Uncategorized · Washington DC

Instagrammable D.C.

 

IMG_8576So, I’ll just be honest: I have this hate-hate-need-hate relationship with Instagram. All the follows that turn into unfollows, comments that mean nothing, likes just so hopefully I’ll go and like some of their photos. It’s all just a little too reminiscent of junior high for me, and I’m not willing to play the game. And yet I keep trying to succeed at Instagram for the sake of the blog. Instagram makes a lot of people a LOT of money; though, I’ve yet to find the magic.

However, for those who do follow me on Instagram to travel vicariously with me, access my blog, or just use it as a way to stay in touch, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you! And Instagram really is a nice way to find travel inspiration for future trips. That’s why I’m sharing a local’s (that’s me!) insider info on the best places in Washington, D.C., to take photos for your own Instagram account, or just to take iconic photos for yourself! Take a look at my top picks and top “pics”!

Monuments and Memorials

This is the #1 thing people come to D.C. to see: the monuments and memorials. They are some of the most iconic places to take photos in the country, so have fun taking your pictures here! It’s hard to find a bad angle.

The Washington Monument
2 15th Street NW
Closed for renovations; always available for photos
Closest Metro: Smithsonian, Blue, Orange, and Silver lines

I probably have more pictures of the Washington Monument than anything else! I don’t really know why, I just love getting it from different angles, at different seasons, and at different times of day. Here is one of my favorites:

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Washington Monument, Looking west on the National Mall at dusk
Find Your State at the World War II Memorial
1750 Independence Ave SW
Open 24 hours
Closest Metro: Smithsonian, Blue, Orange, and Silver lines

Give a shoutout to your home state! Each state that was part of the United States during World War II has a pillar, as well as the Alaska Territory, Hawaii Territory, Commonwealth of the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, so choose your favorites!

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Current state of mine!
Dusk at the World War II Memorial
1750 Independence Ave SW
Open 24 hours
Closest Metro: Smithsonian, Blue, Orange, and Silver lines

Another one I love to see at dusk is the World War II Memorial. The lights in the water features are just stunning! Take a look:

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At the World War II Memorial, looking west toward the Lincoln Memorial.
The Lincoln Memorial
2 Lincoln Memorial Circle SW
Open 24 hours
Closest Metro: Foggy Bottom-GWU, Blue, Orange, Silver Lines

This might be the most popular memorial to visit, so be ready to compete with a lot of people and a lot of photography gear! Tip: January is a very slow month in D.C., so you’ll have the best chance to get photos with fewer or even no people in them if you come then. And while you’re at the Lincoln Memorial, don’t forget to walk around the columns on the outside and take in the views behind it, across the river toward Arlington House, and on the sides, where you can get some good shots of the Washington Monument, Capitol, and more. See my photos below!

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Lincoln inside the Memorial
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The View down the side of the Lincoln Memorial
The Navy Memorial
701 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Open 24 hours
Closest Metro: National Archives/Navy Memorial, Yellow and Green lines

As a traveler, I LOVE the U.S. Navy Memorial! There is a huge map of the world on the ground, and I love finding places I’ve been or want to visit. Here I am pointing out where I lived in Japan 12 years ago! You can find your hometown, your honeymoon location, your first trip abroad, or your current location–Washington, D.C.!

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Find a fun place for a worldly selfie!
U.S. Marine Corps Memorial (Iwo Jima Memorial)
U.S. Marine Memorial Circle, Arlington, VA
Open 24 hours
Closest Metro: Rosslyn, Blue, Orange, and Silver lines

This is a beautiful piece of green space in the middle of the city of Arlington, VA. Because it’s not in D.C. proper, it’s a little less crowded. If you’re here for Independence Day, this is also a fantastic spot to watch the fireworks! You can get an epic shot of the famous Iwo Jima Memorial, but also remember to look beyond the river to get an iconic view of some of D.C.’s most famous sites.

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Iwo Jima Memorial
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Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, Capitol, Smithsonian Castle, Library of Congress, at the Iwo Jima Memorial
Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA
Open 8:00am-7:00pm; hours may vary by season
Closest Metro: Arlington Cemetery, Blue Line

You’ll have Plenty of opportunities to get beautiful, patriotic photos here. Be sure to check out Arlington House, the historic monument-style grave markers, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers, and the rows and rows of iconic white markers.

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Iconic white grave markers overlooking Washington, D.C.
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D.C. Architect Pierre L’Enfant’s gravesite with a view of the city he planned

Architecture

D.C. has some of the most iconic, most impressive, most intricate architecture in the country, and you will undoubtedly find any architectural style from the last 300 years here. These are my favorites because they are the most photogenic and most recognizable.

The U.S. Capitol
1 E Capitol Street
Open 8:30am-4:30pm; Always available for outdoor photos
Closest Metro: Capitol South, Blue, Orange, and Silver lines; Union Station, Red line

The U.S. Capitol is free to visit and provides a plethora of photo opportunities both inside and out! I usually have good luck taking photos from the east side of the Capitol building, but the interior of the Capitol Dome is stunning as well.

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The Capitol Dome. Try to get it from the exact center, or take it from several angles for interest.
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One of my all-time favorite photos in D.C.
The Library of Congress
101 Independence Ave SE
Open 9:30am-4:00pm; closed Sunday
Closest Metro: Capitol South, Blue, Orange, and Silver lines; Union Station, Red line

In my opinion, the Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress is the most beautiful building in all of Washington, D.C., and perhaps the country. Everywhere you look is opulent, intricate, and stunning. I’ve gotten so many compliments on this photo, and I keep coming back to it. It’s hard to take a bad picture of such a beautiful place!

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The Library of Congress
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Available for outdoor photos always; inside open for pre-appointed tours only
Closest Metro: McPerson Square, Blue, Orange, and Silver lines

Of course, you can’t say you’ve been to D.C. unless you get a photo of the White House! You can’t get too close nowadays, but that’s what the zoom feature is for! You can try taking photos from the front or the back to find your best vantage point. But no matter what, do what the Secret Service tells you. Getting on the news for being arrested while trying to get that perfect shot is not the way you want to get Insta-famous!

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The White House
The Smithsonian Castle
1000 Jefferson Dr SW
Open 8:30am-5:30pm
Closest Metro: Smithsonian, Blue, Orange, and Silver lines

Didn’t know D.C. has its own castle? Now you do! And it’s a great place to get a photo for your Instagram, especially if you’re into architectural shots. Bring your patience, though, because people are usually walking by here constantly most times of day.

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Meet Mr. Smithson, the Brit who gave money for the dissemination of knowledge to the United States. Kind gesture? Huge insult? You decide!
The Chinatown Arch
7th & H Streets NW
Open 24 hours
Closest Metro: Gallery Place/Chinatown, Red, Green, and Yellow lines

Did you know D.C. has a hip Chinatown? It’s a must-visit if you’re hungry, find yourself at the National Portrait Gallery, or if you’re heading to or from an event at the Verizon Center. Don’t forget to walk over to the corner of H and 7th streets so you can take in the Chinatown Arch. There is a “scramble” crosswalk here, so you can definitely find an opening to get the head-on shot in the middle of the road.

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Chinatown Arch

All Around Town

Almost everywhere you look in D.C., you’ll find an iconic place. But don’t be so caught up in the destinations that you miss the everyday amazing photo opportunities! Flowers, random statues, sweet treats–it’s all here!

The Cherry Blossoms
Everywhere; most famously at the Tidal Basin and Jefferson Memorial
Available from Mid-March-Mid-April
Closest Metro: Smithsonian, Blue, Orange, and Silver lines

The cherry blossoms have come and gone for 2018, but if you happen to be in D.C. for the two to three weeks when they are blooming each year, you can’t miss them! They really do bring some brightness and color to what can be a very cold and unforgiving winter season in D.C. The classic spot to photograph them is down around the Tidal Basin, but really, you’ll find them absolutely everywhere and around the metro area! Here is one of my favorites:

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Cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin
Baked and Wired
1052 Thomas Jefferson St NW
Open 7:00am-8:00pm
Closest Metro: Foggy Bottom, Blue, Orange, and Silver lines; Rosslyn, Blue, Orange, and Silver lines

This coffee shop and bakery in Georgetown has some of the most FUN treats in town! Check them out for huge cupcakes, gooey brownie bars, and mashup combinations for out of this world sweets. And their coffee is pretty good, too!

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Unicorns and Rainbows Cupcake at Baked and Wired. It’s got Funfetti inside!
The View from the Old Post Office Tower
1100 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Open 9:00am-4:30pm
Closest Metro: Metro Center, Blue, Orange, Silver, and Red lines; National Archives/Navy Memorial, Yellow and Green lines

This absolutely gorgeous and affectionately known “Old Post Office” is part of the Trump International Hotel, but the tower itself was gifted back to the National Park Service, so it is free and open to the public. At the time of this writing, the Washington Monument is closed for repairs and new construction of a security facility, so the view from up at the top of this tower is the #1 best place to get a 360-degree view of D.C.! It’s one of my favorite, little known, secret spots. Be sure to use #bestviewintown for a potential regram!

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The view from the top!
Albert Einstein at the National Academy of Sciences
2101 Constitution Ave NW
Open 24 hours
Closest Metro: Foggy Bottom, Blue, Orange, and Silver lines

This guy even has his own hashtag! You’ll find this larger than life statue of Albert Einstein at the National Academy of Sciences, right across the street from the National Mall. Be sure to use the hashtag #PhotosWithAlbert to show some Instalove!

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My dad and me, just getting friendly with our friend Albert!
Teddy Roosevelt at Teddy Roosevelt Island
Teddy Roosevelt Island, Potomac River between Virginia and Georgetown, D.C.
Open 24 hours
Closest Metro: Rosslyn, Blue, Orange, and Silver lines

Another lesser-known but very Instagrammable spot in D.C. is Teddy Roosevelt Island, in the Potomac River. You can access it from the Virginia side of the river, just off the Mount Vernon Trail. It’s a popular spot for runners, hikers, and locals looking for a quick escape from the hustle and bustle of D.C. There is a huge statue of Teddy in the middle of the island, though some would say he’s life-sized.

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Teddy Roosevelt Island!

Murals

Murals are so hot on Instagram! And there are several interesting murals in D.C., though they are a ways off the beaten path. You may want to Uber to some of these, especially around Georgetown. The good thing about that is you will likely have them all to yourself! Fair warning, there is a lot of jumping happening below. If you have Instagram pose suggestions, please comment with them at the bottom of this blog post. I know I need all the help I can get!

The Great Wave of Georgetown
3510 O Street NW
Open 24 hours
Closest Metro: Rosslyn, Blue, Orange, and Silver lines

Having just returned from Hawaii, I was thrilled to catch a wave in Georgetown! It’s tucked away in an alley and on the side of a home, but that meant there were no cars in the way and obstructing the shot! Don’t forget to use #greatwaveofgeorgetown.

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The Great Wave of Georgetown Photo credit: Kelly Shumate
The Watermelon House and D.C. Kiwi
1112 Q St NW
Open 24 hours
Closest Metro: Shaw-Howard University or U Street/African-American Civil War Memorial, Yellow and Green lines

So, the Watermelon House is pretty well-known around town, but this was the first time I’d heard of the D.C. Kiwi next to it! If you’re driving to this mural location, make sure to read the street signs carefully (something you should do 100% of the time when driving and parking in D.C.). The right side is for general parking, but the left side is for residents only. Don’t forget to use #watermelonjumps, #watermelonhouse, and #dckiwi!

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#watermelonhouse #watermelonjumps Photo credit: Kelly Shumate
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#dckiwi Photo credit: Kelly Shumate
The Heart Wall
1309 5th Street NE
Open 24 hours
Closest Metro: NoMa-Gallaudet U New York Avenue, Red line

So, literally every post I saw about the Heart Wall said it is at 309 5th Street NE… but that’s not right! The Heart Wall is at Union Market, located at 1309 5th Street NE, so please don’t bother the dry cleaner on the 300 block of 5th Street NE. Be sure to check out all the amazing food stalls inside Union Market while you’re at it, too. You’re sure to find some instagrammable foods, beverages, and displays!

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Jumping for joy at the Heart Wall Photo credit: Kelly Shumate
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Never Give Up! Take the photo anyway, even when the gate covers part of it. Photo credit: Kelly Shumate
Every Day I See Something New
1742 Kalorama Rd NW
Open 24 hours
Closest Metro: Dupont Circle, Red line

If you want to bring some colors to your feed, this is the mural for you. You can metro or drive here, but again, be sure to read the parking signs carefully! There are multiple ways to get a great shot of this mural, so try as many poses and angles as you like!

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New favorite inspirational view. Photo credit: Kelly Shumate
The Blind Whino (or, the Painted Church)
700 Delaware Ave SW
Available for photos 24 hours; art gallery open Saturday and Sunday noon-5:00pm
Closest Metro: Federal Center Southwest and Capitol South, Blue, Orange, and Silver lines; Navy Yard, Yellow and Green lines

On weekends, the Blind Whino is an art gallery. However, we caught it while people were working inside, so we got exclusive access on a weekday! No matter when you visit, you can definitely get an Instagram-worthy picture at any angle.

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Beautiful colors on a beautiful D.C. day!

Are you ready for an Instagrammable extravaganza?! Now you’re prepared with all the best locations in mind!

Love this post? Pin it for later!

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