Washington DC Vacations
American history comes to life in the museums and monuments of the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. The city is home to a lively performing arts community, boasting such highly regarded venues as the Kennedy Center and Arena Stage. It also houses most of the Smithsonian, the world’s largest museum, research and educational complex.
Washington DC Vacation Deals
Featured Washington D.C. Hotel
In Washington, there’s no more critical arena than the U.S. Senate, where political teams battle it out in the name of freedom. It’s hard to believe that this small city along the Potomac could carry so much of the nation’s weight on its shoulders. Even the choice of the city’s location was embroiled in controversy, until July 16, 1790, when Congress allowed President George Washington to move the nation’s capital from its temporary seat in Philadelphia to its current home along the Potomac River. The rest is history.
What To Do
Tour the nation’s premiere spots from the Capitol to the Washington Monument by Segway, foot, bus or car.
Hop on and off with an Old Town Trolley tour.
Visit the National Mall, an area stretching from the United States Capitol building to the Potomac River.
Gaze into greatness at the Lincoln Memorial. Stare up at the mighty 555-foot marble obelisk known as the Washington Monument, built in honor of the first President of the United States.
Stroll along the cobblestone streets and 18th- and 19th-century architecture of historic Georgetown along the waterfront. Over the years, this charming area served as home base for a wide range of politicians and celebrities including Thomas Jefferson, Francis Scott Key, John F. Kennedy and Elizabeth Taylor.
What To See
Explore the exhibits at the National Museum of Natural History, the National Museum of Art and countless others, including the famous International Spy Museum.
Avoid some of the crowds at the Smithsonian and elsewhere by visiting early on weekends and later on weekdays.
Shop amid the eclectic shops and cobblestone streets of historic Georgetown. Visit the upscale stores, restaurants, and nightclubs concentrated around Dupont Circle.
There are a multitude of nightclubs on Dupont Circle. Raise a glass at one of the area’s many craft breweries. People-watch long into the night at a swanky rooftop bar. Explore the city on an entertainment cruise with live music, food, and drinks. If you still haven’t seen it all, check out Washington after dark on a night-time tour.
Washington D.C. with Kids
If you’re traveling to Washington, D.C. in the fall, you and your family can attend the National Book Festival.
During our nation’s birthday, you’ll want to catch the magnificent fireworks display above the National Mall.
Visit the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and learn how the Institute helps the United States and other countries save various animal species from extinction.
Peer into the history of space exploration at the National Air and Space Museum.
Off the Beaten Path
Play “I spy” for an hour at the International Spy Museum, the only public museum of its kind in America exhibiting the art and tools of espionage.
See where money is born at the Bureau of Engraving & Printing.
Food and Drink
Eat your way around the world in Washington, D. C. Visit the eclectic bars and restaurants of Georgetown, U Street, and Little Ethiopia. Southeast Asian food and Ethiopian are especially popular in Washington, D.C. Home-style Ethiopian food and live music have seen a revival along the U Street corridor, once home to legendary jazz great Duke Ellington, and host to Louis Armstrong, Cab Calloway, and Sarah Vaughn. There are also several spots for Ethiopian cuisine in the Adams Morgan neighborhood.
Steakhouses still rule in this high-powered city. There’s also plenty of seafood from bountiful Maryland Shores, such as succulent blue crab, fresh fish, and briny oysters. Looking to rub shoulders with the political forces that be? Appease your appetite for both politics and good food at Eastern Market and Barracks Row in the Capitol Hill area.
Looking for a local favorite? Visit Ben’s Chili Bowl, a longstanding crowd-pleaser on U Street. Its meatier, smokier hot dog, topped with mustard and chili known as half-smokes is still the most-requested item on the menu.
When to Go
Visit between late March and mid-April to catch the area’s delightful cherry blossom season. You can escape some of the crowds by viewing them at the National Arboretum or Meadowlark Botanical Gardens.
If you plan to vacation with your children, pre-back-to-school vacations in August are a bit less crowded than earlier in the summer, but you’ll have to withstand high humidity and heat.
If you can wait for autumn, you’ll discover an incredible burst of colorful fall foliage, plus a variety of kid-friendly activities, such as the National Book Festival.
You’ll find great hotel bargains, as well as the lighting of the National Christmas Tree, during winter, you may also encounter snow and freezing temperatures. However, you could get lucky, as winter temperatures have been known to reach the 60s F.