Washington D.C. is filled with beautiful places to photograph. You can easily get to them.  Because the city is relatively small. In this guide, we’re going to tell you 19 beautiful places to take a photo in Washington D.C.

1. Jefferson Memorial

19 Beautiful places to take a photo in Washington D.C.

The Jefferson Memorial which sits near the Tidal Basin is one of the most beautiful places to take a photo in Washington D.C. It makes beautiful scenery year-round. But when the cherry blossoms bloom, it makes even better views. But it is only for a brief period in spring. If you visit at sunrise, you can catch a reflection of the almost pink-filtered lighting as in the above picture.

2. U.S. Capitol

19 Beautiful places to take a photo in Washington D.C.

The US Capitol building is one of the most beautiful places to take a photo in Washington D.C. It doesn’t matter whether you visit there day or night. It looks gorgeous. The dome is based on St. Peter’s in Rome and the marble edifice is a symbol of American Democracy. If you have time, visit the inside and take a look at the paintings of famous scenes from American history.

3. The White House

19 Beautiful places to take a photo in Washington D.C.

Every U.S president except George Washington has lived in this beautiful mansion called The White House.  If you wanna see the inside of the building, you need to arrange a tour through your Congressional office or embassy. But you can see this iconic building from behind the fence outside and take a photo.

4. Washington Monument

Washington Monument

The Washington Monument is especially beautiful at sunset or sunrise and it makes a beautiful view to take a photo. The base of the monument is ringed by 50 American flags unit located at one end of the National Mall.

5. Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln Memorial

The Lincoln Memorial is one of the best attractive places in Washington D.C. It makes a beautiful background to take a photo of as well. The 36 columns that surround the 19-foot-tall statue of President Abraham Lincoln symbolize the states that existed at the time of his death.

6. Reflecting Pool

Reflecting Pool

The Washington Monument mirrored in the Reflecting Pool is one of the most iconic photos in Washington D.C. You can go to the  Lincoln Memorial’s steps at the Reflecting Pool’s opposite end to take the best photo. If you visit at sunrise, you can take a photo with beautiful colors and no crowds.

7. Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

In this photo, a person looks for a name at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at sunrise. The memorial is a long wall and the names of all American soldiers who lost their lives or went missing during the Vietnam War have written on it. One of Washington, DC’s most popular memorials and one of the most beautiful spots for photos is the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

8. WWII Memorial

WWII Memorial

The World War II Memorial which is located on 17th Street between Constitution and Independence Avenues was constructed on the National Mall in 2004. It is one of the newer memorials on the National mall. It honors the 16 million servicemen and women who fought in WWII. 400,000 soldiers who died during the World War are included. The Memorial honors all the civilians who supported the war effort from home as well.

9. National Gallery of Art

National Gallery of Art

The National Gallery of Art is home to many American and European masterpieces. Check out the underground moving walkway connecting the East and West buildings while you’re in the museum

10. National Cathedral

National Cathedral

The Washington National Cathedral is one of the largest cathedrals in the world.  It has taken 83 years (from 1907 to 1990) to construct this English-style, Neo-Gothic building. If you visit there, you can see hand-embroidered kneelers and beautiful stained-glass windows which makes this building one of the most beautiful places to take a photo in Washington D.C.

11. C&O Canal  Park

C&O Canal  Park

The Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historic Park is one of the most beautiful places to take a photo in Washington D.C. It has a towpath that runs parallel to the Potomac River. It is a great spot to go for a run, walk, or bike ride. This canal starts in Georgetown and runs for 184 miles north of Cumberland, Maryland. 

12. Georgetown


The Georgetown historic district sits right on the Potomac River. It is filled with beautiful row houses dating back to the early 1700s. This historic neighborhood is anchored by Key Bridge and Georgetown University. You can see both of them in the above photo. If you visit there, don’t forget to experience its boutique shopping and great dining options.

13. Dupont Circle

Dupont Circle

Dupont Circle which is centered by the traffic circle of the same name is one of the beautiful places to take a photo in Washington D.C. You can see many residential row houses like the ones pictured above in this area. Not only that, you can find plenty of shops, restaurants, embassies, and hotels as well.

14. Smithsonian Castle

Smithsonian Castle

The distinct red sandstone Smithsonian Castle is located right on the National Mall.  The castle is a National Historic Landmark and it is home to the Smithsonian Institution’s administrative offices and visitors’ center.  It was designed by the architect James Renwick Jr. He also designed the St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City.

15. Union Station

Union Station

The Union Station is one of the most beautiful places to take a photo in Washington D.C. It is a working train station and its interior architecture makes this place amazing. The most stunning thing here is the massive arched ceiling of the great entrance hall.

16. Smithsonian’s National Zoo

Smithsonian's National Zoo

The Smithsonian’s National Zoo is a part of the Smithsonian Institution. This 163-acre zoo is one of the most beautiful places to take a photo in Washington D.C. You can take photos of all kinds of animals living here. Many of them live in simulated versions of their real natural environment. 

17. National Space Museum

National Air and Space Museum

Another entity within the Smithsonian Institution is the National Air and Space Museum. It is also on the National Mall. Like all other Smithsonian institutions, the museum is free. It has a great collection of planes and spacecraft from the Wright Brothers’ planes to modern fighter jets. You can take beautiful photographs of planes and spacecraft.

18. Hirshhorn Museum

Hirshhorn Museum

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden is one of the most beautiful places to take a photo in Washington D.C. The museum is housed in an amazing round building. If you visit there, you can take photographs of sculptural masterpieces by Auguste Rodin, Henry Moore, and others. The museum also has an amazing collection of artwork done in various media. The museum offers free admission to visit there.

19. Kennedy Center

Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

The Kennedy Center Honors gala and television program are held each year at the John F. Kennedy Center. It is one of the most beautiful places to take a photo in Washington D.C. Because it makes a great photo subject, with its 1970s architecture. The building is located right on the Potomac River. You can take a tour to see the interior. The Kennedy Center has a large rooftop terrace and it offers an amazing view of the surrounding area of Virginia and the city.

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Frequently Asked Questions 

In Washington, where is the best location for street photography?

International Square. When photographing in Washington, DC, you must check out this place. It’s ideal if you’re seeking for a place that is not crowded with tourists. I advise you to take a stroll in a 2- to 3-block radius surrounding International Square to find the rhythm and the atmosphere that most suit to you.

Where in Washington, DC, are photos prohibited?

Supreme Court. You are   welcome to take private pictures of the public areas while you are at the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. Unfortunately, Federal Rule 53 forbids taking pictures within the courtroom, which is probably why you came to the Supreme Court in the first place.

Can I snap pictures of the White House?

Inside the White House, cellphones and small still cameras with a lens no longer than 3 inches are permitted. Photography is allowed, but it must not get in the way of other tourists’ enjoyment.

Do museums in Washington, DC, allow photography?

While most of the museum is open to personal photography, there are several clearly identified exhibits and designated places where it is not allowed.

Can I use a Smithsonian photo without their approval?

No. To reproduce or utilize photos, you must make a separate permissions request. There is an additional charge for the second usage, for instance, if you intend to use one of our photographs both in an exhibition and the printed catalog.

About Author

Meet Jane Madison, a wordsmith currently crafting narratives for Creativeoutrank LLC and their websites. Jane 's passion lies in the art of travel writing, where each word becomes a brushstroke on the canvas of her adventures.

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