What better way to close out a day in the capital than with a view of a splendid sunset? Thanks to the rolling hills on which the city is built, DC is filled with high altitude spots with overlooks of the sky that will leave you in awe.
If spreading a blanket over a grassy knoll isn’t for you, go the rooftop bar route: DC’s happening bar scene offers plenty of spots with panoramic views of the city.
Get ready for the unforgettable shapes of the capital city to pop out against an orange and red sky, discover where to watch the sunset in DC.
Table of Contents
- 1 TOP DC Sunset spots
- 1.1 Lincoln Memorial
- 1.2 Vue Rooftop Bar
- 1.3 Georgetown Waterfront
- 1.4 Jefferson Memorial
- 1.5 The Wharf
- 1.6 World War II Memorial
- 1.7 The Rooftop at The Ven Embassy Row
- 1.8 The Yards Park
- 1.9 Top of the Yard
- 1.10 Taft Bridge
- 1.11 Fletcher’s Cove
- 1.12 Wild Days Bar
- 1.13 Capitol Columns
TOP DC Sunset spots
Sunrise, sunset… both are stunning from either side of the Lincoln Memorial. There’s plenty of room to sit on the grass behind the memorial facing west–grab a picnic blanket and a bottle of wine. The steps descending to the Potomac are your own amphitheater to watch the sun spin beautiful, burnished colors onto the water.
And if you’re an early riser, check this list of awesome spots to watch the sunsrise in DC, Lincoln Memorial included!Kennedy Center
When it comes to catching a sunset in action over the Potomac, your best spots will be on DC’s side of the Potomac. It’s no wonder that the Kennedy Center tops that list for a sunset in DC.
Find your way over to the back balcony of the building or, better yet, explore the elevated park to the South side of the center with the relatively new addition of the REACH, a performing arts space surrounded by charming deck and serene green spaces. You may catch the best view of all on the nearby walkway that spans Rock Creek Parkway.
Vue Rooftop Bar
Prefer to stay indoors but still looking for a view of the city that will leave you speechless? Hotel Washington’s rooftop bar, aptly named Vue, is the destination for you.
This swanky lounge located just a block from the White House has arguably the best sightline to the Washington Monument in the city. Be prepared to let out a sigh of disbelief when you exit the elevator. Add to that a drink menu that has the city talking: ever heard of a cherry blossom cocktail?
One thing that DC locals and visitors alike can agree on: Georgetown’s Waterfront is the perfect sunset spot. Spanning several blocks near the Francis Scott Key Memorial Bridge, the park offers plenty of quiet nooks with clear views of the bridges on both sides and railings overlooking the water.
After enjoying the DC sunset show, check out any of the number of bars and restaurants at the Washington Harbour next door.
Chances are, you’ve already seen a postcard-worthy shot of the views the Jefferson Memorial offers at sundown. The placed waters of the tidal basin, groves of cherry trees, and domed architecture of the memorial itself all combine to make this spot a high contender for your best photo in the city.
Head to Jefferson Memorial at sunset time, take a seat on the steps or stroll around the basin’s perimeter to find the most breathtaking angle.Top of the Gate Bar
Whether you first saw it driving into the city or in “All The President’s Men,” the Watergate’s iconic silhouette is unmistakable. Not just a landmark of Washington history, the hotel also boasts Top of the Gate, a rooftop bar with a view stretching westward that you won’t forget. In addition to delectable appetizers and a DC-themed cocktail menu, the space also hosts regular events like concerts and yoga classes.
DC’s Wharf may only be going on its 4th year open, but it’s already stolen the hearts of locals as a favorite summertime hangout destination. Best of all, it’s not just an optimal place to catch a view; it also offers plenty of activities to accompany your sunset sighting.
Enjoy The Point’s oysters from the deck overlooking the water, grab an ice cream cone from the Southwest Soda Pop Shop while you stroll up and down the District Pier, or, in the chilly months, take a spin around The Wharf’s ice-skating rink.
World War II Memorial
The WWII Memorial is surely already on any DC bound travelers list of destinations. What if I told you it’s even better later in the day? With a clear view across the reflecting pool and the Lincoln Memorial across the way, the amphitheater-like structure was made for sunset viewing. Grab your spot on the steps and prepare for a colored show over the water like you’ve only seen in pictures.
The Rooftop at The Ven Embassy Row
Get another angle on DC’s sunset at The Ven’s rooftop bar, long acclaimed as one of DC’s top rooftops for a heart-stopping view. This cocktail joint sits at the top of the stylish Ven hotel, just off Dupont Circle. Along with a spacious tent stretched over comfy couches, the deck also features a luxurious outdoor pool and lines of beach chairs.
The Yards Park
The outdoor part of the trendy Navy Yards neighborhood, The Yards Park is a major competitor with The Wharf for most happening DC park. Located just east of the Nationals home diamond, it stretches across the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail and opens into a green space overlooking the water.
Stake out a spot on the grass, let the kids run through the fountains, or catch some live music on a Friday night at the sky breaks into brilliant colors over the water.
Top of the Yard
The sports-centric counterpart to Watergate’s Bar, Top of the Yard is a favorite spot for those who enjoy a good ball game but would rather sit out the sweaty bleachers. The rooftop bar is conveniently located across the street from Nationals Park and walking distance from Navy Yard.
Peek over the railing at a game while you enjoy a hot dog and a beer or take advantage of the altitude for an enviable sunset view.
The William Howard Taft Bridge may not pop out on a map of the city, but its vantage point over Rock Creek below gives it one of the best sunset outlooks in the city’s Northwest. Explore the winding paths branching off from Rock Creek Trail for some evening exercise– you’ll be surprised by how natural beauty, despite its urban location.
The green hillside off Connecticut and Calvert is also a favorite hangout spot when the weather starts to warm.
Those looking for a sunset view uninterrupted by the buildings of the city should pay a visit to Fletcher’s Cove, a tranquil natural spot farther North up Potomac.
The park functions as a trailhead, with the Capital Crescent and Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Towpath trails. The boathouse nearby is also steeped in local history; built in 1802, it’s the oldest building lining the canal.
Wild Days Bar
Among hotel bars, Wild Days, situated at the top of the Eaton near Franklin Park, may be the most locally beloved. Its rooftop balcony towers high above nearby buildings, giving it a dramatic view down the length of K Street.
Before you visit, don’t forget to check out the weekly events that range from live blues music to salsa spectaculars.
Among the many beauties of the National Arboretum, the Capitol Columns are the most definitive and recognizable spot. This grove of stone pillars has everything that the Lincoln Memorial does–except the roof. With steps leading down towards a pool of water, it also offers a powerful atmosphere to watch the sky break into oranges and purples, perfect for a snapshot of sunset time in DC.