Washington, MD

Travel Guide
United States Capitol showing an administrative buidling, heritage architecture and autumn leaves

National treasures, American history and international politics take center stage in the U.S. capital city. 

Washington D.C., or “D.C.” as locals call it, was founded in 1791. As the epicenter of American politics, a visit to the nation’s capital isn’t complete without a trip to the White House. This is where America’s presidents have lived and worked for more than two centuries. Next door is the National Mall where you’ll find many of the country’s most revered landmarks. You can’t miss the towering Washington Monument, a 555-foot (169-meter) marble obelisk. Make your way up to the elevated U.S. Capitol Building for a breath-taking view across the Reflecting Pool towards the Lincoln Memorial. It was here that crowds gathered for Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963.

The National Mall showcases tributes to the nation’s patriots and heroes. These include the Korean War Veterans Memorial and Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, Jefferson Memorial and World War II Memorial. It’s also home to the U.S. Botanic Garden and the National Gallery of Art. The revered Smithsonian Institute, the world’s largest museum and research complex, has most of its 19 exhibit halls on the mall. These include the National Museum of Natural History and the National Air and Space Museum. Use the wide, tree-lined sidewalks around the mall to explore the sights on foot or by hired bike.

Public transportation in D.C. is fast and easy. The DC Circulator bus stops in a number of districts, including Rosslyn, which is close to the Arlington National Cemetery, the Pentagon and the Iwo Jima Memorial. In the historic district of Georgetown you’ll find 18th-century architecture and modern-day shops and cafes. For nighttime entertainment, head to the U Street Corridor in the Shaw neighborhood where jazz legend Duke Ellington used to play nightly.

Washington D.C. hosts many lively festivals year round. Join in one the nation’s largest Independence Day celebrations on July 4. Each April film buffs from around the world enjoy the Washington DC International Film Festival. Music lovers gather every June for the DC Jazz Festival. The city also has a thriving theater scene. See a live stage show at The National Theatre, walking distance from the White House. The Shakespeare Theatre Company gives free performances throughout the year at the Sidney Harman Hall in Downtown D.C.

Be prepared for humid weather in summer and snowfall in winter. Visit Washington D.C. in spring and you may be lucky enough to catch one of the city’s most spectacular displays: for just a few days in March or April, some 1,600 cherry trees around the Tidal Basin burst into bloom.

Best time to visit Washington, D.C.Peak Season: From March through June, expect higher rates as tourists flock to the city for the cherry blossoms and Congress finishes up its session.

Value Season: September and December are your best bets for great hotel deals and shorter lines. July and August are also good for travel bargains, but expect humid weather.

Washington Travel Guide Video

Where to stay in Washington

Courtyard by Marriott Washington Downtown/Convention Center
Courtyard by Marriott Washington Downtown/Convention Center
3 out of 5
901 L Street NW, Washington, DC
The price is ¥11,134 per night from Nov 21 to Nov 21
Located in Downtown Washington D.C., this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Capital One Arena, and Ford's Theater. ...
4.4/5 Excellent! (1,170 reviews)
"Very clean and comfortable"

Reviewed on Oct 23, 2021

Courtyard by Marriott Washington Downtown/Convention Center
Holiday Inn Washington Capitol - Natl Mall, an IHG Hotel
Holiday Inn Washington Capitol - Natl Mall, an IHG Hotel
3 out of 5
550 C St SW, Washington, DC
The price is ¥12,372 per night from Nov 21 to Nov 21
Located in Capitol Hill, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum and National Mall. Capital One Arena and Washington ...
4.2/5 Very Good! (2,008 reviews)
"Excellent location for museum lovers! Friendly staff, clean rooms, comfortable bedding. My favorite part is the labeled pillows; the pillowcase is embroidered with ‘Soft’ or ‘Firm’. Everyone loves a good pillow!"

Reviewed on Oct 22, 2021

Holiday Inn Washington Capitol - Natl Mall, an IHG Hotel
Crowne Plaza Crystal City-Washington, D.C., an IHG Hotel
Crowne Plaza Crystal City-Washington, D.C., an IHG Hotel
3.5 out of 5
1480 Crystal Drive, Arlington, VA
The price is ¥11,753 per night from Oct 29 to Oct 29
Located in Crystal City, this hotel is within 2 mi (3 km) of Fashion Center at Pentagon City, Pentagon, and Arlington National Cemetery. Birchmere and Tomb of ...
4.2/5 Very Good! (913 reviews)
"The only thing that keeps me from giving this property 5 Stars is the deafening loud music played in the Lobby and Mezzanine…I had to go outside several time to use my phone as I couldn’t be heard on phone calls. There’s really no excuse for this. Others were commenting as well."

Reviewed on Oct 19, 2021

Crowne Plaza Crystal City-Washington, D.C., an IHG Hotel
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.
Homewood Suites Washington DC Convention Center
Homewood Suites Washington DC Convention Center
3.5 out of 5
465 New York Avenue NW, Washington, DC
The price is ¥10,556 per night from Nov 21 to Nov 21
Located in Downtown Washington D.C., this aparthotel is within a 10-minute walk of Walter E. Washington Convention Center and Capital One Arena. National Building ...
4.3/5 Excellent! (1,014 reviews)
"Everything was fine, I booked a 2 beds room like 2 months earlier. . When i got there there were no 2 beds rooms available so they gave me another 1 bed room for free... breakfast was included and we loved it... recomended A"

Reviewed on Oct 4, 2021

Homewood Suites Washington DC Convention Center
Homewood Suites by Hilton Washington DC Capitol-Navy Yard
Homewood Suites by Hilton Washington DC Capitol-Navy Yard
3 out of 5
50 M St Se, Washington, DC
The price is ¥14,300 per night from Nov 20 to Nov 20
Located in Capitol Hill, this aparthotel is within a 15-minute walk of Nationals Park and Audi Field. United States Capitol and International Spy Museum are ...
4.4/5 Wonderful! (839 reviews)
"Parking - too expensive! Was told my room would be changed, it never happened the entire 3 days I was there - each time, I was told "sold out", for today."

Reviewed on Oct 20, 2021

Homewood Suites by Hilton Washington DC Capitol-Navy Yard
WhyHotel Washington DC National Mall
WhyHotel Washington DC National Mall
2.5 out of 5
600 4th St SW, Washington, DC
The price is ¥13,280 per night from Nov 21 to Nov 21
Located in Capitol Hill, this aparthotel is within a 10-minute walk of Museum of the Bible, National Museum of the American Indian, and National Mall. Smithsonian ...
4.4/5 Wonderful! (19 reviews)
"The safety applied to access the property. The staff was very friendly, overall it was great place stay👍🙏👏"

Reviewed on Oct 21, 2021

WhyHotel Washington DC National Mall
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Popular places to visit in Washington

Top things to do in Washington

Cities near Washington