Where to Find the Best Views of D.C.

I love a good view! Every time I go to a new city, I want to find a high point so I can get a good look at everything. Every time I go on a hike, I can’t wait for the big pay-off at the end: a great view. Having lived in D.C. for over a decade, I’ve scoped out the best places to get the best views. Whether you’re looking for a perfect photo op, romantic view for two, or just a breath-taking vista, here are the best places to get the best views of D.C.!

The Top of the Washington Monument

The views from the Washington Monument in each direction will impress and inspire you! It’s one of my favorite places to take people when they come visit. While it’s not the highest spot in D.C. (that would be the Statue of Freedom on top of the Capitol), it’s a pretty fantastic view from 555 feet! Don’t worry, there’s an elevator!

Get your tickets in advance online, or you can line up for same-day tickets. Go early, though, because they run out! It’s FREE to visit, but reserving a ticket online does require a small fee.

The East View
More here: How to Go Inside the Washington Monument

The Old Post Office Clock Tower

Tickets for the Washington Monument all gone? No worries! You can get one of the best views of D.C. from the Old Post Office Tower. You’ll enter next to the Starbucks downstairs, then walk down a hallway exhibit all about the history of the Old Post Office and the Tower itself. Then you’ll take an elevator up for one of the most spectacular view of D.C.! It’s absolutely FREE to visit, and you can stay as long as you like.

Looking Southwest from the Old Post Office Tower.
Read next: 7 Things to Do in Penn Quarter, D.C.

Lincoln Memorial

The Lincoln Memorial is the most visited memorial in D.C. But often people forget to turn around! After you’ve paid your respects and taken a few photos of the 16th President of the United States, turn around and pause at the top of the steps. You’ll be rewarded with a beautiful view of D.C. that will make you think, “Oh, I see why they call it the reflecting pool!”

Don’t forget to turn around when you’re admiring Lincoln!
Keep reading: Your Guide to D.C.’s Monuments and Memorials

The Speaker’s Balcony at the Capitol

Okay, so you have to know someone or get very lucky to be able to see this one. It’s the view from the Speaker of the House’s Balcony at the U.S. Capitol. But if you can swing it, you’ll be rewarded with this once-in-a-lifetime view. As you can see, the day I went was overcast, but still beautiful!

Looking west from the Capitol Balcony
Read next: How to Tour the U.S. Capitol

L’Enfant Gravesite, Arlington

Pierre L’Enfant has this most spectacular view of D.C. with good reason: He designed the city plan for the District! His final resting place is Arlington National Cemetery, near Arlington House. It has one of the best views of the District that you’ll ever find. A visit to Arlington will be well worth your time for many reasons, including a trip to L’Enfant’s gravesite.

Keep reading: Your Ultimate Guide to Visiting Arlington National Cemetery

Need more D.C. info? I have a dedicated Washington, D.C. Page with everything you need and more!

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