Welcome to Washington D.C.
Washington D.C. is a metropolis full of beauty, history, architecture, and culture. You might think that D.C. is only good for visiting monuments and museums, or learning about politics. These are big factors of D.C., but they aren’t the only things to do while you are traveling to the U.S. capital.
Most of the tourists crowding the Washington D.C. hotels are familiar with the popular attractions, but a worldwide local knows the paths less traveled. This is an insider’s guide to Washington D.C., where you can experience the city like a local.
Planning Your Trip
Timing is everything when you are planning a trip to D.C. There is always something interesting going on in this great city, however, if you wish to avoid insanely long lines, it’s best to visit during less high seasons. Summer is a very busy season when the Washington weather is hot and humid. If you are traveling with younger kids, you might want to factor in the heat before traveling to D.C. in the peak of summer (July/August). Spring is a beautiful time to visit D.C. Picture the cherry blossoms in full bloom, the city painted pink with the Japanese flowers that line the pathways of the National Mall. For a beautiful orange and red tinted horizon, visit during the fall.
Worldwide Local Tip: To avoid traffic and parking issues, use the metro system. Used by tourists and locals alike, the metro system is the easiest way to get around the city. This will also save time and spare your feet the pain of walking the many miles from one side of the city to the other.
Major Attractions: Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Visit
If you want to visit the White House while visiting the U.S. Capital, as many do, plan ahead. The tours get full months ahead of time, so once you know when you are traveling, book your trip to the White House.
Many travelers believe in order to “do D.C. right,” you have to spend a ton of money to see and do everything. In reality, this is not true at all. Most of the museums and galleries are free. In addition, all the Smithsonian museums, monuments, memorials, and the zoo are all on that list of free places to visit and are some of the best things to do in Washington D.C.
Worldwide Local Tip: If you want to really enjoy the National Mall, rent a bike. There are plenty of rental locations on either side of the National Mall, where you can book a bike to peddle your way through historical sites. It’s the best way to stop and smell the roses, or cherry blossoms, and truly experience the city.
Think of Your Feet!
This might sound silly, but if you are planning on visiting D.C., wear comfortable shoes! Whether you are riding the metro, taking a cab, or biking, you are still going to be doing a lot of walking. The museums and monuments are big; you will still be putting some miles on your shoes, and sore feet will surely ruin your time in Washington D.C.
Dining in D.C.
While you are visiting the Nation’s Capital, you can taste your way around the world in a single city. Washington D.C. is a fantastic city for foodies--there are so many new restaurants opening all the time. In this city, not only will you find hot restaurants by Top Chef contestants, like Mike Isabella’s Kapnos and Graffiato, but you’ll also find an overabundance of ethnic cuisines enjoyed by many locals. Ethiopian is very popular, and you can enjoy it in the Adams Morgan neighborhood. Another great way to taste your way around the world is through a city food tour. On a tour, you can get to know the city, the culture, and of course the restaurants. Be sure to check out the food tour in the U Street neighborhood, which blends history and food in a tour of one of the coolest areas of town.
Worldwide Local Tip: If you are looking for the perfect D.C. Instagram photo, visit the monuments at night. All the monuments are open 24 hours a day, and with the bright lights, you will be able to get that perfect, beautiful image for your Instagram feed--without the crowds.
Finish your trip in Old Town Alexandria. “Start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.” Take the metro to King Street (don’t expect to find parking) and walk south from there or take the free trolley. There are dozens of shops, great restaurants, and sidewalk cafes where you can sit and debate the merits of the popular Washington Nationals. Towards the end of the street is the Potomac River Harbor, filled with boats, with amazing views of the sunset. Chart House is an absolute must!
Enjoy Your Stay!
Whatever strikes your fancy when you travel, D.C. offers something for everyone! Experience history, food, culture, and amazing views in the capital. Exploring this city as a worldwide local will leave with you memories to last a lifetime.