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Why Go To Washington D.C.

With its marbled monuments and high-profile politicos, Washington, D.C., has long been saddled with a reputation as a stuffy government-driven town. A "city of southern efficiency and northern charm," as John F. Kennedy once described it, Washington is often seen by outsiders as slow and inefficient. But these days, our nation's capital is awash with a new energy, transforming itself into an exciting, faster-paced East Coast vacation destination. Although the government is still the sun around which this city orbits, the District also offers a host of renowned museums and interesting neighborhoods. And with a recent explosion of restaurants, cafes, boutiques and clubs, D.C. is transitioning into a thriving cultural hub. As the D.C. Tourism Board is emphasizing, this isn't the Washington you remember from your middle school field trip – it's much hipper than that.

 

You can choose a traditional D.C. adventure, filled with tours of classic attractions like the White House and the Washington Monument, the U.S. Capitol and the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. And there's no better way to experience iconic D.C. than with a stroll around the Tidal Basin. (Plan to visit in late March or early April – just in time for the National Cherry Blossom Festival – and you'll be rewarded with a canopy of beautiful pink blooms.) But if you've already seen the national landmarks, get a feel for the city's more youthful ambiance, highlighted by its urban neighborhoods, marquee art galleries and vibrant farmers markets. While you'll only need a few days to see the city as you know it from your history book, it could take months to experience the Washington that today's locals know and love. 

Rankings

The U.S. News & World Report travel rankings are based on analysis of expert and user opinions.

Washington D.C. is ranked as:

  • #1 in Best Places to Visit in May

  • #1 in Best Historical Cities to Visit in the USA

  • #3 in Best Family Summer Vacations

  • #3 in Best Cheap Family Vacations

  • #5 in Best Spring Vacations

  • #5 in Best Family Vacations in the USA

  • #8 in Best Places to Visit in the USA

  • #8 in Best Weekend Getaways

Best Things To Do In Washington D.C.

Beyond the traditional D.C. attractions – the Smithsonian museums, the U.S. Capitol, the monuments – you'll find fresh food, arts and nightlife scenes. You can spend your morning perusing the city's cache of farmers markets and contemporary exhibits and your afternoon taking in the scenery from the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument before catching a show at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. If you plan to visit at the end of March and into April, don't miss wandering along the Tidal Basin, where you'll find thousands of pink cherry blossoms, not to mention excellent conditions for exploring the city's neighborhoods.

Washington D.C. Travel Tips

  • Make restaurant reservations in advance - Popular dining establishments tend to fill up quickly, so ensure your place by making a dinner reservation ahead of time.

  • Walk or take public transit – don't drive - Metro trains and buses can take you anywhere you want to go without the hassle of fighting your way through D.C.'s congested streets.

  • Stroll the markets - D.C. hosts several weekend markets where you can get a feel for the local art and culinary scene. Check out Eastern Market and the vibrant markets in the Dupont Circle and Columbia Heights areas.

  • Visit the Smithsonian - Admission to this magnificent host of museums – and the Smithsonian's National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute – is free, making it a very economical option for visiting families and solo travelers. The Castle, the institution's national headquarters, serves as an excellent starting point for gathering additional information about each Smithsonian outpost.

  • Check out the U.S. Capitol - Get in touch with your congressman and schedule a free tour of the U.S. Capitol. While you're at it, saunter over to the Library of Congress' three iconic buildings, which are also free to enter Monday through Saturday.

*SOURCE: Information From This Page Can Be Found at U.S. News & World Report