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Washington DC glows at night.  After the sun sets, DC is transformed into a completely different city – one where grand, beautiful, and often imposing buildings and monuments are lit from head to toe, often silhouetted against each other from a distance. Washington DC walking tour

Many companies offer tours of the city after dark. From “Moonlight Tours” to “Sunset on the Mall Safari’s”, options for tourists and travelers are unlimited. However with all of the main attractions within walking distance of each other it’s just as easy to take a self guided tour. Walking tour washington DC

Suggested Itinerary:

Starting near the White House, which is incredibly beautiful at night, we headed south towards the Washington Monument. We then headed west to the WWII Memorial and continued west toward the Lincoln Memorial, walking past the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial along the way. Washington DC at night

From there we hit the Korean Veterans Memorial, then walked eastward down Independence Avenue towards the Martin Luther King Memorial.

Heading south along the Tidal Basin, it is then possible to walk to the Franklin Roosevelt Memorial and continue in that same direction to the Jefferson Memorial. Where to go in Washington DC at night things to do in DC

Book to stay at a hotel within walking distance from the mall and you won’t spend a single cent on transportation during your trip. We can highly recommend both the Mandarin Oriental and Kimpton’s Hotel Monaco for a fabulous stay. Book at the Mandarin Oriental for classic luxury, or Kimpton’s Hotel Monaco for luxury with a much more quirky spin. You can compare prices on DC hotels via Self guided walking tour Washington DC

The views of Washington DC at night? Spectacular.

Washington Monument

Washington Monument glows at night amid restoration in 2013.

Washington DC World War II Memorial

World War II Memorial.


Silhouetted against the Washington Monument at the WWII Memorial

The White House

The White House

The White House

American Flag over the White House

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln watches over the DC National Mall

Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln Memorial

The Washington Monument

The Washington Monument amid restoration in 2013.

World War II Memorial

World War II Memorial

Jefferson Memorial

Jefferson Memorial


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Megan is an Australian Journalist who has been travelling and blogging since 2007, with the main aim of inspiring others to embark on their own worldwide adventure. Her husband Mike is an American travel photographer, and together they have made the world their home.

Committed to bringing you the best in adventure travel from all around the globe, there is no mountain too high, and no fete too extreme! They haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on their list.

Follow their journey on Facebook, TwitterYouTube, Pinterest and Instagram.


  1. Beautiful photos. When I think of Washington DC, I think of Spring and the cherry trees. This is a pleasant surprise.

    • Thankyou Angelika! Definitely a different side to the city that I haven’t often seen in posts and photos that people bring back. But we were won over by the night scene and loved the chance to get out and snap some night photography :)

  2. Beautiful photos! I live in DC and this is one of my favorite things to do when people come to visit.

    • Thanks Kacy! Such a fabulous city to call home – I’m based in Canberra right now which is Australia’s equivalent to DC (the capitol and a parliamentary city too), but the one unique thing about your city is that everything’s nicely spaced out and you’re able to walk everywhere. I love that!

    • Is it safe to walk from place to place alone at night?

    • Hi Kaycie, we found it very safe to be walking around in DC, though do stick to the populated areas, where there are street lights, and people walking around, as opposed to exploring unknown parts of the city etc :) Have a great trip to DC!

  3. I’m from the DC area but never really took the time to explore at night. It’s not like other cities where in the main area you walk past small cafes and charming shops, but it has its own appeal. It was built to be imposing and the roads are confusing for a few reasons…but they weren’t thinking of car traffic!

    Fun trivia: There’s no J street because in that time, the I and J looked too much alike. And part of Virginia used to be DC so it was exactly 100 square miles! I heard that the District let the Virginia part fall apart, so Virginia requested (ahm demanded) it back. And now it’s a very lovely part of the state!

    I miss DC…

    • Had no idea there was no J Street – cool fact! And had no idea about Virginia having used to form part of DC – thanks for sharing these facts!

      Lol they definitely weren’t thinking about car traffic when they built the roads, I’m so glad we drove in with a GPS because even with that we were confused half the time :D Though was very glad that it’s a walkable city and we just parked the car at the hotel during our stay and walked everywhere :)

  4. I love the idea of photographing Washington at night, it has been awhile since I visited DC but this article and images really inspired me to think about such a trip in the future. There really is just something about photography at night that I love and these buildings and monuments look amazing !!

    • Thanks Ed…really glad to hear you’re inspired! Totally agree with you – there’s just something about photography at night!

      I have to start taking more night photography; haven’t really done much in the past but the DC trip inspired a change in my thinking.

  5. I was in DC last year and I never considered walking the Mall at night. I’ll definitely have to head back now!

    You’ve got some beautiful photos!

    • I actually liked walking the Mall more at night than during the day – completely different atmosphere!

      I’m glad our photos could inspire a trip back – you’ll love it! Safe travels :)

  6. My favorite monument is the Korean War Memorial at night.

    It looks so realistic with the soldiers hunkered down, trudging through rice fields with fog in the air….amazing!!!

    • Loved the Korean War Memorial – I was super impressed with DC – the monuments and memorials at night were even better than during the day!

  7. Brilliant night shots!

    I have recently been intrigued by somebody about Washington DC. I have heard there are all old buildings and no skyscrapers.

    • Thanks Renuka! It’s a very historic city which has so much charm.

      I’m so fascinated by the city, they’ve done a fabulous job at building it and at making the monuments imposing. Even though they may be old they do a fantastic job at maintaining them. It has a very kind of regal feel to it as you’re walking around :)

  8. Lovely Night Shots!!!!!

    • Thankyou Ardjette!

  9. What a great idea! When we went it was very hot during the day – hot enough water sprinklers had been set up to keep the crowds cool. Night was much cooler and would have been a better alternative to go view the mall, but I didn’t consider it at all!

    • We really loved the change in atmosphere at night, and it was definitely a lot cooler than during the day, with far less crowds. I remember that soaring heat from the middle of the day quite well!!

      Definitely suggest a walking tour at night if you manage a trip back :)

  10. Now, you can see the scaffolding about the Capitol. (The Washington Monument earthquake effects are repaired; the Capitol has maintenance neglect to be addressed.)

    • Funny how it just seems to jump from one landmark to the next :D!

  11. I like to visit cities at night. And if they have various monuments and landmarks lit, then the experience is different than during the day. Lovely photos – they reveal that Washington DC is definitely a city to visit at night:)

    • Cities take on a whole different atmosphere once the sun sets – totally different experience to that of exploring during the day :) And especially if you’re a photographer, monuments lit up make for some seriously great shots.

      I hope you can get to DC soon!

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