- Best Hotels
- Best Restaurants
- Things to Do in D.C.
- Do’s and Don’ts When Visiting Washington D.C.
Washington D.C. is the nation’s capital and it is quite the popular vacation destination among travelers. While some people choose this area for the history that lies within, others prefer to visit for the culture, the traditions, and the beauty that can be found there. This area is fabulous to see at any time of the year, but the weather is usually the best from spring all the way through till the end of fall.
There are plenty of hotels in the Washington D.C. area, but there are a couple favorites among those who frequent this city. Those hotels are as follows:
Washington Plaza Hotel
The Washington Plaza Hotel is just over a half of a mile from the White House and every spacious room features all the comforts of home for guests. Everyone will enjoy the gym, as well as the outdoor pool, but it is the on-site restaurant and lounge that turns this hotel into a sought-after destination. There are so many other attractions nearby, which is perfect for those who do not want to venture to far from their hotel while exploring.
State Plaza Hotel
The State Plaza Hotel is steps away from the Lincoln Memorial and the metro station. The spacious rooms feature kitchenettes, as well as an office area and complimentary Wi-Fi. Guests can walk to many of the museums in the city and there are plenty of city walks near the hotel as well for those who want a guided tour of the area. Everyone will love the state-of-the-art fitness center, as well as the business centers that they can use during their stay.
Grand Hyatt Washington
The Grand Hyatt Washington is close to many of the Smithsonian Museums, as well as the zoo, and guests can reach many other attractions via a quick walk too. Spacious rooms offer every amenity that guests want and need, and the concierge service ensures that everyone has exactly what they need. Popular features at this hotel include a fitness center, business center, restaurant, and bar.
Food is available on street corners, as well as numerous restaurants, and visitors need to be aware that some of the cheapest foods are often the best. However, the fine dining establishments are worth the money as well.
This steakhouse is more than a steakhouse, it is a dream come true! The focus of the entire kitchen is the grill, which spends hours each day with delectable cuisine on top. A few favorites include lamb sirloin, clams with a touch of Chartreuse butter, pork porterhouse, and of course, amazing beef steaks. There are plenty of wines to choose from, and the owner recommends trying something light instead of a bold Cabernet when you order steak.
Travelers are encouraged to arrive early at Spoken English, because reservations are not accepted at this Japanese restaurant. Diners walk in and grab one of the sixteen spots at the two counters, so they can enjoy full meals or the simpler small plates. Everyone is encouraged to have a sake as they dine on the eight courses of chicken yakitori.
Pineapple and Pearls
The ambiance at Pineapple and Pearls is going to cost every diner some serious cash, but past guests state that the food is worth every penny. Everyone should be prepared to pay more than three hundred dollars for multiple courses with beverages, although that cost can be cut in half for those who choose to dine at the bar. This is one of the restaurants where those who want to be seen are at, so travelers will never know who they will run into.
Things to Do in D.C.
Visit the Smithsonian Museums and Zoo
There are nineteen museums within the Smithsonian name, and everyone will be able to find at least one that interests them. The favorites seem to be the American History Museum, the Natural History Museum, and the National Air and Space Museum. Visitors will also want to check out the zoo, which is filled with animals that include the infamous Giant Pandas. The best part about all these museums and the zoo is that entrance is free.
Visit Arlington Cemetery
Arlington Cemetery is outside of the city, but it still needs to be on a traveler’s itinerary for their visit. This massive cemetery is filled with soldiers who lost their lives, whether in battle or long after they returned home. Travelers will find that they can walk around for hours and still not see every tombstone. Everyone will want to take the time to stop at John F. Kennedy’s grave site to see the eternal flame that has been burning since he was buried. Another prominent feature is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. This is quite a somber feature and every visitor will want to make sure that they are at the tomb when the Changing of the Guard takes place. This moving ceremony reinforces the sacrifices that soldiers make when they enlist.
Tour All the Monuments and Memorials
It can take a person days to see every single monument and memorial in Washington D.C., which is why most people choose to see only a few. The more popular monuments and memorials are the World War II Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, the Jefferson Memorial, and the Vietnam Memorial. While it is possible for a person to venture to them all on their own, the best way to see them all, and learn about each one in the process, is to take one of the numerous tours that is available. It is also recommended that visitors see some of the memorials and monuments at night when they are illuminated.
This city has many different areas, but one of the most popular ones away from the National Mall is Georgetown. This waterfront destination is always filled with people who want to shop in the stores that line the street or dine in one of the numerous restaurants there. It is recommended to make a reservation at the restaurants there, as they do get busy, especially on the weekends.
Visit the Kennedy Center
The Kennedy Center, or as it is officially called, the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, is a great place to go to remember JFK. There are free guided tours available, but everyone is encouraged to see a performance there if possible. Visitors are also encouraged to enjoy a cocktail at the Roof Terrace Restaurant either after their tour or before the show.
Visit Mount Vernon
George Washington and his family lived on the five hundred acres that is known as Mount Vernon. Visitors can explore the fourteen rooms within the beautifully restored mansion, which is furnished with items that date all the way back to the 1740s. After seeing the mansion, guests should take the time to see the outbuildings, which include the kitchen, smokehouse, stables, coach house, and the help’s quarters.
Anyone who is looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the big city for a little bit may want to venture over to Alexandria for a little exploration. Everyone will love all the colonial houses, as well as the public parks and museums. A few of the more popular things to do in that area include cruises along the Potomac River, historic walking tours, horse drawn carriage rides, and ghost tours.
Visit the National Arboretum
Those who are tired of walking will want to hop onto the tram at the National Arboretum, so they can take a thirty-five-minute ride around some of the four hundred and forty-six acres. This beautiful space contains numerous trees, herbaceous plants, and shrubs, but the most popular are the miniature bonsai.
Visit the White House
Not many people get past the gates of the White House when they are in Washington D.C., but those who plan ahead can walk inside. A few visitors will take the time to contact their local Congress members, so that they can have access to passes to take a tour of some of the rooms in this important building. Those who do not, can see if passes are still available at the White House Visitor Center, and if there are not, they will simply need to make do with glimpses from the outside of the gates.
Visit the Capitol
The Capitol building is just as important as the White House, which is why it is always next on a person’s list for tours. Everyone needs a guide with them, and tickets must be requested in advance. It is recommended that visitors arrive early in the day, as that is when most of the action is taking place.
Visit President Lincoln’s Cottage
Most people have never heard of Lincoln’s Cottage at the Soldiers’ Home, yet it is one of the most important sites of this president. This cottage has only been open to the public since 2008 and visitors will learn more about Lincoln here than anywhere else. Inside the cottage, there are items that share his family life, as well as what he went through when he lived here as he developed his policy of emancipation.
Visit Ford’s Theatre
This theater has such a sad history, as it is where President Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth on April 14, 1865. He was shot in the head as he watched the play, Our American Cousin. Right after the shooting, Lincoln was transported across the street to the Petersen House, which is where he died the following morning. Visitors are encouraged to take a tour of both buildings to see what happened on that fateful night so long ago. There is even a museum that is filled with exhibits from the beginning of Lincoln’s presidency all the way until his assassination. While all the artifacts are intriguing, most people are completely captivated by the display of the actual weapons that Booth used at the time.
Do’s and Don’ts When Visiting Washington D.C.
- DO wear comfortable walking shoes – Everyone will find that they will walk miles every day during their visit.
- DO use the metro – Everyone will find that the metro is an excellent way to avoid too much walking.
- DON’T drive in D.C. – No one will ever want to attempt this feat, as the traffic is horrible at any hour of the day or night!
- DON’T even attempt to see D.C. in one day – It is impossible to see everything in D.C. in a month let alone a day, so this is just crazy!
- DON’T wait to book a hotel room – The rooms in this city book quickly!
- DO try to visit when the cherry blossoms are in bloom.
- DO book a Guided Tour – These are the best way to get insight on this fabulous city.
- DO start the day early – Popular attractions get busy early, so everyone should plan to get up bright and early to beat some of the crowds.
- DO stay within budget – It is easier to stay within budget in D.C. than any other area of the world, due to all the free admissions that are available.
- DO splurge on occasion – Take the time to splurge on certain items like a river cruise, a hop-on hop-off pass, or a true VIP experience.
- DON’T dine at tourist traps.
- DO venture out at night to see the lights.
Washington D.C. is such a fascinating city that everyone must see at least once in their lifetime. However, most people will choose to visit more than once, as there is so much to do and see throughout the entire city.
While all the above attractions are amazing, there are many others that people will want to add to their list. The nineteen Smithsonian museums are only a few of the more than fifty that are scattered throughout the city, which means that there are so many more than visitors will enjoy. The Newseum and the Holocaust museums are other must-see museums, as they are filled with rich history that needs to be remembered forever.
Washington D.C. could be considered a walking museum itself though, and the things that a person will learn while there is so much more than what they will learn anywhere else in the world. Everyone will love their time in this extraordinary destination and most of them will not be ready to leave when it is time for them to return home.