Looking for interesting angles of Washington DC? The Old Post Office tower has stunning 360 views of DC. From the Old Post Office tower you can see the US Capitol, Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, and even the Smithsonian Castle. The Old Post Office is run by the National Park Service and completely free. Currently tickets aren’t required, just be sure to check hours before visiting.
Here’s my experience and photos from the Old Post Office in Washington DC.
First you’ll find the entrance to the Old Post Office in the back of the Waldorf Astoria hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue (formerly the Trump Hotel). It can be easy to miss the entrance so be sure to give yourself a few minutes to find it. The National Mall is just a few blocks away from the entrance so if you’re in the area I’d highly recommend popping over to go up since no tickets are needed.
You’ll see a small sign and door saying Museum & Clock Tower.
After entering the Old Post Office a security guard will guide you down the hall where you can read about the history of the building. Additionally bags are allowed and are searched at the entrance.
As you head down the halls there is plenty of history about the Old Post Office and Washington DC in general. At the end you’ll find the elevator that takes you up to the Old Post Office tower.
The elevator takes you to the 9th floor where you get a fantastic view of the Waldorf Astoria lobby. From here it’s a short walk to the 2nd elevator that takes you to the top of the Old Post Office tower. Additionally before going up to the viewing area you’ll see the strings they use to play the tower’s bells.
Once you’re at the top there are plenty of stunning views of Washington DC. There are a few levels of platforms so that you can get a view out of the windows even if it’s busy. 3 out of the 4 sides are covered in wires to prevent you from dropping anything off the side. On the 4th side facing the Mall is plexiglass which can be harder to get photos through since they can get covered in smudges.
I would recommend planning to be at the top for at least 15 minutes to take in all the views. My favorite was the view of the US Capitol with Pennsylvania Ave leading up to it.
If you’re a photographer I’d highly recommend bringing a zoom or telephoto lens to capture sights in the distance. Just keep in mind it can be a bit difficult to work around the metal wires on the windows but if you use a low aperture they shouldn’t show up in your photos.
Along my entire experience the park rangers were extremely helpful, knowledgable, and overall enthusiastic.
Once you’re done and head back down I’d also recommend stopping out front to see the Old Post Office tower from the ground.
No matter if you’re a local or traveling to DC I think anyone will enjoy this quick historic stop. Just from my one visit I’d consider it one of the best places to photograph in DC. The views are hard to beat, especially if you can’t get tickets to the Washington Monument.
Old Post Office Building History
The Old Post Office was built in 1899 and is a great example of Richardsonian Romanesque architecture. The bell tower is the 3rd largest structure in all of Washington DC (excluding radio towers).
The building was used as Washington DC’s main post office until 1914. Afterward it mainly functioned as a federal office building. The Old Post Office Building was renovated in 1983 and added a food court, retail space, and skylight in the building’s main atrium.
In 2013 the building leased to develop Trump International Hotel Washington, DC which opened in 2016. The Trump Hotel closed in 2022 and the building is now home to Waldorf Astoria Washington DC.
Old Post Office Pictures
Here are more photos from the Old Post Office Museum and Tower in Washington DC.
Thanks for reading! I hope you get a chance to visit this stunning place.
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