See All of Washington DC In 3 Days

See All of Washington DC In 3 Days

See All of Washington DC In 3 Days

Washington Monument framed by cherry blossom trees

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With an exorbitant amount of museums and attractions, Washington DC is a photographer’s paradise. Be sure to bring backup batteries and SD cards! Between memorials, museums, and photogenic streets I had my shutter clicking so frequently I ran out of battery before lunch!

The Smithsonian’s

Elephant Statue In Washington D.C.'s Natural History Museum Lobby
Sometimes a travel destination makes my bucket list for a single photo opportunity. Washington DC made my list for the elephant in the lobby of the National Museum of Natural History. I am pleased with how my bucket list photo came out.

The Smithsonian’s are 100% FREE and pictures in the museums are allowed! There are so many museums and so many photos to take, it could take weeks to see it all. Is a 3 day weekend really enough to see all the museums in Washington DC? Well, that depends; there are two ways to see DC.

       1. pick the highlights you want to see at each museum and go to as many museums as possible.

       2. Dedicate a half-day or more at each museum and take the time to appreciate the art, history, science, and landscape.

You can see a lot in just 3 days if you pick the first option. If you have time, I would recommend adding more days to your trip. But if you’re like me, and constantly trying to find the right balance between corporate life and travel life, a 3 day weekend may be all you have.  Worry not! The sample 3 day itinerary will show you what to see with what little time you have!

Regardless of your style, the Smithsonian’s are full of Instagram worthy photos in every square inch of each building.

The Memorials

The memorials are scattered everywhere! You’ll come across ones you weren’t even looking for. Give yourself a history lesson by googling the memorials while you are there.

Aimlessly Roam the Streets

Seriously, DC is a gorgeous city. I couldn’t get enough of the architecture and spring flowers. It was quaint and enjoyable to roam the streets with no real purpose in mind.

Sample 3-day Itinerary 

Day 1

*Arrive midday and head straight to the museum you were looking most forward to. For me, that was the National Museum of Natural History.

*Head to the Adams Morgan Neighborhood and have dinner at Donburi.

*Finish the night off with an adult beverage at The Jug and Table

Day 2

*Have breakfast at the all gluten free bakery, Rise Bakery

*Begin your day of Museum hopping: See the National Capitol Columns and the National Bonsai Museum at the Smithsonian National ArboretumNational Postal MuseumUnited States Botanic GardenNational Air and Space Museum,  HirshhornNational Museum of American History. Don’t forget to eat lunch at food truck and stop at memorials along the way.

*PHEW! Now that the museums are closed, it’s time to hit up the rest of the memorials. The Washington MonumentWWII MemorialLincoln MemorialKorean War MemorialVietnam Wall Albert Einstein Memorial.

*You’ve earned yourself a large dinner and some sake, so head on over to Bul


*spend the first half of the day at the Smithsonian National Zoo. If you get there early, you won’t need to fight crowds for a glimpse of the animals.

*Spend the afternoon at Arlington National Cemetery. Entrance is free, but I recommend the optional train ride that drops you at highlights such as Kennedy’s eternal flame, the tomb of the unknown soldier and Korean War Memorial.

*Take Lyft to the airport and decide that Washington DC deserves way more than a 3 day weekend. 


Washington DC Pinterest Pin - Lincoln Memorial, Cherry Blossoms, Arlington National Cemetery

Author Bio

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Delaney is a project manager by day and a travel and wildlife photographer by night who is using her skills for translating complex technical language into easy to understand concepts to make photography achievable at all skill levels. You have questions; she has answers.

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