42 Fun Things to do in Washington DC for Young Adults

There are so many fun things to do in Washington DC for young adults. Below you will find everything you need to know about visiting Washington DC with young adults including the best places to go and the best things to do.

42 Fun Things To Do In Washington DC For Young Adults

Let’s take a look at all the fun things to do in DC for young adults!

National Air And Space Museum

The National Air and Space Museum is free, however, the museum requires a timed reservation made online prior to visiting. This museum contains 2 floors full of different space exhibits including a planetarium. The most notable parts are the Wright brothers original planes, the Apollo 11 command module, the Discovery space shuttle, and the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird. The National Air and Space Museum is loaded with tons of historical relics along with interactive activities for everybody. It is one of the most popular museums for young adults in Washington D.C.

Hours: Everyday 10am-5:30pm

Location: 6th St. and Independence Ave SW Washington, DC 20560

Cost: Free with timed reservation

Night Tour Of Monuments 

Doing a night tour of the Washington DC area monuments is so much fun. Not only do you get to enjoy the monuments as they are lit up for the evening, but there are usually far less crowds during this time. Also, if you are planning to sightsee during the summer months, remember that DC can get very hot. The heat and humidity can make seeing the monuments during the day painful. It’s best to stay indoors and visit museums during the day and then do a night tour of the monuments. 

The Capitol Building

The Capitol Building, built in 1800, is the place where congress meets and is located at the east end of the National Mall. Tours are offered and reservations are recommended.

The Capitol Building Washington DC

The Capitol Visitor Center tours are led by professional tour guides and visit the Crypt, the Rotunda and National Statuary Hall. Unfortunately the senate and house galleries are not included on the tour. The Capitol is a great place to go to learn about one of the most historical buildings in the United States along with its legislative branch.

Hours: Mon-Sat 8:30am-4:30pm

Location: Washington, DC 20004

Cost: Free with reservation

Picnic At Gravelly Point

If you are traveling with young adults that like planes, then this is a great place to hang out for a few hours. Gravelly Point is a large scenic peninsula off the coast of the Virginia side of the Potomac River.

This park offers a fantastic picnic spot for everybody to relax with the view and watch planes take off nearby at the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

Watch planes take off from DCA airport at Gravelly Point

They also have boat launches and a paved walking trail. Gravelly Point is a great place to spend a nice day!

Hours: 24 hours

Location: Gravelly Point, Arlington, VA 22202 

Cost: Free

Nationally Gallery Of Art

The National Gallery of Art was founded in 1937 and is home to over 150,000 sculptures, decorative arts, prints, drawings, photographs, and paintings. Aside from the permanent collection, they also have rotating temporary exhibits as well. Outdoors, they have a sculpture garden including many famous sculptures. Overall, the National Gallery of Art is a great place to visit.

Hours: 10am-5pm

Location: 4th St NW, Washington, DC 20565

Cost: Free

The Holocaust Museum

The Holocaust Museum is located geographically in the same cluster as the Smithsonian museums, however, contrary to popular conception, it is an independent entity, with its own governance structure.

This museum is adjacent to the national mall and gives a deep dive into the study of the holocaust with multiple exhibitions detailing different stories and accounts during the time. This museum is good for teenagers and adults who are interested or are studying the Holocaust. 

Hours: Everyday 10am-5:30pm

Location: 100 Raoul Wallenberg Pl SW, Washington, DC 20024

Cost: Free with timed passes

Take A Day Trip To Charlottesville

DC is surrounded by many other areas that are also really interesting and fun. Charlottesville is a quick 2 hour drive from DC and has a lot of fun things to do as well. For anyone interested in history, Charlottesville is also where Monticello is located. 

Monticello was the primary residence of Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States and the principal author of the Declaration of Independence. It is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is open to the public as a museum, showcasing Jefferson’s life, ideas, and contributions to American history. Charlottesville also has many wineries and beautiful green spaces to enjoy as well.

Take A Day Trip To Baltimore

​If you are with young adults that enjoy marine life, the National Aquarium is located in Baltimore. You can easily travel here by train, ride share or by renting a car. Young adults will also enjoy walking the Inner Harbor and grabbing a bite to eat by the water.

Head To The Beach!

Sometimes Washington DC can have oppressive heat. Days like these make it not very fun to be walking around sightseeing. Instead, young adults can head out to the eastern shore and visit some of Maryland’s coastal towns.

St. Michael’s especially is famous for its quaint nature and plethora of dining options. You can rent bikes and head to the beach here to escape the DC heat and humidity. If possible consider spending a night out on Maryland’s eastern shore as there are a wide variety of things to do.

Take A Day Trip To Annapolis

Just about one hour east of Washington DC is the capital city of Annapolis. The capital city of Maryland is often described as charming and picturesque. Annapolis is known for its well-preserved historic buildings, including charming colonial-era houses and brick-lined streets. The city’s architecture reflects its rich history and adds to its overall charm. 

This city is located on the Chesapeake Bay, offering beautiful views of the water. The city’s harbor is often filled with sailboats, yachts, and other vessels, adding to the coastal charm and creating a picturesque backdrop. The downtown area is filled with boutiques, cafes, art galleries, and historic sites. Finally, the United States Naval Academy, is located in Annapolis. It contributes to the city’s character and adds a sense of patriotic charm. This is an easy day trip from Washington DC.

Nationals Park

Nationals Park is most known for the Washington Nationals Baseball games, however they also offer many different events such as concerts and shows on days that the Nationals are not playing. Nationals Park offers days throughout the season where you can bring your dog to enjoy the baseball game with you as well. 

They also have a large variety of all the ballpark treats as well as many different events for smaller kids to enjoy themselves too. Nationals Park has a lot of variety and guests can check the schedule to see what event or special deal is next!

Hours: Event dependent

Location: 1500 S Capitol St SE, Washington, DC 20003

Cost: Event dependent

Smithsonian American Art Museum

The American Art Museum is home to countless art pieces from the colonial period to the current time. Completed in 1868, it is one of the oldest public buildings constructed in early Washington, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Housing one of the most inclusive pieces of American artwork in the world, the artwork displayed in this museum gives a visual approach to the key aspects of American history. The Smithsonian American Art Museum is a great place to learn about the different art pieces throughout American history.

Hours: Everyday 11:30am-7pm

Location: 8th And G Streets, NW Washington, DC 20004

Cost: Free

The National Archives Museum

The National Archives Museum is home to some of the most important documents to the United States of America.

Entry to this museum is completely free, however they recommend timed passes to avoid long lines.

This museum is a must-see for all visitors to Washington DC. It houses the original Declaration Of Independence, The United States Constitution, and the Bill Of Rights.

Hours: Everyday 10am-5:30pm

Location: 701 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20408

Cost: Free

The International Spy Museum

The International Spy Museum is one of the most interactive attractions DC has to offer. This multi-floor space introduces kids to the world of espionage by assigning them many different tasks and puzzles they have to solve. This museum teaches and tests kids about the life of being a spy.

The International Spy Museum is a great place to take kids at any point during the year and they will be entertained for hours. It also is a place for teens and young adults to learn about the world of espionage with cool and interactive games for them as well.

Hours: Everyday 9am-7pm

Location: 700 L’Enfant Plaza SW, Washington, DC 20024

Cost: $32 for adults, $21 for kids

National Museum Of Natural History

The National Museum of Natural History is one of the most popular in the Smithsonian for its numerous exhibits that detail the transformation of our planet from billions of years ago. Learn about the different species, the sky, geology, and much more.

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History is a great place to go with anyone because it showcases the Earth in different ways using their researchers, exhibits, scientific collections, and educational programs.

Hours: Everyday 10am-5:30pm

Location: 10th St. & Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20560

Cost: Free

Visit Mount Vernon

Mount Vernon is a well-known historic landmark for where George Washington once lived. This property was founded in 1758 and currently spans over 500 acres.

While you are there, you don’t want to miss looking in the large mansion George Washington onced lived in, exploring the acres of grounds across the complex, and learning about the mansion and the cool stories that took place within the museum section. There are several things to do here and they also offer a wonderful food court. Mount Vernon is definitely a great place to go for all ages, especially those interested in the history of the country.

Hours: Everyday 9am-5pm

Location: 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy, Mt Vernon, VA 22121

Cost: $28 for Adult, $15 Youth

National Mall

The National Mall is a large grassy park that is home to many of the DC monuments and Smithsonian museums. It spans in a straight line from the Lincoln Memorial to the Capitol Building, which is about 1.9 miles. Near the center of the mall, is the Washington Monument that reaches about 555 feet in the air. Near the Lincoln Memorial, there are multiple different war memorials.

National Mall Washington DC

As you progress further down the mall past the Washington Monument to the Capitol, you will reach many of the Smithsonian Museums including the National History Museum and the National Air and Space Museum. The National Mall is the place to go to see many of the different monuments and memorials that DC has to offer.

Location: Washington, Dc

Hours: 24 hours a day

Cost: Free

Lincoln Memorial

The Lincoln Memorial opened in 1922 and is located at the end of the national mall. It is a 19 foot statue of Abraham Lincoln sitting in his chair gazing out across the reflecting pool in front of him. There are 36 columns surrounding it representing the 36 states in the union at the time of his death.

Lincoln Memorial Washington DC

Lincoln’s famous speech, the Gettysburg Address is scribed in the south wall. On the north wall, his second inaugural speech is inscribed. This monument stands as a tribute to the 16th President of the United States and is located near the different war memorials on the National Mall.

Location: Lincoln Memorial Cir, Washington, DC 20037

Hours: 24 hours a day

Cost: Free

The White House

The White House is where the President of the United States currently works and resides. Every president has lived here since John Adams. There are 132 rooms, 35 bathrooms, and 6 different levels here. 

Public tours are allowed but are scheduled on a first come, first served basis and must be submitted through a Member of Congress and their Congressional Tour Coordinator. Public tours are free of charge and typically run on Tuesday-Saturday mornings. The White House is an iconic part of America and a great place to try to visit when in DC.

Location: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20500

Hours: Tours run 8am-12:30pm Tue-Sat.

Cost: Free

Washington Monument

The Washington Monument is a historical monument built to commemorate George Washington. It Stands at 555 feet high and is about 55 feet wide at its square base. It went under a 10 million dollar renovation job for 3 years and reopened in 2019.

Tours are booked online due to the high volume of tourists, but are free with $1 service fee per ticket. After going through security, visitors will be transported to the observation deck where they can have a great overseeing view of notable landmarks like the Capitol Building, the National Cathedral, the Lincoln Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial, and much more.

Location: 2 15th St NW, Washington, DC 20024

Hours: Everyday 9am-5pm

Cost: Free, $1 service fee to book tours

Cherry Blossom Tidal Basin

The Cherry Blossom Festival takes place in downtown DC between late March and early April. People from all over come to see the many cherry blossom trees fully blooming across DC.

The Tidal Basin is the best place to see the cherry blossoms, but it is also the most crowded. They have many trees surrounding the 100 acre basin. People can rent pedal boats here and enjoy a trip across the basin looking at numerous of the different monuments while enjoying the cherry blossoms as well.

Location: 1501 Maine Ave SW, Washington, DC 20004

Hours: Everyday 10am-6pm boat rentals, but remember that the Cherry Blossom Festival is seasonal and limited to the spring time.

Cost: Free to walk around, $40 per boat

Visit Rock Creek Park

Rock Creek Park, located in the northwest quadrant of Washington DC, offers miles of hiking trails. There are two primary hiking trails with smaller intersecting ones throughout. They also offer a nature center and a planetarium as well.

The nature center has numerous tanks of different animals including turtles and fish. The planetarium has multiple different shows in which some are ranger-led. From hiking through forests to awesome planetarium shows, Rock Creek Park is a great place to go.

Location: 5200 Glover Rd NW, Washington, DC 20015

Hours: Trails are open everyday during daylight, Nature Center is Thu-Sun 9am-5pm

Cost: Free

Arlington National Cemetery

The Arlington National Cemetery is an incredibly educational place to go. Guests usually start off with the Welcome Center which provides them with maps, exhibits, a bookstore, and more about Arlignton. The memorial theater is the main place where ceremonies are held to honor the fallen.

One of the most visited spots in Arlington is John F. Kennedy’s gravesite. Guests can also visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and witness the changing of the guard. Arlington National ceremony is jam packed with historical education. Remember to check the weather before heading here as thunderstorms in DC can happen suddenly.

Location: Arlington National Cemetery 1 Memorial Ave. Arlington, Virginia 22211

Hours: Everyday 8am-5pm

Cost: Free

National Museum Of African American History

The National Museum of African American History and Culture is free, however, the museum requires a timed reservation made online prior to visiting. This historic gallery will take about 2 hours to complete and is a one mile walk entirely.

This museum has many exhibits that show different moments in African American culture, it is a great learn for those interested in or are studying African American history.including a planetarium.

Hours: Everyday 10am-5:30pm

Location: 1400 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20560

Cost: Free with timed reservation

Hirshhorn Museum

The Hirshhorn Museum is a large art museum and sculpture garden. This large cylindrical building features many different modern and contemporary art pieces and also has multiple different exhibits that rotate in and out every few months as well. This museum is free admission with no reservations or timed passes and is a great place for all ages to go and explore.

Hours: Mon-Sun 10am-5:30pm

Location: Independence Ave SW &, 7th St SW, Washington, DC 20560

Cost: Free

Smithsonian Zoo

The National Zoo is known as one of the most famous Zoos in the world and a top tier attraction for all visitors or residents to the DMV area. In terms of animals, the National Zoo has it all.

From all sorts of mammals, fish, reptiles, and birds, the Zoo will have every visitor of all ages entertained. The big features of the zoo are the lions, tigers, pandas, and cheetahs along with many rare animals. Overall, the National Zoo is a must visit for everybody!

Hours: Everyday 8am-6pm

Location: 3001 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008

Cost: Free

National Museum Of American History

The National Museum of American History has numerous diverse halls consisting of different parts of American history with lots to learn from our country’s past. The most known exhibit is the original Star Spangled Banner. The purpose of this museum is to detail the development of the political, cultural, scientific, and technological changes in the United States. The National Museum of American History is a great place to be engrossed in American culture and learn about the United States development form the colonial times to present.

Hours: Everyday 10am-5:30pm

Location: 1300 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20560

Cost: Free


Artechouse features one rotating large exhibit that blends art and technology together. This gallery was founded in 2015 with the purpose to show creative innovation while blending art and technology together. Artechouse is a great place to go to witness beautiful creations within one specifically themed show. Starting at 4 PM, this modern art exhibit also has a fun bar for parents to enjoy as well. Be sure to reserve tickets online ahead of time. This art gallery is walking distance to the DC Wharf and you can easily head there for a bite to eat afterwards.

Hours: Everyday 10am-10pm

Location: 1238 Maryland Ave SW, Washington, DC 20024

Cost: $25 for Adults, $17 for kids.

National Building Museum

The National Building Museum is a large architecture museum. This museum contains numerous stories of how different cities and buildings were created. While adults can learn about the different structures, the kids can play in the multiple changing attractions and exhibits they offer, including a hands-on foam area where kids can build their own structures! The National Building is a mix for families to have fun and get their fill of architecture!

Hours: Thu-Mon 10am-4pm 

Location: 401 F St NW, Washington, DC 20001

Cost: $10 for adults, $7 for kids, advance purchased tickets are recommended but not required. 

Supreme Court Building

The Supreme Court is the highest court in the entire country. Visiting the building is only open to the public on days when court is not in session. They do not offer guided tours, instead they allow visitors to explore the exhibits on the ground floor, other portions, the cafeteria, and the gift shop on their own accord. They also offer courtroom lectures that are posted to their online calendar. The highlights of the building include the John Marshall statue, portraits and busts of former Justices, and two self-supporting marble staircases.The outside of the building is impressive as well and a great place to take some pictures.

Hours: Mon-Fri 9am-3pm 

Location: 1 First St NE, Washington, DC 20543

Cost: Free

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is located on the National Mall near the Lincoln Memorial, honoring the fallen soldiers in the Vietnam War. This memorial is primarily a large wall consisting of over 58,000 of the servicemen and women who lost their lives in the war. Tour guides offer their services here to give interesting historical facts about the memorial. The memorial also is home to a few statues detailing the troubling times of the war.

Hours: 24 hours

Location: 5 Henry Bacon Dr NW, Washington, DC 20002

Cost: Free

Kennedy Center

The Kennedy Center, named after President John F. Kennedy, was opened in 1971 and sits on the bank of the Potomac river. This center is known for hosting a variety of musical, theater, and dance performances. The different shows rotate in and out so check the calendar to see what is next. The rooftop at the Kennedy Center also has a restaurant and amazing views. It makes for a great evening dinner with stunning views of Washington DC.

Hours: Event Dependent

Location: 2700 F St NW, Washington, DC 20566

Cost: Event Dependent

DC Wharf

The DC Wharf is a mile-long entertainment area along the coast of an inlet off the Potomac river. It has countless things to do. Eat at many of the esteemed restaurants, rent a kayak to see some of the monuments, walk along the long piers, or go shopping in the markets. The Wharf is a great place to go for all ages to enjoy themselves (especially in the hot summer months of July and August) in the many different activities and events offered.  A popular restaurant with young adults is the restaurant Boardwalk where you will find a variety of arcade games to keep your young adults entertained.

Hours: 24 hours a day to walk, each venue has their own specific hours. Another fun thing to do is to take the water taxi from the DC wharf to either Georgetown or National Harbor. Georgetown has great shopping and restaurants and National Harbor has the famous ferris wheel that you can ride.

Hours: Venue dependent

Location: 760 Maine Ave SW, Washington, DC 20024

Cost: Free to walk around, each venue has their own specific prices

Washington National Cathedral

The Washington National Cathedral is a large American cathedral of the Episcopal Church. It is the 2nd largest church in the United States and is the seat of both the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Michael Bruce Curry, and the bishop of the Diocese of Washington, Mariann Edgar Budde. 

Visiting the cathedral has plenty to offer from climbing the tower, walking in the gardens, or touring all the different aspects. They offer sightseeing and other events on a day-to-day changing basis. All touring must be booked online and come with a complimentary self-guided tour brochure.

Hours: 10am-5pm

Location: 3101 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC 20016

Cost: Adults $15, Kids $10

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial

The Martin Luther King Jr. memorial covers 4 acres along the coast of the tidal basin next to the National Mall. It is most known for the granite statue of Martin Luther King Jr, called the Stone of Hope. This memorial opened in 2011 and stands about 30 feet tall. The design of the memorial represents the “I have a Dream” speech and shows the struggle of the times as well as hope for the future.

Hours: 24 hours

Location: 1964 Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20004

Cost: Free

Dupont Underground

Dupont Underground once was a trolley station in the 1970’s. Since it was abandoned, it has been turned into a large 15,000 square foot event space. This space is all about creativity and offers cool artwork and an event calendar for events being hosted there. It is not open all the time, so it is important to check the website before making any plans. 

Hours: Event Dependent

Location: 19 Dupont Cir NW, Washington, DC 20036

Cost: Event Dependent

United States Botanic Gardens

The United States Botanic Gardens is a famous botanical garden near the US Capitol grounds. It is an escape from the city that has multiple different gardens, plants, and fountains for everybody to enjoy. They recently reopened a children’s garden that allows kids to get hands-on with the different attractions the garden has to offer. The Botanic Garden is a great place to explore for all ages that will have everyone engaged in nature in different interactive ways!

Hours: Everyday 10am-5pm

Location: 100 Maryland Ave SW, Washington, DC 20001

Cost: Free

Meridian Hill Park

Meridian Hill Park is a 12 acre park in the Columbia Heights neighborhood in the northwest quadrant of DC. The lower part of the park includes a 13 basin cascading fountain, a reflecting pool, James Buchanan Memorial, and more. The upper part is home to the Joan of Arc and Serenity statues. Meridian Hill Park is a very scenic and large park great for everyone!

Hours: Closes at 9pm in the winter and midnight in the summer

Location: 16th St NW &, W St NW, Washington, DC 20009

Cost: Free

Thomas Jefferson Memorial

The Thomas Jefferson Memorial was built in 1943 along the Tidal Basin to honor the President. The monument stands at 129 feet tall and is a great spot to see the cherry blossoms in the spring along the basin. Due to its beautiful views and rich history, the Thomas Jefferson Memorial is a great spot to visit.

Hours: 24 hours

Location: 16 E Basin Dr SW, Washington, DC 20242

Cost: Free

Georgetown Waterfront

The Georgetown Waterfront is one of the most popular spots in DC due to its scenic views and top tier restaurants. The seafood restaurants are rated incredibly high, but there are other cuisines there as well. It also features a large fountain for group pictures and different bars for late night fun. The Georgetown Waterfront is an amazing place to go for meals to enjoy the notable food and views.

Hours: 24 hours for walking, restaurants have their own specific hours

Location: 3303 Water St NW, Washington, DC 20007

Cost: Free to walk around, restaurants have their own prices

Ford’s Theatre

Ford’s Theatre is the famous place where President Abraham Lincoln was shot. This museum recommends advanced tickets that are typically $4 and can be purchased online. In this museum you can see the different exhibits on President Lincoln and his presidency, the actual theater where he was shot, and the different exhibits of the aftermath of the assassination. Ford’s Theatre is a very educational place for many people and puts history to life.

Hours: 8:30am-9pm Everyday

Location: 511 10th St NW, Washington, DC 2000

Cost: $4

National Portrait Gallery

The National Portrait Gallery is a very large and spacious museum with thousands of different pieces of art that focus mainly on famous americans. After being founded in 1962 the national portrait gallery’s main goal was to show portraits of people that made a significant contribution to the history and development of the United States. 

At the heart of the gallery lies the only complete collection of presidential portraits outside of the White House. The portrait gallery is a great place to learn about history and the people behind it. Only visit here if you have a young adult that is interested in art.

Hours: Everyday 11:30am-7pm

Location: 8th St NW & G St NW, Washington, DC 20001

Cost: Free

Fun Things To Do In Washington DC For Young Adults: Summary

​There is no shortage of fun things to do in Washington DC for young adults. Between monuments, museums and parks, there is something for everyone to explore in Washington DC.

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