TRIP IDEA

Scenic Views In the City

Multiple Parks

Visitors take photos of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial during the Cherry Blossom Festival.
Duration Multiple Days
Topic(s) African American Heritage, Enslavement, Social Movements, Abolition Movement, Architecture and Building, Burial, Cemetery and Gravesite, National Cemetery, Military, Civil War, Sculpture, US Marines, Monuments and Memorials, Wars and Conflicts, Scenic Views, American Revolution, Birds, Arts, Maritime - Military, Presidents, Tragic Events, Transportation, Urban America, Women's History, Civil Rights, Trails, American Revolutionary War, Water Trails
Activities Guided Tours, Self-Guided Tours - Walking
Type Kid Friendly, Relaxed, Urban, Educational, Inspirational
Parks Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, National Capital Parks-East, Rock Creek Park, Arlington House, George Washington Memorial Parkway, National Mall and Memorial Parks

Visitors take photos of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial during the Cherry Blossom festival.
Visitors take photos of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial during the Cherry Blossom festival.

NPS

Scenic vistas abound inside the nation's capital! Explore and discover iconic views around Washington, DC by checking out the parks below.

From the Tidal Basin to the Old Post Office Tower, you'll find historic landscapes, learn lesser known stories, and take in scenic vistas. There are many beautiful parks and places, but this list will provide you with a day or two's trip to some of the best views in and around the city.
Find Iconic Views
    • Activity Fee: No (Entrance fees may apply)
    • Reservations: No
    • Activity: Self-Guided Tours - Walking
    • Pets: Yes with Restrictions
    • Location: US Marine Corps War Memorial
    • Duration: 1–2 Hours
    • Season: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
    • Time of Day: Day, Dawn, Dusk
    US Marine Corps War Memorial

    From Arlington Ridge, experience a panoramic view of the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, the US Marine Corps War Memorial, and Capitol Building behind the US Marine Corps War Memorial against the Washington, DC skyline.

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    • Activity Fee: No (Entrance fees may apply)
    • Reservations: No
    • Activity: Self-Guided Tours - Walking
    • Pets: Yes
    • Location: Meridian Hill Park
    • Duration: 1–2 Hours
    • Season: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
    • Time of Day: Day
    Visitors walk through Meridian Hill Park.

    Meridian Hill Park was designed and built between 1912 and 1936, and has been under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service since 1933.

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    • Activity Fee: Yes
    • Reservations: No
    • Activity: Self-Guided Tours - Walking
    • Pets: No
    • Location: Arlington House
    • Duration: 30–180 Minutes
    • Season: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
    Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial.

    Take a tour or walk the grounds of Arlington House to learn how it has served as a family home, a military headquarters, a national cemetery, and much more. When visiting Arlington House, you may walk through the mansion at your own pace or you can ask if there is a scheduled tour available. The tours start on the hour and take between thirty and forty-five minutes. Normally, tours occur on weekends in the winter or every day in the summer.

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    • Activity Fee: No (Entrance fees may apply)
    • Reservations: Yes
    • Activity: Guided Tours
    • Pets: No
    • Location: Frederick Douglass National Historic Site
    • Duration: 30–120 Minutes
    • Season: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
    • Time of Day: Day
    Violin and bow rests against wooden chair.

    Explore the home of Frederick Douglass, a leading voice in the abolitionist movement.

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  • National Mall and Memorial Parks

    Walk Around the Tidal Basin

    • Activity Fee: No (Entrance fees may apply)
    • Reservations: No
    • Activity: Self-Guided Tours - Walking
    • Pets: Yes with Restrictions
    • Location: Tidal Basin
    • Duration: 1–3 Hours
    • Season: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
    • Time of Day: Day, Dawn, Dusk
    View of the Washington Monument from the Tidal Basin.

    The Thomas Jefferson Memorial, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, and the Washington Monument are easily visible along the two mile long Tidal Basin Loop Trail.

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  • National Mall and Memorial Parks

    Visit the National Mall and Memorial Parks

    • Activity Fee: No (Entrance fees may apply)
    • Reservations: No
    • Activity: Self-Guided Tours - Walking
    • Pets: Yes
    • Location: National Mall
    • Duration: 1–7 Days
    • Season: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
    • Time of Day: Any Time
    Aerial View of the National Mall and Memorial Parks

    Each year, millions of people visit the National Mall and Memorial Parks to recreate, to commemorate presidential legacies, to honor our nation's veterans, to make their voices heard, and to celebrate our nation's commitment to freedom and equality.

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  • George Washington Memorial Parkway

    Take a walk on the Mount Vernon Trail

    • Activity Fee: No (Entrance fees may apply)
    • Reservations: No
    • Activity: Self-Guided Tours - Walking
    • Pets: Yes
    • Location: Mount Vernon Trail
    • Duration: 1–4 Hours
    • Season: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
    • Time of Day: Day
    The Mount Vernon Trail

    The Mount Vernon Trail winds alongside the Potomac River offering uninterrupted views of Washington, D.C.'s skyline. A run, walk, or cycle along the trail leads to all of the same sites that can be reached by car on the parallel section of the parkway.

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    • Activity Fee: No (Entrance fees may apply)
    • Reservations: No
    • Activity: Self-Guided Tours - Walking
    • Pets: Yes
    • Location: Georgetown Waterfront Park
    • Duration: 1–3 Hours
    • Season: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
    • Time of Day: Day
    Georgetown Waterfront Park, stretching along the banks of the Potomac River

    Georgetown Waterfront Park stretches along the banks of the Potomac River

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  • National Mall and Memorial Parks

    Take a Tour of the Old Post Office Tower

    • Activity Fee: No (Entrance fees may apply)
    • Reservations: No
    • Activity: Guided Tours
    • Pets: No
    • Location: Old Post Office Tower
    • Duration: 1–2 Hours
    • Season: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
    • Time of Day: Day
    Old Post Office Tower

    The Old Post Office Tower offers tours Thursday through Sunday.

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Last updated: May 7, 2017