You don’t have to live inside the District of Columbia to enjoy the city! There are plenty of opportunities for day trips when you live within driving distance of Washington, D.C. Although you might consider yourself a local, there’s still plenty to discover during every time of year. Spending one day in D.C. isn’t exclusively for tourists. Whether you’re coming from across the country or 20 minutes away, there are countless ways to spend one day in Washington.

If you live in one of our communities close to D.C., such as Cavalier Club or Daniel’s Run, check out these great ideas for visiting Washington, D.C., in a day! Otherwise, check out these seasonal activities.

The Best Way To Spend 1 Day In Washington, D.C., In Every Season

What To Do In Washington, D.C., During Spring

1. Visit the Cherry Blossom festival.

When the city’s cherry blossoms bloom, one of the nations’ greatest spring celebrations begins: the National Cherry Blossom Festival. People from all over the world flock to take in these breathtaking views, so you’ll want to be sure you’re prepared for crowds. You’ll also want to bring a camera for some beautiful shots. If you’re looking for the best way to spend 1 day in Washington, D.C. in the spring, this should definitely top your list!

2. Attend the White House Garden Tour.

The White House invites visitors to their gardens every spring. This event is free of charge and includes the Rose Garden, White House Kitchen Garden, as well as the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden. For official details, dates, and tour times, review the White House’s website.

3. Explore the monuments and memorials.

There’s nothing like seeing The Washington Monument up close. The World War II and Vietnam memorials are also well worth your time, not to mention the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials. All of these historic icons are within walking distance from each other. On a pleasant spring day, they’re hard to beat. So, grab your walking shoes and go see them all!

What To Do In Washington, D.C., During Summer

1. Explore the city by water.

If you’ve never done it before, then summertime is the perfect season to go on a Duck Tour. Even if you’re an experienced boater or D.C. native, get ready for a brand new perspective. See the memorials and landmarks from an entirely new point of view and enjoy the summer breeze while you’re at it.

2. Walk along the National Mall to see the monuments at night.

Winter days and even spring evenings can be too chilly for a night tour through the monuments. Consider hopping on a Monuments By Night tour to see all of D.C’s amazing landmarks lit up against the city skyline.

3. Visit the zoo.

The Smithsonian’s National Zoo, is home to over 2,000 animals of 400 different species. With over 163 acres, this zoo makes for a beautiful afternoon stroll with some of the world’s most interesting creatures as companions. Best part? It’s free!

What To Do In Washington, D.C., During Fall

1. Explore the museums.

If you haven’t been inside the Museum of Natural History, the National Art Gallery, Spy Museum, or any of the plethora of other Washington, D.C. museums, fall is the perfect time to go. Since tourist season ends with the summer, museums are the best places to visit in Washington, D.C. this time of year, especially if you’re stuck with a rainy fall day.

2. Enjoy a ghost tour.

Are you up for an eerie D.C. evening? If so, be sure to get your reservation in advance for Halloween-inspired walking tours offered by DC by Foot. These creepy tours weave through Georgetown, Dupont Circle, and Embassy Row where you can learn about ghosts, spirits, and mysteries during the Halloween season.

3. Take advantage of free concerts.

The National Gallery of Art offers live music and free concerts during the fall. You can sit in on performances in the West Garden Court and East Building, some of which offer special after-hour nights throughout the fall months.

What To Do In Washington, D.C., During Winter

1. See a show at the Kennedy Center.

The Kennedy Center holds beautiful performances, and there’s nothing quite like sitting through a warm, magnificent play while its chilly outside. From musicals to ballets to timeless classics, you’re sure to see something great. The Kennedy Center is one of the best places to visit in Washington, D.C.

2. Experience ZooLights!

No one does The Holidays quite like the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. ZooLights illuminates the zoo with over 500,000 LED lights, animated figures, and live music. Enjoy hot beverages, eggnog, and even cookies during this festive event between November 29 and January 1. This is one of the best ways to spend 1 day in Washington, D.C., around the holidays.

3. Check out Washington Harbour.

Located in Georgetown, this waterfront destination is absolutely gorgeous. Enjoy the Potomac River view along with the largest ice rink in the District while exploring this pier. It’s the perfect winter activity!

What To Do In Washington, D.C., Year-Round

Washington, D.C., is a beautiful city filled with historic sights, memorable landmarks, and important people. There is plenty to see in Washington, D.C., in a day during every season!

Be sure you explore the museums, monuments, botanical gardens, and famous landmarks, but don’t forget about the wide variety of restaurants, shopping, and culture available! As the nation’s capital and a bustling tourist spot, there is always something new to see and do in and near the District.

Need A Place To Stay During Your D.C. Day Trip?

If you’re planning a trip to Washington, D.C., you’ll need a place to crash. Whether you live in the area or are visiting from out of town, Southern Management offers affordable, luxury hotel accommodations.

Check out our availability at The Cambria Hotel College Park, one of the highest-rated hotels in Maryland. Or indulge yourself with sumptuous linens and unparalleled service at The Hotel at University of Maryland. Wherever you choose to stay, our team would be happy to answer any questions about pricing, public transportation, additional places to visit in Washington, D.C., and more.

Contact us online today to plan your visit!