Adoration 4 Adventure’s local guide for visitors to Washington, DC, U.S.A. by A4A guest writer, Hannah Bauman.
Local guide posts provide recommendations for destinations from locals who are currently living or have lived in that particular place. Including information on the top places to eat, drink, stay and how to get around with an emphasis on saving money.
Overview of Washington, DC
Besides being the capital of the US, Washington DC is a quaint city with an eclectic mix of history, monuments, museums, and a great local food scene. DC has something for everyone, whether you’re a history buff, an art fiend, or a foodie. Most of DC’s big attractions are free and great for families with young children.
Planning a trip to the states? Check out our other posts about destinations in the U.S.A.
Top 5 places to visit
5. Smithsonian’s National Zoo
The Smithsonian National Zoo is a great attraction for visitors of all ages. Now famous for the panda babies, the National Zoo is small enough to be seen in half a day and is home to plenty of species. My favorite attraction is the big cat area; the lions and tigers are always hanging out for visitors to watch. Entry is free year round.
4. The National Portrait Gallery
Though this is probably the least family-friendly of the attractions on this list, it’s a great museum for art enthusiasts and those looking to break away from throngs of tourists. This museum houses paintings and art spanning centuries and Western cultures. Entry is free year round.
3. The National Archives
Ever wanted to see the Declaration of Independence? Then you need to visit the National Archives! Though the wait to get in can be long, it’s worth it. Seeing America’s founding documents is an awe-inspiring experience. Entry is free year round.
2. The Museum of Natural History and the National Air and Space Museum
These are two of the most popular museums for families. Interactive exhibits and IMAX movies make it ideal for visitors with young children, though the information is great for everyone. These museums gets crowded quickly, so your best bet is to go early in the day. Entry is free year round, but I highly suggest paying for a planetarium show at the Air and Space Museum! They’re only $8 per person.
1. The National Mall
Take a walking or biking tour of the National Mall to see all of the major sites in DC, including the White House, Congress, the Lincoln Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial, the Washington Monument, and the various war memorials. The mall is free year round but ideal for spring or fall when the weather is nice. It’s a long walk, so wear good shoes!
Eating and drinking
If you’re near the National Mall, you’ll probably get stuck eating at a museum or food truck. But, if you’re willing to head out into the District more, head over to the Capitol Hill neighborhood. Close to Congress, Capitol Hill has great, cheap eats for the whole family, including burger joints and donut shops.
The DC Metro has switched to metro cards only now, but that’s the cheapest way to get around anyway. If you’re using the Metro on the weekends, be prepared to wait as the trains only run every 20 minutes on the weekends. If you can’t figure out where you’re going, just ask someone on the platform or a Metro employee. People are friendly here!
The cheapest hotels will be found outside the center of DC. Some neighborhoods to consider are Arlington and Crystal City, as they’re still Metro accessible.
I’m a blogger, editor, and writer at Cats & Coffee. I live in DC with my boyfriend and our cat, Iggy. When I’m not blogging, I like to explore DC, play tennis, and visit local wineries.
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All photos in this article are the property of A4A guest writer, Hannah Bauman (except for the photo used in the vertical Pinterest image and feature photo which was provided by Destination DC).
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