As the monumental city at the epicentre of the American narrative, Washington, D.C. boasts historical treasure-troves and museums like no other. The city is home to a remarkably vibrant and diverse population, and is continually making headway to becoming the cultural heart of America.
In recent years, Washington has burst onto the arts, restaurant and nightlife scenes with astonishing speed, making it more than just the home of America’s most powerful. Washington serves up quintessential America by the bucketload, so take a trip to the nation’s capital and stroll the tree-lined neighbourhoods, the banks of the Potomac River and the city’s iconic boulevards to soak it up for yourself.
No trip to the capital would be complete without a visit to the seat of the United States Congress, Capitol Hill. Home to the meeting chambers of the House of Representatives and the Senate for two centuries, the Capitol is one of the most symbolic buildings in the country. Take a pass and tour the building, or get a separate visitor pass and watch Congress in session.
Next, take a stroll along the National Mall, home to some of the country’s most stunning memorials and monuments, including the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The museum scene in Washington is one of the best in the world – Sewall-Belmont House and Museum, the National Museum of American History, the National Museum of the American Indian, the National Gallery of Art and the African American Civil War Memorial and Museum are just a handful of more than 200 fascinating museums that are well worth checking out.
Brush up on some history at the...
- Lincoln Memorial
- National Museum of National History
- Smithsonian American Art Museum
Redevelopment is sweeping across Washington, and innovative dining joints and trendy bars are continually popping up as a result. Leading chefs are starting to put a modern spin on traditional American classics, and the city’s role as global host to people from all over the world means the range of cuisines on offer is exceptionally diverse. Ethiopian, Salvadoran, Japanese, Mexican and Indian all feature on menus, and there’s always something new to try.
Head to Dupont Circle for upscale dining, to Navy Yard for a chic, industrial setting, or to Chinatown for an eclectic mix of global cuisines. Artisanal cocktails litter the majority of bar menus, so make a beeline for Dupont Circle or Georgetown and try some for yourself. Then party the night away with a young professional and bohemian crowd at one of the many clubs in Dupont Circle.
Where to Stay
Accommodation in Washington can pack a pricey punch, especially if you want to be close to the majority of sights and attractions. Capitol Hill, the White House and the bounty of museums that litter the city are all conveniently accessed from Downtown, as is the rest of the city via the Metro.
Accommodation options in Georgetown and Dupont Circle tend to exude the Victorian, jazz-era opulence that’s associated with Washington, and both districts are home to many of the city’s stylish boutique hotels.
Check out the nightlife in...
- Georgetown – mix with the students
- Adams Morgan – an eclectic enclave
- Shaw (and a revitalised U Street)
Each of D.C.’s neighbourhoods offers something quirky and unique for shopping fiends. Capitol Hill is your go-to for historic antiques and specialty boutiques, while Georgetown will provide your fill of local designers, high-end outlets and national chains along its cobblestone streets.
Chevy Chase brings you the ultimate designer fashions including brands such as Gucci, Jimmy Choo and Max Mara in one of Washington’s most exclusive postcodes.
Washington DC Like a Local
The locals of Washington, D.C. all know and love Eastern Market in Capitol Hill. During the week it’s a fantastic place to pick up local cheese, meats and other produce, and on the weekends it transforms into a haven for foodies and artists.
Check it out early in the morning, and then head for a daytrip to the nearby Mount Vernon, situated right on the Potomac River. The estate showcases the history of George Washington, the first President of the United States, in an informative and entertaining way.
Get around town on…
- Two wheels, in this bike-friendly city
- An extensive Metro railway network
- Foot – especially on the National Mall