These 10 fun activities will wear you out (in a good way)

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Washington, DC is popular for many things. There are of course iconic monuments, like the Washington Monument. But the city also offers great food, diverse neighborhoods and rich history. Plus, it’s easy to get around and there’s always something going on.



With the city’s abundance of attractions, it can be hard to know where to start. That’s why we’ve put together this list of ten fun things to do in DC, perfect for visitors in a hurry. With a mix of indoor and outdoor activities, there is something for everyone. Whether you’re into politics or just looking to have a good time, these ten activities will wear you down, and in a good way!

Related: Here’s Everything Visitors Can Explore in a Day on Washington’s Bainbridge Island

ten Go kayaking on the Potomac River

One of the best ways to see DC is from the water, and what better way to do it than by kayak? Not only is it a great workout, but it’s also a lot of fun. There are plenty of places to rent a kayak, and many offer guided tours, so you can learn about the city’s history and landmarks while paddling. And for those who have never kayaked, no worries! There are many places that offer kayak rentals and lessons.

  • To note:
    It is advisable to kayak on weekdays as weekends can be quite crowded.

9 Visit the National Zoo

The National Zoo is one of DC’s most beloved attractions, and for good reason! It is home to over 2,700 animals, many of which are rare and endangered species. The zoo is also a great place to learn about conservation and the animal kingdom. In addition to seeing the animals, visitors can also take part in educational programs, watch animal demonstrations, and more. A particularly popular event is the zoo’s annual “Boo at the Zoo” Halloween celebration, which features spooky decorations, animal enrichment activities, and more.

  • Admission:
    Free (although you may have to pay to attend events at the zoo, such as the “Boo at the Zoo” event)

  • To note:
    Last admission is at 3:00 p.m., so plan accordingly!

8 Bike through Rock Creek Park

Rock Creek Park is one of DC’s many gems, and it’s the perfect place to get some fresh air and exercise. The park is over 1,700 acres and has many trails for biking, hiking, and horseback riding. For those who don’t have their own bike, no worries! There are many places to rent a bike and the Capital Bikeshare program also offers stations throughout the park.

  • Cost of renting a bike:
    $8 per day if using Capital Bikeshare

  • To note:
    The park can be quite hilly in parts, so beginners may want to stick to the flatter trails.


seven Eat your way through the Eastern Market

Eastern Market is one of DC’s most beloved food markets, and it’s easy to see why! The market has been around since 1873 and is known for its fresh seafood, produce, meat, baked goods, and more. As well as being a great place to buy food, the market is also a popular gathering place on weekends, when live music and dance performances add to the festive atmosphere.

  • To note:
    The market is only open on weekends from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., so be sure to plan accordingly!

6 Walk through the Washington National Cathedral

Washington National Cathedral is the sixth largest cathedral in the world and the second largest in the United States. The cathedral took almost 100 years to build and it is definitely one of the things you must see on your trip to Washington, DC. The cathedral is known for its beautiful architecture and stained glass windows. Visitors can take a self-guided tour of the cathedral, attend a service, or simply admire the exterior.


5 Explore the streets of Georgetown

Georgetown is one of DC’s most popular neighborhoods, and it’s easy to see why. The neighborhood is home to quaint cobblestone streets, trendy shops and restaurants, and beautiful townhouses. Visitors can stroll the streets, shop or grab a bite to eat. And be sure to visit the Georgetown University campus while you’re there!

  • To note:
    Some shops and restaurants in Georgetown can be quite expensive, so be prepared to spend accordingly.

The National Harbor is a popular tourist destination in DC, and one of its most popular attractions is the carousel. The carousel, located in the middle of the harbor, offers stunning views of the Potomac River and Alexandria, Virginia. Visitors can also shop, eat and be entertained at the National Harbor.

  • Business hours:
    11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

  • Costs:
    $5 per passenger

  • To note:
    Some shops and restaurants in the National Harbor are seasonal, so be sure to check ahead to see what will be open during your visit.

3 Visit the American Botanical Garden

The US Botanic Garden is one of DC’s most underrated attractions, and it’s definitely worth a visit! The garden is home to over 50,000 plants, many of which are rare and endangered species. For example, the garden houses the largest collection of bonsai trees in the world. Visitors can take a self-guided tour or participate in one of the many educational programs offered.

Apart from being a beautiful place to take a walk, the garden also offers educational programs, workshops, and more.

  • Admission:
    Free

  • Business hours:
    10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Related: 10 Free Things To Do In Washington DC

2 Visit the Newseum

The Newseum is a must visit for anyone interested in journalism or history. The museum, located on Pennsylvania Avenue, features exhibits on topics such as the history of the news industry, freedom of the press, and more. Visitors can also see artifacts from famous current events, such as the September 11 attacks and the Watergate scandal. Additionally, the Newseum offers a variety of educational programs and workshops.

  • Admission:
    $24.95 per adult

  • Business hours:
    Monday to Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

  • To note:
    The Newseum is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.

1 Attend a show at the Kennedy Center

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is one of DC’s most iconic landmarks, and it’s also a great place to catch a show! The center offers a variety of shows, from musicals and plays to dance and comedy shows. Visitors can also take a tour of the center or participate in one of the many educational programs offered. Or, simply enjoy a meal or drink at one of the many on-site restaurants and bars.

  • Admission:
    Varies by performance

  • Business hours:
    Varies by performance

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Richard V. Johnson