The great thing about Washington is that there is never an unfortunate time to visit it. Here is something going on virtually any time of the year. In December you have the Lighting of the National Christmas Tree, in the Spring you have the Cherry Blossom Festival and the Independence Day parade during the 4th of July.
Besides the national events hosted by Washington each year, you have on the table daily music events, you can visit the generous offer of museums and art exhibitions (including the White House), and a plethora of sport events. You have all the reasons in the world to make Washington your top holiday priority.
To make things easier for you and your family, below we have a smart guide that will help you tackle the organizational and planning part of your trip. Our guide includes a two-day trip itinerary and tips for you and your family.
Two-day itinerary and tips for your Washington trip
Since there are so many things to do in the amazing US capital, splitting your activities on days will make things easier to plan and follow through. Whether this will only be your starting point or you are going to follow through with it religiously, our itinerary will offer you a good plan to pursue.
- Start with a hop-on-hop-off big bus tour of Washington DC.
- Visit for free the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.
- A free stroll on the Ellipse.
- A visit to the Newseum.
- Book a Washington Museum Cruise.
- Visit Georgetown for free.
- Biking the National Mall.
- Visit for free the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.
Below we will split these trip ideas on days to make your planning process significantly easier.
Start your day with a Big Bus Sightseeing Tour. This will offer you just the perfect introduction to the stunning city and its main attractions. Both first-time visitors and those already accustomed with the treasures of Washington DC will love the breath-taking overview that they can get from a similar tour.
The fascinating sights that you will witness are reputable historic landmarks. With 25 stops before your tour ends, you will be introduced to the locations of the US Capitol and Botanical Gardens, the Air and Space Museum, the White House and the Jefferson Memorial, besides the many other attractions that Washington has to offer.
Given the fact that this is a tour bus, you might want to leave your personal vehicle in a separate parking zone. Parking in Washington can be a problem considering the congestion on the roads, which explains why so many Washington residents choose to reserve a monthly parking in Washington for both convenience and savings.
Visit for free the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. Hop off the bus at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. This may be one of the most visited attractions in Washington, especially by enthusiastic children. Equipped with a plethora of interactive exhibits and featuring numerous educational videos, the Museum is certainly one amazing treasure you must cross off your list.
Give the Newseum a shot. This isn’t your regular museum, being dedicated to the history of media in the US. You will find newspaper covers, interactive exhibits and artefacts from the Berlin Wall but also the Twin Towers. The entrance at the museum includes a two-day visit so if you can’t cross it off your list entirely during day one, feel free to come back the next day!
Take a stroll on the Ellipse. The last stop of your first day will be the Ellipse, the green and beautifully-groomed lawn on the South side of the White House. From here, you can photograph the building for free, and if you visit during the Christmas time, this is where you will find the Christmas tree.
Start your second day in Washington with a Washington Monuments Cruise. You will get to see the entire city from a completely different angle and you will have the time to relax as well. Look for the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Lincoln Memorial and The Washington Monument on your way. You will be able to see other important landmarks as well. You can get your tickets from the Washington DC Explorer Pass.
Have a stop in the Georgetown neighborhood, one of the classic Washington neighborhoods out there. There is an avalanche of monuments that you can visit, plus the Georgetown University, a good landmark to visit if you have children old enough to start looking into University options.
The Old Stone House is also worth a visit while you’re in the neighborhood. This is one of the only impeccably-preserved Pre-Revolutionary War building in the area.
Bike the National Mall if you visit during the warmer months. You can rent a bike with an included map and take a ride around the mall with your family. Get your bike and map at the rental shops in the area.
A visit to the Smithsonian American History Museum is free and if you loved the Air and Space Museum, you will surely love this as well. One-of-a-kind artifact displays, interactive exhibitions and the ruby slippers from the Wizard of Oz, these all make out of the museum a family favorite.
If you love your time in Washington during this two-day trip, you can always add another one and enjoy other amazing attractions that the city has to offer.
Extra-day attraction suggestions
The Georgetown Washington’s Mount Vernon is a great place to visit. Take your car from the parking lot in DC and have a trip at one of the most beautiful sights in the DC area. It’s a stunning display of the history of farming in the United States. The place is filled with beautiful historic buildings, small museums and memorials and a perfectly-restored main house.
The Old Town Alexandria is another stunning location you have to cross off your list if you decide to spend an extra day in Washington. This is a historic neighborhood filled with antique shops, restaurants and boutiques and features a wide variety of historic monuments and buildings. Make sure to visit the Torpedo Factory Art Center. It’s a wonderful little gem hidden in the heart of Old Town Alexandria.