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Washington District of Columbia Vacation Travel

More About Washington DC - Editor's Tips - Weather Maps & Dining

When to go?
Tourist season in Washington, DC officially begins with the Cherry Blossom Festival in April. Consequently at many of the museums and especially around the Tidal Basin where the Cherry Blossoms are, crowds will be large. Summer is hot and humid, so if you visit then, be sure to plan most of your activities inside museums. Fall is another wonderful time to visit Washington, DC, as the crowds are gone, and the weather is pleasant. If you'd like to see the government in action, US citizens can call your senators or congressional representatives in advance to obtain tickets to view Congress in session.

Where to stay?
The historic ambiance of Washington, DC can be best felt in Georgetown, a neighborhood of Northwest DC that borders the Potomac River. The best haute culture shopping, touristy crowds and luxury hotels are here. Head to Dupont Circle to stay in famous hotels (the Hinckley Hilton or the Mayflower, for example) and enjoy a vibrant nightlife and restaurants. For more modest lodging options, look for hotels on the Virginia bank of the Potomac River in Rosslyn or Arlington; they have cheaper rates and are only a quick Metro stop or two from all the things to do in Washington, DC.

What to do?
With a limited schedule and so much to see in Washington, DC, you'll need to plan ahead and go early to beat the crowds. Limit yourself to picking a few of the Smithsonian Museums (standouts being the National Museum of Natural History and the National Air and Space Museum), and spend your time between them and strolling the National Mall. Thankfully admission to the museums is generally free. With kids in tow, visit the National Zoo, just north of Dupont Circle to visit the panda bears.


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