5 Things You Need to Plan Ahead in D.C.

Posted on Thursday, Aug 02, 2018

There are so many exciting and fun things to do in D.C. but some of the nation's most iconic items require advanced planning if you want to enjoy them. Here is a list of some of the most prominent things you will need to plan for if you want to see them while interning in D.C.
  1. White House – When people think about visiting the capitol many jump straight to going to see the residence of the president. However, what many interns fail to realize is that to get a visitation date you must apply several months ahead of time. This is due in part to security as well as processing time, to get a tour, you must submit a request through your congressional office. After that is done you will receive either a specific date you requested or a list of dates that you listed you could attend at. Then you will be requested to submit personal information and about a week before it happens you will get a confirmation email if you requested a tour in time, and even then, due to the nature of the residence it could be canceled at any time. Recommended requested time: 3-4 months
  1. Pentagon - The nation's military headquarters is often at the top of people's list to see when they come to the capitol. The impressive looking building paired with its prominence in American culture has often made it an attractive stop. However, like the white house, security requires background checks on all visitors and the time to process that takes quite a long time. This tour can also be requested through your representative, but sometimes it can be easier to get if you go through a family member or friend that currently works there. Recommended requested time: 3-4 months
  1. Capitol – Out of all the places to see on the list the capitol is by far the easiest one to get and requires to least amount of preparation time, with a few caveats. Anyone can book a capitol tour in advance and they also offer same day tours, however if you want to get a more exclusive tour can possibly do that through your congressman. Note that not all offices offer this service, but if they do intern or a staffer in the office will lead the tour themselves and show you much more of the capitol then you would otherwise be able to see. To take advantage of this perk though you will need to apply in advance with your representative, and while some may be on top of responding to constituent requests, others may take weeks to. Recommended requested time: 1-2 months
  1. National Museum of African American History & Culture – This museum is one of D.C.’s newest additions and one of the most popular. Tickets must be book way in advance and even trying to do that can get a bit dicey. Tickets are released every first Wednesday of the month on a first come first serve bases, meaning their very hard to get. There are extra tickets released every day at 6:30 am to those that wake up and check, however try to book in advance for a better chance at getting in. Recommended requested time: 1 month
  1. Holocaust Museum – The Holocaust Museum can differ throughout the year based on its popularity. Sometimes it can be extremely busy and sometimes it can have slow times. Among the D.C. museums though, it offers a powerful exhibition on the events of the past and should be seen by everyone that comes. This can also be booked through your presentative and is something that doesn’t have to be planned for in advance but is recommended to. Recommended requested time: 1-2 weeks
What will you find that you found worthwhile to plan for in D.C.?

Chandler Dawson
U.S. Department of Commerce
Washington, D.C. | summer 2018