Our nation’s capitol is a very urban area, but there are still some places that may be of interest to landscape photographers. There are parks, gardens, and plenty of places to photograph the urban landscape.
Be aware that security can be very tight at some of the places listed here, especially the Capitol Building and the White House. Be sure to follow any rules related to photography and tripods to avoid trouble.
On this page you’ll find some of the best places to photograph in Washington, DC. The interactive map below shows the location of each spot mentioned on this page.
This page will continue to be a work in progress, so please feel free to leave a comment with your own suggestions of great places to photograph.
Rock Creek Park
Rock Creek Park is an urban park that is managed by the National Park Service. It is located next to the zoo in the northwest quadrant of the city. The park includes several bridges, like the one pictured below, that span cross the creek. If you’re looking for a place to find some nature in DC, this is a great option.
Rock Creek Park by Dion Hinchcliffe / CC BY-SA 2.0
Jefferson Memorial and Tidal Basin
The Jefferson Memorial sits at the edge of a tidal basin off the Potomac River, just south of the Washington Monument. This area is especially beautiful in the spring when the cherry blossoms are blooming.
Jefferson Memorial by Brian Gratwicke / CC BY 2.0
The Washington Monument is located just off of Constitution Avenue, between the Capitol Building and the Lincoln Memorial.
Washington Monument by Marc Andre
The Lincoln Memorial sits on the opposite side of the reflecting pool from the Washington Monument. You can photograph Lincoln up close or get a distant view from across the reflecting pool (bring a long lens for this).
Lincoln Memorial by Marc Andre
World War II Memorial
The World War II Memorial is at the opposite end of the reflecting pool. It is between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. The fountains of the memorial look great at night when they are lit. You can also get a nice view of the Washington Monument with the WWII Memorial in the foreground.
World War II Memorial by Robzor / CC0
World War II Memorial and Washington Monument by Marc Andre
The Capitol Building is located at the east end of the National Mall, opposite the Lincoln Memorial. It is lit up nicely at night.
Capitol Building by Nicolas Raymond / CC BY-SA 3.0
The White House
The White House is a few blocks north of the Washington Monument.
The White House by Diego Cambiaso / CC BY-SA 2.0
United States Botanic Garden
The United States Botanic Garden is next to the Capitol Buiding. This is a great place to photograph flowers and plants.
United States Botanic Gardens by Katja Schulz / CC BY 2.0
United States National Arboretum
The United States National Arboretum is in northeast Washington. It is more than 400 acres in size, features many gardens and the National Capitol Columns (shown below).
United States National Arboretum by Nicolas Raymond / CC BY-SA 3.0
Dumbarton Oaks is a historic estate in Geogetown, northwest Washington. It is home to beautiful gardens that are great for photography.
Dumbarton Oaks by DC Gardens / CC BY 2.0