonse, Tanya Pai, Jennifer Barger, Andrew Beaujon, Kate Bennett, Benjamin Freed, Michael J. Gaynor, Matthew Graham, Sara Gilgore, Joseph Guinto, Christine Ianzito, Marisa M. Kashino, Ann Limpert, Leslie Milk, Anna Spiegel, John Scarpinato, William Triplett, and Michael Schaffer.
Edited by Sherri Dalphonse.