What to Do & Attractions to See in Washington DC

What to Do & Attractions to See in Washington DC
As the capital of the United States, Washington, D.C., is a major destination for tourists, domestic and foreign. It is packed with free museums and monuments, and it has plenty of posh restaurants and a lively nightlife. One thing many people don't know is that Washington is a very green city, with magnificent parks and open spaces. Indeed, in the sense of park space, it is arguably the greenest city in the world.

Roosevelt Island

Theodore Roosevelt was America's first great conservationist president, so it is fitting that his memorial in Washington is a park and nature preserve. Roosevelt is an island in the Potomac River, between Georgetown and Rosslyn (in Arlington, Virginia). It is heavily forested, with a small marsh on the Georgetown-facing side, and has good trails. A monument to Roosevelt is near the middle of the island. Visitors frequently encounter deer, which swim across the river from Rock Creek Park. Popular with city residents for strolling and trail running, the island can be reached by car (there is a small parking lot on the Virginia side) or the Metro; it's less than 10 minutes from Rosslyn Station.

Theodore Roosevelt Island
c/o Turkey Run Park, George Washington Memorial Parkway
McLean, VA 22101
Tel: (703) 289-2500

Rock Creek Park

Following the course of Rock Creek, this funnel-shaped park extends from Maryland through the middle of the city until it reaches the Potomac, between Georgetown and Foggy Bottom. Several trails span the park from north to south. The park has stables and the remains of a Civil War fort's earthworks; it's also home to the Carter Barron Amphitheatre, which offers paid and free events on its annual schedule. Deer routinely find their way from Maryland into the park and sometimes cause automobile accidents on Rock Creek Parkway. You can reach the park by car, bus or Metro.

Rock Creek Park
3545 Williamsburg Lane, NW
Washington, DC 20008
Tel: (202) 895-6070

National Arboretum

The U.S. National Arboretum is in northeastern Washington. Its sprawling grounds are great for a walk. In addition to the trees, there is an herb garden, a sizable goldfish pond and an impressive bonsai collection. There is also the "temple." Vaguely resembling an ancient Greek ruin, this structure was built using the facade stones and column parts left from a major renovation of the U.S. Capitol.

United States National Arboretum
3501 New York Avenue, NE
Washington, D. C. 20002-1958
Tel: (202) 245-2726

Boating on the Potomac

You can rent a boat and go down the Potomac to George Washington's home at Mount Vernon, or up the Potomac to Great Falls. For a kayak, canoe or rowboat, go to the Georgetown institution of Jack's Boathouse. You can get there by car, or you can take the DC Connector bus to the intersection of Wisconsin and M Streets in the heart of Georgetown and walk from there.

Jack's Boathouse
3500 K Street, NW
Washington, DC
Tel: (202) 337-9642

Article Written By Edwin Thomas

Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.

The Latest from the Trails.com Community