What to see in Washington DC in one day

Washington is the capital of the United States of America. But don't expect a city like New York, Los Angeles or others like it, this is it a beautiful city within reach of man, characterized by lots of green, with large parks and perfect to visit by bike too!

Obviously one day is not enough to visit it all, a week would not be enough, so it is important to organize a schedule and, unfortunately, make some sacrifices! Definitely don't miss the famous National Mall area, with some of the most famous and visited monuments! Are you ready to leave with us? Here what to see in Washington DC in one day!


  1. Before leaving: useful tips
  2. Washington DC One Day Itinerary: Morning
  3. Washington DC One Day Itinerary: Afternoon
  4. Washington DC One Day Itinerary: Evening
  5. What not to see: the attractions that are better to give up
  6. User questions and comments

Before leaving: useful tips

  • When to go: intermediate seasons, in spring (April and May) and autumn (September and October) as it is an excellent compromise between good temperatures and cost. The tourist season is in fact from April to September, July and August are the most expensive months
  • Getting around: it is a city on a human scale. You can visit the extensive National Mall on foot, or in case you can use the bus service designed specifically for this area, or the National Mall Route line of the Circulator company ($ 1,00 each way, about € 0,90). A good alternative is to visit the city by bicycle, thanks to the various bike sharing points (more than 500) located in various areas (average cost of $ 8,00 / day, about € 7,30)
  • Museums: most are free, National Gallery of Art, National Air and Space Museum, Capitol and Wasghinton Monument (but best with online booking)
  • Clothing: comfortable shoes and it is recommended to dress in layers, especially in the intermediate seasons, to cope with sudden changes in temperature and hottest days
  • Currency: US dollar ($) / € 1,00 = $ 1,10

Washington DC One Day Itinerary: Morning

1 - White House Visitor Center, White House

Just one day in Washington really means giving up a lot, so we recommend you start your tour. First, treat yourself to breakfast at Timgad Café (from 6:30 am, € 7,00).

Then head to the first stop of the day, the White House Visitor Center (7: 30-16: 00, free), a visitor center for delve into the history of the famous White House American and the presidents who led one of the largest and strongest countries in the world.
After the visit, cross the The President's Park and go to the White House, the White House, the residence of the President of the United States. Visiting it inside is very difficult, it is necessary to make a formal request to the Italian Embassy in Washington and it is not certain that it will be accepted. So we advise you to visit it from the outside anyway, a photo in front is absolutely a must!

2 - United State Capitol

We absolutely recommend the visit as it is about one of the few government buildings that can be visited! Here you can go to the visitor center (Mon-Sat 8: 30-16: 30 - book the tour) and take part in a free guided tour lasting about 90 minutes. It is highly recommended to book a visit on the official website of the Capitol to guarantee you a place.

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 3 km / 1 h 1 min
  • Places visited: White House Visitor Center (free), The President's Park (free) White House (outside, free), United State Capitol (free)
  • Washington: VIP tour with Capitol and National Archives
  • Where to have breakfast: Timgad Café, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington (Get Directions)

Washington DC One Day Itinerary: Afternoon

1 - National Museum of Air and Space, Washington Monument

Treat yourself to a quick lunch break at Pete's Diner, the typical American diner that can also be seen in movies (average cost € 15,00).

After lunch, take some time to visit the National Mall, the tree-lined avenue that stretches for 3 km and where some of Washginton's most important attractions are located. Here you will find some of the most important museums in the world! With only one day available, we recommend that you visit the National Museum of Air and Space (10: 00-17: 30), a museum dedicated to aviation and space flights, the most important in the world. Here is also the Wright Flyer, the first airplane ever built.

Then reach the Washington Monument, Or the famous obelisk located in the center of the National Mall, 169 meters high and from the top of which you can admire a wonderful view of the city (9: 00-17: 00, admission is free but limited to a certain number of people per day). Also in this case, we therefore advise you to book the entrance in advance directly on the official website at a cost of only $ 1,00 (approximately € 0,90).

2 - National World War II Memorial, Lincoln Memorial

Stroll through the park until you reach the National World War II Memorial, dedicated to the victims of the Second World War. In the center there is an immense fountain, around which there are columns that symbolize the individual countries that make up the United States of America.

Continuing, in front of you you will see the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, at the end of which is the Lincoln Memorial, monument honoring Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth President of the country. The monument is in neo-Greek style and inside there is an immense statue of the President. This place is at its best during the sunset, when there are fewer people and the colors of the sky are reflected on the swimming pool in front. Small curiosity: this is also the place where Martin Luther King gave his famous speech "I have a dream".

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 2,7 miles / 53 min
  • Places visited: National Mall (free), National Museum of Air and Space (free), Washington Monument ($ 1,00, approx € 0,90), National World War II Memorial (free), Lincoln Memorial (free)
  • sightseeing bus tour in the evening sightseeing tour and Washington Monument
  • Where to have lunch: Pete's Diner, 212 2nd St SE, Washington (Get Directions)

Washington DC One Day Itinerary: Evening

1 - Dinner, Georgetown

After the evening, we advise you to reach Georgetown, Washington's youthful and trendy neighborhood! This is also the university district, where the oldest Catholic university in the country is located, Georgetown University. The area is full of restaurants, clubs and pubs, which are mainly concentrated along the main street, M Street.

We therefore recommend that you reach M Street in taxi, the best solution as the tube station is far from Georgetown and with buses it would take too long. For this route (about 4 km, 5 min or a little more depending on the traffic) the average cost is around $ 10,00 (about € 9,10).
Once there, stop for dinner at Clyde's of Georgetown, a typical American restaurant with a wooden interior where they serve excellent burgers, grilled meats and chicken wings, but also fish dishes (average cost € 25,00). This area indeed is also known for good fish dishes, as it is located on the bank of the Potomac River.
Finally, if you still have time, enjoy the evening in the neighborhood in one of the many clubs present!

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 400 meters / 9 min
  • Places visited: Georgetown (free)
  • Monuments under the moon: Washington DC night tour
  • Where to dine: Clyde's of Georgetown, 3236 M St NW, Washington (Get Directions)

What not to see: the attractions that are better to give up

The Washington area of ​​the National Mall it is full of wonderful museums, known worldwide. But in one day, unfortunately, it is not possible to visit everything and sacrifices must be made. If perhaps you are not very interested in the world of aeronautics, instead of the National Museum of Air and Space that we have proposed to you, you could opt for one of the other museums listed below.

  1. National Gallery of Art, it is one of the most famous art museums in the world. It is very extensive, in fact it is divided into three parts, and to visit it you have to take into account at least two and a half hours, even three
  2. National Museum of Natural History, museum dedicated to natural history, one of the most famous in the world, but even in this case it would take a lot of time
  3. National Museum of African American History and Culture, a museum dedicated to African American history, to visit if you have more time available
  4. Jefferson Memorial, a wonderful monument dedicated to Thomas Jefferson, but located further away from the Lincoln monument, a must see if you have more days available
  5. Franklin Delanor Roosevelt Memorial, a memorial dedicated to President Roosevelt, but even in this case it is better to visit the Lincoln Memorial if you only have one day to spare
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