Growing up in the suburbs of Washington DC, the nation’s capital has always been one of my favorite places in the US. Between the history and the political importance, there’s just something special about it. As a photographer and blogger, I particularly enjoy how beautiful it is! There are so many Instagrammable places in DC, and I can’t wait to share them with you!
Ironically, I’ve only taken a few photos in Washington DC, since every time I go home to visit, it mainly consists of family time. But this year, I’m planning several trips to show you DC from my point of view. With my camera in hand, I can’t wait to go back this year to photograph all of the Instagrammable spots in DC that you’ll find on this list!
In the meantime, here are a mix of Instagram photos and my photos, but check back in a few months to see all of my own photos!
I’ve organized these spots by location, and you’ll find a map at the end of this post. That way, if you’re staying in only one area of DC, you can see which spots you can walk to or visit close by. (The photo above was taken at the Enid Haupt Garden in March 2021, you’ll find it at spot #15 on this list!)
With pandemic-related closures at the time of writing, I just want to emphasize that you should check each place you plan on visiting before you go to make sure they are open.
This especially applies to restaurants and museums. But most of these spots are either outside or beautiful from the outside, so even if they’re closed, you could still get great photos!
Side note- here are a few helpful articles if you’re looking to step up your Instagram game this year:
- 15 Tips for How to Take the Perfect Instagram Photo
- How to Pose for Instagram Photos
- 31 Ways to Improve Your Instagram This Year
- The Best Camera Gear for Travel Photos
Alright, let’s get to it! Here are the 51 most Instagrammable places in Washington DC!
1. Windmill Hill Park
Located in a scenic riverfront location, Windmill Hill Park is the ultimate place to get some insta-worthy shots. There are plenty of photo spots by the river, as well as bridges crossing over to get the perfect water shots! Be sure to check out the Amsterdam-style houses to take some shots that will make you feel like you’re in Europe.
2. United States National Arboretum
In the northeast of the city is the United States National Arboretum. There are some wonderful photography locations throughout the arboretum, especially The Capitol Columns, which make for some dramatic shots – especially late in the day when the shadows are long!
3. Union Market
Union Market is one of the best places in DC to enjoy local food, but it’s great for Instagram too! Either take your photo outside the building, which has the motto “Relax. Your Heart is Stronger Than You Think” etched outside, or have a photoshoot inside with various local vendors. You’ll also find an adorable heart wall at Union Market!
4. Union Station
Union Station is DC’s answer to New York’s Grand Central. The outside is a grand, imposing building, but the inside is the best place to get Instagram-worthy shots. Here, you can get your photo taken in its famous archways – just avoid the rush hour!
5. Culture House DC
If you like funky, colorful Instagram photos, look no further than Culture House DC. While the exterior of this building is popping in bright colors and abstract designs, the inside is just as cool!
6. The Bridge at The Yards Park
For a futuristic feed, head to the Bridge at the Yards Park. As you walk through this bridge, you’ll cross a few 3D circles, and will be able to play on the optical illusions to make great photos.
7. James Madison Memorial Building
The James Madison Memorial Building dates back to the 1970s and is a poignant memorial to James Madison. There are luxurious features inside and out, but I think that the endless-appearing columns are what make this one of the best Instagram spots in DC!
8. Library of Congress
If you love grand, old-fashioned buildings, look no further than the Library of Congress. The reading rooms look straight out of Harry Potter, and you’ll be able to get some enchanting photos as you look down from the gallery! If it’s closed due to the pandemic or otherwise, you can still get some awesome shots of the exterior!
9. Capitol Hill & Capitol Hill Row Houses
Taking a photo from the top of Capitol Hill looking down towards the White House and other parliamentary buildings is a must for anybody visiting Washington DC.
But if you’re looking for color, you’ll also find that the Capitol Hill rowhouses make for a stunning addition to your Instagram with their brightly colored houses. You could either take a photo of them on their own or feature yourself walking down the street – either will look great on your feed!
10. United States Capitol
This government office is one of the most famous buildings in the country, so you must get a shot of it while exploring DC! Make sure to take it from the right angle to get the entirety of the impressive building in your shot.
11. US Botanic Garden
The huge US Botanic Garden has plenty of gorgeous Instagram opportunities. You could take photos of yourself with the many trees and plants, or get some close-ups of individual flowers. Also, make sure you visit with an empty SD card – you’ll take loads of photos here!
12. National Gallery of Art
The National Gallery of Art has a grand, classical exterior, which is the perfect backdrop for any Instagram photos that you are taking in the capital! But step inside for even more Instagrammable photo spots in DC! With endless art, it just begs for photos.
13. Kogod Courtyard
Located in the shared space that contains the National Portrait Gallery and Smithsonian American Art Museum, Kogod Courtyard is an ‘inside outside’ courtyard, with plenty of trees and a futuristic ceiling. If you can get the place to yourself, you can get some epic photos here. Try going early in the morning to avoid the crowds!
14. Hirshhorn Museum
The Hirshhorn Museum is a DC art museum. While it looks quite bland from the outside, it’s the inside that steals the show. Once you’re there, you can take some awesome shots within the various art exhibits here!
15. Enid A Haupt Garden
The Enid A Haupt Garden features colorful shrubbery and epic magnolia blossoms that tend to bloom in mid-to-late March before the cherry blossoms in early April. Take shots among the gardens, and make sure you get at least one framed by this cool circular sculpture tunnel! By the way, the Haupt Garden is located at the next spot on this list!
16. Smithsonian Castle
The Smithsonian Castle was built in 1855 and is one of the most alluring buildings in the capital. With red brick and castle vibes, it’s worth it to take some pictures with you outside the castle, as well as a few with the entire castle in the shot.
17. Smithsonian Museum of Natural History
The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History is grand on the outside, but inside you’ll be able to get a shot with a huge elephant and dinosaur! It’s also my favorite museum in DC and contains all sorts of exhibits, including the Hope Diamond (yup, the famous necklace from The Titanic)!
18. Washington Monument
This famous obelisk looks over the reflecting pool and all of DC and is one of the most famous places to photograph in the capital! Better yet, capture a view of it from the Lincoln Memorial, like the photo above. #twomonumentsinone
19. Lincoln Memorial
Washington D.C. is home to the Lincoln Memorial, a grand, classic building with Lincoln’s statue inside. You can take a photo of the whole building from outside, or step inside and get some cool shots with the columns! I recommend walking around inside the whole thing. Even the back part has cool columns, and you’ll find fewer people there. That’s where we got the photo above.
20. National Mall in the Fall
The National Mall is the whole area around the Washington Monument from the Lincoln Memorial to the US Capitol. Come fall, many trees in the area turn vibrant colors and offer an abundance of epic photo opportunities. Visit in the early morning if you don’t want many people in your shot!
21. ARTECHOUSE DC
If you want to practice your nighttime and indoor photography, head to the ARTECHOUSE DC. Take a photo of the bright lights, and practice working with silhouettes here – photos from ARTECHOUSE will really add another dimension to your Instagram feed!
22. Officina DC
Officina is a classy Italian restaurant with a beautiful terrace in the Wharf location. They plate their food beautifully as well if you’re looking to capture a flat lay or enjoy food photography!
23. Tidal Basin (Especially during Cherry Blossom Season!)
The DC Tidal Basin is a scenic man-made reservoir right next to the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. It’s beautiful throughout most of the year, but especially during cherry blossom season in the springtime. Taking photos in these months will add something special to your Instagram feed! Peak cherry blossom time is usually a week in April, so plan ahead and add it to your calendar! (The Tidal Basin is closed in 2021, so instead, we got the shot above at the MLK Memorial).
24. Thomas Jefferson Memorial
The circular Thomas Jefferson Memorial is a beautiful building any time of day, but especially at sunset. It’s worth taking a photo of the building on its own from across the Tidal Basin (bring your zoom lens!) or with yourself in the frame.
25. Netherlands Carillon
As well as Amsterdam-style houses, there are tulip fields in DC! Head to the Netherlands Carillon to take some floral photos with a European twist.
26. Top of the Gate
This DC rooftop bar will give you an amazing view over the capital. It’s definitely worth visiting during sunset hours to take the most enviable pictures!
One of my favorite parts of Washington, D.C. besides the National Mall, is Georgetown! With the cutest shops, decor, and cafes, it’s one of the most Instagrammable areas in DC.
The most Instagrammable places in Georgetown include Cote Jardin Antiques, Georgetown Cupcakes, the Lumen Boutique Salon, Ladurée, and the next few items on this list!
Georgetown University is also a great photo spot in DC! Because of its grand, Hogwarts-like buildings, it is a must-visit while in the area.
I should also mention the Georgetown rowhouses, a mix of colorful terraced buildings, all of which provide a beautiful backdrop for Instagram photos.
28. Ella Rue
With its green façade and gorgeous floral entrance, this is by far one of the most Instagrammable places in Georgetown and DC!
29. Saxbys and The Wave Wall
The classic Saxbys building in Georgetown features a very cool wave wall. But don’t forget to grab a cold brew while you’re here too!
30. Dumbarton Oaks Garden
Dumbarton Oaks Garden is attached to a country house. The gardens date back around 100 years and there are plenty of beautiful spots to photograph here. My favorite is when the Wysteria blooms between April and May!
31. Tatte Bakery and Cafe
If you like photographing food, look no further than the mouthwatering selection on sale at Tatte Bakery and Cafe. Your Instagram followers will be salivating over the range of cakes and pastries that you can photograph here! The shop itself is just as Instagrammable!
32. Residents DC
Residents DC is located just a few minutes walk from the Dupont Circle metro station. They’ve got an incredible patio that they decorate seasonally! I visited in March 2021 and got to see the stunning cherry blossom display, which will last for a couple of months. But if you miss it, don’t worry! They’ll be rotating the decor seasonally!
PS. For more seasonal restaurant decor, also check out the Old Ebbitt Grill at Christmastime! This saloon-style restaurant shines at Christmas with its front door flanked by their giant nutcrackers! They have two of them framing the charming doorway. It’s of the most Instagrammable decorations in DC at Christmastime!
33. National Museum of Women in the Arts
The National Museum of Women in the Arts is grand both inside and out. The building has a stunning entrance hall with balconies, chandeliers, and an elegant staircase perfect for dramatic photos! Take a photo here and don’t forget to stop and appreciate the art.
CityCenterDC is a modern shopping area with seasonal decor. If you visit during Christmas you’ll be able to photograph some great festive decorations, while in the spring, there’s more floral decor. They swap out what’s hanging above this space regularly, so you can get a different photo backdrop here each season!
35. Friendship Archway
Take a photo of this traditional Chinese archway, and pretend you’re in Asia without leaving DC. The Friendship Archway is the entrance to DC’s Chinatown, so be sure to grab some delicious Chinese food while you’re there too!
36. Blagden Alley Love Mural
Blagden Alley has a colorful LOVE mural, with the letters L, O, V, and E painted on the wall. (This Instagram photo was taken in front of the ‘E’.) A photo of the mural is a bright addition to anybody’s Instagram feed! Try to take a “candid” picture of yourself walking past it for ultimate Instagramability!
37. Dacha Beer Garden
This is an airy, open beer garden with a distinctive large mural of Elizabeth Taylor on the wall above. Try to get some shots of the whole mural while you’re there!
38. Watermelon House
This funky Watermelon House is, quite literally, a mural of a watermelon painted on a house. If you want to add a fresh, fruity angle to your feed, Watermelon House is a really unique photo to get while you’re in DC!
39. Bluestone Lane Logan Circle Cafe
Featuring yummy brunch among fresh, bright decor, all of the Bluestone Lane locations are Instagrammable. My favorite is the Logan Circle Cafe location!
40. Little Leaf
Little Leaf is a small store in the city which doubles up as a jungle! There is a lot of intricate flora in the store; you can play around with different angles to get some truly unique plant-filled shots.
41. Ben’s Chili Bowl
Ben’s Chili Bowl is more than a bright and friendly restaurant, it’s a historic Washington landmark! Visited by presidents and locals alike, this joint has been around since 1958. Take some photos of the retro front, as well as their famous and delicious chili cheese dogs!
42. Le Droit Park
Le Droit Park isn’t a park per se, it’s a neighborhood! Marked by its grand iron gates, you’ll find many colorful row houses around the neighborhood.
43. Meridian Hill Park
The Meridian Hill Park has a cascading water feature leading down from a monument at the top. This is an epic backdrop for portrait photos or lifestyle photos, regardless of the season!
44. The LINE DC
The LINE Hotel is a gorgeous hotel in Washington, D.C. Take some photos with the historic exterior, or venture inside to capture the elegant lobby. If you choose to stay here, the rooms are also Instagrammable with clean lines and stylish decor.
45. Washington National Cathedral
The Washington National Cathedral is one of the most significant religious seats in the country. The Neo-Gothic building is beautiful from the outside – almost mirroring ancient European Cathedrals – and it’s also well worth venturing inside to take some photos too. Use a wide angle lens or your iPhone at .5 zoom to capture a photo like this one! Rewind fifteen years or so and you’ll find me singing at an event here with the Children’s Chorus of Washington! 🙂
46. Any Metro Station
DC has one of the grandest metro systems in the country. Visit any metro station to take a photo of its beautiful archways and ceiling/floor/wall patterns. Try to get a photo of the trains themselves pulling into the stations or practicing your portraiture if it is quiet! I took the shot above at Metro Center.
PS. GreenWorks Florist is Closed
Since this is a spot on any Instagrammer’s list, it’s worth mentioning that this famous spot no longer exists! Unfortunately, GreenWorks Florist at 3428 O St. is now closed. Say bye to the pink flower-covered building that was probably the most Instagrammable place in DC! 🙁
But let’s not end on that sad note! Here are some fantastic nature spots around the DC area to visit!
47. Great Falls Park
If you want to add a little nature to your feed, venture out of the city to Great Falls Park. This park is just 13 miles from the city, but it’s an epic natural spot. The waterfalls here are fun to photograph, particularly if you want to play around with your shutter speed.
48. C&O Canal Tow Path
This one is a personal favorite since it was my go-to biking path when I was growing up. I’d access the path from lock 21 of the C&O Canal, which is where I got the photo above. Also known as Swains Lock, this location features a charming gatehouse that contrasts against all of the green around it. It’s a great Instagram destination to visit in the fall when the leaves change color!
49. Homestead Farms
Here’s my local’s guide to super Instagrammable orchard photos near DC! Well, within an hour from DC, I should say. Check out Homestead Farms, a U-Pick farm, if you’re up for a pretty drive. Located about 50 minutes away from DC, you’ll take River Road all the way to Poolesville. I grew up right off of River Road, so say hello to my old stomping grounds for me! Make sure to check Homestead Farms’ website before visiting to see what is in season. My favorite is their apple picking, peach picking, and pumpkin season!
50. McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area
Where are sunflower fields near DC? While you’re in Poolesville, check out the sunflowers galore at the McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area! They only bloom in mid-July until early-August, and you can check out more information here. Make sure you don’t trample or take any of the sunflowers! The Maryland Department of Natural Resources – Wildlife and Heritage Service plants the sunflowers as a food source for local wildlife, so be careful not to disturb the flowers.
51. Bluemont Vineyards
If you go even a bit further from DC, you’ll find the prettiest vineyards in the region at Bluemont Vineyards. There are more vineyards closer to DC, like Rocklands Farm Winery, but you just can’t beat the views at Bluemont!
Map of Instagrammable Places in DC
Lastly, here’s a map of the most Instagrammable places in DC so that you can see where each spot is!
I hope this post has given you plenty of ideas for photo spots around DC! And that it’s shown you just how Instagrammable DC and the surrounding area really are!
If you can think of more photo spots in the area, let me know what they are in the comments below! I’d love to check them out on my next visit!
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