Washington DC
Washington DC
Hotels
All Washington DC HotelsWashington DC Hotel DealsLast Minute Hotels in Washington DCBy Hotel Type
By Hotel Class
By Hotel Brand
Popular Amenities
Popular Neighborhoods
Popular Washington DC Categories
Near Landmarks
Near Train Stations
Near Airports
Near Colleges
Popular Hotel Categories
Things to DoRestaurantsFlightsTravel StoriesCruisesRental CarsMore

Plan Your Trip to Washington DC: Best of Washington DC Tourism

What is Travelers’ Choice Best of the Best?
This award is our highest recognition and is presented annually to those businesses that are the Best of the Best on Tripadvisor, those that earn excellent reviews from travelers and are ranked in the top 1% of properties worldwide.
Learn more

Washington DC, District of Columbia

Washington, D.C.’s rep is spot on: For history and politics, you can’t get any closer to the action. But what you might not know is its softer side. The city has over 600 parks, and in the spring, you can see the National Mall all decked out in its famous cherry blossoms. Or, stroll through Georgetown—D.C.’s oldest neighborhood—to find cool shops and restaurants alongside buildings from the 1700s. And while you definitely shouldn’t miss the major monuments and Smithsonian museums, there are plenty of lesser-known landmarks, too. Check out Hillwood Estate (go for the Russian and French art, stay for the 13-acre garden), and the Municipal Fish Market—it’s the oldest in the U.S. and it’s got killer crab cakes. We’ve got more recs where this came from, below.

Travel Advice

Essential Washington DC

The perfect three days in D.C.

What to do on The Mall and beyond
Read on

A long D.C. weekend with two little kids

Four nights, two kids under 5, one adorable dog, and unlimited family fun.
  • Kimpton Banneker Hotel
    102
    For this go-go-go city trip, we wanted a centrally located crash pad where we could comfortably stash both kids. The modern, spacious King Studio Suite at the Kimpton Banneker worked perfectly, with a tucked-away entry alcove for our older son's air mattress and a bathroom for the baby’s pack 'n' play—plus a dog bed and treats.
  • Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
    913
    Few things rally kids and Instagramers in equal measure more than Yayoi Kusama, known ‘round the world for her polka-dots and pumpkins. At the Kusama exhibition at The Hirshhorn, my preschooler bounced from one mirrored, Technicolor installation to the next, giggling as I tried (and mostly failed) to snap the perfect pic. Timed tickets make the experience delightfully crowd-free.
  • Smithsonian’s National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute
    4,630
    Zoos have always been a last resort in my parenting arsenal, but even the grinch-iest zoo-goer will be charmed by very adorable (and very famous) giant pandas here. There are lots of incredible other habitats to explore, as well, but the grounds are huge: Bring snacks, strollers, and anything else that will help little legs last until lunchtime.
  • Ted's Bulletin 14th Street
    844
    There comes a time in any trip with kids where all you wanna do is shove a cinnamon roll the size of a small soccer ball into your face. Enter the "Cinnamon Roll As Big As Ya Head” at Ted’s Bulletin, where a decidedly tot-friendly brunch menu includes eggs, pancakes, homemade Pop-Tarts, and more.
  • Commissary
    1,513
    With hand-scrawled LGBTQ+ pride flags behind the bar, Commissary is a progressive and upbeat cafe. As we learned, it’s also an amazingly family-friendly choice for happy hour: As my husband and I nursed $4 beers, my sons bopped around the room, grooving to the music while the friendly waitstaff egged them on.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library
    15
    We spent a drizzly February afternoon at the children’s room here, where we were greeted with a display of picture books featuring LGBTQ+ characters, a floor-to-ceiling mural from “The Snowy Day,” and a massive Mo Willems trove. But the “secret” slide was perhaps the biggest hit: Just open an otherwise nondescript door and you’ll find a two-story wooden slide that whizzes along floor-to-ceiling windows fronting G Street.
  • Da Hong Pao Restaurant
    154
    At this dim sum parlor, my kids were googly-eyed as platter after platter of shrimp- and pork-stuffed creations emerged. The rice noodle rolls were so good that we ordered seconds. And when my younger son grabbed a pork bun and waved it around like a glow stick, the waitstaff seemed nothing but amused—a true indication of family-friendliness.
  • National Air and Space Museum
    23,584
    My preschooler is an outer-space and transportation obsessive, making the Air & Space museum a must-visit. And although he was tired after a rain-soaked walk down the National Mall to the entrance, he perked up at the sight of the moon and the planets. He also loved the experience of “boarding” a real-life American Airlines plane from the 1950s.

Washington DC Travel Guide

Travelers' pro tips for experiencing Washington DC

elaine s

The best part of visiting Washington, DC is, even with the crowds, you can visit many historic spots on the fly for free. The city is family and kid-friendly. Start early in the day to maximize your experience.

iStefPayne

Rooftop restaurants and bars are big in DC -- check out the views across the relatively shortly-stacked city.

Ayako E

The United States capital is filled with history, but Washington, DC, does not only offer monuments and museums. Sure, families will love the many interactive museums in this city, but there are also great parks and restaurants to discover.

Dennis P

We found the Hop On Hop Off bus tours through the city an ideal way to locate and visit the major attractions with the minimum of fuss and cost.

Ayako E

DC Metro is a convenient way to get around most parts of the city. Note that fares differ depending on whether you are traveling at peak or off-peak times.

Stephen C

Hot as DC can be in the summer, it can be cold indoors when you're in light clothing and the air conditioning is running. Always carry a sweater.

Farrah H

Make reservations for Capitol tours, White House Tours, Engraving and Printing and Archive at least two to three months in advance. Always take your ID with you to verify your reservations.

Gooner10-8

Imagined by the Founding Fathers as the seat of U.S. Government, created largely by George Washington's determination, designed in large part by Frenchman Pierre Charles L'Enfant, home to every President from the second (John Adams) onward - today this is a superb, fascinating, absorbing & safe destination for any visitor, whether from the USA, or, like myself, from overseas.

Stephen C

From captivating memorials to some of the best museums in the country, Washington, DC, is jam-packed with things to do. You could easily spend a week here (and still not hit everything)..

Mali

Washington, DC, is a must-visit city. It's got something for everyone, the history fanatic, the art appreciator, the foodie and even the nature lover.

What is the best way to get there?

flying

Washington, D.C. is served by three airports: Washington Dulles International, 26 miles from downtown in Sterling, Virginia; the far smaller Ronald Reagan Washington National, three miles away in Arlington, Virginia, which is served only by short-haul domestic flights, and Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, which is 10 miles south of downtown Baltimore.

train

Amtrak trains arrive from all over the country and stop at Union Station. Maryland Rail Commuter (MARC) trains run between Union Station to/from Baltimore — the Penn Line stops at BWI Airport. Virginia Railway Express (VRE) provides weekday rail service to Union Station from the Virginia suburbs of Manassas and Fredericksburg.

bus

Low-cost buses operated by Megabus, Greyhound, Bolt Bus and more connect Washington, D.C., to New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Charlotte and beyond.

Do I need a visa?

If you’re visiting Washington DC from overseas, use the State Department’s Visa Wizard to see if you need a visa.

When is the best time to visit?

The best time to visit Washington, D.C. is spring (March and April) when the cherry blossoms are in bloom and average highs are between 55°F (13°C) and 66°F (18°C). Crisp breezes and changing leaves make fall another attractive season; highs are between 70°F (21°C) and 59°F (15°C). Note that summers are typically uncomfortably sweltering.

Alternatively, visit over the holiday season, when Christmas markets, NYE parties, and festive illuminations show the City of Lights at its most atmospheric. During the holiday season Washington, D.C. sees average highs in the 40s and lows in the 30s (10 to 0 C).

Get around

walking

Washingtonians walk a lot. And, with many main attractions within strolling distance of one another, you should be prepared to do the same: wear comfortable footwear.

subway

Washington’s subway system is clean and reliable. To ride DC Metro, you can load a "SmarTrip" card (buy at the machine in the station) with money, or order a card for 1- or 7-day unlimited travel (order in advance of your trip). For more information, see here.

bus

For places that are hard to reach by Metro, the Metrobus fills the gap, with hundreds of routes throughout the D.C. metro area. Buses accept SmarTrip cards. For more information, see here.

bike

Capital Bikeshare is D.C.’s bikeshare system. There are 24-hour and three-day passes available. For more information, see here.

car

Due to ever-present gridlock and complicated parking regulations, driving in downtown D.C. should be avoided at all costs.

taxis

You can hail a taxi on the street. Taxi roof lights have LED text stating whether or not it is available.

ridesharing

Uber and Lyft are available in Washington, D.C., on your smartphone.

On the ground

What is the timezone?

Eastern Standard Time.

What are the voltage/plug types?

The standard voltage in the United States is 120 V and the standard frequency is 60 Hz. The plug has two flat parallel pins.

What is the currency?

The U.S. Dollar.

Are ATMs readily accessible?

Yes.

Are credit cards widely accepted?

Yes.

How much do I tip?

Bartender

$1 a drink or $2 for a more labor-intensive cocktail.

Restaurant

18-20%.

Bellhop

$1 to $3 per bag.

Housekeeper

$2-$3 per night.

Taxis/rideshare

15-20%.

Shuttle driver

$1-$2 per person.

Tour guide

10-20%.

Are there local customs I should know?

Drinking

The federal legal age for buying and drinking alcohol is 21 years old.

Public transit

On the Metro escalators, stand on the right, walk on the left. Stand on the right-hand side to make way for people in a hurry. When on the train, give up your seat for the elderly, pregnant and people with disabilities. Stand to the sides of the Metro doors when they open so riders can get off safely.

Don’t forget the tax

For visitors to the U.S. from overseas, it can be easy to forget that sales tax is not included in displayed prices. In D.C., there is an additional 5.75% sales tax on all shopping purchases.

See the monuments at night

After dark, there is something magical about the illuminated monuments: it’s the perfect time for a stroll.

Enjoy the city without breaking your wallet

From the Smithsonian museums to Library of Congress, many of D.C.’s top attractions are free. But don’t overlook the free events on offer: for example, the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage hosts a daily free performance at 6 p.m.