The American capital is a pretty well-balanced, sophisticated and all-round good city to visit. The obvious reasons for people to go would be political work, or seeing the big monuments that fill the city. However if you go deeper and look beyond the Mall, you discover a thriving city with many great neighbourhoods, urban revival, a great restaurant scene and engaged, friendly people.
Rated by Lonely Planet guide as #1 city to visit in 2015 to visit – this is definitely a great option to see the contrasts between east and westcoast life.
If you’re flying in internationally, you’ll most likely come into Washington Dulles International Airport. This airport is about 45 mins drive outside of the city, and unfortunately not well connected to the transport system. The easiest is to take an Uber or Lyft car into the city (around $50). There is also a pretty much dedicated road servicing the airport, so this makes the transfer pretty seamless. Once you’re in the central areas, it’s pretty easy to get around.
DC is very much a walkable city. Being pretty much flat, and with neighbourhoods flowing seamlessly from one into the next – it’s an all-round pleasant experience. This way you also get a much better feeling for the city. Sometimes the distances can get a bit much in which case the metro would be the fastest option, provided that there’s good connections to where you’re heading. If not, you’re back onto Uber or Lyft. The “Lyft Line” or “Uber Pool” services are also good options when you’re not in a rush as it’s normally a fraction of the price.
The city also has a great bike-share programme, with excellent coverage. There are stations all over the main neighbourhoods, and bike lanes are constantly expanding.
The main areas with interest to travellers are:
This is basically and entire neighbourhood filled with monuments & galleries.
Located just to the east of the National Mall. Here you will find the U.S. Capitol, the U.S. Supreme Court and the Library of Congress. Also the main Union Station is here if you’re connecting somewhere via Rail.
Over weekends there is Eastern Market flea- and farmers market for local produce and some antiqueing.
Lafayette Square lies to the north of the National Mall -it’s the area surrounding the White House.
Georgetown is known for the university and hundreds of shops and restaurants, an its historic homes. M street and Wisconsin Avenue corridor is where all the shopping happens, however move beyond this ans explore some side streets.
This hoo is best known for being filled embassies (Massachusetts Avenue or “Embassy Row”) and a lively restaurant and night scene.
Adams Morgan is a hip neighborhood in NW DC, peaceful during the weekdays but pumping at night and on the weekends.
U Street Corridor
Known as the Harlem of Washington this is home to legends like Ben’s Chili Bowl and was a haven for African American artists. U Street is undergoing hopeful revitalization, with efforts to retain the historical significance.
- Renwick next to Whitehouse. A solid selection of Craft
- National Gallery
- Porchard gallery
- Georgetown University
- 17th street
- Library oCongressss
- Botanical gardens
Gym – If you want to work off some of the good food, or try a rooftop pool, try a daypass at Vida Fitness, U street.