Known for Universities, Zoo and Culture
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.
Explore 3 of the most popular museums and attractions in the nation's capital at a discounted price while enjoying the convenience of visiting each on your own schedule. With your Explorer Pass in hand, grab your camera and your walking shoes to immerse yourself in the history and culture of Washington, D.
For a cultural morning, visit the childhood home of Dr. King at the Martin Luther King National Historic Site. Tours are free but limited. You'll also find memorials like the World Peace Rose Garden, Fire Station No. 6, Dr. and Mrs. King's Tomb and Ebenezer Baptist Church.
Perhaps the country's finest stretch of museums and monuments, it is two miles from the Lincoln Memorial to the Capitol Building, so wear comfortable footwear and be sure stay hydrated. Sightseeing is thirsty work.
As The Washington Monument is a DC must, time your visit to avoid crowds. In the spring and summer high season, aim to visit the monument in the late afternoon. Always book tickets in advance because they tend to run out.
Look out for special missions to get you into the spying role and really interacting with the exhibits. Discounts are also available if you visit other DC attractions, so check their website before rolling up in your Aston Martin
Boasting the Wright Brother's first plane and the Apollo 11 command module, this is a treasure trove for flight enthusiasts. Absolutely don't miss out on touching actual moon rock. It may be the closest you ever come!