Why is Washington DC so Popular with Tourists?

Washington DC tourism figures continue to grow! 

Recent statistics from Destination DC gathered and analysed from 2018 have shown that Washington D.C. attracted 22 million domestic tourists last year. This is doubly impressive when you consider that this is D.C.’s ninth year in a row where its tourism figures have grown from the year before. With approximately $7.8 billion spent by tourists in Washington D.C. in 2018 (Source: IHS Markit), partly due to the incredible ‘Discover the Real DC campaign’, it is perfectly clear that Washington DC is very popular with tourists! But why is it so popular? We might know a few reasons why Washington D.C. is such a popular tourist destination and we’d like to take a few minutes to convince you. We hope we can convince one or two readers to book a trip to D.C. in the near future, and to take one of our incredible Washington D.C. tours!

America’s Capital City — The History and Prestige

First and foremost, we should recognize the prestige and interest Washington receives by being the capital city of the US. The United States is one of the biggest countries in the world and it attracts a lot of tourists each year. Needless to say, visitors (both domestic and foreign) want to see what the capital city is like. And judging by the constantly growing figures, they like what they see.  

Part of being the capital means that Washington D.C. has a lot of history and meaningful monuments and buildings to explore.  If you’d like to see as much of Washington’s important buildings and monuments on a short visit, you may be interested in our Best of Washington DC tour. You’ll see the National Archives, the FBI Building, the Washington Monument, and the White House…

The White House and the National Mall

Washington Monument and Thomas Jefferson Memorial 

The White House deserves a section in this blog all to itself! As the home of the President of the United States, some of the most important men in history have called this stunning building home over the decades. You can take plenty of pictures of the White House on your visit, but public tours are no longer allowed. Instead, American citizens can request a tour by contacting their local congressmen or senators.  

Even without getting to walk around inside, the White House is an amazing sight to behold and there are lots of incredible monuments in the surrounding National Mall to explore, including the Lincoln Memorial, the National World War II Memorial (under construction at time of writing), the Washington Monument, and the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool. If all of these attractions pique your interest, make sure to check out our bus tours of Washington DC’s Monuments and Memorials

Arlington National Cemetery

Arlington National Cemetery

Arlington National Cemetery stands as a testament to the admiration and appreciation the US has for the brave men and women who have fought and died for their country. This expansive cemetery will take your breath away with its sheer scale and beauty. It is extremely bitter sweet to see many lives cut short, but to also marvel at the beauty and respect shown through the cemetery’s immaculate presentation. Arlington National Cemetery is actually in Virginia, not Washington, but it’s such a short drive away that many people who visit it come from the nation’s capital. If you’re interested, you can book one of our Arlington National Cemetery tours.  

Washington’s Incredible Range of Museums

Entrance to the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of American History

Last year, we wrote a guide to all of the free museums in Washington D.C., and there were quite a few to choose from. And there are many more that aren’t free. Given Washington’s status as the nation’s capital city and the presence of the Smithsonian Institution, there are over seventy museums scattered around the city! You can expect to find a truly staggering range of museums in the city, with everything from the National Museum of American History and the National Museum of Natural History, to the National Gallery of Art and the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. 

As we said, many of the museums in Washington D.C. are part of the Smithsonian Institute and, as such, they are free to enter. There is so much to see and do that you could spend an entire month in Washington D.C.’s museums and never get bored. Washington is packed full of history and culture, making it one of the world’s top tourist destinations!

That’s all we have time for with this blog. We hope we’ve done our city justice and helped one or two readers understand exactly what makes Washington D.C such a brilliant city for tourists to visit. We hope Washington D.C.’s figures continue to grow and that the city welcomes a few of this blog’s readers in the near future… If you’re interested in any of our tours and you have some questions, please feel free to contact us. Start planning your dream trip to Washington D.C. with a little help from Gray Line DC!