When I first visited Washington D.C. I thought it would be nothing more than plain white political powerhouses and generic American architecture. Boy was I wrong! I was shocked to see what a beautiful city this was. The central sightseeing portion of this city is extremely walkable so its easy to just wander around from place to place taking snapshots of the bright, bold and brilliant art and architecture which makes Washington such an incredible place to visit.
Blind Whino is one of those locations which I feel like I've seen hundreds of time over the years on sites like MyModernMet and BoredPanda. But seeing it in real life, not just online, is something spectacular. The buildings is a renovated church painted with wild and wonderful colours and patterns. Be sure to step inside, many come here simply to take a picture of the exterior and head off but the interior is just as interesting and dynamic. There are often art shows on display so check their website for a list of gallery hours.
Walking up to this shop was like walking into a dream. This cotton candy pink florist shop is always decked out for the season. At Christmas it is dripping with fairy lights and baubles, Halloween is a surprisingly spooky affair and the rest of the year the entire exterior is always looking like a secret garden exploding out of from the window boxes. I was bummed to see that the interior is pretty much just like any other florist shop and not some wild 'Alice in Wonderland' but the exterior is what you'll come to see anyways.
The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History is one of the most iconic museums in the world. Walking inside you're greeted by one of the most important pieces of the collection, the giant African bull elephant, standing in the middle of the incredible neoclassical domed rotunda. This building was constructed in 1910 and is still to this day one of the best examples of American Beaux-Arts architecture.
City Center DC is a five-block area of the city which is a collection of apartments and office buildings, but on the ground level, features some of the most exclusive and illustrious brands displayed in picturesque window displays. The main thoroughfare in CityCenter is always decorated for the season or for a particular event. Whether it's hanging lanterns, rainbow umbrellas or a giant reindeer at Christmas time, the alley along Palmer street is always a favourite among photographers.
The Library of Congress is, in my opinion, the most beautiful building in D.C. The inside is breathtaking and a perfect spot for some fantastic photos. The incredible and grandiose design of the library, now named the Thomas Jefferson Building, was inspired by the Paris Opera House. And it’s artistic and theatrical inspiration can be seen throughout. Inside the grey facade, you'll be wowed by the multitude of colours painted on the ceiling frescoes and the fascinating sculptures peeking out from behind ornate marble columns.
Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Towpath
Hidden behind the high fashion brands and hipster cafes in Georgetown, there is a natural oasis along the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. This canal was once used as a tow path where barges once came to delivery their cargo. On either side of the canal are some of the oldest buildings in Georgetown, providing a beautiful backdrop of the overgrowth and peaceful waterway.
Georgetown's Candy Coloured Houses
In a cozy, quiet area in Georgetown, there are rows of streets dotted with pastel coloured houses. The shutters and doors are often painted in contrasting colours to make all those little architectural details stand out. I would recommend walking along O Street or N Street, starting at the University and then making your way towards Wisconsin Ave NW. They are not only beautifully painted but also incredibly preserved historical houses and walking this path feels like stepping back in time.
This is the place to come to feel like you're in the tropics even if it's blistering cold outside. The U.S. Botanic Garden is constantly changing, there is always something blooming or growing depending on the seasons so there's always something incredible to see. The gardens are divided into various sections based on their temperature, region or what the plants are used for. There is a room dedicated entirely to medicinal plants and its so interesting to see how plants are still used to this very day to help heal people despite all the advances in modern medicine. My favourite room for photos is 'The Tropics' where huge Swiss cheese looking leaves hang from giant trees and the air tastes almost taste sweet from the constantly growing flora. The glass windows of the greenhouse make for some incredible shots, not to be missed.
The Capitol Building
The Capital Building is one of the most iconic views in Washington, and no matter the weather or time of year, this place is incredibly stunning. It’s round, layered dome atop the pristine white columned building sticks up, high above the other buildings surrounding it. There are so many different viewpoints of the Capital Buildings all over the city but my favourite is down Pennsylvania Avenue.
Lincoln Reflecting Pool
There are so many incredible sights to be seen in the National Mall but the Reflecting Pool is one of those locations that, day or night, is an awesome site for beautiful pictures which scream, “I’m in Washington!” The reflection of the surrounding trees and monuments, mirrored back at you from the waters is so compelling and one can really appreciate how something so simple can be something so powerful.
Cherry Blossoms around the Waterfront
The National Cherry Blossom Festival is a spring celebration in Washington, D.C. The blossoms are usually at their best in mid April but be sure to check the site for when they’ll be in full bloom as it changes every year. The trees you can see surrounding the Tidal Basin beside the National Mall were gifts from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo City. The banks of the Tidal Basin are one of the best spots to visit as you can not only take pictures of the pale pink blossoms but also have a great opportunity to see the Thomas Jefferson Memorial across the still waters.
Kogod Courtyard National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery is a great place to see one of the most impressive collections of portraiture in America. But the Kogod Courtyard inside is a great spot for a portrait of your own! The massive courtyard is an architectural masterpiece and a place of serenity in a busy, loud city like Washington.
Packed to the gills with paperbacks, hardcovers and magazines, Capitol Hill Books is nestled in one of the most quaint and quiet area of Georgetown. The exterior of the shop's window, piled high with books, looks like a patchwork quilt and makes for a great snapshot of the kind of adorable shops which Georgetown is so famous for.
657 C St SE, Washington, DC 20003, USA
What are your favourite places to photograph when you’re in the city! Let me know in the comments :) Happy travels.