Looking to up your Instagram game? We've got the best places – some obvious spots and some hidden gems – where you can snap that picture-perfect photo in DC.
The District is brimming with scenic, one-of-a-kind #views, mouthwatering #eeeeeats and plenty of unique spots to capture the best #photooftheday. Lucky for you, we've picked more than 20 of the coolest places to take pictures in Washington, DC. And make sure to follow @visitwashingtondc on Instagram for a daily dose of amazing DC photos, and tag your Instagram adventures with #MyDCcool for a chance to be featured.
Every memorial on the National Mall
Each memorial on the National Mall is beautiful and moving in its own right – it’s impossible to take a bad picture on America’s front yard. Visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at sunrise for a tranquil experience with the early morning light reflecting off of The Wall or the Lincoln Memorial at sunset for an equally stunning view.
The National Gallery of Art’s Hahn/Cock
This vivid cobalt rooster from Katharina Fritsch electrifies the rooftop at the National Gallery of Art's East Building. It’s pretty difficult to take a bad photo of the 15-foot fowl. Face east and you can capture the U.S. Capitol dome above the tree line; turn west and you’ve got a great view down Pennsylvania Avenue.
Tucked amongst rehabbed carriage-houses and Shaw's award-winning restaurants, Blagden Alley was once home to working-class immigrants and African Americans following the Civil War and creators in DC’s underground art scene. Now you’ll find a series of murals, including Lisa Marie Thalhammer's aptly named LOVE mural (pictured), and an oversized tribute to musicians Sun Ra and Erykah Badu.
Pick a street mural, any street mural
Bump up your saturation and strike a pose in front of any of the hundreds of bright, captivating street-art masterpieces. Many alleys and offshoots lead to beautiful works of art. This mural can be found in the city’s NoMa neighborhood, where Pow! Wow! DC, an international art movement that celebrates culture, music and art worldwide, made a stop and left its mark.
The Library of Congress' Thomas Jefferson Building
The District’s waterfronts
DC may be known for its monuments and memorials, but the city's waterfronts also offer plenty to see and photograph. The District’s two rivers, the Potomac and the Anacostia, shine brightly once the warm weather of summer settles on the nation's capital, setting the scene for the perfect active 'gram.
There’s plenty to eat, drink, smell, buy and photograph at NoMa’s Union Market. But if we had to choose one spot, we’d suggest grabbing the one – or ones – you’re with, and snapping a pic in front of Yoko Ono's textual artworks or the iconic heart-filled mural. The colorful wall was painted by LA-based graffiti artist Mr. Brainwash in 2015 in honor of International Women’s Day.
Ben’s Chili Bowl
A must for any celebrity visiting the city, Ben’s Chili Bowl has been a DC staple since it opened on U Street in 1958. The half-smoke toting restaurant’s storefront is plenty Instagrammable on its own, but the famous Ben’s Chili Bowl mural – featuring distinguished African American trailblazers and celebrities – is iconic. The colorful wall honors the likes of Barack and Michelle Obama, Dave Chappelle, Prince and Harriet Tubman.
The National Capitol Columns at the U.S. National Arboretum
Off the beaten path in Northeast DC you’ll find the U.S. National Arboretum, a 446-acre verdant wonderland full of flora to discover. The go-to photo-op: a shot of the National Capitol Columns, a permanent installation featuring 22 Corinthian columns that originally supported the east portico of the U.S. Capitol when it was constructed in 1828.
The Kennedy Center
With seven theaters plus a rooftop terrace spoiled with gorgeous views of the Georgetown waterfront, there are plenty of iconic shots to choose from at the Kennedy Center. The Opera House’s luxe red decor and massive, 50-foot-wide, starburst-like crystal chandelier will certainly get some likes.
Home to the nation’s longest continually operating open-air fish market, The Wharf has transformed into one of DC’s most exciting waterfront destination. Make your way down by water, shuttle bus or bike and enjoy public piers and parks, locally grown dining concepts and a show at some of the city’s newest music venues.
Meridian Hill Park
Whether it’s North America’s longest cascading fountain or the vibrant drum circle that gathers every Sunday, there’s plenty to capture at Meridian Hill Park in Columbia Heights. The terrazzo walls will transport you (and your followers) from the nation’s capital to a European city with just one photograph!
Electronic Superhighway at the Smithsonian American Art Museum
Root, root, root for the home team at Nationals Park
You can score an epic ‘gram from any part of Nationals Park, home to MLB’s Washington Nationals. Let the followers know you have great seats, or if you’re in right field, snap a selfie and tell the squad you’re enjoying a refreshing summery drink with former National League MVP Bryce Harper in the background.
The changing seasons at CityCenter
As the seasons change, so does the totally Instagrammable display at CityCenterDC. From snowflakes to Chinese lanterns and beach balls, the ever-changing installation is one of the perfect place to get picture happy. For foodie ‘grammers, enjoy a global cuisine tour without leaving the neighborhood at hotspots Centrolina, Fig & Olive, DBGB Kitchen & Bar, Momofuku CCDC or Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse.
Culture House DC
This 19th century church and current home to Culture House DC, a nonprofit arts club, in the Southwest Waterfront neighborhood is sure to catch your attention. This space, previously known as the Blind Whino SW Arts Club, is also popular for events and the inside is just as eclectic, a.k.a. there is plenty to photograph.
From the top of a Big Bus
See – and snap – the city from above. The double-decker, open-top bus visits the city’s most iconic landmarks including the National Mall, historic Georgetown and the National Zoo. A Big Bus tour if the perfect way to get that bird’s eye view. Opt for the night tour if you’re looking for some starry night-esque 'grams
Get an exclusive discount and save big on your next Big Bus Tour. Just enter the promotional code VISITDC for the best available deal and start exploring the nation's capital.