Washington, DC, the vibrant cosmopolitan capital of the United States, is one of the most popular convention and vacation destinations in the country. A seat of global power, it boasts a diverse mix of leisure activities, monuments and museums that blend well with its eclectic mix of shopping and dining options.
Visitors will never run out of things to see and do in the nation's capital. The city is home to prominent American national monuments as well as cosmopolitan entertainment locations, and vibrant neighborhoods that are sure to suit every taste and budget.
The most popular museums are those of the Smithsonian Institute. They line the National Mall, a green expanse considered to be America's front lawn. Displays and exhibits of the Air and Space Museum, the Museum of Natural History, and the National Gallery of Art include moon rocks, the Hope Diamond and artworks by American and European Masters.
Visitors can also explore interactive exhibits at unique museums like the Newseum, which chronicles the history of journalism, and the Spy Museum, where they can learn about the craft of espionage. The city is filled with monuments, memorials and statues of legendary figures. The most visited are the Lincoln Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the White House and the Capitol Building.
Fashionistas will be thrilled by the panache on display in the city's homegrown and international boutiques, offering an array of hip, chic and vintage clothing. Plan to attend one of the local farmers or flea markets and haggle like a pro. The District's restaurant scene reflects the city's diverse population. Foodies can experience an outstanding mix of international and ethnic flavors while grabbing a quick bite from a neighborhood eatery, or enjoying a leisurely fine dining experience in an upscale restaurant.
Visitors can enjoy a beer in a variety of neighborhood establishments and trendy brewpubs. Famous bars and cafes can be found in many Washington DC hotels. The District is home to a wide range of live performance venues, ranging from the local neighborhood music scene to the world-renowned Kennedy Center. The city's nightspots and theaters showcase a variety of musical and theatrical genres. The District is also the host-city for professional sports teams from the NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL.
In addition to the Mall, visitors can explore the beautiful flora and fauna of numerous parks throughout the city, including Constitution Gardens, Rock Creek Park, Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens and the National Botanical Garden. You can also enjoy the view while strolling along the banks of the Tidal Basin or Potomac River, or while boating along the historic Chesapeake and Ohio Canal.
Although you can visit Washington, DC any time of the year, guests are likely to enjoy the spring and fall weather a bit more. The summer months are generally hot and humid, and winter is cold and snowy. Visitors will always find something interesting to do in the District, because the city hosts a variety of special events throughout the year. The most well-known are the dazzling displays of the National Tree Lighting Ceremony, the colorful Cherry Blossom Festival, and the music and fireworks of the Memorial Day and July 4th extravaganzas. There are also a number of neighborhood festivals, concerts and sporting events throughout the year.
The District is served by Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA), which is situated three miles south of downtown. Visitors can also fly into nearby Dulles International Airport (IAD) or Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI). Dulles is 26 miles west, while BWI is 30 miles northeast of the city.
Located downtown, Union Station is the hub for several Amtrak and commuter rail lines. The city is also located within a network of interstate highways, including Interstates 95, 295, 395 and 495. In addition to the surface street bus system, visitors can get around the city using the highly-efficient and convenient Metro subway.