It’s no secret that Washington, DC is an incredible place to explore, filled with monuments, museums and lots of history. However, Washington DC is also a treasure trove for creative and beautiful photos. From lush gardens, amazing wall art, colorful buildings and beautiful waterfronts, I’m often asked about the most “Instagrammable” locations in DC. Whether you’re looking to step up your DC Instagram game or just want some travel inspo, here’s my take on all the best photo spots in Washington, DC.
For my complete Washington, D.C. Travel Guide, click here.
If you can only take photos in one place in DC, Georgetown has got you covered! Between the beautiful homes, murals, adorable shops and stunning waterfront, your options for photos are nearly endless. Check out my entire post (including more detailed photo recommendations) on Georgetown here.
2. City Center DC
Ask anyone who knows me and I come here way too much. This is truly one of my favorite little spots in the city and the alleyway is re-decorated for each season so you can take fresh photos here at different times of the year. Be sure to check out the boujee shops and ice cream (Dolcezza or MilkBar) while you’re in the area snagging some photos.
3. Union Market
I’m a huge fan of Union Market, but not only for the incredible vibe and vendors, but also for the photo opportunities. Make sure you walk around the back of the building and catch some of the incredible wall art! The opportunities are endless! Check on my blog post here on all the best of Union Market.
4. National Portrait Gallery
Take a stroll through the National Portrait gallery. From beautiful works of art to the incredible outdoor space, this is one of the most picturesque museums in DC. The outdoor courtyard has this beautiful ceiling with lots of plants and places to sit and read or chat with a friend. Inside, there are plenty of spacious hallways and beautiful rooms for taking photos.
5. National Gallery of Art
This is another spectacular museum with marble floors, high ceilings, and lots of beautiful rooms. The main atrium has a massive water fountain, but you could take photos just about anywhere and I don’t think you’d be disappointed. Also, make sure to check out the LED tunnel that connects the east and west sides of the museum – it’s a great hidden photo spot!
6. Dumbarton Oaks
This historic estate is a stunning place to take a peaceful stroll and snap some photos while you’re at it. It almost feels like you’ve stepped out of Washington DC and into some beautiful European garden in France or Italy. Entry costs $10 ($5 with a student ID), but is 100% worth it – especially in the spring when everything is vibrant and blooming! Make sure you look up the hours beforehand as they tend to open late/close early!
8. The Library of Congress
The Library of Congress is, in my opinion, one of the most stunning buildings in DC. Not only is it the largest library in the world, but the inside is breathtaking and a perfect spot for some fantastic photos.
8. Union Station
Located right off the National Mall, Union Station is a fantastic place to snap a wide variety of photos. From the endless archways outside to the winding staircases and atrium inside, this is definitely a favorite!
9. Enid A. Haupt Garden
These gardens behind the Smithsonian “castle” are some of the most beautiful gardens in DC. Located right off the National Mall, there are lots of little pathways that go between flowers and ponds and little benches. Take a relaxing little stroll and snap some photos while you’re out there.
10. Crystal City
This was an unexpected photo location for me, but once I discovered all of the colorful walls, interesting buildings and streets, Crystal City has become one of my go-to’s for photos.
11. The Wharf
Not only is The Wharf (in my opinion) the best waterfront in DC, it also has some beautiful locations and upscale restaurants and bars to reward yourself after snapping some photos. I especially love the docks, cozy fires and abundance of string lights everywhere!
11. Old Town Alexandria
I LOVE Old Town Alexandria and rarely seem to make it down there. While it is definitely a bit out of the way, it is no less beautiful. From waterfront views, docks and a plethora of delicious ice cream shops, you really can’t go wrong. Stop for some shopping, great food and shots of the beautiful waterfront in the background.
12. The U.S. Botanic Garden
If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably seen like a BILLION photos of me in the Botanic Gardens. I LOVE this place – they also change some of the plants depending on the season, so I’m able to get new looks there every few months. The garden itself is broken into different sections depending on the type of plants, but there are also beautiful main areas with water, bridges, etc. I think my favorite spot here is the desert section with all of the succulents and cacti! Be ready to deal with lots of crowds, but well worth hanging around and timing the perfect shot!
13. Culture House DC/Blind Whino
I decided to throw this one in as well because it truly is unlike any place I’ve ever been. This church-turned-art-gallery is painted the most psychedelic, crazy colors. Definitely check out the inside as well – they have tons of crazy rooms painted in different colors, rotating art displays, and a hot pink piano. Also, if you walk around to the left side of the building, there are some great fun walls there too!
14. Saxby’s Wave Wall
Located in Georgetown right behind Saxby’s Coffee, is a super fun blue wave wall that is great for photos. It can be a little tricky to find, but I promise it’s there!
15. The Watermelon House
I’m pretty sure this is someone’s actual house, but I would still definitely recommend checking it out to snap a fun photo. They also have a smaller kiwi wall right next to it that is equally as cute! Click here for the address.
DC is truly a mecca of creative photo opportunities – I think often people only think of the Washington Monument and the Capitol, and while these are certainly beautiful, there are SO many other amazing photo spots in Washington, DC! Definitely check my Instagram out as well to follow along with me as I continue to explore and discover new places in this wonderful city!