Washington D.C. is the capital city of the United States. A city every American should visit once in their life. Not everybody has days to dedicate to this important and beautiful city, though.
So, what should you see if you only have a day to spend in Washington?
Wear your most comfortable shoes and get ready to discover some of Washington's most popular sightseeings!
The Union Station
If you are getting to Washington by bus or train, you will probably arrive at Union Station. One of the country's first great union railroad terminals built in 1908 in neoclassical style with a majestic arched facade.
The station is one of the busiest arteries in the city, with annual traffic of 37 million people! The station hosts several shops and cafes where you can grab a snack before starting the tour.
Just outside the station, you can admire the Christopher Columbus Memorial Fountain - yes, there is no water in it!
American sculptor Lorado Taft created the fountain that was unveiled and located at Columbus Circle in 1912 as a tribute to the explorer Christopher Columbus.
Looking around, you will notice in the distance the Capitol, the official seat of the two branches of the U.S. Congress. Time to move toward it crossing pleasant squirrel-filled parks (Upper and Lower Senate Parks) of the Capitol Hill neighborhood.
The Capitol, the Supreme Court, and the Library of Congress
Several beautiful neoclassical buildings will soon surround you. After passing the Senate offices, you will find on your left the Supreme Court and the Library of Congress, while you will finally have a close view of the majestic Capitol on the right.
The United States Capitol is one of Washington D.C.'s top landmarks and one of the few government offices that you will be allowed to visit. The guided tour includes visiting the Crypt, the Rotunda, and National Statuary Hall and should be around 30/40 minutes.
All tours, programs, and activities are free of charge, but check availabilities and opening hours before getting there. Booking tickets in advance can save you time!
Once outside the Capitol, go around it to admire the stunning view: the great plain of the National Mall will stand out in your eyes, with the Washington Monument in the foreground and the Lincoln Memorial in the background, and the most important museums in Washington.
The National Gallery of Art and Washington Monument
After a short walk, you will get to the National Gallery of Art, where you can admire some of the most outstanding masterpieces of art history.
Visiting the art galleries is free. You can either download the mobile app featuring 130 audio stops and 1,000 object descriptions, get an audio guide or join a guided tour in one of the many languages available.
Leaving the museum, a beautiful walk along the boulevard of the National Mall will take you to the Washington Monument.
The Washington Monument is a 555-foot tall white marble obelisk tower that stands in the center of the Mall, the second tallest building in the city after the bell tower of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
Carry on; you will enter an area dedicated to several Memorials. Walking near the Lincoln Memorial Pool, you will come across the Constitution Gardens and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial before reaching the famous Lincoln Memorial.
Visit the temple, the interesting museum below, and enjoy the view of the pool.
Leave the Lincoln Memorial on your left and start walking in the opposite direction. Cross the Korean War Veteran Memorial and make a very short stop on the Tidal Basin shore to admire the Jefferson Memorial from afar, a temple built near an artificial lake.
From this observation point, you can enjoy incredible views, particularly during spring when the cherry blooms.
Going back toward the Washington Monument, you can admire the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial and, just across Independence Ave. Sw., there are the D.C. War Memorial, the Korean War Veteran Memorial, and the Second World War Memoria, close to the John Paul Jones Memorial statue.
Washington D.C. has so much to offer to its visitors to see and do that one day isn't enough but, maybe, this one-day trip itinerary will make you want to visit the capital once again to check out what you have missed the first time!