Experience Washington D.C.
In Washington, D.C., you’ll enjoy access to fascinating, FREE attractions and historic sights. Touch a moon rock, marvel at the Hope Diamond, view Dorothy’s Ruby Red slippers, or explore Native American culture at the Smithsonian Institution’s fifteen Washington, D.C. area facilities. Discover treasures like the Gutenberg Bible at the Library of Congress, the only da Vinci painting in North America at the National Gallery of Art, and historic documents like the Declaration of Independence at the National Archives.
Away from these celebrated federal sites, Washington, D.C. unwinds into a fascinating network of neighborhoods where visitors discover trendy boutiques, hip bars, and restaurants, plus art galleries, historic homes, and lush parks and gardens. Shoppers love the store-lined streets of Georgetown, while jazz music fans won’t want to miss a trip to U Street, where Duke Ellington played his first notes. The city’s international character shines through in its Adams Morgan and Dupont Circle neighborhoods, two prime destinations for eclectic dining and nightlife, and the historic center of the city’s embassy community.
See Washington Sightseeing Tours & Attractions
Welcome to Washington, DC
Monuments and memorials, eclectic neighborhoods, true local flavor – Washington, DC is a place unlike any other. It’s your home away from home with free museums and America’s front yard. Plan your trip to the nation’s capital by checking out all the things to do, places to eat, and ways to stay. We’ll see you soon.
It’s easy to ride the Metro or hop on a bike and explore all that DC has to offer. Walk the halls of free Smithsonian museums, paddle on the Potomac River, or sit back on a double-decker tour bus and soak up some history. Local shops, funky marketplaces, and people-watching hot spots beckon by midday, as nighttime gives way to multi-course dinners and drinks from local breweries. However, if you spend your time here, make it count.
The Best times to visit Washington, D.C., are from September to November and March to May. In the autumn, the sweltering summer is gone, taking with it most of the high-season tourists. All that's left are crisp breezes and changing leaves, which, by the way, look great against all those marble monuments.
Georgetown is a charming area with Federal-style architecture, cobblestone streets, and fashion and design shops. The dining scene is defined by upmarket restaurants and waterfront seafood spots, while nightlife spans boisterous college bars, traditional taverns, and intimate live music lounges. Georgetown Waterfront Park has a riverside promenade and gardens, and there's a bike path along the C&O Canal.
Get Around Washington, DC
Washington, DC has one of the safest, cleanest, and most efficient transportation systems in the world. Metrorail and Metrobus are the most convenient ways to get around DC, with Metrobus providing connections for locations not serviced by Metrorail. The Walter E. Washington Convention Center even has a dedicated Metro station serviced by the Yellow and Green lines, and many hotels are conveniently located near Metro stations or bus routes. Metro operates from 5 a.m. to midnight on weekdays and from 7 a.m. to midnight on weekends.
Metrobus runs hundreds of routes throughout the city and the greater Washington, DC area, with more than 1,400 buses using compressed natural gas or a hybrid electric drive system helping to keep DC eco-friendly.
Riders can pay by purchasing a SmarTrip card, which allows users to load a designated amount on the card for repeated swiping. The cards can also be used as payment for Metrobus and DC Circulator rides.
Taxis, rental cars & parking
Taxi service is plentiful and economical in DC. In fact, DC has one of the highest taxi-to-citizen ratios in the country, with more than 6,000 taxis servicing the city. Taxis use a metered system just like every other city in the country. All taxis also accept credit and debit cards as payment, as well as cash.
You can also download the DC Taxi Rider app for your iPhone or Android, which allows you to choose from a regular, large, or wheelchair-accessible taxi, see a fare and time estimate before you hail the cab, and pay either through the app or in the vehicle.
Uber is another great option for getting where you need to go all over DC. Simply sign up and download the app to your phone, and you can begin requesting a ride with the tap of a button. No cash is required, and tip is handled in the ride fare. Numerous car options are available, and you can even share a ride.
Rental cars are yet another option. All the major rental companies have locations throughout DC, including Enterprise, and most have offices at the airports. Of course, some visitors choose to drive their own vehicles. Most hotels have parking facilities located within their structure, and visitors can find convenient street or garage parking with ParkWhiz or SpotHero. The on-demand parking app helps drivers find parking, compare discounted rates and reserve a spot for up to 50% off with convenient garages, lots & valet stands in Washington, DC.
The DC Circulator gets rave reviews from residents and visitors alike. The bus is incredibly affordable at just $1 per ride and travels along six specific routes designed for easy-on, easy-off access at points of interest throughout the District. Explore neighborhoods such as Adams Morgan, Dupont Circle, Georgetown, Woodley Park, U Street, and Capitol Hill with the Circulator. The bus even offers a dedicated National Mall route for super easy access to DC’s majestic lineup of monuments and memorials. Schedules for every route are available, and buses run every 10 minutes.
Walking & Biking Around DC
One of the best ways to experience Washington, DC is on foot. The city’s wide sidewalks meander past the inspiring monuments and museums found on the National Mall, as well as the intimate museums, world-class theaters, and splendid gardens in the city’s collection of neighborhoods.
Of course, those who prefer to explore on two wheels will be happy to know that Capital Bikeshare has over 350 stations across DC, Virginia, and Maryland. Its fleet includes more than 3,000 bicycles, and the system is easy: simply join (options range from a Day Key to a year-long membership) and you have access to bikes 24 hours a day. The first 30 minutes of each trip are free, with each additional half hour incurring a fee.
Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States, offers a wide array of travel experiences. Here are some of the top experiences that make Washington, D.C. a remarkable destination:
- Historical and Cultural Exploration: Washington, D.C. is known for its rich history and iconic landmarks. Visitors can explore the National Mall, home to the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, and the U.S. Capitol. The city is also dotted with world-class museums, including the Smithsonian Institution, where you can delve into art, history, science, and culture. The National Archives houses the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, while the Ford's Theatre and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture offer insights into significant events and narratives in American history.
- Monuments and Memorials: Washington, D.C. is famous for its grand monuments and memorials that pay homage to influential figures and events. The National World War II Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and Korean War Veterans Memorial honor those who served in the respective conflicts. The Jefferson Memorial, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, and the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial are other notable landmarks worth visiting.
- Political and Governmental Institutions: As the capital of the United States, Washington, D.C. is a hub of political and governmental institutions. Visitors can explore the U.S. Capitol and witness the legislative process. The White House, though requiring prior arrangements, offers a glimpse into the residence of the President. The Supreme Court and the Library of Congress are also important institutions open to the public for tours.
- Cultural and Performing Arts: Washington, D.C. has a vibrant arts scene. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts hosts world-class performances, including theater, ballet, and concerts. The city is home to numerous theaters, galleries, and music venues, offering a diverse range of artistic experiences.
- Festivals and Events: Washington, D.C. hosts a variety of festivals and events throughout the year. The National Cherry Blossom Festival, held in spring, celebrates the blooming of cherry blossom trees, a gift from Japan. The Smithsonian Folklife Festival showcases cultural traditions from around the world. Independence Day celebrations on the National Mall, featuring a parade and fireworks, are particularly festive.
- Educational and Research Institutions: The city is home to several prestigious educational and research institutions, including Georgetown University and George Washington University. Visitors can explore their campuses and attend public lectures, seminars, or cultural events.
Washington, D.C. offers a unique blend of history, culture, politics, and the arts, making it an ideal destination for those seeking a diverse range of experiences.
Important Things to Know:
Passport Requirement: No
Visa Requirement: No
Recommended Vaccinations: None
This Destination is Best For: See Above.
Is This a Family-Friendly Destination: Yes
Best Time To Travel to This Destination: Year-Round but Harvest time, August to October is best.
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