Things to Do
From monuments, memorials, and historical landmarks to more than two dozen free museums, Washington, D.C. offers a variety of activities for you to explore during your conference stay.
Shopping in Georgetown, watching a free performance on the Millennium Stage at The Kennedy Center, viewing the original Declaration of Independence and visiting the National Mall are just a sample of the many things you can do in this historic city!
Open: 5 a.m. weekdays, 7 a.m. weekends
Closed: Midnight Sunday thru Thursday and 3 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights
Metro is the regional subway system of Washington, D.C. providing transportation to most of the major attractions in Washington, D.C. and extending to the suburbs of Maryland and Virginia. Obtain a $5.00 permanent and rechargeable SmarTrip® card to ride. Fares vary depending on destination and time of day and can be reloaded. All day Metro passes are available for $14.50 and are valid for one day of unlimited Metrorail travel without time restrictions. Coupled with MetroRail is the MetroBus system with hours similar to the Metrorail's.
Hours: Check website for station hours
The DC Circulator provides bus service around Washington, D.C. Fares are typically $1/ride. Accepted methods of payment are cash (exact change) and SmarTrip Cards. Tickets may be purchased ahead at fare meters or parking meters at the DC Circulator bus stops. Machines accept change or credit cards.
Constitution Avenue is full of many places to explore and is the major street that traverses the northwest and northeast areas of Washington. Head east to the neighborhood of Capitol Hill where you will find the Library of Congress and the U.S. Capitol or go west to explore the National Mall, Washington Monument and historical memorials like the Lincoln Memorial and Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The Smithsonian Museums of Natural History and American History are also some of the most frequented stops located in the National Mall between the Lincoln Memorial and the U.S. Capitol, where you can discover ancient artifacts, early world cultures and more. Be prepared to spend some time touring these museums.
Love baseball? Catch the Washington Nationals play the Cleveland Indians on August 9th! Located in southeast Washington, south of the Capitol and along the Anacosia River waterfront, Nationals Park is where you can head to enjoy a night of one of America's favorite pastimes.
Venture off the beaten path of Constitution Avenue and head northwest to visit the National Zoological Park, one of the oldest zoos in the United Sates. The National Zoo is part of the Smithsonian Institution and admission is FREE! The zoo houses thousands of animals including their popular giant pandas. It is about a 10 minute ride from the National Mall using Metro. Take the Red Line Metro from Judiciary Square Metro Station located on E. St. Northwest and 5th St. Northwest to the Woodley Park-Zoo Metro Station. The zoo is about a 20 minutes walk from the station.
If you're short on time, a great alternative to seeing Washington D.C.'s historical and popular attractions is a sightseeing tour either by bus or trolley. A multitude of tour operators are available to guide you to sights such as the national monuments and memorials, Capitol and Supreme Court buildings and the National Mall. Old Town Trolley, Monuments by Moonlight, Open Top Big Bus Tour and Arlington National Cemetery Tour are a few of the most popular tour operators.
Closest Metro Station(s): Foggy Bottom - GWU
Bus: DC Circulator Bus - Georgetown/Union Station or the Rosslyn/Georgetown/Dupont Circle lines
Water Taxi: American River Taxi
Georgetown is a historic neighborhood along the Potomac River that was once home to residents Thomas Jefferson, John F. Kennedy and even actress Elizabeth Taylor. It is one of the best destinations for dining and night life. Check out the restaurants on the Georgetown Waterfront for outdoor dining and great views of the Potomac River!
Georgetown also contains it's share of historic attractions. The Old Stone House, built in 1765, is one of the oldest and unchanged buildings in Washington and offers visitors a glimpse into what life was like for the earliest residents. Explore the beautiful gardens of three historic house museums - Dumbarton Oaks, Dumbarton House and Tudor Place. Take a 2.5 hour walking tour learning about the real-life Spies of Georgetown or simply take a leisurely stroll along the historic Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. The Washington National Cathedral located just outside of Georgetown is a must-see for neo-gothic architecture enthusiasts. There is much to do in this neighborhood!
Closest Metro Station(s): Gallery Place/Chinatown, Archives - National Memorial
Penn Quarter, also known as "Old Downtown" is a revitalized historic neighborhood in downtown Washington, D.C. It overlaps Chinatown and stretches from Pennsylvania Avenue north to H Street between 5th and 10th Streets and is known as an arts and entertainment district with many restaurants, nightclub, art galleries, theaters and boutiques.
If you're a history buff and art lover, visit the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery where prominent people who have defined American culture have their portraits on display. The National Portrait Gallery is located in the Donald W. Reynolds Center. You will also find the Smithsonian American Art Museum in the same space. Admission is free.
The historic Ford's Theatre has nightly performances of plays and musicals and also offers exhibits and artifacts about Abraham Lincoln. Learn about America's history of espionage by visiting and interacting at the International Spy Museum.