21 Things to Do in D.C. if You’re Under 21

January 24, 2018 The Washington Center

21 Things to Do in D.C. if You’re Under 21

For some, Washington, D.C. can be a city centered around post-work happy hours, receptions and boozy brunches, but what if you are under 21 years old? No problem!

There are still plenty of ways to fill your nights after work, give you perfect places to network or add to your weekend schedules. So, we compiled a list of 21 things to do for you if you’re under 21.

  1. Brunch - in Washington everybody loves brunch. Here are some of our favorite spots: Le DiplomateTed’s Bulletinthe Front PageBusboys and PoetsFounding FarmersBethesda BagelsAlta Strada, and many more.
  2. Take a tour of the Capitol and the Supreme Court – you can contact your local Congressman or Senator’s office and they will arrange a private tour for you and will give you tickets to the Senate and/or House galleries where you’ll be able to observe the legislative process in action.

  3. Tour the White House - if you’re lucky, your Member of Congress can provide you with tickets to a White House tour. Also, on certain holidays such as Christmas or Easter, the White House opens up its lawns to the general public. Be on the lookout for those events by visiting the National Park’s website.

  4. Visit the Renwick Gallery - there are stunning pieces of art there.

  5. Check out the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden - fun fact: they just opened up a Dolcezza inside, a local gelato and coffee shop!

  6. Jazz in the Garden or Ice Skating at the Sculpture Garden- Jazz in the Garden is usually between early May and late August. Grab your friends, a picnic blanket, some food and non-alcoholic drinks (or buy it at the garden), and enjoy some beautiful music on a Friday afternoon. Ice Skating is usually between November and February. The ice rink is open every day and you can buy food and drinks from the cafe. 

  7. Explore the Smithsonian's museums for free, and there are many of them - the Sackler Gallery, Freer Gallery of Art, National Air and Space Museum, National Museum of African American History and Culture, National Museum of American History, National Museum of Natural History, the Portrait Gallery, the list goes on and on.

  8. Walk Embassy Row - yes, there is an actual very long street in Washington, D.C. that is home to most of the embassies and consulates. The architecture is beautiful! The best part? There are guided tours!

  9. Explore the National Mall - aside from the Washington Monument, World War II Memorial and Lincoln Memorial, make sure you check out the Korean Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial and Thomas Jefferson Memorial since they’re off to the side of the National Mall.

  10. Indulge yourself at City Center - see the constantly changing street exhibit that stretches between the two large buildings, pop into some of the shops and boutiques, and grab some yummy food.

  11. Spend a day in Georgetown - no, not the university, although you can visit it at the top of the hill. The Georgetown neighborhood is home to hundreds of small shops, bakeries, restaurants, galleries, stores and the historic Georgetown canal.

  12. The Waterfronts - the Georgetown Waterfront and the Wharf Waterfront are the city’s two hottest locations on any weekend, rain or shine!

  13. Visit the D.C. Zoo - seriously, who doesn’t love cute pandas or ZooLights?

  14. Take a trip to Mt. Vernon - grab some friends and take a day trip to Mt. Vernon, the home of George Washington. Tip: the view from the backyard porch is to die for!

  15. See how money is made - you can take a 40-minute free tour at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and watch how money is made.

  16. Sit on top of the city - not literally, of course, but you can make a reservation to go to the top of the Washington Monument and get 365-degree views of the city. (Note: you have to make these reservations far in advance!)

  17. Travel back in time at the Anderson House - attend an event, tour or book signing at this historic building and experience the luxury of the early nineteenth century.

  18. Explore Eastern Market and Union Market - rival of the markets: which one has the best local food and local products? You decide! 

  19. Head to the Washington National Cathedral - visits are free to the beautiful cathedral on Sundays, but do require you to book tours Mondays through Saturdays. Make sure you take a photo from the tallest tower.

  20. Catch a performance at the Kennedy Center - although most shows are not free, some are very affordable. And, every night at 6pm, the Millennium Stage offers a free show!

  21. Pause at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier - no Washington, D.C. trip should be complete without a visit to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Arlington National Cemetery.

About the Author

The Washington Center

The Washington Center is the largest and most established student internship program in Washington, D.C. Since our founding, we've helped more than 60,000 individuals from across the U.S. and around the globe expand their academic pursuits into rewarding jobs and careers. We use our scale and expertise to deliver solutions that open career pathways for learners, solve recruitment challenges for employers, while helping create greater access, equity, advancement and representation.

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