10 Most Scenic Views in Washington, DC

Washington, DC from above


Washington, DC is a beautiful city with impressive architecture and spectacular scenery. It's a photographer's mecca with hundreds of scenic sites which you could easily overlook if you don't know where to go. This guide explores some of the best places to enjoy scenic views and overlooks in the nation's capital. 

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Great Falls Park

Great Falls
Skip Brown/Getty Images

The 800-acre park located along the Potomac River, is one of the most spectacular natural landmarks in the Washington DC metropolitan area. The park is widely visited by local residents but often overlooked by visitors.  The views at Great Falls Park are breathtaking and extend for miles along the river. Visitors can hike on trails along both sides of the river in Maryland and Virginia.

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Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln Memorial

Victoria Chamberlain / TripSavvy

The Lincoln Memorial is a beautiful structure with a prominent location on the National Mall. From the steps of the monument you can see the reflecting pool, the World War II Memorial and a wonderful view of the U.S. Capitol Building in the distance.

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Jefferson Memorial

Jefferson Memorial

Victoria Chamberlain / TripSavvy

The Jefferson Memorial is a dome-shaped rotunda that honors our third president and is one of the most impressive sites in Washington, DC. During cherry blossom season, the view of the Tidal Basin is blanketed in pink. From the top steps of the memorial, you can see one of the best views of the White House.

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Washington Monument

Washington Monument with people picnicing on the national mall

Victoria Chamberlain / TripSavvy

The memorial to George Washington, our nation's first president, is the most prominent landmark in Washington, DC and stands as the centerpiece of the National Mall. It is the tallest structure in Washington, DC and measures 555 feet 5.125 inches high. You can ride the elevator to the top of the Washington Monument and see a panoramic view of the city.

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Mount Vernon Estate

Mount Vernon
Rachel Cooper

Mount Vernon,  the former home of George Washington is a beautiful 500-acre estate with a prime location along the shores of the Potomac River and spectacular scenic views of the Washington, DC area.

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Arlington House (Arlington National Cemetery)

Arlington House
Rachel Cooper

Arlington House sits atop a hill, providing one of the best views of Washington, DC. The home of Robert E. Lee and his family is preserved as a memorial to this important historic figure who helped restore America after the Civil War. About 200 acres of the land that occupies Arlington National Cemetery was originally the property of the Lee family. 

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POV at the W Hotel

POV at the W Hotel
W Hotel

The W Washington’s rooftop bar and terrace is one of the area’s most popular destinations, hosting top celebrities, politicos and socialites, providing unsurpassed views of the nation’s capital.

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Iwo Jima Memorial

Iwo Jima Memorial
Rachel Cooper

The U. S. Marine Corps War Memorial depicts the scene of the flag raising by five Marines and a Navy hospital corpsman that signaled the event that led to the end of World War II. The memorial, located in Rosslyn, Virginia, has a wonderful view of Washington, DC and is a popular site to view the fireworks on the 4th of July.

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The Capital Wheel

Capital Wheel at sunset
Rachel Cooper

The Capital Wheel at National Harbor soars 180 feet above the Potomac River waterfront providing spectacular views of the Washington DC area including visibility of the White House and the U.S. Capitol Building, the National Mall, Arlington National Cemetery and parklands throughout the region.

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Washington National Cathedral

National Cathedral

 The National Cathedral is an impressive structure, English Gothic in style, with exquisite architectural sculpture, wood carving, gargoyles, mosaics, and more than 200 stained glass windows. The top of the Gloria in Excelsis Tower, the highest point in Washington, DC offers dramatic views of the city.