Washington DC is one of the top destinations for exploring the history and culture of America, home to nearly five dozen museums, including the Smithsonian Institution with its 20 different institutions that showcase some 137 million objects. In 2018, 22 million domestic tourists came to visit, a million more than the year before, according to Destination DC as NBC Washington reported.
If you’re planning a visit to the nation’s capital, whether you hope to combine it with a search for a house among the Washington D.C. homes for sale, or purely for vacation purposes, for the best experience there are several things you should think about in the process.
The Best Time to Go
Summer can bring sizzling heat waves with temperatures in the 90s and even higher – when combined with the high humidity of July and August, that can make visiting during this season rather brutal. In winter, snow and frigid temperatures are possible, but if you don’t mind the chill, you may be able to enjoy the dazzling holiday lights and Christmas tree. Many feel spring and fall are the best seasons to come, but If you hope to avoid crowds, you might want to skip the famous cherry blossoms which are typically bursting around late March and early April. Still, they truly a sight to see and can be enjoyed without as much hassle by securing your reservations well in advance.
Where to Stay
Look for a place to stay that’s close to a metro station, the best way to get around DC. Stations can be found throughout the area so that you don’t have to worry about traveling too far to get from your room to the metro and back. Some of the top centrally located spots include Foggy Bottom, Dupont Circle and Penn Quarter/Chinatown. Each one offers accommodation that ranges from budget-friendly to high-end. Some of the best value options include the Hilton Garden Inn near the Capitol and the Hampton Inn near the White House. Rooms are typically less on weekends due to the influx of business travelers.
There are three airports in the area, with the closest to downtown being Ronald Reagan Washington Airport in Virginia. Dulles International Airport, also in Virginia, is a 45-minute drive away, though easily accessed by public transport. Baltimore- Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport is an hour’s drive away. You can also take the train, Amtrak offers multiple trains every day that run between Boston and DC as well as DC and Florida cities.
With so many monuments, museums and other sights, it’s best to start with a guided tour for a good overview of it all. It will help you get oriented while providing a taste of the highlights so that you can go out exploring what interests you later on. If budget is a concern, you can save quite a bit by enjoying the many free things to do here, which include the Smithsonian museums and all the memorials and monuments. Many art galleries and art museums are free too, like the National Gallery and the Hirshhorn. You’ll find lots of picturesque parks to enjoy picnics as well, making it easy to spend a whole day here without having to take out your wallet.