The Best Time To Go Sightseeing in Washington, DC Is At Night

The back lawn of the White House faces south. That means the front faces north and if you want a photo in front of the President’s palace, you’re going to have the sun facing in your lens. That’s not a big deal if you’re a good photographer, or if it’s a cloudy day, but most of the time it’s tough to take a picture of the White House in the sunshine.

And then there’s the crowds. Every pic you try to take of yourself in front of the White House will have some random people standing in behind you.

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So go at night.

Nighttime is the best time to see the major monuments in Washington DC because they are all bathed in simple white light. They glow. And the people are totally hidden in the shadows.

The White House

The White House

When you go and see the Washington DC monuments at night, you end up with magical photos like these:

Eisenhower building next door to the White House

Eisenhower building next door to the White House

Steps of the Lincoln Memorial where MLK gave his famous speech

Steps of the Lincoln Memorial where MLK gave his famous speech

Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln

Lincoln

Washington Monument from the WWII Memorial

Washington Monument from the WWII Memorial

Reflecting pool towards Washington Monument as seen from Lincoln Memorial

Reflecting pool towards Washington Monument as seen from Lincoln Memorial

Here’s another look at that last one in the daytime

monument day

I mean, sure, you’re likely to go and visit the monuments in Washington DC during the daytime as well, but you need to make special mention of going at night.

I was staying at the Mandarin Oriental, just steps south of the Mall, and one evening we went on a long walk to the White House, past the Washington Monument, and off to the Lincoln Memorial. It was after 9pm on a Thursday night in February and there were dozens of runners out, and people taking pictures at each location.

The monuments are not gated, and open 24 hours a day, so no matter the time you can get up close with Lincoln, Jefferson, Roosevelt, et al.

If you’re heading to Washington DC for a visit, take the daytime to visit all the museums along the Mall, have yourself a nice dinner, and then go for a long walk after dark and see everything lit up in white. It’s absolutely beautiful.

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