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10 Best Spots in Washington DC for Your Instagram Photographs

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If you are an avid Instagram user and planning to have the nation’s capital in the background of your most likable posts, we have an excellent selection of places for you.

You may be familiar with all the amazing sites like memorials, monuments, and museums around the city. But there are certain Instagrammable spots that you shouldn’t miss.

Whether you are based in the DMV area or just a visitor, make sure to take notes so that you can give a big boost to your Instagram feed while making the best of Washington DC.

Here are the 10 best spots in DC for your Instagram snapshots:

1. Giant Blue Rooster (Hahn/Cock):

The nearly 15-foot-high electric blue plastic rooster was created by German artist Katharina Fritsch and first unveiled in London’s Trafalgar Square in 2013. And since the summer of 2016, it has been standing atop the National Gallery of Art’s East Building in the museum’s outdoor sculpture garden, overlooking Pennsylvania Avenue, with a view of the Capitol to the east.

The Glenstone Museum, which loaned the sculpture to the Gallery five years ago, donated it to the museum in March 2021 as a gift “to the American people in their honor and as a symbol of the hope and renewal on the horizon” following the loss and hardship endured by them during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The massive rooster is nothing but an inviting element for an Instagram snap.

2. Miller House and the Cat Statue:

The historic Northern Renaissance style structure was built in 1901 on the Embassy Row of DC’s Massachusetts Avenue for Commander Frederick Augustus Miller, who was a Navy officer during the US Civil War. Known as “the finest surviving mansion” designed by Paul J. Pelz, the main architect of the Library of Congress, the house features a masonry cat statue representing a cat on a ship, as well as other maritime motifs.

Olga Hirshhorn, wife of entrepreneur and philanthropist Joseph Hirshhorn, used the building to host her artwork between 1986 and 2009. She named the 500-square-foot mansion her “Mouse House” in reference to the cat sculpture.

3. Murals in Blagden Alley:

The Blagden Alley in DC’s Shaw district offers Instagrammers a wide range of colorful murals to choose from for their potential photo backgrounds.

The murals painted on buildings and garage doors include Lisa Marie Thalhammer‘s LOVE mural and an oversized tribute to musicians Sun Ra and Erykah Badu.

The hip alley used to be home to working-class immigrants, African Americans, and the city’s underground artists.

 

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4. The Capital Wheel:

A world-class attraction at National Harbor, the Capital Wheel gives you the chance to soar 180 feet above the Potomac River waterfront on one of its 42 gondolas.

Through the glass exteriors, you can enjoy a birds’ eye view of the Washington DC area, and take amazing pictures of the White House, the US Capitol Building, the Washington Monument, the National Mall, Arlington National Cemetery, National Cathedral, City of Alexandria, Georgetown and more.

The gondolas can accommodate up to eight people, are climate-controlled, and feature LED lighting with 16 million colors. If you are a tech enthusiast, you may even consider going for “National Harbor One,” the VIP gondola which has a glass bottom floor, four leather bucket seats, and Amazon’s virtual assistant AI technology “Alexa.”

The Capital Wheel is just 20 minutes from the National Mall, and is available to the public all year long.

 

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5. Smithsonian Castle:

The Smithsonian Institution Building, popularly known as The Castle, is home to the Smithsonian Visitor Center and the administrative offices of the institution, which calls it “our signature building.” It was built between 1847 and 1855.

Designed by New York architect James Renwick, Jr., the neo-Gothic structure with its red bricks offers you a nice view for your Instagram posts.

The Smithsonian, which was founded in 1846, is the world’s largest museum, education, and research complex, consisting of 19 museums, the National Zoological Park, and nine research centers.

 

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6. The US Botanical Garden:

The United States Botanic Garden (USBG) is a living plant museum that was established by the US Congress in 1820. It is the oldest continually operating botanic garden of the nation. The complex, including the Conservatory, the National Garden, and Bartholdi Park, aims to raise awareness in visitors about the importance of plants, and their aesthetic, cultural, economic, therapeutic and ecological value.

There are over 20,000 plants spread across the Garden, including one of the area’s largest indoor trees, an entire room dedicated to orchids, a showcase of poinsettias, and models of DC monuments made completely from plant materials.

To decorate your Instagram feed with these beautiful plants, you can be one of the more than a million people who visit the Garden each year.

The US Botanic Garden Conservatory is open every day from 10 am to 5 pm. Admission is free.

 

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7. Ben’s Chili Bowl:

Opened in 1958, the Black-owned restaurant is an iconic restaurant located in Northwest DC’s U Street Corridor. It has welcomed many politicians and celebrities such as Barack Obama, Bono, Anthony Bourdain, and more.

The famous restaurant has a perfectly Instagrammable mural that honors the city’s African American culture on its outside wall, which has changed many times since 2012.

It currently features Dave Chappelle, Prince, Taraji Henson, Harriet Tubman, Barack and Michelle Obama.

 

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8. Spanish Steps:

Named after Rome’s “Spanish Steps,” the staircase — the Decatur Terrace Steps and Fountain — is another hidden gem for your potential Instagram shots.

It was designed by architect Robert E. Cook, and constructed in 1911 on a steep slope in the Kalorama neighborhood in order to connect S Street and Decatur Place.

The Spanish Steps is the only public park that occupies a street and has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1989.

 

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9. Union Station:

The major train station that opened in 1907 has an annual ridership of approximately five million. It is the railroad’s second-busiest station and the ninth-busiest in all of the United States.

But what makes it special for an Instagram user is its unique interior architecture designed by Chicago architect Daniel Burnham. His work was inspired by multiple architectural styles. The project was part of the City Beautiful movement.

10. The Old Post Office:

The Old Post Office, located at 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue, Northwest DC, has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

It was built from 1892 to 1899. It is considered an example of Richardsonian Romanesque, which is part of the Romanesque Revival architecture of the 19th-century US.

You should think of both the building itself and views from its clock tower for your best Instagram shots.

 

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