There’s so much to do here, you may need to form an ad hoc committee just to make a plan. Accommodation near Columbus Circle is a great place to start, as it puts you just steps from the Union Station Metrorail stop on the Red Line. Hop on and head northwest to get to the Smithsonian National Zoo, where you can experience “panda-monium” at the giant panda exhibit. The Red Line also runs along the National Mall, where you’ll find most of the memorials and museums.
Get inspired at the impressive World War II Memorial, then practice your best “Four score and seven years ago…” at the Lincoln Memorial. If you’ve had enough remembering, head to the west end of the Mall to indulge your studious side—there’s a museum for every interest.
The National Museum of American History has more than 3 million artefacts, running the gamut from the original American flag to costumes of Star Wars characters R2-D2 and C-3PO. You’ll head back to your Washington, D.C., accommodation just a little bit smarter than when you left!
There are several airports serving flights to Washington, D.C.; the closest to the city is Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA). The Metrorail connects directly to this airport, and can easily take you to many attractions, including the National Mall and Arlington National Cemetery.
You can also fly into Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD), which provides bus service to the Metrorail line. Taxis are useful for airport transport and getting around; plus, many of the attractions are concentrated in one area, so once you’re in the city, your own two feet are sometimes the best option.
The District is always jam-packed with activity, so plan your Washington, D.C. holidays accordingly. Take late summer, for instance. Come late July, melodies fill the air with the gusto of an impassioned filibuster at the Sound of the City Music Festival. Meanwhile, the Fringe Festival spans nearly the entire month of July and includes public art displays, outdoor symphonies and more.
If you’d rather visit in off-peak times, plan your D.C. trip for September. You can end your summer with the National Symphony Orchestra’s yearly Labor Day Capitol Concert. It’s free, it’s classy, and it’s one heck of a show.
Another thing about September? The weather is warm and the summer crowds have gone. Oh, and the D.C. Blues Festival feeds your soul. It’s like a dream. Autumn is also a lovely time to take a Guided Monuments & Memorials Tour at dusk. Pro tip: Places to stay in Washington, D.C. fill up quickly when a big event is in town, so book your room now!
The allure of D.C. museums is powerful, but there’s plenty to see and do in the great outdoors! Begin your day watching the sunrise at the Lincoln Memorial—a truly moving experience. We dare you to put your camera away for a few minutes and capture the sight with your own peepers. When the weather is fine and the sun is out, a leisurely tour of the Dupont Circle farmers market is a wonderful way to spend your morning. Fresh bread, anyone?
If you book hotels in Washington, D.C. during colder months, that’s no reason to stay inside. Bring a cup of hot tea to the farmers market to warm your hands as you select the perfect wheel of cheese to go with your morning croissant.
If you want to spin your wheels like a minority whip in Congress, rent a bike and make it your mission to complete a great cycling adventure (this type of wheel spinning will actually end with progress, we promise). Stick to the Capital Crescent Trail and head off toward Bethesda, or ride the Mount Vernon Trail along the Potomac River.
Now, for a bit of respite after your free-wheeling fun. Tour the U.S. National Arboretum for a dose of oxygen and some relaxation among meticulously trimmed bonsai trees. Or, pay a visit to the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden—who knows, you may pick up some ideas for your garden back home. During the summer, relax by the fountain; when temperatures drop, the fountain becomes an ice skating rink. Strap on your blades and practice your Salchow.
One day in Washington, D.C. isn’t a lot of time, but it’s more than enough to set your Instagram feed on fire with shots of historic monuments. After touring the bounty of attractions at the National Mall (including the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial and Washington Monument), set your GPS for 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Although tours are reserved for Americans who have gained permission through a congressional rep, you can still marvel at the exterior and send a friendly wave to the commander in chief.
Take a U.S. Capitol tour to learn about America’s beginnings and potentially rub elbows with some of Washington’s elite. Pssst, make sure to put the famous “Whispering Gallery” to the test. From the capitol, an underground tunnel leads you to the Library of Congress.
With all the history you can stomach under your belt, be sure to investigate Washington’s foodie scene before you leave. Grab a table at an upscale joint in Georgetown or get a reservation at a French bistro in the 14th Street Corridor. These neighbourhoods have some of the best food in Washington, D.C.—you really can’t go wrong.
There’s no political maneuvering required to score Wotif’s great deals on Washington, D.C., hotels. Just move your mouse and click—we make it easy! Then pack your walking shoes and get ready for a tour of America, all in one city.
Need insider tips on must-see attractions in Washington? Check out our Washington travel guide!
Hotels in Washington start at AU$119 per night. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.