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Best Views in Washington, DC

Most Scenic Spots in the Nation's Capital

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Washington, DC is a beautiful city with impressive architecture and spectacular scenery. It's a photographer's mecca with hundreds of scenic sites. Here's my pick of the best views of the nation's capital.

Great Falls Park

Photo © Rachel Cooper, licensed to About.com, Inc.
The 800-acre park located along the Potomac River, is one of the most spectacular natural landmarks in the Washington DC metropolitan area. The views are breathtaking and extend for miles along the river. Visitors can hike on trails along both sides of the river in Maryland and Virginia.

Mount Vernon Estate

Photo © Mount Vernon Ladies' Association
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.

Arlington House (Arlington National Cemetery)

Photo © Rachel Cooper, licensed to About.com, Inc.
The home of Robert E. Lee and his family and 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. Arlington House sits atop a hill, providing one of the best views of Washington, DC.

POV at the W Hotel

W Hotel Washington
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.

Iwo Jima Memorial

Photo © Rachel Cooper, licensed to About.com, Inc.
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.

Netherlands Carillon

Photo © Rachel Cooper, licensed to About.com, Inc.
The bell tower sits adjacent to the Iwo Jima Memorial. The carillon plays recorded music that is programmed to play automatically by computer. During the summer months, visitors can climb the tower and see a nice view of Washington, DC.

Lincoln Memorial

Photo © Rachel Cooper, licensed to About.com, Inc.
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.

Jefferson Memorial

Photo © National Cherry Blossom Festival
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.

Washington Monument

Photo © Rachel Cooper, licensed to About.com, Inc.
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 and see a panoramic view of the city.

Washington National Cathedral

Photo © Washington 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.

George Washington Memorial Parkway

Photo © Rachel Cooper, licensed to About.com, Inc.
The George Washington Memorial Parkway, locally known as the GW Parkway, runs along the Potomac River providing a gateway to the nation's capital. The scenic road connects Washington DC attractions and historic sites stretching from Great Falls Park to George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate. The Scenic Overlook provides a nice view of the Potomac River and the city.
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