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Washington, D.C. Travel Guide

Photo: Dan Chung/Aurora

Photo: Whitney Lawson

Photo: Courtesy of the St. Regis, Washington, D.C.

Photo: iStock

Photo: Courtesy of The Capitol

Photo: Courtesy of The Capitol

Photo: JakeMcGuire.com

Photo: Max Reid, USHMM Photo Archives

Photo: Washington, DC Convention & Tourism Corporation

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The capital city that John F. Kennedy once panned for its "Southern efficiency and Northern charm" continues to rebuild itself into the world-class cultural and culinary capital it was always meant to be. Always revered for its astonishing collection of museums and historical troves, D.C. has lately become a burgeoning music hub and-more surprisingly-a foodie's playground, with hotter-than-thou restaurants opening seemingly every week. Of course, amidst all the upheaval, the nation's capital is still enthralled and defined by power-only now, with a new, younger guard ensconced, Washington's political establishment all the more accurately reflects the city's remarkably vibrant and diverse population.

You’ll find one of the country’s best cultural scenes in Washington, D.C. In recent years, the our nation’s capital has also undergone a serious restaurant and nightlife renaissance. To craft your perfect itinerary in our up-and-coming capital, turn to this Washington D.C. travel guide.

Things Not to Miss in Washington, D.C.

Travel to Washington, D.C. is a unique experience. Its most notable neighborhoods include Georgetown, Adams Morgan, Downtown, and DuPont Circle. Here’s what to do there and beyond:

• The White House
• Cherry trees (springtime only)
• Washington Monument
• Lincoln Memorial
• Vietnam Veterans Memorial
• John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
• 17 Smithsonian museums; don’t miss the National Air and Space Museum

When to Visit Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C. travel in the spring is the best time to go—the weather is beautiful and the cherry trees are in bloom. During the hot summer months, many of the nation’s leaders head out of town, while travelers from all over the world flock to the city’s monuments. That means the city is lively, but July and August can be crowded and buggy. The holiday season is a lively time to visit Washington, D.C. For many, the White House Christmas tree is a sight to behold, historic theaters stage classic Christmas performances, and carolers make their way down the avenues.

Don't Miss

  • Hearing history (or just trouble) being made, on the floors of the Senate and House.

  • Strolling the Mall and taking in the monumental vistas—a walk best done in spring, with the bloom of the cherry blossoms.

  • A meal in one of K Street’s culinary hot spots, followed by live music in the trendy U Street area.

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