Home » Blog » Experience a Weekend of Fun in Washington DC
The White House, Washington DC - © lovetoeatandtravel.com

Experience a Weekend of Fun in Washington DC

Home » Blog » Experience a Weekend of Fun in Washington DC

What better place to immerse yourself (and your family) in the heart of American history and culture. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, an art lover, a foodie, or simply looking for a fun weekend getaway, the nation’s capital has something for everyone. And like London, all of the museums are free. 

Spring and Fall are the best times to visit Washington, DC when the temperatures are mild. Even if you only have a weekend to play, you can cram a lot into a day, especially if you like walking. Here’s a breakdown of some fun things to do and see in Washington, DC over a weekend. 

Day One

The National Mall – Key Things To See

We started our weekend of fun and adventure with a visit to the iconic National Mall. Open daily, the route around the National Mall and surrounding area is about a 5-mile walk. With scenic landmarks dotted along the way, it’s easy to see why it’s so popular with tourists and locals alike. Here are some of the key things to see along the National Mall.

Washington Monument

We spent a little time here walking around the Washington Monument taking pictures. The obelisk, honoring George Washington, the first President of the United States, is the tallest structure in Washington, D.C. Visitors can take an elevator to the top for panoramic views of the city. We opted not to do this as our time was limited and we wanted to walk and see as much as possible.

Jefferson Memorial

You can see views of this memorial in the distance from the National Monument. It honors Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States and the author of the Declaration of Independence. The statue of Jefferson is surrounded by columns in the style of the Roman Pantheon. It’s a beautiful memorial.

Washington Monument, Washington, DC - © lovetoeatandtravel.com
Washington Monument, Washington, DC - © lovetoeatandtravel.com

World War II Memorial

As we walked from the Washington Monument on our way to the Reflecting Pool, we spent a few quiet moments at the memorial that’s dedicated to the Americans who served in World War II.

The majestic World War II Memorial features two iconic arches representing the Atlantic and Pacific theaters of war. The memorial’s 56 granite pillars represent the states, territories, and District of Columbia involved in the war, encircling a central plaza adorned with cascading fountains.

Amidst the serene surroundings, the World War II Memorial serves as a timeless reminder of the sacrifices made and the price of freedom preserved for future generations. As a place of reflection and remembrance, it’s quite breathtaking. 

The Reflecting Pool

From the World War II Memorial, we walked to the mesmerizing Reflecting Pool that stretches over 2,000 feet between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. This stunning elongated body of water is a symbol of unity and reflection. It’s no surprise that it’s a poignant backdrop of countless photographs, drawing millions of visitors each year.

Historical Significance

Beyond its role as a scenic landmark, the Reflecting Pool has also been the site  of iconic gatherings, including Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech during the 1963 March on Washington. Other pivotal events that have taken place here include countless presidential inaugurations, national celebrations, and concerts. It really is a beautiful sight and we enjoyed spending time here taking in the magnificent views. 

World War II Memorial, Washington, DC - © lovetoeatandtravel.com
World War II Memorial, Washington, DC - © lovetoeatandtravel.com
Reflecting Pool, Washington, DC - © lovetoeatandtravel.com
Reflecting Pool, Washington, DC - © lovetoeatandtravel.com
Lincoln Memorial
Lincoln Memorial - © lovetoeatandtravel.com
Lincoln Memorial - © lovetoeatandtravel.com
Lincoln Memorial - © lovetoeatandtravel.com

Lincoln Memorial

We walked from the Reflecting Pool to this iconic monument honoring the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. The statue of Lincoln, seated in contemplation, is a powerful symbol of his leadership during a pivotal time in American history. Be prepared for crowds but it’s well worth the visit. The memorial stands majestically as the backdrop to the Reflecting Pool.

Take a selfie from the top of the monument with the Reflecting Pool in the background and see if you can touch the Washington Monument with your fingertips (see pic below). 

Lincoln Memorial pointing to Washington Monument - © lovetoeatandtravel.com
Pointing to the top of the Washington Monument from the Lincoln Memorial

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is about a 10-minute walk from the Lincoln Memorial. A poignant and moving tribute to the soldiers who served and died in the Vietnam War. The memorial consists of a black granite wall etched with the names of those who lost their lives.

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial

A tribute to civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., this memorial features a larger-than-life statue of King and quotes from his speeches etched into the stone.

Smithsonian Museums

Immerse yourself in culture and history at the various Smithsonian museums, most of which offer free admission. Notable options include the National Air and Space Museum, the National Museum of American History, and the National Museum of Natural History. Many of the museums are located within walking distance to each other on or near the National Mall.

Find Washington, DC Sightseeing Tours, Day Trips and Fun Things To Do

The Capitol

On this trip, we didn’t visit the Capitol but we caught a glimpse of it nearly every time we took a Uber around the city. Located at the east end of the National Mall, the Capitol is a symbol of American democracy and the home of the U.S. Congress. Tours are available for visitors interested in learning more about the legislative process and the history of American government. 

Explore The White House

While you can’t go inside The White House without an invitation, you can take a guided tour of the surrounding area and learn about the history and significance of the White House. We didn’t take a tour but we did enjoy standing outside its gates, speaking with other tourists and taking pictures with the Secret Service agents. 

Day Two

We decided to devote a day to visiting a few of the local museums. As we had already visited most of the Smithsonian Museums during past trips to DC, we focused on just two so that we could take our time and explore them at our leisure.

National Gallery of Art

While not a part of the Smithsonian, the National Gallery of Art is another renowned museum on the National Mall. It houses an extensive collection of European and American art spanning various periods. Collection highlights include over 150,000 sculptures, decorative arts, prints, drawings, photographs, and paintings. The gallery’s permanent collection includes “A Girl with a Watering Can,” one of Renoir’s most recognizable Impressionist masterpieces, and Monet’s, The Japanese Footbridge (see pics below). Free admission. Open daily. 

Renoir's A Girl with a Watering Can at The National Gallery of Art
Renoir's "A Girl with a Watering Can"
Monet's A Japanese Footbridge at The National Gallery of Art - © lovetoeatandtravel.com
Monet's "The Japanese Footbridge"

Cascade Cafe

The National Gallery of Art’s Cascade Cafe is a great place for a casual lunch. Located on the Concourse in between the East and West Buildings, the backdrop of this casual cafe features a cascading waterfall fountain. The menu features a variety of sandwiches and grilled entrees. There’s also an Espresso & Gelato Bar. And yes, we couldn’t resist splitting one of their delicious gelato desserts.

President Obama at the National Portrait Gallery - © lovetoeatandtravel.com
Portrait of Obama

National Portrait Gallery

The National Portrait Gallery houses collections of people who have shaped the nation’s history, development and culture. Portraits include artists, politicians, scientists, inventors, activists, and performers.

America’s Presidents

We especially enjoyed viewing the America’s Presidents collection. It’s the nation’s only complete collection of presidential portraits outside of the White House.

Our favorite paintings were of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, JFK, Clinton and Obama. Free admission. Open daily.

President JFK at the National Portrait Gallery - © lovetoeatandtravel.com
Portrait of JFK

Book Washington, DC Sightseeing Tours, Day Trips and Fun Things To Do

Find Washington, DC Sightseeing Tours, Day Trips and Fun Things To Do

Find More Fun Things To Do and See in Washington DC

Find More Fun Things To Do and See in Washington DC

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.