Washington D.C is a small 68 square mile area between Maryland and Virginia along the Potomac River, around 100 miles east of Delaware. Aside from being the United States Capital and government center, the city is home to many tourist attractions like national monuments, memorials, museums, and historic sites. D.C. also offers plenty of culture, performing arts, entertainment, and fine dining. Direct flights to D.C. are easy to find, and the D.C. Metro system makes it easy to get around town without a car.
Among the most popular sites to tour, are the White House, the U.S. Capital Building, and the U.S. Supreme Court. The White House at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. is perhaps the most famous address in the world. Home of the U.S. President, a tour of the White House can be arranged by requesting it in advance from one of your members of congress. As you can guess, you should plan well in advance. The U.S. Capitol Building, at the end of the National Mall, is open to the public for guided tours only, Monday through Saturday. Tour tickets can be obtained online or from your member of congress. Again, it is wise to obtain these tickets in advance due to limited space. The Supreme Court Building is open for tours Monday through Friday, but if you want to see the court in session you will need to visit October through April and stand in line. Because there is limited seating you will want to arrive a couple hours early. Court sessions start at 10:00 a.m.
Most of the popular National Monuments and memorials in D.C. are located along the National Mall. The National Mall is an open area between the U.S. Capital Building and the Lincoln Memorial. The Mall stretches around 2 miles, covering a little over 300 acres. Walking the Mall by foot is difficult for most people, so a guided tour is recommended if you want to see all the monuments and memorials. Among these more popular landmarks are the sphere like Washington Monument near the center of the Mall, the Lincoln Memorial at the west end of the Mall, the Jefferson Memorial with its dome-shaped rotunda, and the emotional Vietnam Veterans Memorial, a long black granite wall inscribed with the names of 58,209 American’s killed or missing in the Vietnam war.
Along the outside edges of the National Mall you’ll find 10 Smithsonian Museums and the National Gallery of Art. The Smithsonian Museums include the popular Air and Space Museum, National Museum of American History, International Gallery, and natural History Museum. The National Gallery of Art displays one of the largest collections of masterpieces in the world including paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, sculpture, and decorative arts from the 13th century to the present. If that is not enough, there are over two dozen free museums in D.C. Need a change of pace? Try the International Spy Museum, full of fun spy artifacts, films and interactive displays.
Other local attractions include the National Zoo, U.S. Botanical Garden, Arlington National Cemetery, the Library of Congress, the Famous Ford Theatre, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the National Cathedral, Georgetown University, and various parks and gardens around the area.
Washington D.C. has its share of fine restaurants to make your evenings special. One favorite is the Inn at Little Washington Restaurant. Named one of the top restaurants by Travel + Leisure Magazine, the dining room is luxurious, intimate and romantic. The menu is eclectic American, French and fine international cuisine, accompanied by a 14,000 bottle wine cellar of fine wines. A true experience in fine dining. If you enjoy true gourmet Indian cuisine, there is no better place than Rasika. Rasika features modern Indian cuisine with a small plate menu ideal for sharing, including four and six course tasting menus with wine pairing options from their extensive wine cellar. Another top restaurant in town is Marcel’s, a Belgian French restaurant featuring super fresh seafood and meats raised specifically for the restaurant. They feature seven course meals, an elegant dining room and sophisticated wine bar. Another popular restaurant is Komi, an elegant American Mediterranean restaurant. If you just want to go out for the evening with no particular dining choice in mind, then visit U Street, an 8 block strip of restaurants, bars, clubs, and boutiques.
You’ll find many fine hotels in Washington D.C. We prefer hotels that are within walking distance of the National Mall. Five star hotels near the Mall include the St. Regis Hotel and the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Four star hotels near the Mall include the Hotel Sofitel, the J.W. Marriott Hotel and the Westin Hotel. There are other five and four star hotels a bit farther from the mall and you will also find many economy hotels in town if you are visiting on a budget. Go to VoyageMonkey.com to find hotel accommodations fitting any budget.