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Best Views and Picture-Taking Spots in Washington


A big aspect of visiting a city for the first time is seeing it from different angles. That could mean from a high perch to catch a landscape view. Or just seeing it from the ground where you take in major landmarks from one spot. Here are some of the best spots in Washington to catch amazing views of major landmarks. Get ready your cameras ready!

Washington Monument

Tania Anderson

The Washington Monument is the tallest building in Washington at 555 feet high. And by law, no other building the city can be taller. So of course it offers the best views of the entire city and surrounding suburbs. An elevator takes you nearly to the top, not quite the point but close enough. You won’t be outside but small windows allow for some pretty amazing views and picture taking. And signs inside the windows tell you exactly what you’re viewing. Unfortunately as of March 2012, the Washington Monument remained closed for earthquake repairs. Check back for updates on when it will re-open.

George Washington Masonic Memorial

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It’s not nearly as tall as the Washington Monument at 333 feet high. But it certainly grabs your attention as you fly into Washington. Built as a tribute to the first president and his role in the Freemasons, the Alexandria, Va.-based memorial offers a great one-hour tour of its different levels. And then the grand finale is at the top where at outside wrap-around platform offers amazing views of Alexandria, Va., the Potomac River, the Maryland border, and Washington off in the distance.

Point of View Restaurant

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This posh restaurant is at the top of the W Hotel at 515 15th St., NW in Washington. A beautiful wrap around dining area has large windows for seeing the Washington Monument, the White House, and the U.S. Capitol. The bar takes reservations for its window-side tables.

Tidal Basin

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The Tidal Basin offers some beautiful views of water, cherry blossom trees, the Jefferson Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. There’s dozens of picture-taking opportunities just by doing one loop around the basin.


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Dedicated to the news business, the Newseum has a great outdoor deck across one whole side of the museum’s top floor. From there you can see a great view of the U.S. Capitol and a beautiful area of Washington. It’s a great spot for taking pictures too and getting that iconic photo in front of the Capitol. It’s a cool museum too!

Air Force Memorial

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This Northern Virginia attraction is a tribute to the U.S. Air Force with large 270 foot high beams that appear to be soaring like the movement of air from jets and space vehicles. The memorial is high on a perch, which makes it a great spot for seeing a landscape view of the city and taking great pictures.

National Mall

Tania Anderson

When people think of Washington, D.C., they usually picture the Washington Monument and the U.S. Capitol. Standing in the middle of the National Mall offers a great vantage point of both attractions. Take a walk around the National Mall and you’ll get lots of great photos of the Washington Monument and the Capitol and just the beautiful trees that line the mall. Some parts are pretty shady and some are right in the sun. And there’s benches around the perimeter for breaks.

U.S. Botanic Garden

Tania Anderson

As soon as you step out of the U.S. Botanic Garden doors you’ll see the U.S. Capitol from a different vantage point. You’ll also see the Capital Reflecting Pool and the greenness of the National Mall. It’s a great place to take in the view and plop down for a picnic.

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