The Ultimate Travel Guide To Washington D.C. & Things To Do In America’s Capital

The United States is one of the best travel destinations in the world, with phenomenal sites to visit. Washington, D.C., the nation’s capital, is one such location. The place is a lot more than the nation’s political center and the leading cherry blossom tourist attraction.

Washington D.C. is famous for many things. The location has picturesque neighborhoods dotted with iconic row houses, renowned galleries, and an underappreciated haute cuisine setting. Exploring the rich culture, history, and booming metropolitan spectacle will provide visitors with an incredible atmosphere. Here is the complete travel guide to Washington, D.C.


Best Time To Go To D.C.

Washington monument

Washington Monument and Reflecting Pool from Lincoln Memorial

The ideal months to visit Washington D.C. are April through June or September through November. Climate will be mild and pleasant in the late springtime and early summer, and in September-November, people will still get some coziness without being faced with the extreme heat and swarms of visitors arriving during the summers.

Washington hosts the world-famous Cherry Blossom Festival from late March- early April. Holidays such as the Fourth of July, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve are also the best times to discover Washington in all its brilliance.

The peak period for hotels is from April to June, whereas the shoulder season is from December to February.

  • Best Season To Visit: Fall
  • Best Months To Visit: September-November

Discover The Best Of Washington D.C.

View of Washington Monument at night

View of  Washington Monument at night from far

Washington, D.C., is located on America’s eastern coast and serves as the country’s capital but is not a state.

From the Civil War to the American Revolution to modern waves of activism, the area has been the central focus of historical stances, as evidenced by its never-ending roster of landmarks, exhibitions, and commemoratives.

Georgetown remains and will continue to be Washington, D.C.’s leading shopping district. However, neighboring Dupont Circle could evidently compete.

The majority of the stores are located on two important traversing avenues, M Street NW and Wisconsin Avenue. There are both unique, chain, elegant, and thrift stores.

View of United States Capitol

View of United States Capitol from far

There are many museums in Washington D.C. The Mall is a 2-mile stretch of land boasting several of the city’s most well-known monuments and museums, such as the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, and the Air and Space Museum.

The Washington Monument is very famous and a must-visit landmark.

Pennsylvania Avenue is among the world’s most recognizable streets. One of its portions includes administrative buildings and monuments and concludes with the White House.

The United States Archives, FBI Headquarters, and the Navy Memorial are all located here.

Top Things To Do In D.C.

The United States capital is among the most desirable locations, given the tourist places available. This section of the United States incorporates many of the nation’s most significant monuments and sights. Apart from visiting the Washington Monument, there are many others to explore.

Folks arrive from across the world to indulge in the city’s entertainment. There are fantastic options and fun activities to do in Washington D.C. when people are in the area, and there’s truly something for everybody.

National Gallery Of Art

inside of The National Gallery Of Art

The National Gallery of Art has been among the world’s leading art museums, in addition to being the most notable in the United States, and is home to a diverse collection of artworks ranging from European art pieces and statues to American art, some of which are timeless.

Temporary events supplement this exceptional permanent catalog by highlighting works from different cultures worldwide. The center also has a souvenir shop, a lovely sculpture park, and a famous ice rink for winter sports enthusiasts.

Visit The International Spy Museum

The International Spy Museum

The International Spy Museum from outside

Among the many attractions in Washington D.C., this is quite interesting. The International Spy Museum would be an excellent place to learn more about the historical past of espionage. Including more than 7,000 items on exhibit, this monument has the most comprehensive collection worldwide of espionage artifacts.

The museum will inform visitors about the history of spying and how it all began. It also gives them a chance to demonstrate and improve their spying abilities.

The upper floor is devoted to real-life secret agents John Walker, Robert Hanson, and Aldrich Ames, documenting the exact techniques and equipment they used to conduct surveillance on America, as well as videos explaining how spies were apprehended.

The bottom floor transitions from reality to stories, with details and actual objects from James Bond films.

Explore The National Air And Space Museum

The National Air And Space Museum Washington Dc

Inside of The National Air And Space Museum Washington Dc

The National Air and Space Museum serves as among the most renowned museums worldwide, housing a catalog of historic aircraft and spacecraft.

Permanent and temporary exhibitions depict the science, past, and innovation of avionics and space flying, discussing themes such as flight innovators, the space race, air power’s usages across both world wars, and cutting-edge aircraft and space engineering.

Several of the displays are immersive, including real historical artifacts, like a moon rock that people can touch. It is a must-see attraction for any aviation or space connoisseur.

Walk Around The Botanic Garden

The Botanic Garden washington DC

Outside of The Botanic Garden washington DC

The U.S. Botanic Garden seems to be a tropical garden sanctuary in the city’s heart. The massive glasshouse, encircled by gardens, serves as the focal point of an exhibition of living vegetation.

Permanent indoor displays foster an atmosphere for plants at home anywhere from the wilderness to the wetlands, while the exterior showcases vegetation that flourishes in the Mid-Atlantic regions.

Something is always in blossoms, and seats throughout the huge conservatory welcome visitors to take a break and relax in the aromas and verdant scenery. It’s a fantastic spot to get away from the metropolitan area and discover various flora.

Other top attractions to explore: The World War II Memorial, The Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, the Smithsonian National Museum Of Natural History, and many others.

The Washington Monument and The Potomac River

The Washington Monument and The Potomac River

Among the best parts about exploring a metropolitan region like this is that people can see some popular neighborhoods near Washington D.C. that are equally attractive and historically significant as the tourist hotspots.

Every neighborhood has a distinct style, sites to discover, and significance.

Capitol Hill

Capitol Hill

Capitol Hill at night

Capitol Hill is a captivating and iconic Washington, D.C. neighborhood. Aside from its rich past and significance to the United States government, it is also renowned for its numerous shopping and dining alternatives.

Barracks Row, the city’s earliest shopping district, is surrounded by many coffeehouses and popular food outlets. Due to its vast green spaces and famous parks, such as Stanton Park, Marion Park, and Garfield Park, the place also ranks among the top Washington DC neighborhoods for kids and families.

Foggy Bottom

Foggy Bottom

Foggy Bottom the walkup neighbourhood

Foggy Bottom has been a famous D.C. neighborhood, government center, and cultural center. The neighborhood is mostly made up of exclusive homes and laid-back cafés.

It’s among the top D.C. neighborhoods to visit because it is calmer but still has activities like free concerts at the Kennedy Convention, beverages with Potomac’s outlook at the renowned Watergate Hotel, kayaking on the water, or a leisurely walk across Rock Creek Garden.

It’s also close to Georgetown and a perfect place to hang out.

Dupont Circle

Dupont Circle

Dupont Circle near Washington DC

Dupont Circle serves as a residential neighborhood in Washington, D.C., and is also famous for its thriving night scene and offbeat dining options, with the traffic loop binge and the huge fountain in the center serving as the area’s focal point.

There are many historical museums, trendy restaurants, and coffee houses with excellent coffee on M Street Northwest. The Chinese American Museum, The Wilderness Society, and The O Street Museum are also among the most famous destinations on M Street Northwest.

There are also numerous shops and boutiques to hold visitors occupied for hours.

Where To Eat

Tabard Inn

Front view of Hotel Tabard Inn

The capital’s erstwhile drab dining culture has transformed into a gastronomic haven, with old-school classics taking permanent residence throughout the metropolitan area.

Today, Washington D.C. has some of the best steakhouses. So, if people are looking for a simple and easy breakfast or a fine-dining dinner to enjoy, the best places in D.C. list seem to have something for everyone.

Accommodations In Washington

Washington DC hotel

Hotel in Washington DC

The United States has some of the best hotels in the world, and Washington, DC, as the nation’s capital, has an appropriate hotel scene.

Some of the most important factors to consider when selecting a hotel are cost, convenience, and amenities. Let’s take a look at some of the best places to spend the night in D.C.

Luxury hotels

Luxury Hotels

A luxury hotel

Melrose Georgetown Hotel

  • Cost: $296 per night for 2 adults
  • Address: 2430 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Northwest, Washington, DC 20037
  • Amenities: Fitness center, Restaurant, Bar

Viceroy Washington DC

  • Cost: $399 per night for 2 adults
  • Address: 1430 Rhode Island Avenue North West, Northwest, Washington, DC 20005
  • Amenities: Fitness center, Swimming Pool, Restaurant

Sofitel Lafayette Square Washington DC

  • Cost: $535 per night for 2 adults
  • Address: 806 15th Street North West, Northwest, Washington, DC 20005
  • Amenities: Restaurant, Lounge

Budget Hotels

DoubleTree by Hilton Washington DC

DoubleTree by Hilton in Washington DC, the parking and garage area

DoubleTree by Hilton Washington DC – Crystal City

  • Cost: $169 per night for 2 adults
  • Address: 300 Army Navy Drive, Arlington, VA 22202
  • Amenities: Restaurant

Hyatt Place Washington DC/US Capitol

  • Cost: $189 per night for 2 adults
  • Address: 33 New York Avenue NE, Northeast, Washington, DC 20002
  • Amenities: Restaurant, Bar

Hampton Inn & Suites Alexandria Old Town Area South

  • Cost: $120 per night for 2 adults
  • Address: 5821 Richmond Highway, Alexandria, VA 22303, United States
  • Amenities: Restaurant, Fitness Center

RELATED: The American Civil War Museum Is Home To What Was Almost Known As A Second Capitol White House

Getting Around Washington D.C.

D.C. is an extremely walkable city that boasts one of the finest public transportation systems in the nation. So getting around this famous travel spot couldn’t be simpler.

Walk Or Cycle Around


A girl sitting in front of river with bicycle parked on side

D.C. is among the most coherent and walkable cities along the Eastern Coast, thanks to an effective urban planning initiative at its inception. Many landmarks are concentrated in nearby neighborhoods, allowing visitors to simply walk the distance.

Even late at night, the avenues in Northwest are tidy, well-lit, and reasonably safe for commuters. If visitors would like to be more energetic, try renting a bicycle to explore the attractions of D.C. sans having to deal with traffic.

Washington has long remained on the cutting edge of the biking lifestyle, and most streets in the Northwest have bicycle paths or are readily accessible by bike.

Use Public Transport

Washington Metro Area Transit Authority

Washington Metro Area platform

Washington Metro Area Transit Authority (WMATA) operates the buses and trains in the city, and its network is by far the most convenient way to navigate the city.

The Metro, or train system, was gradually revamped to effectively serve travelers.

The bus service covers a larger portion of the city, but excluding the Circulator bus lines, it is less user-friendly for visitors. If people are searching for buses, the Circulator is the top choice.

There is no fixed fare since Metro evaluates it depending on the distance visitors commute on the network.

Tips To Remember

Washington DC-5

A colorful neighborhood

There are some things visitors need to understand before going on a tour of Washington, D.C. Admittedly, visitors would like to have a good time and discover important places.

  • Select the season carefully. While summer is a low season, the D.C. climate is notorious for its high temperatures and humidity, so take into account the ease before booking a family vacation.
  • It is critical to arrange the vacation ahead of time. Look for the best accommodations and make a reservation because it can be tricky to book on arrival.
  • Given that the majority of landmarks are within walking distance, take public transportation or stroll as often as possible.
  • When walking around the city, it is critical to wear comfortable and appropriate footwear.

Spend A Perfect Day In DC

Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC

Visitors might begin their trip at the White House, DC’s most significant landmark. The Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, and the National Air and Space Museum can all be seen by visitors thanks to the proximity of The Mall and Pennsylvania Avenue.

Visitors must go to Georgetown to shop and explore a charming neighborhood. Additionally, nearby and a fantastic choice for food and shopping is Dupont Circle.

After spending the entire day taking in the sights, travelers can experience the neighborhood’s vibrant nightlife.


Q: What is the best time to visit Washington D.C.?

The best months to travel to Washington, D.C., are September through November or March through May. Visitors will have the ideal climate during these periods, and while they might have to cope with the masses (especially at popular tourist attractions), it’ll be significantly less of a concern than dealing with the bad climate that causes visitors to spend time outdoors in the city.

Q: How to get around D.C.?

Washington, D.C., is a walkable city, with nearly all monuments and various neighborhoods within walking distance of one another. As a result, visitors can stroll around the area all day because it is safe and secure. Biking is another option, as most streets have bike paths. The city’s public transportation system is also inexpensive, fast, and efficient, making it a popular choice for visitors.

Q: What are the coolest things to do in D.C.?

Washington, D.C., is a bustling metropolis with a wide variety of attractions, including many free ones. But exploring some things is genuinely cool. One of the top experiences that will absolutely astound visitors is exploring D.C.’s museums, especially the International Spy Museum. Visitors will gain a deeper understanding of the world of espionage by visiting this exclusive museum.

Another fantastic location to visit to learn more about the aviation or space world is the National Air and Space Museum. Kayaking is another activity that people will appreciate in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood’s Rock Creek Garden. Last but not least, travelers must not skip out on spending the evening in Dupont Circle.

Q: Are 2 days in Washington D.C. enough?

Two days in the iconic American capital are sufficient to learn about a few of its most significant sites. Although 48 hours isn’t long enough to explore a place thoroughly, smart itinerary preparation can help visitors get the most out of their trip.

Choosing one area to explore at a time works well; check out museums, monuments, and other sights in one area each day. With so many amazing things to do, the hardest part is figuring out where to start.