Washington DC offers some of the greatest monuments, memorials, museums, and famous buildings that America has to offer. If you’re visiting the nation’s capital, chances are pretty good that you’re looking forward to take it all in. While DC’s roads can become congested, the extensive Metro system can be a great way to get around!
We’ve compiled a list of ten stops that you’ll want to visit to take in all that DC has to offer.
Many of the metro stations on this list put you in close proximity to Washington DC’s monuments, but none quite as impressively as Smithsonian Station. Take the northern exit and you will be presented with a breathtaking view of the US Capitol Building and the Washington Monument as you exit directly onto the National Mall.
In addition to the views, this station gives you great access to many of the museums and galleries run by the Smithsonian Institution, including the Freer Gallery of Art, Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, National Museum of African Art, and Smithsonian Institute Building (The Castle). Cross the mall for for more nearby options including the National Museum of American History and National Museum of Natural History.
Located at the Reagan Building, and across the street from the Old Post Office Pavilion, the area around the Federal Triangle Station’s surroundings are impressive immediately. The real value in this station, however, is it’s proximity with the north side of the National Mall. Located a block from the National Mall, this station is the closest to the National Museum of American History and the National Museum of Natural History, both of which are free museums, and part of the Smithsonian Institution. The station is also a short walk from The Ellipse, a large park located immediately south of the White House.
Located near the heart of downtown Washington DC’s Penn Quarter, Gallery Place Station provides access to some of the area’s best restaurants, as well as the Verizon Center (home of the Washington Wizards (NBA), Washington Mystics (WNBA), and Washington Capitals (NHL)). Be sure to make the National Portrait Gallery and Smithsonian American Art Museum part of your visit, located just across 7th street from this station.
With Federal Center Station, we’re back to the National Mall. This station, located near the east end of the Mall, is a short distance from the National Air and Space Museum, the United States Botanic Garden and the US Capitol Building. The area is also filled with federal office buildings. While closer to other stations, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and National Gallery of Art are nearby as well. Capitol South Station and Union Station, both of which did not make this list, are within close proximity of the Capitol Building (and the Supreme Court) as well.
Few people think of Washington DC without images of the residence of the President of the United States of America at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. The White House is as iconic as any other DC landmark, and McPherson Sq Station is the easiest way to get a glimpse of this national icon. The Ellipse park, just south of the White House is also near by, and a short walk further once again brings you to the National Mall, near the Washington Monument and the Constitution Gardens.
Located near the National Archives (home of the Constitution of the United States), Archives Station is conveniently located in Penn Quarter just a couple blocks from the National Mall, and the National Museum of Natural History and National Gallery of Art. It is very easy to get to many downtown DC attractions, including restaurants, and several independent museums, such as the International Spy Museum, the Crime and Punishment Museum, and the Newseum.
Located across the Potomac River from Washington DC, the Arlington Cemetery Station places you at the gates of the grounds of the nation’s most famous military cemetery. In addition to honoring those buried in the cemetery, the grounds include the Tomb of the Unknowns, Arlington House (former home of Robert E. Lee), and several memorials. You can also walk to the nearby Iwo Jima Memorial, the war memorial commemorating the Marine Corps, and the Netherlands Carillon.
Located on the campus of George Washington University, Foggy Bottom Station is the closest to the Lincoln Memorial, and other attractions on the west end of the National Mall (though it is still nearly a mile away). If you are planning to catch a show at the Kennedy Center, this station provides a free shuttle.
Aside from Arlington Cemetery Station, Woodley Park Station is the only station on our list that isn’t in the heart of downtown Washington DC, and the National Mall. That’s because most of the attractions you’re visiting DC to see are located in a fairly concentrated, but there’s one location we think that you need to consider. Run by the Smithsonian Institution, a trip to the National Zoo can make for a great event. The zoo, located in Rock Creek Park, is free, and can be tons of fun for young and old alike.
The final station on our list is again near the National Mall, and is closest to the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. But L'Enfant Station is also on the list because it is, along with the Smithsonian Station, one of the easiest places from which to get to the Jefferson Memorial and the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial. While it’s still a bit of a hike, the memorials are beautifully nestled on the Tidal Basin. If you’re up for a fairly long walk, we suggest talking around the basin and visiting each of the memorials on its shores.