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Monuments and memorials, eclectic neighbourhoods, true local flavour – Washington, DC is a place unlike any other. Many people think DC starts and ends with the federal government, but this 68-square-mile city has so much more – and it’s at the top of its game. Michelin-starred masterpieces. Pre-Broadway premieres. Hands-on history. Find out what the District is really all about. Here’s our top seven things to see and do.
Join the many visitors that have made the National Mall the most visited National Park in the United States. This large strip of parkland runs right through the middle of the city and most of the major attractions are located on its fringes including the U.S. Capitol, the White House, the Washington Monument, FREE Smithsonian Institution museums, and the Lincoln Memorial.
You won’t want to miss the signature events and festivals – many of which are family-friendly and free to attend – that take place every year in Washington, DC. The National Cherry Blossom Festival celebrates the arrival of spring in DC with over 3,000 blooming cherry blossom trees and a celebration festival to honour American and Japanese cultures. The trees generally bloom between mid-March and mid-April and are absolutely beautiful. Passport DC is a month-long festival in May that pays tribute to Washington, DC's thriving international culture. As part of the festival, the first two Saturdays in May are devoted to embassy open houses. Thanks to this only-in-DC experience, you can step inside a foreign embassy with the Around the World Embassy Tour and the EU Open House.
Washington, DC is full of green parks and beautifully designed buildings, all of which are easily viewable due to a building height restriction in the city. Viewing decks are available at the Washington National Cathedral and at the National Park Service’s Old Post Office Pavilion. The Washington Monument also includes a viewing deck however, this is closed to visitors until August 2019 due to construction. The unobstructed skyline also allows for rooftop dining and nightlife opportunities that are truly only in DC experiences.
When you visit Washington, DC, you’ll experience a dining scene as colorful and eclectic as America itself. The District is rolling in accolades, as the city received its second Michelin Guide and was named restaurant city of the year by Bon Appétit and hottest food city by Zagat in 2016. That means you can expect each meal at every restaurant to be different. From crave-worthy dishes served by celebrity chefs to chili-smothered half-smokes served at a diner, DC’s local flavor has one thing in common: it’s all delicious.
Venture further afield and make your own discoveries in some of the diverse neighbourhoods that make up Washington, DC. Live like a local by seeking out some of the best bars, shops, markets and restaurants outside of the tourist hot-spots.
When visiting Washington, DC, hop on a water taxi or river cruise and plan to take advantage of one of the nation’s greatest collections of riverfront communities. Reinvigorated waterfronts are connecting the city back to the water at The Wharf and Capitol Riverfront. Take advantage of the water activities and kayak, paddle board, or enjoy the monuments on a sightseeing cruise.
Washington, DC is home to an absolute plethora of world-class museums. Some popular options include the International Spy Museum which on 12 May opened its doors at a brand-new, purpose built building at L'Enfant Plaza, the awesome Museum of Women in the Arts, and of course, the Smithsonian Institution’s collection of 17 FREE different museums and the National Zoo.
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