Best Photo Spots In Washington, DC

Washington is one of the most iconic cities in America thanks to being the capital as well as being rich with a wealth of American history. 

Best Photo Spots In Washington, DC

As is expected from the capital of the United States, there are plenty of photo opportunities to be had in Washington DC, so much so that it can be a little overwhelming to know exactly where to go to take the most memorable photos, particularly if you are only in the city for a limited time.

That’s where we come in, as we are going to be looking at ten of the best photo spots in particular that you will want to check out for some incredible photos that are sure to create memories that will last a lifetime. 

These locations will include memorials, monuments and simple, beautiful scenic areas that are sure to make for fabulous photographs. Let’s get started. 

1. The White House

You just can’t visit Washington, DC without snapping a picture of The White House, one of the most well known and iconic buildings in the entire world. 

The official workplace and resident of the President of the United States, The White House has housed every single president to date, with the exception of one man: George Washington.

The only reason that Washington did not take residence in The White House is because it was not completed in time, making him a rare exception. 

Brimming with American politics and history, a picture at The White House is a must for budding photographers visiting DC. 

2. Lincoln Memorial

The Lincoln Memorial is another historical monument that demands a photo if you find yourself in Washington. 

Built to commemorate the sixteenth President of the United States- Abraham Lincoln-, the memorial can be found on the western end of the National Mall in the city and has a design that utilizes the neoclassical style of architecture, making it a must for architecture buffs as well. 

The huge statue of Lincoln himself is as imposing as it is impressive, which has always lent itself to tourism in Washington.

The memorial also became something of a symbolic center in regard to race relations since the 1930s due to Lincoln’s leading role in the creation of the Emancipation Proclamation.  

3. Washington Monument

Located conveniently across the way from the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument is known for its distinctive design, shaped like an obelisk. 

As the name suggests, this monument was built to commemorate George Washington, one of the most important figures in American history.

Washington was not only the very first President of the United States, but he was also the commander in chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War.

The monument is an eye catching one due to its height and minimalist design, with it being the tallest monumental column in the entire world when measured from above the pedestrian entrances. 

It is also the world’s tallest structure made predominantly from stone- made of granite, marble and blue stone gneiss-, and the tallest obelisk in the world thanks to measuring at an impressive 554 feet tall. 

4. Smithsonian Gardens

A division of the Smithsonian Institution, the Smithsonian Gardens are a must when it comes to taking some beautiful nature snaps whilst in Washington. 

The gardens are responsible for maintaining the interiorscapes, landscapes, and horticultural related exhibits and collections of the infamous Smithsonian Museums and learning spaces.

The Smithsonian Gardens manages a wide range of landscapes and gardens to be found near their museums in the National Mall, such as the Enid A Haupt rooftop garden, the Freer Gallery of Art Courtyard and the National Air and Space Museum Landscape. 

The beauty to be found in the gardens makes for plenty of Instagrammable content. 

5. The United States Capitol Building

Another iconic and historic building that demands a photo is the United States Capitol Building. This building is a beautiful structure, with an impressive dome on the top that gives it an iconic look. 

The Capitol Building is a political one, acting as the seat of the US federal government’s legislative branch (known more commonly as congress). 

As well as being one of the most prominent buildings in American politics, the Capitol Building is another with a design that is sure to make for some stunning pictures for architecture enthusiasts. 

6. Friendship Archway

Whilst most of the monuments, buildings and memorials that we have discussed so far are all deeply rooted in American history, this next great photo spot in Washington is much more multicultural!

The Friendship Archway is a Chinese paifang, which is a traditional Chinese style of architectural gateway or arch. This particular archway can be found in Chinatown and is one of the largest to be found outside of China. 

Not only is the archway a beautiful piece of Chinese architecture, it is also a symbol of camaraderie- as the name suggests- as it was built to celebrate the friendship between Washington DC and its Chinese sister city of Beijing. 

The Friendship Archway is a must when it comes to prime photo opportunities in Washington, thanks to its beautiful design filled with rich Chinese history. 

7. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial

Found in West Potomac Park next to the National Mall, the Martin Luther King memorial is a hugely important landmark, depicting the infamous and prominent Civil Rights Movement Leader, Martin Luther King Jr. 

The statue has a striking design, made out of granite and featuring King Jr’s figure emerging from the stone. 

A line from his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech- “Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope”- acts as the inspiration for this statue. 

It is also the most recent memorial that we have discussed this far, being opened in August 2011 after two decades of extensive fund-raising planning and construction. 

For a photo opportunity that will mean more than just a pretty picture, the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial is sure to be a pleasing choice. 

8. Thomas Jefferson Memorial


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The Thomas Jefferson Memorial is another iconic one that demands some photos when you’re in Washington. 

Thomas Jefferson was another important figure in American history, acting as the nation’s third president as well as the central intellectual force behind the American Revolution, the principal author of the Declaration of Independence and a prominent figure of the Democratic Republic Party. 

The neoclassical style of the statue is made unique by the bronze coloring, making for a statue that is sure to make for an impressive photograph. 

9. Tidal Basin

A popular spot for photographs, the Tidal Basin is a man made reservoir in Washington that is the main focus of the National Cherry Blossom Festival that occurs every year in the springtime. 

The gorgeous blooming cherry blossoms make for some perfect photo opportunities, whilst the Japanese Lantern area of the basin offers stunning views over the water, where you will have the chance to take a long distance shot of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial on the north side and the Washington Monument on the west side. 

10. Arlington Memorial Bridge

One of the best views to be found in DC is of the Arlington Memorial Bridge, which was built back in 1932 after being proposed in 1886. The bridge was not built for many decades due to various political quarrels, such as whether the bridge should be a memorial. 

The Arlington Memorial Bridge is another structure in Washington with a Neoclassical architectural design, being a steel, masonry and stone arch bridge. The bridge also has a central bascule, as it is a drawbridge. 

You can get some stunning pictures of the bridge at nighttime when the lights illuminate the structure and reflect off of the water below.

Some particularly great areas to take your picture from include the Mount Vernon trail, which is just to the side of the bridge.

From there, you can see the entirety of the bridge as well as the Washington Monument, which is sure to make for a picturesque photograph that will bring you plenty of fabulous memories of your Washington trip for the years to come. 

Final Thoughts

So there you have ten noteworthy photo spots to be found in Washington, DC (Also check out Best Photo Spots In Portland, Oregon)!

Whether you are looking to snap a picture that is brimming with American history, or you just want a picture that captures the scenic beauty to be found in the city, you are sure to find the perfect photo opportunity to suit you best from these particular choices.

Claudia Torres