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Washington
Travel Guide

Washington

National treasures, American history and international politics take center stage in the U.S. capital city. 

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.

Washington Travel Guide Video

Where to stay in Washington

Yours Truly DC
Yours Truly DC
4.5 out of 5
1143 New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington, DC
The price is CA $167 per night from Apr 25 to Apr 26
Located in Downtown Washington D.C., this luxury hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of George Washington University, National Mall, and White House. Lincoln Memorial ...
4.4/5Excellent! (183 reviews)
"Wonderful hotel and beautiful restaurant!"

Reviewed on Apr. 21, 2021

Yours Truly DC
Courtyard by Marriott Washington Downtown/Convention Center
Courtyard by Marriott Washington Downtown/Convention Center
3 out of 5
901 L Street NW, Washington, DC
The price is CA $126 per night from Apr 25 to Apr 26
Located in Downtown Washington D.C., this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Ford's Theater, and Capital One Arena. ...
4.4/5Excellent! (779 reviews)
"Very clean hotel. Excellent front desk staff and conveniently located. I would highly recommend."

Reviewed on Apr. 21, 2021

Courtyard by Marriott Washington Downtown/Convention Center
Motto by Hilton Washington DC City Center
Motto by Hilton Washington DC City Center
3.5 out of 5
627 H Street NW, Washington, DC
The price is CA $95 per night from Apr 25 to Apr 26
Located in Chinatown, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Smithsonian American Art Museum and CityCenterDC. Capital One Arena and Walter E. Washington Convention ...
4.4/5Wonderful! (1,855 reviews)
"I liked everything. The room was clean, comfortable. I liked the staff very much. They were were very nice, helped me"

Reviewed on Apr. 19, 2021

Motto by Hilton Washington DC City Center
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.
Sonesta Simply Suites Falls Church
Sonesta Simply Suites Falls Church
3 out of 5
205 Hillwood Ave, Falls Church, VA
The price is CA $130 per night from Apr 25 to Apr 26
Situated in the historical district, this aparthotel is 1.3 mi (2 km) from Eden Center and within 6 mi (10 km) of Inova Fairfax Hospital and Tysons Corner Center. ...
4.4/5Excellent! (616 reviews)
"Clean, nice kitchen, friendly staff"

Reviewed on Apr. 13, 2021

Sonesta Simply Suites Falls Church
Global Luxury Suites Bethesda Chevy Chase
Global Luxury Suites Bethesda Chevy Chase
3.5 out of 5
4850 Rugby Ave, Bethesda, MD
Located in Woodmont Triangle, this aparthotel is 1 mi (1.6 km) from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and 1.4 mi (2.3 km) from National Institute ...
4.1/5Very Good! (79 reviews)
"It was great experience! Perfect place to stay during pandemic. We were able to relax and cook and have fun inside. Highly recommended."

Reviewed on Apr. 2, 2021

Global Luxury Suites Bethesda Chevy Chase
Sonder | The Grace
Sonder | The Grace
805 King Street, Alexandria, VA
The price is CA $150 per night from Apr 26 to Apr 27
Located in Old Town Alexandria, this aparthotel is 2.3 mi (3.8 km) from Potomac River Waterfront Park and 2.8 mi (4.5 km) from Birchmere. MGM National Harbor ...
5/5Exceptional! (1 review)
"Very clean, great location, 10/10 would recommend!"

Reviewed on Apr. 2, 2021

Sonder | The Grace
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Popular places to visit in Washington

Top things to do in Washington

Reviews of Washington

4.5

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
256
5 - Excellent 57.27069351230425%
4 - Good
164
4 - Good 36.68903803131991%
3 - Okay
23
3 - Okay 5.145413870246085%
2 - Disappointing
3
2 - Disappointing 0.6711409395973155%
1 - Terrible
1
1 - Terrible 0.22371364653243847%

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

Mar 17, 2020

Been here before. It's a nice place to visit if you don't have to worry about a pandemic cutting your visit short.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

Mar 9, 2020

A wonderful place to visit, so much to do. Between all the museums and places to eat, its the perfect balance of over eating and walking it off.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

Jan 18, 2020

Loved it. Beautiful place..lots of grandeur. People were very friendly and helpful. Would visit again. If you have dietary restrictions (vegan/vegetarian..look up restaurants in advance)

5/5 - Excellent

Traveller

Jan 8, 2020

You need at least a few hours to a day to see all the memorials depending on your walking speed, and another set of hours to go to the museum of natural history which is amazing!

3/5 - Okay

TouristfromYVR

Jan 7, 2020

Not a friendly city.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

Jan 4, 2020

Great place to bring a family. Lots to do and see. Many of the museums and attractions are free. Great subway system to get around.

Read travel guides and advice on visiting Washington

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner & Dessert in Washington DC

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner & Dessert in Washington DC

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner & Dessert in Washington DC
Healthy Restaurants, Cafes and Bars in Washington DC

Healthy Restaurants, Cafes and Bars in Washington DC

Healthy Restaurants, Cafes and Bars in Washington DC
Turning Washington’s National Mall into D.C.’s Best Gym: A 5-Mile Running Circuit in the Capitol

Turning Washington’s National Mall into D.C.’s Best Gym: A 5-Mile Running Circuit in the Capitol

Turning Washington’s National Mall into D.C.’s Best Gym: A 5-Mile Running Circuit in the Capitol

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