Situated between Maryland and Virginia sits the small city of Washington, D.C. While this political landmark is most famous for its title as the capital of the United States, it is also known for its beautiful monuments; abundant galleries and museums; scenic landscapes; and diverse culture.
Whether you are passionate about history, art, science, or even espionage, D.C. has a museum for you. Adults and kids alike can appreciate the cool exhibits at The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, The Air and Space Museum, and The National Gallery of Art. Visitors planning a spring trip can enjoy the warm weather while touring the monuments, biking through the magnificent Cherry Blossom trees, or kayaking down the Potomac River or picturesque C&O canal. Music and theatre buffs should catch a performance downtown or venture off to Vienna, VA to experience the stunning outdoor venue, Wolf Trap. And lastly, make sure to have a camera handy to take your obligatory picture in front of The White House!
The D.C. metro area is home to three airports, making it an easy destination to fly into. Although it does not pass through every neighborhood, the Washington Metro makes getting in, out, and around and the city quick and easy. Whether you are planning a trip to D.C. for pleasure or for business, Tripping.com can help you find a comfortable accommodation.
Dupont Circle has close access to major tourist flocking grounds while maintaining a charming neighborhood vibe. Capitol Hill is the best neighborhood in terms of proximity to national monuments and museums. Downtown is the center of urban sights and sounds, with pockets of peace and quiet. Georgetown is the charming neighborhood west of Dupont Circle, and the flocking ground of Georgetown University students and international tourists.
A Metro or bus ride from Dupont Circle will get you to Georgetown, downtown, the National Mall and other hot spots around the city in no time. But the best thing about Dupont Circle is that while it’s so close to the sights, it retains the vibe of an upscale residential neighborhood. The peaceful quiet may have something to do with the high concentration of embassies in the neighborhood. You’ll find the Australia, South Africa, Haiti embassies in Dupont Circle (to name just a few). And with all these embassies around, there are a lot of hotels and restaurants to accommodate foreign guests and visitors as well.
You’ll also find bistro restaurants and galleries to throw into the mix. The Phillips Collection is a modern art museum, and the Studio Gallery shows off works by emerging artists. Kramer’s Bookstore is where other types of artists—namely poets and authors—can show off their talent. This local bookstore is also a café, great for brunch and evening literary events. The physical ‘Dupont Circle’ is a green space, smaller than a park but bigger than the average backyard, with benches and grass for anyone to enjoy. Pick the right weekend, and you’ll find popup events such as swing dancing, a concert or mini-festival taking place. A farmer’s market runs Sundays in Dupont Circle from around mid-spring through fall, a great chance to meet local vendors and sample D.C. fare.
If you’ve got a checklist of national monuments and museums to visit, Capitol Hill is a good place to set up camp. A handful of hotels are clustered just north of the Capitol, close to Union Station, the transportation hub of D.C. Within easy reach of the National Mall, Capitol Hill is often top choice among tourists who want to see the District’s landmarks, and travelers with business at the Capitol. The downside for tourists on the go both day and night is that the neighborhood quiets down after the evening rush. Despite not having much of a nightlife, Union Station is close by, so tourists can hop on a subway to explore the up-and-coming neighborhoods that thrive after sunset.
Union Station is an attraction in and of itself, with both fast food and sit-down restaurants, and stores of all kinds. Need a new outfit to wear? You’ll find clothing, shoes and accessories stores on site. Want an adult-style dessert that plays off childhood sweets? Sugar Factory will make your sugar-spun dreams a reality. Need a quick bite to eat before a big day of sightseeing? There’s a fast food court on the basement level; an urban, chic eats collection on floor one; and sit-down restaurants on levels one and two. Outside the station, the National Postal Museum is just across the street and the National Mall less than a mile away.
Downtown D.C. is an umbrella term that covers a few neighborhoods, including Chinatown, McPherson Square, and Farragut North and West. In theory, that seems like a widespread area. But in reality, the “downtown” stretch from one end to another is around a mile or two. The pocket communities in the downtown area can be identified by their corresponding Metro, or subway, station names. Chinatown, being so close to the Verizon Center, sees a lot of action, day or night. You’ll see people waiting in line to eat at Daikaya, a Japanese ramen shop that’s well known throughout D.C. You’ll find cuisine from all over the world, from Southeast Asian food at Thai Chili, to Asian-Latin fusion at Zengo.
If you want to avoid the hustle and bustle, McPherson Square or Farragut North may be more to your liking. Similar to the Capitol Hill neighborhood, the area traffic dies down at the end of the business day. Once all the offices close up shop, the neighborhood settles into quiet. However, visitors have tons of options for accommodations along K Street NW, and through the rotary of Massachusetts Avenue NW and Vermont Avenue NW.
Georgetown gives off a New England vibe, with smaller, brick-paved sidewalks and quaint storefronts lining the streets. M Street is the heart of Georgetown, with dozens of quaint boutiques, chic eateries and brand name stores. It’s uncommon to see a deserted M Street, rain or shine, in the heat of summer or chill of winter. Tourists and Georgetown students make up most of the crowd, as well as visitors to the embassies near by.
M Street is a popular shopping district, with a wide variety of businesses. Brand name clothing stores range from H&M to J. Crew to Brooks Brothers. Then, there are thrift stores, such as Buffalo Exchange, and boutiques such as Francesca’s. Restaurants cater to the student crowd with quick eats such as Chipotle and Good Stuff Eatery, a burger joint that offers about seven different kinds of all-you-can-eat condiments, and milkshakes called Toasted Marshmallow or Lemon Meringue. Then, there are the well-known restaurants such as Clyde’s of Georgetown and Filomena Ristorante. But probably the best reason anyone stops by Georgetown? The infamous desserts of Georgetown Cupcake, Baked & Wired or Thomas Sweet.
Baltimore is under an hour away, and has a charming downtown area. Slightly further is the historic city of Annapolis, which sits right on the Chesapeake Bay and is an incredibly scenic escape from the District of Columbia. The Blue Mountains of Virginia are also in close range, as well as Monticello, Jefferson's primary plantation, in Charlottesville. If you're eager for a lakeside getaway, there's no better place to go than Deep Creek Lake in Maryland, a mere three-and-a-half hour drive away. You'll feel like you've really escaped when you set foot in rustic cabins in a gorgeous waterfront setting.
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