If you’re looking for an amazing trip that doesn’t require you to leave the United States, look no further than the nation’s capital, Washington DC.
With world-famous monuments, amazing urban attractions, seasonal cherry blossoms, and many other great features, a Washington DC vacation will allow you to see so much.
To help you plan the ultimate Washington DC vacation, we’ve put together this guide. By the time you finish reading it, you’ll know more about DC than the politicians who work there.
Ready to get started?
Read on to learn what to do in Washington DC if it’s your first time there.
Pick a Time of Year to Visit
As with any trip, the first thing you’ll want to do is decide on a time to visit. Besides affecting the weather, the different times of year affect how many other people you’ll see while touring the monuments.
Summer is the high season in DC. You’ll deal with hot temperatures, humid weather, and crowds of people. Winter has fewer crowds, but you’ll have to endure cold and wet weather.
Fall and spring are the best times to visit as you avoid the crowds and the worst of the weather. That means lower prices and a more enjoyable time!
Decide Whether or Not You Want to Go With a Group
As DC has so much to offer, knowing where to go can be a bit of a challenge.
If you feel like planning it all yourself is too much, consider going on a guided tour.
You can opt for guided day tours to different monuments or even a tour that plans out the details of your entire trip. This a great option for people who don’t want to worry about booking hotels, finding restaurants, and knowing which sites to check out.
We recommend booking excursions and day trips regardless of how well you think you know the city. You’re bound to learn something you didn’t know before when you do!
Know Which Spots Are Free and Which Aren’t
It’s easy to travel to DC and get roped into spending exorbitant amounts of money. What most people don’t realize is that you don’t have to do that.
While many of the sites in the city will require you to spend money, there are tons of things to do that won’t cost you a penny. The National Zoo, the Smithsonian Museums, and all of the monuments are all free.
By visiting these sorts of places and avoiding the more expensive ones, it’s possible to see a lot while spending a little.
Create an Itinerary
Obviously, there’s a ton to see and do in the city. If you’re interested in seeing some of the national monuments, you have dozens of different ones to choose from.
Let’s look at some of the different monuments that most people across the country (and the world!) come to see.
The White House
As the president’s residence and one of the most iconic sites in the world, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that many people who visit DC visit the famous house.
Pro tip: If you want to go inside the White House, schedule a tour far in advance. Otherwise, you might have to look at it from the street!
Another famous spot, the Washington Monument is a memorial to the first president of the United States, George Washington.
You can find the Washington Monument on the National Mall, a 146 expanse of grass and paths.
The Lincoln Memorial is on the western side of the National Mall. It commemorates the 16th president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln.
Built under the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and completed in 1943, the Jefferson Memorial honors Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the country.
Like all the other monuments and malls, it’s free for visitors to enter and appreciate.
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
There’s some controversy surrounding the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, but it remains a sobering and stark monument that exhibits the brutality of war.
There, you can find the inscriptions of the 58,000 American individuals who died in the bloody and unnecessary conflict.
Be a Smart Traveler
Despite the unique and special attractions, the same general travel rules apply to DC as they do other places.
While it might seem tempting to look like you stepped foot off of a Versace runway, prioritize comfort and practicality over style. You’re going to be doing a lot of walking around the city.
You should also bring a wide mouth reusable water bottle and maybe even your own snacks and lunches. Prices in the city and especially around the mall can be jaw-droppingly high.
While DC is the nation’s capital, don’t forget that it’s still a massive urban playground. Once you finish touring the capital in the day, make a point to enjoy the world-class restaurants and bars at night.
Provided that you aren’t traveling as a family, you can even look into letting loose in other ways. Check out this guide to learn how to get weed in DC safely.
It’s a vacation, after all, so make sure you enjoy yourself!
Enjoy the Ultimate Washington DC Vacation
As the capital of the United States, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that there are a ton of great things to do in DC. If looking at travel guides seems a bit too overwhelming, use this guide to help you out.
By taking the time to plan and create an itinerary, you’ll be able to enjoy a Washington DC vacation that you’ll never forget.
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