Washington, D.C. Travel Guide
Washington D.C. is more than just the capital of the United States and the most popular cherry blossom destination in the nation. Charming neighborhoods are lined with charming row houses, famous museums (including the 20 Smithsonian museums that offer free admission), as well as a surprisingly underrated fine dining scene. Politics dominates the city’s professional energy, much in the same way that San Francisco’s tech population does.
The capital of the United States is also a college town. There are universities such as Georgetown, Howard and George Washington all within the city. The city is as academically as it is political. But more than its atmosphere being tinged with politics or education it also has the weight of historical history. This is our official guide to Washington D.C.’s best activities, including where to stay, top D.C. restaurants and the most important museums and historic sites.
Daylight Savings Time and Eastern Standard Time are observed
The Best Time to Go
Between April and June or September to October is the best time to visit Washington D.C. The temperatures in late spring and early summer will be warm and inviting. In September and October, there will still be warmth without the heat and crowds of tourists who come in the summer.
Washington’s Cherry Blossom Festival is held from late March through early April. The blooms peak between the first and second weeks of April. This university town welcomes graduates in May, filling up hotels with proud relatives. The Fourth of July is a joyful spectacle but it can also lead to a very crowded weekend in the capital. August and July are considered the peak season in Washington D.C., as they are the hottest months of year.
Things to Know
Washington D.C., our nation’s capital, is not considered a country. Some of America’s most iconic landmarks are located here, such as the Lincoln Memorial, White House and Washington Monument.
All museums within the Smithsonian Institution are free of charge. There are 17 galleries and museums as well as the zoo. The museums include the National Museum of American HIstory and National Portrait Gallery and the Natural History Museum.
Washington D.C.’s excellent public transportation system makes it easy to travel around the city without using cabs or rideshares.
Washington D.C. lies on the Anacostia River and the Potomac River. Washington and Virginia are separated by the Potomac River which runs 405 miles. The Potomac’s north shore is where the nation’s capital is located.
Theater-lovers should visit the John F. Kennedy Performing Center for the Arts. It is not only one the most well-known theaters in the U.S. but also a part of JFK’s legacy, located along the Potomac River.
How to get around
Metro: Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority manages the metro system that runs through Washington D.C. It also operates into Virginia and Maryland. Six lines are available: yellow, orange, red and blue, as well as green and silver. You can download a metro map. Depending on your destination and the time of year, metrorail rides can cost anywhere from $2 to $6. A one-day Metrorail pass costs $13, while a three-day pass costs $28 and a seven day pass costs $58.
Buses: The D.C. bus network is also managed by WMATA. The WMATA Metrobus operates over 11,500 stops and 325 routes throughout D.C. and Maryland. All bus maps are available here. Regular bus fare is $2. Regular bus fare costs $2. Book a taxi through D.C. Yellow Cab to book a cab ahead of time. You can also book a local black car using services such as ExecuCar.