Good to know about Washington DC
Washington, DC, is a city filled with history and culture. From the iconic monuments andmemorials to the vibrant neighborhoods and bustling nightlife, the nation’scapital has something to offer everyone. So, whether you’re a first-time visitor ora returning traveler, this Washington, DC, travel guide will provide you with allthe information you need to plan the perfect trip. From the best places to stayand eat to the must-see attractions and activities, this guide has it all. So,let’s get started!
Theplace was chaotic when the federal government relocated to DC in 1800.The Capitol Building, the President's House, and many other buildings werestill disrepair. Many areas of the city were also swampland and had muddyroads.
Mostpeople who visited the city were from Europe and curious about the democraticgovernance in this young nation. Skvarla writes that Andrew Jackson's electionwas hailed as "the beginning of the common era of man" and thatthousands flocked to DC to see his 1829 inauguration. Some Americans also movedto Washington in response to growing civic engagement. Visitors would alsotravel to see historical debates between distinguished speakers.
However,although Washington didn't have many sights in those years, there were stillmany things to see. Many people loved the Capitol building, mainly becauseits "towering dome" stood out from the brick and wood buildingssurrounding it. Tourism also became a significant industry in the city during thelatter decades of the nineteenth century. Americans began to travel more due tobetter transportation and more leisure time.
BestTime to Visit
April toJune or September to October is the best time to visit this city. Thetemperatures in late spring and early summer are also warm and inviting.Besides, in September and October, there will still be warmth without thecrowds of tourists.
Moreover,Washington's Cherry Blossom Festival is from late March through early April.The blooms peak between the first and second weeks of April. This universitytown welcomes graduates in May. Furthermore, the Fourth of July is a joyfulspectacle, but it can also lead to a very crowded weekend in the capital. Julyand August are the peak seasons, as they are the year's hottest months.
Thingsto Do & Places to Visit
Theseare the top things to do and places to visit in Washington, D.C.
The Washington Monument and the WhiteHouse
Even ifyou are only visiting Washington for a brief visit, the White House andWashington Monument - two of the U.S. marble symbols - are a must-see.
TheWashington Monument, which stood just shy of 555 1/2 feet tall, was the world'stallest structure when it was built in 1884. However, you can now ride theelevators that take you to the observation deck at the top of the monument to afull view of the city. These views are always a hit with visitors. Besides, youcan explore the exterior for free 24 hours per day. However, National ParkService rangers can only answer questions between 9:30 and10 p.m.
Themonument is open every day between 9 am and 5 pm. Also, same-day tickets aredistributed each day. The ticket window opens at 8.45 am. But you will have towait in line. The nearest Metro station to the monument is Smithsonian Metro.
The WorldWar II Memorial
TheWorld War II Memorial is dedicated to thousands of people who died during theconflict. The Rainbow Pool is dominated by a 56-column circle, which representsthe U.S. territories and states from that era. This memorial can look quitebeautiful at night when the lights are shining. A wall with more than 4,000gold stars is also visible - one for each 100 Americans killed in theconflict.
Visitorshave expressed gratitude for the World War II Memorial and felt inspired. Althoughthere might be a lot of tourists during the summer and spring, past travelersrecommend that you still visit the memorial to take advantage of its waterfeatures.
TheNational Mall is a great starting point for visiting some of the city's most iconicmuseums and monuments. The mall is a stretch of grassy park and waterpond that runs from the Capitol Building in the east to the Lincoln Memorial inthe west. Besides, you can take a walk along the mall on a sunny day. It is alsoone of the most popular places in Washington, D.C., to stroll.
The U.S.Capitol Building
TheCapitol building is home to the U.S. Senate. It is full of politicians andlawmakers who help decide the country's future. It is also one of thebuildings that visitors can visit and tour.
If youare a US citizen, your Senator or Representative will be able to give youaccess to the Capitol. If you are visiting from another country, tickets can bepurchased for an official tour. It's a beautiful area. It's impossible to miss.
TheSmithsonian National Air and Space Museum
Thismuseum attracts millions of visitors each year. It houses a collection offamous aircraft, such as Amelia Earhart’s Lockheed Vega 5B. The EinsteinPlanetarium, an IMAX theater, and flight simulators are also some of theexhibits. Parents beware! The gift shop is massive, so prepare for pleas fromyour children.
TheLibrary of Congress
This isthe most extensive library in the world and the oldest cultural institution in thecountry. A free one-hour guided tour is also available of the building.This is an excellent option for history buffs. It's truly unique and one of themost beautiful places in Washington, D.C. You will also find various galleriesand exhibitions that showcase some of the Library's finest collections.
Culture & Customs
Whilethe District has been home to many history buffs, lobbyists, and power playersfor a long time, it is now growing in diversity thanks to its revitalizedneighborhoods and thriving shopping,restaurant, and nightlife scene. Moreover, people from all over thecountry, as well as other countries, are attracted to the city by itsuniversities and high-power jobs.
However,there are some unspoken rules that you should follow when visiting the capitol.If you don't want your presence noticed while using the metro, the rightside of the elevator is only for standing. The left side is open for those whoneed to hurry up and down.
Thiscity also has deep roots in black history and the civil rights movement.Besides, D.C. has had a large black population. This was because formerly enslaved people from the Upper South would come here to find work. That is what shaped theWashingtonian culture. Frederick Douglass and Duke Ellington were both born inD.C. Ellington played jazz at venues along the U Street Corridor and was a keyplayer in shaping the city’s music scene. Furthermore, many attractions payhomage to the city’s civil rights ties. Throughout the year, there are manymusic, art, and nature festivals in the District.
Thiscity is the epicenter of American politics. Washington, D.C., is also home to adiverse clientele, and its restaurant scene reflects this diversity. There aremany restaurants to choose from along Dupont Circle and Georgetown. You canalso find delicious dishes like succulent oyster shots and spicy Spanish bites.
Besides,you can go to Florida Avenue and the U Street Corridor for some of the mostpopular Black-owned restaurants in this area. A strip of ethnic restaurants inthe Atlas District offers Japanese, Asian, and Belgian cuisines. A guided tourcan let you know all the dining options available in the city.
Farmer'smarkets are also a popular fixture in the area. Washingtonians can be foundbrowsing the colorful markets for organic and healthy fruits and vegetables onSaturdays and Sundays. Freshfarm´s Market in Dupont Circle and Eastern Marketare local favorites. Union Market and the dining room at Café Riggs are also favorites.
Here aresome highlights of DC - the best areas to stay. There is a wide selection of 5-star hotels in town. All have a fitness center and some an indoor pool. Some hotels overs rooms overlooking the Tidal Basin or views of the White House.
Washington'sdowntown is the most popular area to visit. This is where you will find thebest luxury hotels, restaurants, shops, and other amenities. You might also seepoliticians, newscasters, or other public figures stopping by a local bar orrestaurant for a drink. Moreover, many people travel to DC because of the many available cultural and historical institutions. The White House,Smithsonian, and National Portrait Gallery of Art are all here.
DowntownDC also offers shopping and dining. Visit CityCenterDC for a selection of 40top-rated restaurants and shops. CityCenterDC is an expansive mixed-usedevelopment that boasts more than 2 million square feet of commercial andresidential space. This is a great place to start your trip. Everyone shouldvisit the Smithsonian and White House at least once. It's also the mostexpensive place to stay in DC.
LoganCircle is named after a traffic circle located at Rhode Island Avenue and Vermont Avenue intersection. It isalso a popular neighborhood for the young and hip. Here, you will find trendyboutiques and small galleries, as well as gay nightclubs, cafes, and otheramenities that make it one of the most fashionable areas in DC. There are alsomany bars and pubs in the area.
However,the main action is on 14th Street, one block west of the trafficcircle. The Logan Circle neighborhood borders DC's Dupont Circle. Manylandmarks are also within walking distance.
CapitolHill is the home of the national government. Here, you will find the UnitedStates Capitol, Senate, House of Representatives, and Supreme Court buildings.It also houses the Library of Congress and Folger Shakespeare Library, as wellas the United States Botanic Garden.
Moreover,the area is home to beautiful neighborhoods of row houses. Capitol Hill's foodscene is unparalleled. After work ends, the neighborhood's pubs and oyster barscome alive. Besides, Barracks Row is one of the most popular spots on CapitolHill. This is the place to be if you are a foodie! Here you will findtop-quality meats, cheeses, and delicious baked goods. On weekends, vendorsbring in antiques and crafts.
If youwant to feel as if you are watching the political process unfold around you,Capitol Hill is a great place to live.
If youare looking for authentic culture, Chinatown is a fun and eclectic place tovisit. A Chinese gate, the Friendship Arch, marks the neighborhood. You willfind it at 7th Street and H Street. Chinatown has a total of 20 Asian andChinese restaurants. This neighborhood is also home to the Capital One Arena.
If youare looking for a more authentic experience of Washington D.C., Chinatown's laid-back, high-end residential atmosphere is a great place to stay. Thereare also affordable hotels around Chinatown. You can reach Chinatown via theGallery Place Washington Metro station, Yellow Line.
Georgetownis a thriving neighborhood that offers everything from fun college bars and ariverside promenade with bike paths. Besides, Georgetown University's maincampus is the most prominent reason many people know Georgetown. It also housesthe embassies of Iceland, Sweden, France, Cameroon, and more.
You'llalso find a lot of great restaurants, high-end shops, and bars at theintersection of Wisconsin Avenue and M Street. The Georgetown Park shopping centeris also available. If you are looking for the best restaurants, head to theWashington Harbor waterfront. Georgetown is safe and an ideal area to stay forfamilies.
How toget around
WashingtonMetropolitan Area Transit Authority provides the best public transportationsystem to get around the city. Most residents and travelers use Metro trainsand buses or go on foot. You can even take the Metro bus or train toget into the city from Arlington, Virginia, which is Virginia's nearestairport. However, it is not recommended to rent a car here. This city has beenconsistently ranked among the most dangerous places to drive. Taxis are also anoption.
The cityis also served by Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD), which isapproximately 31 miles northwest. Besides, you can take the MARC Train to UnionStation to get to Baltimore/Washington Airport. The Metro is the best optionfor travel to Reagan Airport in Washington, D.C. Take the Metro or the 5A busfrom Dulles Airport to get to the city. All airports have taxis and rentalcars.
How toStay Safe
Althoughyou won't encounter significant crime while visiting D.C. as a tourist, it's stillwise to be cautious when walking around the city. Be sensible when walkingaround. Avoid quiet streets, especially if you're alone or not sure where youare going. Also, keep your wallet and purse safe. At night, travelers should beespecially cautious in the Southwest areas such as Capitol Hill and AtlasDistrict.