Best Activities for a Rainy Day in Washington DC

THE 10 BEST Indoor Things to Do in Washington DC on a Rainy Day

Best Activities for a Rainy Day in Washington DC

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  • Things to do ranked using Tripadvisor data including reviews, ratings, photos, and popularity.
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What travelers are saying

  • Jay
    Phoenix, AZ155 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    I visited the National Air and Space Museum with a friend and enjoyed my visit. The exhibits are cool and they have a handful of interactive ones with good information. I'm not personally that interested in aeronautics but I think it was still a good museum overall.
    Written May 8, 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Diana L
    Omaha, NE135 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    This was a very fun museum if you like all things Science. It's a little chaotic so bring patience. There is lots and lots to see. I would dedicate a few hours for this museum. It also had a great cafe, good sandwiches if you need a lunch break.
    Written May 20, 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Jay
    Phoenix, AZ155 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    The Library of Congress offers a close look at some historical and rare books. You are able to get a free Library of Congress library card if you wait in line and have photo ID. It's a cool walk around, but honestly you don't need to spend a lot of time here. I would rate this a high 4, I just think that it can be a bit difficult to navigate. I'm not sure I would visit again, but I did enjoy it.
    Written May 8, 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Diana L
    Omaha, NE135 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Art isn't something I know a lot about, so I always like listening in when the workers/volunteers are talking about paintings. Very nice that they had a coat/bag check, so I didn't have to carry around all my gear. It was a last-minute stop during my day, and it was lovely just walking around looking at art.
    Written May 20, 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Olhol94
    53 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    This was a very impactful museum, I could of easily spent hours and hours from start to finish if I didn’t have a tight schedule.

    Full of interesting information and history, parts can be quite emotional, 100% worth visiting if you get the chance to.

    Considering it’s free as well is a bonus.
    Written May 11, 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Magdalena S
    Nottinghamshire, UK94 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Love this place and the tour. For a free tour (booked direct on their website). The building itself is magnificent, out tour guide was fantastic, we learned so much. Everything is very organised and people around you are very helpful.
    Just one comment to keep in mind when visiting, you can not bring any drinks or food inside, so make sure you don't have any in your bag as it will be taken away.
    Written May 8, 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Diana L
    Omaha, NE135 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Hands down my favorite museum I went to on my trip. Shout it out loud that this is a museum you need a full day for. Or at least don't make any hard fast plans the day you do this museum. I went for 5 hours and I didn't even make it to all the levels. That being said it is so well put together, so informative I will suggest this museum over and over to anyone who will listen. You do need timed tickets though so make sure you reserve those (it's free just need to make a reservation). The layout is easy to follow. Lots of places to sit down if needed. GREAT cafe if you're hungry. The gift shop is ok, lots of book options.
    Written May 20, 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Diana L
    Omaha, NE135 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    This is a great tour. You start in the basement level and there are lots of reading materials and objects to look at that explain what happened up to the assassination of President Lincoln. Then you go into the theater itself (it's still a working theater). I would sit in the upper level on the opposite side of Presidential booth so you can have a good view of it for photos. A national park guide will then come on stage and tell you the whole story of what happened that day as well. He was a great storyteller too.
    Written May 20, 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Diana L
    Omaha, NE135 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    This was a lot more fun than I thought it would be. Getting to see all the famous portraits of people all throughout history. I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would.
    Written May 20, 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • gefilte63
    Beachwood, OH710 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    There is really something here for almost everyone.
    There are sections that deal with military history, popular culture, presidents, diversity, etc.
    Lots of famous things to see like Dorothy's ruby slippers, the inaugural dresses of the first ladies, and even a stuffed pigeon that saved the "Lost Battalion" in WWI.
    Lots of staff around, although they do not always know the answers to questions about the museum.
    We spent a few hours and could only see a portion of the collection.
    Written May 22, 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • LilC
    Navarre, FL100 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    We have visited Washington many times in the past, but never knew about the Botanic Garden until this visit. Beautiful displays as well as educational exhibits throughout.
    Written May 5, 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • ElaineAndGreg
    Chesterland, OH2,973 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    The Washington National Cathedral is something like the sixth largest in the world and its tower purports to be the tallest spot in Washington DC. We've visited cathedrals in many different countries. This is certainly worth a visit, but the experience also suffers from some weaknesses.

    The cathedral was built just after the turn of the last century, so it is a little over 100 years old. Although technically part of the Episcopal Church, it seeks to appeal to individuals of all faiths. As the name suggests, it also tries to place itself as the nation's cathedral, kind of an American Westminster Abbey.

    There is a $15 fee to enter as it does not receive federal funding and it has significant upkeep costs. Parking can be a little tight in the area, but they built a large and convenient underground parking garage that we would recommend if you can't find parking on the street.

    They give you a map that is fairly helpful, but we wished for a little more in terms of detail and signage generally. For what it's worth, the high points for us were:

    -The Nave (that's the main church area). There is mostly modern stained glass here, but it's magnificent if you stand in front of the altar and look towards the back of the church and up. There is a large rosette window and the sides are lined with flags of the 50 states. It's very impressive.

    -About half way up, the "space" window was installed five years after the successful Apollo 11 moon mission and actually has moon rocks built into it.

    -The tomb of President Woodrow Wilson is on the first floor.

    There is a somewhat controversial pair of windows towards the center. In 2017, the cathedral removed windows installed in the 1950s commemorating Robert E. Lee and Thomas ("Stonewall") Jackson and replaced them with what they call "now and forever" windows, which more or less commemorate the civil rights movement. Whether you like them or not is a matter of your taste.

    -There is a memorial to Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan in the crypt in the basement. It is not well marked, but is on a pillar in the St. Joseph of Arimathea Chapel. Note that it has the memorial both in written text and in Braille.

    -It isn't listed as an attraction, but the Garth is on the map behind the cathedral, about 100 yards from the visitor entrance. You'll want to visit it. It has pillars with Native-American-themed carvings at the top and images such as cats with birds. You see a fair number of wedding/engagement photos taken in this area.

    -The Darth Vader chimera is toward the top of one of the towers. It's very hard to see without binoculars or a strong telephoto lens.

    If you are looking for a break, there is an Open City restaurant in the chapter house only about 100 feet from the Cathedral itself. The food is good and the ambience is casual.

    Enjoy your visit!
    Written May 19, 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • LisandroVoyager
    Washington DC, DC768 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Fancy afternoon tea service nicely presented and smoothly served for our monthly luncheon club for seniors. Sandwiches, scones and sweets were delicious and there was a good choice of teas presented to each of us. The service was unhurried and attentive.
    Written April 30, 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Zee S
    Naples, FL69 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    The only disappointment was not enough cool gaggets for the kids. Overall great experience. Friendly staff and will truly test your memory. Pay attention to everything!
    Written April 14, 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Penny A
    Chapel Hill, NC11 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    This is a 'must see' building, equal to any cathedral in Europe. There are 2 well-stocked gift shops as well as a cafeteria. I counted over 40 Christmas trees before I stopped counting. There is the most-beautiful mosaic art throughout the Basilica, the chapels and the ceiling. Each individual shrine is well-documented in 2 languages, and fascinating. The crypt-area is as large as the main church and there was a service being held in it as well. It was uncrowded and there were guided tours available for free. The people working in the Basilica were helpful and very friendly. if you are interested in art and/or architecture, or seeing the building for its religious significance, I highly recommend a visit. I was there for hours.
    Written January 1, 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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