Updated on December 28, 2016.
Washington is a big place—okay, not Los Angeles or London big, but large enough to make seeing all its attractions in a day or two nearly impossible. Consider these the Things to Do in Washington Before You Die—or before you leave town, anyway.
1. Explore the monuments on the National Mall.
2. Ogle the Hope Diamond and other gems at the National Museum of Natural History
3. Stand beneath the cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin.
4. Snap a selfie in front of the White House.
5. Tour the Capitol Building.
6. Eat at one of 14th Street’s myriad restaurants.
7. Go for oysters and martinis at Old Ebbitt Grill.
8. Pick a favorite power player at the National Portrait Gallery.
9. Try a half-smoke at Ben’s Chili Bowl.
10. See the only Leonardo da Vinci work in the Western Hemisphere at the National Gallery of Art.
11. Check out the Spirit of St. Louis at the National Air and Space Museum.
12. Wave hello to baby panda Bei Bei at the National Zoo.
13. Check out the day’s newspaper headlines from around the world at the Newseum.
14. Explore Georgetown’s vibrant shopping scene.
15. Wander up the nearly 200-year-old C&O Canal starting at the Georgetown Visitor Center.
16. Head to a Nationals game.
17. Have a drink at Martin’s Tavern, where JFK supposedly proposed to Jackie.
18. Take in a live show at the 9:30 Club.
19. Click your heels in front of Dorothy’s ruby slippers at the National Museum of American History.
20. Catch a world-famous act at the Kennedy Center
This article appears in our Washingtonian Welcome Guide.