Hear about travel to Washington D.C. as the Amateur Traveler talks to Rob from TripHacksDC.com about the city where he is a tour guide and podcaster.
Why should you go to Washington D.C.?
Rob says, “It’s the question I would ask when you’re visiting any destination, which is, what can I see and do here that I can’t anywhere else in the world? By nature of the federal government being in Washington D.C., we have a whole bunch of federal government sites. And so there are lots of things that are completely unique to Washington D.C. that don’t exist anywhere else in the U.S. or in the world.”
“But at the same time, Washington D.C. is a big city and we have lots of great big city amenities like award-winning restaurants and theater and sports. And so many people come to Washington DC because they are a “history buff”, or they really wanna experience U.S. history and you can definitely do that here. But even if you’re not really into that stuff, you can still come here and find lots of fun things to do as well.”
Rob starts us on the National Mall and tells us what we need to know to visit the U.S. Capital and why we might be disappointed with a visit to the White House. No, you won’t get to visit the Oval Office or the Situation Room. Learn what the secrets are for getting tickets to these two tours.
Then we head out to the other end of the mall from the Capital to tour some of the best monuments in D.C. Rob’s monuments tour includes the Lincoln Memorial, the Korean War Veterans Memorial, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, the MLK Memorial, the World War II Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and the Jefferson Memorial. Some of these like the Lincoln Memorial get lots of visitors but some like the Korean War Veterans Memorial and the FDR Memorial are easy to overlook.
We head to some of the museums on or near the National Mall. The most popular historically have been the National Air and Space Museum, the National Museum of American History, and the Natural History Museum. While these are great, Rob would argue that there are other good natural history museums in other cities with their “bones, bugs, and gems”. A more unique museum might be the National Postal Museum. The hot ticket on the mall is still the National Museum of African American History and Culture which continues to have timed entry tickets.
Everything we have talked about so far is free unless you take a guided tour of the monuments with Rob or another tour operator. It is a difficult challenge to try and run a non-free museum in D.C. but the International Spy Museum is worth the ticket price and a worthy addition to your itinerary.
We then head out into some of the neighborhoods to explore more of the city. Georgetown is the oldest part of the city and perhaps the most well-known one. It is becoming more of a foodie destination.
The Capitol Hill Neighborhood behind the capital is where Rob would move if money was no object. Be sure to check out the Eastern Market while you are there.
More people are visiting the Southwest neighborhood these days because of the waterfront development called the Wharf, but Rob also suggests you head down there for a soccer game of one of Washinton’s two pro soccer teams D.C. United (men’s) or Washington Spirit (women’s).
Dupont Circle is where many of the international embassies can be found. Enjoy the row houses and make a stop at Kramer Books.
Further afield, Rob recommends a visit to the National Zoo which is one of only 3 U.S. zoos with giant pandas, or a quick trip down to Old Town Alexandria on the Virginia side of the Potomac.
For nightlife, you can attend a sporting event as every major sport has a local franchise. Or you can take in a concert at the Kennedy Center or a show at the National Theater.
Whether you are doing Washington D.C. on a long weekend or as part of a larger east coast road trip, the U.S. capital is a vibrant city with unique offerings. It is worth a place on your vacation list.
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Official Tourism Site of Washington DC
The Wharf DC
Hotels in DC: A Guide On Where to Stay
U.S. Capitol – Visitor Center
Korean War Veterans Memorial
Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial
World War II Memorial
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
National Air and Space Museum
National Museum of African American History and Culture
National Museum of the American Indian
National Postal Museum
International Spy Museum
Georgetown Waterfront Park
Capitol Hill Neighborhood
Southwest (Washington, D.C.)
Dupont Circle Washington DC | Washington DC
DC Design Tours
The Exorcist Stairs
Georgetown Waterfront Park
Yellow the Cafe
Taco Bamba Taqueria
Eastern Market DC
Smithsonian’s National Zoo
Potomac Water Taxi
Pierre Charles L’Enfant
The Ultimate Washington DC Travel Guide
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