Where can you get the best view of Washington D.C.?

Answers from Our Experts (2)

Mary Beth Albright

One fabulous thing about Washington – by Federal law, no building can be taller than 130 feet. The height restriction, combined with a ton of federal-park green space, gives Washington an open, breezy feeling. Head to the top of the Newseum on Capitol Hill to appreciate the open space with a panoramic view of the Capitol and the Mall (the view you often see in the background on TV news). The bell tower on top of the Washington National Cathedral recently reopened after the 2011 earthquake, and it’s a gorgeous king-of-the-world perch from the highest spot in DC.
When enjoying a cocktail at the P.O.V. lounge on top of the W Hotel, you can hardly believe you’re allowed up there – it sits overlooking the Washington Monument and into the White House’s yard, so close you can practically watch the First Family walk Bo. History buffs will love standing on the Jefferson Memorial’s steps, overlooking the cherry trees on the Tidal Basin with a straight-shot view to the White House.

McLean Robbins

Washington, D.C. is generally not a city known for great views. An old ordinance prohibits buildings from being taller than the Capitol, and thus, Washington isn't a city of skyscrapers or particularly death-defying heights. But if you're looking for V.I.P views, we can certainly suggest a few! 

The Washington Monument used to be a favorite of tourists and locals alike looking to get a glimpse of the city skyline, but it's currently closed for repairs following a 2011 earthquake. It might be some time before it re-opens. But it's okay, as we have some alternate suggestions that are truly A-list. 

For the best views of the White House, we'd suggest a drink at P.O.V., the W Washington D.C.'s cocktail bar and lounge. Sip a Dark N' Stormy in the summer or a Hot Peanut Buttered Rum in the winter while you nosh on small plates from Jean-Georges steakhouse downstairs. In cold weather, the rooftop lounge offers heaters and blankets, and in the summer, it's the ideal place for a boozy brunch or sunset sangria. 

If you can afford to splurge, try a room on the Tai Pan level of the Mandarin Oriental Washington D.C.. The lounge, which offers graits access for its club level members, features snacks, meeting space and butler service, but also some of the best views of the city skyline and monuments. For a true A-list experience, book the Presiential Suite. In addition to being the largest Presidential Suite in the city, the room boasts the same great views of D.C. and complete privacy! 

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