Once an international crossroads and America’s ultimate hometown, Washington, DC offers visitors world-class museums and monuments, unique neighborhoods, top-rated restaurants, gorgeous parks and gardens and endless performing arts options.
Where else in the world can you see a 19-foot President Lincoln, read the real U.S. Constitution, see Dorothy’s ruby red slippers and soak in internationally acclaimed art? You’ll also find DC is a very affordable city. In fact, no other destination offers so many FREE, world-class attractions including all of the monuments and memorials and every single Smithsonian Museum.
Beyond DC’s iconic memorials and monuments a number of unique neighborhoods unfold throughout the city. Take some time to venture off the National Mall to explore the city’s collection of sidewalk cafés, quaint boutiques, charming museums and trendy nightlife. From the urban buzz in downtown’s Penn Quarter to the tranquility of Woodley Park to the up-all-night feel of Adams Morgan, there’s much to see and do beyond the National Mall.Whilst you’re here why not try DC’s retail scene offering an array of reasons to pack an extra suitcase! From the charming shops in Georgetown to funky finds on U Street to the homegrown vendors at Eastern Market, visitors will find plenty of great gifts.
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Designer clothes and homeware, Native American crafts, art, antiques, leather and textiles are all great buys in Washington DC. Georgetown, the Penn Quarter and Old Town Alexandria have a terrific range of shops, while Adams Morgan has book and curiosity shops made for browsing. The big museum shops stock some irresistible souvenirs; especially the quirky gismos at the International Spy Museum (800 F Street). Macy's (12th and G Street) is the only central department store, while U Street Corridor is great for funky little fashion boutiques and vintage clothes. Shopping centres include Victorian-styled Georgetown Park (Wisconsin Avenue) and Union Station (Massachusetts Avenue). Meanwhile, the 145-year-old Union Market (1309 Fifth Street) sells artisan foods, drinks and handicrafts.
Food & Drink
An international cuisine scene predominates in Washington, with everything from sushi to cordon bleu, curry, Mexican and gourmet burger joints to choose between. Many restaurants now have their own organic herb and veggie gardens, such as the fancy Four Seasons Hotel’s Bourbon Steak (2800 Pennsylvania Avenue), Founding Farmers (1924 Pennsylvania Avenue) and wind-energy-run Sweetgreen (3333 M Street). To mingle with VIPs on the campaign trail, try the little old pub by the White House, the Old Ebbitt Grill (675 15th Street). For a real treat, try the beautifully crafted dishes at Komi (1509 17th Street) – the service is fantastic and the food is superb.
White House Easter Egg Roll
Every year, the president and his family take part in some traditional Easter celebrations on the White House Lawn, including music, storytelling, a visit from the Easter bunny and, of course, some Easter egg rolling.
National Cherry Blossom Parade and Festival
In 1912, Japan gifted 3,000 dreamy cherry blossom trees to Washington. Mirroring the cherry blossom festival in Japan, this two-week celebration includes a big carnival parade complete with floats and marching bands.
As well as honouring its war heroes with a big parade and wreath-laying, Washington lays on a free concert on the West Lawn of the Capitol, family events and hosts the Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Rally.
Smithsonian Folklife Festival
This annual cultural feast focuses on different national and world cultures each year. The two-week festivities take place outdoors on the National Mall and include music, art, performances, crafts, cookery, storytelling, dance and other traditions.
Witness US patriotic fervour at its most intense. The national capital lays on an Independence Day parade in the morning, followed by concerts on the National Mall and an almighty fireworks show beside the Washington Monument.
Washington DC is well served by expensive hotels, from bastions of five-star luxury to hip contemporary lodgings. Have your own dream in the hotel where Martin Luther King Jr wrote his famous speech; opulent The Willard Washington DC (1401 Pennsylvania Avenue) has a 200-year guest list that reads like a who’s who of international luminaries. Hotel Helix (1430 Rhode Island Avenue) is a groovy little boutique choice with an excellent location and competitive rates. Budget accommodations are scarce, although mid-range Victorian mansion Morrison Clark Inn (1015 L Street) is good, and there are a few hostels, such as downtown Capital View (301 I Street).