The Best Places to Take Pictures in DC

What are the best places to take pictures in Washington, DC? While most people flock to the National Mall, there are a lot of spots to discover past this area that are photo-worthy. Neighborhoods around DC all have a different vibe, and you’ll find cool street art, historic buildings, funky cafes, and more that are all a perfect places to take pictures in DC.

I’ve spent so much time exploring the District (I’ve got tons of posts about DC if you want to know more), and I finally feel like I’m ready to share my favorite photo spots.

PS For exact locations, click on the Instagram post. They’re all linked directly to spots on the list! Happy snapping at the best places to take pictures in DC!

1. 1. Union Market

Union Market has great photo opps inside and out. There are murals all around the building, the fun sign on the front is excellent, and there’s even cute spots inside to snap a pic while enjoying your food!

2. Glen Echo National Park

Glen Echo Park began in 1891 as a National Chautauqua Assembly “to promote liberal and practical education.” By 1911, it transformed into DC’s premier amusement park until it closed in 1968. Since 1971, the National Park Service has owned and operated the site and today, with the help of the Glen Echo Park Partnership for Arts and Culture, offers year-round cultural and recreational activities.

3. National Mall

Okay, I know I know, I said beyond the National Mall, but honestly, the photo opportunities are endless! So it has to be included. I recommend sunset most.

4. Magnolia Bakery/Sisters Thai

In North Old Town Alexandria, you’ll find the cutest cafe and restaurant called Sisters Thai. The food is great, but the pictures are cute too. Even though outside DC, this is an easy spot right outside the city to get to and take cute photos!

5. Capitol Hill (the actual hill on the side!)

On the south side of the Capitol Lawn is a great space for taking photos. The trees are beautiful there year-round (and at Christmas, the tree is up!).

6. Logan Circle

This is a beautiful neighborhood with a park in the center, perfect for taking an outdoor photo!

7. Blagden Alley – definitely a hidden gem in DC

Blagden Alley is located near Logan Circle and Mt. Vernon Square. It’s home to cute bars, cafes, and murals.

8. Smithsonian American Art Museum (Modern Art Wing)

This is an iconic piece of art that makes the perfect background for photos. Same location as the next spot on the list!

9. Portrait Gallery Atrium

Between the American Art Museum and Portrait Gallery is this stunning Atrium that makes an excellent photo op.

10. Luce Foundation Center

Inside the American Art Museum is the Luce Foundation Center. This is home to an archive full of art that is stunning! Lots of events are also hosted here since it’s such a gorgeous space.

11. Hains Point/East Potomac Park

Enjoy monument views and space along the water in this park. Great spot for an alternative view of the Washington Monument.

12. Lincoln Memorial Reflection Pool

The Lincoln Memorial is of course iconic, but try taking a photo from a different angle like this one taken over the fountain of the World War II Memorial of the Lincoln Memorial.

13. Tidal Basin

The Tidal Basin is photo-worthy year-round, but the best pictures in DC at the Tidal Basin come from cherry blossoms season and in the fall.

14. National Arboretum

The original Capitol columns are found at the National Arboretum and make a great spot to hang out, take a walk, and snap a photo!

15. Hirshhorn Museum

This modern art museum found on the National Mall is full of great art pieces and spaces for photos.

16. Union Station

Union Station is great for pictures both inside and out! The curves and columns make a great backdrop.

17. The Wharf

The Wharf has so many great spots for a photo. Go out on the pier for a picture of the harbor or check out a rooftop with a view. Two of my favorites are La Vie and Whiskey Charlie.

18. Meridian Hill/Malcolm, X Park

Meridian Hill/Malcolm X Park has a thirteen basin cascading fountain is one of the longest in North America. Below the cascading fountain is a reflecting pool. Beautiful on a sunny day!

19. Georgetown Neighborhood

You could pick almost any street in Georgetown, take a picture, and it’d turn out pretty! This neighborhood is famous for its beautiful homes and does not disappoint.

20. Watermelon House (Logan Circle area)

This mural is colorful, fun, and easily found near Logan Circle at 1112 Q St NW, Washington, DC 20009.

21. Washington Wall (U Street)

This mural is beautiful and located right across the street from Howard Theater. There are events and food trucks set up in front of this mural from time to time, but if you catch it at the right time, it’s a great spot for pictures in DC.

22. National Cathedral

Hours vary day-to-day to accommodate the wide range of activities and ministries offered at the Cathedral. It is beautiful inside and out.

23. City Center

City Center has a great promenade in the middle that is perfect for a picture! They change their theme every season, so you can always find something different there.

24. Moxy Hotel

The Moxy Hotel DC has a fun lobby that’s open to the public to hang out in, visit their bar or cafe, and maybe snap a picture or two.

25. Capitol Hill Books

Located in Eastern Market, Captiol Hill Books is a funky book store with shelves and shelves of awesome nooks and crannies to check out.

26. Eastern Market

Eastern Market is open daily from 8-5 but on Saturdays and Sundays, there are vendors outside the market as well making it a fun place to explore and snap pictures.

27. Renwick Gallery

Renwick Gallery’s high ceilings and modern art exhibits make it a great spot to take pictures.

28. Moongate Garden at the Smithsonian Castle

Especially beautiful in the spring, this garden next to the Smithsonian Castle is perfect for a picture.

29. National Building Museum

The columns and views inside the National Building Museum make it a great spot for pictures. They have rotating exhibits throughout the center of the museum.

30. Pennsylvania Ave. Bike Lane

Did you know there’s a bike lane all the way through the National Mall? The Capitol can be seen behind (or in front) of you as you ride your bike. Stop at a light and snap a picture with the Captiol behind you!

31. Columbia Heights

This neighborhood located in NW DC, Columbia Heights is great for a walk to find pretty homes to snap a picture.

32. Old Town Alexandria

I’ve taken so many cute pictures around Old Town which is technically just outside DC, but I’d highly recommend it if you’re looking for some cute photo spots!

33 . Gravelly Point

Last on the list is Gravelly Point. Walkable from the National Mall (although a long walk!), this park is just north of DCA airport and a great spot to snap a picture as the planes fly in overhead.

Uncover the top photo spots in Washington, DC. From funky cafes to historic landmarks, there's no shortage of picturesque locations to capture and share.
Uncover the top photo spots in Washington, DC. From funky cafes to historic landmarks, there’s no shortage of picturesque locations to capture and share.

Even if you’re just on a day trip to DC, these photo spots are worth it. If you decide to check out any of these spots let me know on Instagram! I would love to see people sharing more of the best places to take pictures in DC.


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