Most teachers think “history” when they consider a class trip to Washington, D.C., and that’s fair considering it's historical and political significance.
However, our nation’s capital also is a center for science, the arts, and much more. The monuments, memorials, and museums bring together many disciplines for visitors of all ages to contemplate our nation's story at a deeper level.
Here is a list of the city's most popular sights that relate to History, STEM, and the Arts that will help you and your students make the most of a school trip to Washington, D.C.
From a teacher’s perspective, I love D.C. for student travel, and apparently I'm not alone. In fact, more than 20.2 million visitors toured our nation's capital city in 2014, according to Destination D.C.
What makes it the ideal place for a student trip?
- It is a place where you can feel part of something bigger than yourself, and we all need that sometimes, especially tweens and teens.
- You can feel the energy in D.C., which helps reinvigorate students (and teachers) who spend most of their days inside school walls.
- The city is a vibrant, living classroom with sights that easily connect to classroom lessons through captivate stories.
If you have ever considered leading a student trip to Washington, D.C., I hope that I can encourage you to do it. The most rewarding experiences that I’ve had as a teacher have come from the lightbulb moments, great laughs, and heart-felt reflections that I’ve experienced with my students on class trips to Washington, D.C.
And now for the lists...
Top 10 History Sights in D.C.
History helps us build connections between the past, present, and future. Nothing does that better for students than experiencing the sights that represent the people, ideas, and events that have shaped our great nation. In no particular order...
- Lincoln Memorial
- Washington Monument
- National WWII Memorial
- U.S. Capitol Building
- Arlington National Cemetery
- Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial
- National Museum of American History
- Mount Vernon
- United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
- National Archives & Museum
Top 10 STEM Sights in D.C.
Ground-breaking research and scientific advancements have been celebrated in Washington, D.C. since Congress approved the National Academy of Sciences in 1863. From military science to aerophysics, your students will appreciate the importance of scientific discovery in D.C. In no particular order...
- National Air and Space Museum
- U.S. National Arboretum
- National Museum of Natural History
- National Building Museum
- International Spy Museum
- U.S. Navy Museum
- Wilderness Society Gallery
- Marian Koshland Science Museum
- National Zoological Park
Top 10 Arts Sights in D.C.
Home to the most infamous theatre in the country, D.C. also is second only to New York in the U.S. for number of theatre seats This makes the city a cultural hub that offers many places for students to perform and develop their artistic talents. In no particular order...
- Ford's Theatre
- National Gallery of Art
- John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
- Corcoran Gallery of Art
- The Phillips Collection
- National Cherry Blossom Festival and Parade
- National Portrait Gallery
- National Museum of the American Indian
- Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden / ArtLab
- The National Mall
A school trip to Washington, D.C. puts you and your students at the heart of the American experience in so many ways. You will be so glad that you went and your students will remember the experience for a lifetime.
For more information about how to get started, please visit NationsClassroom’s Educators page or contact NationsClassroom at 1-800-900-1776.
For help with how to relate a student tour in Washington,D.C. to your curriculum, you can download this free Student Value Worksheet.