10 DC Must Sees… That aren’t The Smithsonian

Happy Tuesday loves! Guess what? My car is back in the shop again. Seriously. Anything else that wants to go wrong for us? HA. But you know what? I’m trying to just let it roll off my back. Because the sun is shining, I have a large supply of chocolate (thanks Easter Bunny!) and Pretty Little Liars is back tonight!

But you aren’t here to listen to me ramble. So let’s get on to the fun stuff! Last week, I wrote you a novel on how to navigate The Smithsonian. While The Smithsonian will take up a good chunk of your time in DC, you should know there are SO MANY OTHER things you should see!

And while I could go on and on about everything DC has to offer (it’d be about 42 times longer than the last post…) I’m going to share my Top 10. Each and every one of these things is iconic and unique to Washington DC and America’s History.

OMG how awkward is this picture of me? HAHA However, all the pictures I have of the Supreme Court have this weird sunspot on them, and in this one, the sunspot is on me. So there ya go.
10. Supreme Court. Okay. Before you get all judgy, hear me out. This place is super pretty. Plus, how many bragging rights are you about to have because you’re “too busy to answer the phone because you’re at the Supreme Court right now.” You can wander around the building at your leisure, and you’ll find lectures, films, and exhibits along the way. Now, if you really want to see the court in action, you can. It wasn’t a “must” on my list, but if it is on your’s, click here.

*Not my picture. Thanks USHMM Website! 
9. Museums that aren’t a part of the Smithsonian. While you might be “museumed out” after spending a few days at The Smithsonian, you really shouldn’t overlook some of the other amazing museums D.C. has to offer. While there are hundreds we could talk about, I’m only going to mention one… The United States Holocaust Museum. It’s haunting, heartbreaking and horrifying. The museum is meant as a memorial for the millions of Jews who died under Hitler’s Nazi regime. Please note, this museum brings out many emotions in people. It’s not recommended for children under the age of 11, but as a parent, I know you know what is best for your child. Also keep in mind, that there is a special exhibit for children, that tells the story of The Holocaust through a young boy’s eyes. Admission is free, but you need to get a timed entry ticket. You can get them in advance, online (you’ll pay a $1 transaction fee) or at the door starting at 9:45 am. For more information, click here


8. Georgetown. I mentioned this in my first D.C. post but I want to mention it again here! I love Georgetown, and I know you will too. You can spend as much or as little time as you’d like here. From shopping to eating, paddle boarding to leisurely strolls, you’ll find everything you could want in the most picturesque (in my opinion) part of town. Learn more about Georgetown here.


7. Ford’s Theater. Want to celebrate one everyone’s favorite presidents? Ford’s Theater is the place to do it. Step back in time, to a perfectly preserved theater that will give you chills the second you walk in. Why? Because it’s the place “history happened.” It’s where the beloved Abe Lincoln was assassinated. After the assassination, the theater was closed for more than 100 years. Only to be reopened as a national historic site. Today, you will find exhibits honoring the life of Abe Lincoln, and the lasting impact his assassination had on our nation. You can also see live performances in the theater too! (See the schedule here.) While technically visiting Ford’s Theater is free, you’ll want to reserve your ticket online, much like The Holocaust Museum. The fee is $3 per ticket. Get your tickets here


6. The White House. Did you really go to D.C. if you didn’t get a picture of The White House? We really wanted a tour, but at the time they were barely letting anyone in. So unfortunately we didn’t get to go inside. However, we did get to see it from the outside and it’s just as cool in person as I’d imagined it when I was a little girl. (Unlike the Mona Lisa, you won’t be disappointed!) If you do want to go inside, you need to start the process of applying ASAP! Like as soon as you decide on your trip dates. You have to request a tour through your state’s member of Congress. Find your representative here.

So pretty!
5. Library of Congress. “Grand” doesn’t even come close to the right word when it comes to the Library of Congress. It’s big. It’s beautiful. And I wish I could curl up in one of it’s many corners and read all day, every day. I think I learned my most favorite Snapple fact EVER while we were here. One of the guys working told me that there are more than 838 MILES of book shelves! How insane is that?! This place holds more than 164 million books, photographs, magazines, newspapers, recordings, maps and manuscripts. It really is something you need to see! As with most places in D.C. you can schedule a guided tour. However, we did this one on our own. We grabbed a brochure and off we went. Open Monday-Saturday, 8:30-4:30. For more information on planning your visit, click here.


4. The Capitol. Do you want to feel like you’re apart of the day to day politics of D.C? The Capitol is your place. Not only is it a monument, but it’s a working office. And you’ll see busy people scurrying about their workday, attempting to avoid the tourists that are being herded like cattle through it’s many twisting corridors. I loved this tour. I actually took the guided tour of the Capitol. I learned so much, and it was really really cool. However, I found myself DYING to sneak off and get lost in it’s underground city ;). Book your tour here


3. Arlington National Cemetery. If there is one thing on this list that you absolutely must do, it’s stop and pay your respects to those who lost their lives fighting for our freedom at Arlington. It is the final resting place for over 400,000 US veterans. While the grounds are stunning, and a great place to spend the day outside, that isn’t what this place is about. It’s about quietly reflecting on the sacrifices these men and women made for us. If you are visiting a loved one who was buried here, click here. It will save you some serious time finding their final resting place. Of all the grave sites, the most visited is John F. Kennedy and his wife, Jackie O. This is the most visited section in all of ANC. However, my favorite part of the cemetery was The Tomb of The Unknown Solider and watching the Changing of the Guard. This is an experience unlike any other. It is truly incredible. The Changing of the Guard happens once every 30 minutes. We waited while one finished, and then walked over to claim front row spots for the next ceremony. This is 100% a must see in my opinion. ANC is open 365 days a year, 8 am- 7pm. (Winter hours, 8 am- 5pm) The cemetery is huge, so I highly recommend paying for a “tour bus” so that you don’t have to try to walk through the cemetery… especially since the most popular spots are no where near each other. We booked this tour, and loved the “hop on, hop off” option. We were able to spend as much time as we wanted at each location and it was crazy nice not to have to walk in the 100 degree D.C. heat! 


2. Monuments and Memorials. I’m not going to go into too much detail here, because I’m sharing my guide to the best of the monuments and memorials in D.C. next week. But I will say, they are stunning, they are moving, and they are a must see!

And now… it’s time for my Number 1 choice of things to see in D.C.!


The National Archives. Surprising right? This is HANDS DOWN my favorite thing we saw on our entire trip. I will tell you right now, that absolutely nothing can prepare you for seeing the freakin’ Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights in person. Talk about feeling Patriotic! Oh and in case you’re wondering… John Hancock’s signature really is so much bigger than everyone else’s! While The Rotunda is the most popular part of The National Archives, the rest of the exhibits are really cool. Reserve your tickets ahead of time here for only $1.50. Trust me, timed entry is worth it because this place is crazy popular. Also, be aware that The National Archives are open for actual research. The entrance on Pennsylvania Ave. is for research only. You’ll want the one on Constitution Ave. Find out more on the museum here.

What are your D.C. Must Sees?!

Alright friends. I’ve got to wrap this up quick! My BFF is on her way over for pizza bagels and Pretty Little Liars!

Have a wonderful Tuesday loves. I’ll be back tomorrow!


5 thoughts on “10 DC Must Sees… That aren’t The Smithsonian

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