Washington D.C., or “D.C.” as locals call it, was founded in 1791. As the epicenter of American politics, a visit to the nation’s capital isn’t complete without a trip to the White House. This is where America’s presidents have lived and worked for more than two centuries. Next door is the National Mall where you’ll find many of the country’s most revered landmarks. You can’t miss the towering Washington Monument, a 555-foot (169-meter) marble obelisk. Make your way up to the elevated U.S. Capitol Building for a breath-taking view across the Reflecting Pool towards the Lincoln Memorial. It was here that crowds gathered for Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963.

The National Mall showcases tributes to the nation’s patriots and heroes. These include the Korean War Veterans Memorial and Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, Jefferson Memorial and World War II Memorial. It’s also home to the U.S. Botanic Garden and the National Gallery of Art. The revered Smithsonian Institute, the world’s largest museum and research complex, has most of its 19 exhibit halls on the mall. These include the National Museum of Natural History and the National Air and Space Museum. Use the wide, tree-lined sidewalks around the mall to explore the sights on foot or by hired bike.

Public transportation in D.C. is fast and easy. The DC Circulator bus stops in a number of districts, including Rosslyn, which is close to the Arlington National Cemetery, the Pentagon and the Iwo Jima Memorial. In the historic district of Georgetown you’ll find 18th-century architecture and modern-day shops and cafes. For nighttime entertainment, head to the U Street Corridor in the Shaw neighborhood where jazz legend Duke Ellington used to play nightly.

Washington D.C. hosts many lively festivals year round. Join in one the nation’s largest Independence Day celebrations on July 4. Each April film buffs from around the world enjoy the Washington DC International Film Festival. Music lovers gather every June for the DC Jazz Festival. The city also has a thriving theater scene. See a live stage show at The National Theatre, walking distance from the White House. The Shakespeare Theatre Company gives free performances throughout the year at the Sidney Harman Hall in Downtown D.C.

Be prepared for humid weather in summer and snowfall in winter. Visit Washington D.C. in spring and you may be lucky enough to catch one of the city’s most spectacular displays: for just a few days in March or April, some 1,600 cherry trees around the Tidal Basin burst into bloom.

Best time to visit Washington, D.C.Peak Season: From March through June, expect higher rates as tourists flock to the city for the cherry blossoms and Congress finishes up its session.

Value Season: September and December are your best bets for great hotel deals and shorter lines. July and August are also good for travel bargains, but expect humid weather.

Known for

Museum, Historical Building and Monument

Explore map

Where to stay in Washington

Downtown Washington D.C.
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Downtown Washington D.C.

Museum, Culture, Monument

Art galleries, museums and theaters as well as vibrant entertainment, nightlife and shopping districts await in this city center neighborhood.

Georgetown
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Georgetown

Historical Building, University, Museum

Discover some of Washington’s oldest buildings, upscale shops and vibrant nightlife in this elegant riverside suburb.

Dupont Circle
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Dupont Circle

Museum, Culture, Dining

Funky shops, historic houses and fascinating museums have turned this once-exclusive neighborhood into a fun-loving bohemian district. 

Capitol Hill
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Capitol Hill

Museum, Monument, Library

Home to the emblematic U.S. Capitol Building, this central neighborhood is famous for its historic landmarks, markets, museums and nightlife.

Foggy Bottom
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Foggy Bottom

Museum, Monument, University

One of Washington’s oldest districts is now an upscale urban neighborhood, home to important government buildings as well as a lively student and arts community.

Chinatown
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Chinatown

Museum, Culture, Chinatown

Discover a city center neighborhood with a variety of Asian shops and restaurants. Visit the nearby galleries, museums and entertainment centers.

Top Hotels in Washington

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Image for Liaison Washington Capitol Hill
Liaison Washington Capitol Hill
4 out of 5
415 New Jersey Ave Nw, Washington, DC
CA $201
per night
Oct 4 - Oct 5
4.1/5Very Good! (4,147 reviews)

Located in Capitol Hill, this boutique hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Union Station Shopping Center and United States Capitol. Supreme Court of the United ...

4.1/5Very Good! (4,147 reviews)

"Location to Capitol Hill, union Station and Mall . Friendliness"…"

Reviewed on Sep. 11, 2019

Liaison Washington Capitol Hill
Image for Omni Shoreham Hotel
Omni Shoreham Hotel
4 out of 5
2500 Calvert St Nw, Washington, DC
CA $197
per night
Sep 20 - Sep 21
4.4/5Excellent! (4,307 reviews)

Located in Woodley Park, this hotel is 0.9 mi (1.5 km) from Smithsonian's National Zoo. Woodley Park-Zoo Station is only a 4-minute walk and Cleveland Park Station ...

4.4/5Excellent! (4,307 reviews)

"Exelente great hotel clean definitely. I go back again Beautiful place"…"

Reviewed on Sep. 17, 2019

Omni Shoreham Hotel
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Washington Plaza
4 out of 5
10 Thomas Circle NW, Washington, DC
CA $140
per night
Sep 21 - Sep 22
4.3/5Excellent! (9,679 reviews)

Located in Downtown Washington D.C., this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of National Geographic Society, Walter E. Washington Convention Center, and White ...

4.3/5Excellent! (9,679 reviews)

"This is a great property and very affordable. Clean, staff is friendly, and I had a great stay."…"

Reviewed on Sep. 17, 2019

Washington Plaza

Popular things to do in Washington

White House
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White House

Explore the home and workplace of the president of the United States. See entertainment areas and state rooms and learn about the history of this famous building.

Washington Monument
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Washington Monument

Centerpiece of the National Mall, America’s tribute to the country’s founding father stirs the soul while offering superb views from the top.

Lincoln Memorial
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Lincoln Memorial

Epic words, exceptional architecture, and an inspirational view combine in this stirring tribute to America’s 16th president.

United States Capitol
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United States Capitol

Sitting on top of Capitol Hill is a Washington landmark that’s been the home of American democracy for more than 200 years.

Jefferson Memorial
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Jefferson Memorial

One of the National Mall’s more austere pieces of architecture, the Jefferson Memorial pays homage to one of America’s greatest presidents and visionaries.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial
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Vietnam Veterans Memorial

This stark, powerful monument offers a pause for reflection on one of America’s most controversial conflicts.

Top activities in Washington

DC Hop On-Off Tour + Arlington Cemetery Tour + Water Taxi
Image for DC Hop On-Off Tour + Arlington Cemetery Tour + Water Taxi

DC Hop On-Off Tour + Arlington Cemetery Tour + Water Taxi

CA $65

Named “Washington's Best Tour” by the Washingtonian Magazine, the Old Town Trolley offers the most comprehensive tour of the Nation's Capitol. Sit back while expert tour guides help you discover the beauty and majesty of Washington D.C.

Washington, D.C. Day Trip from New York
Image for Washington, D.C. Day Trip from New York

Washington, D.C. Day Trip from New York

CA $223

Take a day trip out of the city to soak up the history and architecture of another East Coast metropolis—Washington, D.C. Check out the monuments and memorials of the National Mall, see the White House, and dive into the fascinating exhibits at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum.

Guided Monuments & Memorials Tour at Dusk
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Guided Monuments & Memorials Tour at Dusk

CA $76

Your tour begins at the US Navy Memorial and loops around the National Mall, stopping at iconic landmarks and powerful tributes to key moments in American history along the way.

Best of DC – VIP Guided DC Bus Tour
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Best of DC – VIP Guided DC Bus Tour

CA $165

Explore the halls of our nation’s history and see the memorials that pay tribute to early presidents, fallen soldiers, and inspired citizens. Your all-encompassing tour of the capital puts you face-to-face with the documents and buildings that symbolize our patriotic past.

See DC Today - Small Group Moonlight Tour
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See DC Today - Small Group Moonlight Tour

CA $66

Discover our Nation’s Capital during this exceptionally comprehensive, 3 - hour, personalized, professionally guided tour. To enhance our tour you will view dramatic slides and videos of DC on our Transit's overhead display screen.

Discover DC – Memorial Sightseeing Bus Tour
Image for Discover DC – Memorial Sightseeing Bus Tour

Discover DC – Memorial Sightseeing Bus Tour

CA $98

Start at the open plaza of the U.S. Navy Memorial and listen as your informative guide tells you about the significance of each feature, like the bronze statue of the Lone Sailor that stands in memory of all naval service personnel.

Read travel guides and advice on visiting Washington

LGBT destination guide: Washington, DC
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LGBT destination guide: Washington, DC

Discovering the LGBT side of the nation’s capital

Food trucks in Washington, DC
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Food trucks in Washington, DC

Finding meals to go from food trucks in the nation's capital

Capital theater scene
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Capital theater scene

Exploring the theater options in Washington, D.C.

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