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While many think of Washington, DC as a center for policy and procedure, it takes just a stroll down the National Mall, a show at the Folger Theatre or a meal along the Georgetown waterfront to prove this world-renowned city has much more to offer amidst its historic monuments and modern-age architecture. The US Capital brings travelers an exciting escape around every turn, literally, thanks to the abundance of historic neighborhoods and commitment to cultural preservation.

City Tips

Facts & Fundamentals

The National Air and Space Museum is the second most popular museum in DC and is recognized as the fourth most-visited in the world. One of the more than 200 stained-glass windows in Washington National Cathedral, the Space Window, contains a piece of a moon rock. Residents of Washington, D.C. were granted the right to vote for president on March 29, 1961. There are 715 libraries in Washington, D.C., whereas NYC has 833. DC residents have put them all to good use, as 53% have attained at least a bachelor’s degree (third to Seattle and San Francisco). The Pentagon has 17.5 miles of corridors, 6.5 million square feet and the five-acre central plaza is the largest “no-hat no-salute” zone in the US. The statue on top of the Capitol Dome is 19.6-feet tall and weighs about 15,000 pounds. John Adams was the first president to live in the White House. Thomas Jefferson was the first president to be inaugurated in Washington, DC. In 1912 the Japanese people presented 3,020 cherry trees to the people of Washington, DC. Today there are more than 3,800 cherry trees, which bloom every spring. The White House was first painted white when it was reconstructed after the British set fire to it in 1814. The Smithsonian Institution is comprised of 19 museums and galleries and the National Zoo. The National Museum of Natural History is home to more than 126 million specimens and artifacts. There is no charge to visit any of SI’s museums in Washington, DC.

Weather

The Washington, D.C. region offers visitors four distinct seasons, each framing the capitol with its own special beauty. Spring is synonymous with cherry blossoms and picture-perfect views along the Potomac under sunny skies and temps that hover between 37 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, on average.

June ushers in summer’s humidity and sends travelers into air-conditioned museums, as rising temperatures average a high of 85 degrees and can top 100. Gorgeous fall foliage and milder temps herald the return of politicos to DC in the fall.

Winter’s shorter days can be chaotic thanks to cold Canadian air meeting warmer air from the Gulf. DC averages between 15 and 18 inches of snow and is no stranger to storms that can dump 12 inches at a time.

City Detail

Marble memorials and museums, graceful cherry trees in bloom, corridors filled with the powerful, and a stately white house are the iconic emblems of one of the world’s most important cities: Washington, D.C. Established by constitutional decree and erected on a site chosen by President George Washington, today the nation’s capital covers 68 square miles. Visitors are enchanted by the restored city plan that reflects L’Enfants’ vision of broad boulevards, ceremonial spaces and four quadrants converging on the center of power: The U.S. Capitol.

With upwards of 19 million visitors descending on the city annually, tourism is second only to government. With more than 70 museums, exhibits cover all subjects from aircraft to spies and everything in between. Historic homes, the National Archives and The White House offer glimpses into the past, where history comes alive.

The sweeping, nearly two-mile National Mall is graced by iconic memorials and museums. The Mall is anchored by the impressive Lincoln Memorial and Reflecting Pool on the west end and the U.S. Capitol Complex to the east. Soaring to a height of 555 feet at the center of the Mall, the Washington Monument honors our first president and is the tallest edifice in the city. Between the Washington Monument and U.S. Capitol Complex, the Smithsonian Institution Building (The Castle) joins a host of world-class museums that include the National Air and Space Museum, National Gallery of Art and Hirshhorn Museum.

But Washington, D.C. is more than memorials and museums. Festivals celebrate the cherry trees in bloom, folklife and cultures from around the globe, holidays and music. The performing arts take center stage at the country’s premier venue for theatre, dance and music: The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. With more than 350 theatrical productions annually for an audience of more than 2 million as well as national tours of Broadway musicals and cutting-edge contemporary dramas, theater is a vibrant force in this city of power.

Between passing legislation, brokering deals and catering to tourists, D.C. loves its sports teams. Baseball (Nationals), basketball (Mystics and Wizards), football (Redskins), hockey (Capitals) or soccer (United) thrill fans all year long. Golfers test their skills on three courses on an island in the Tidal Basin. Historic neighborhoods, 102 parks and 232 miles of rails-to-trails encourage visitors to see the city by foot. In fact, D.C. was named the most walkable city in 2007 by the Brookings Institute.

Walking makes it easy to admire futuristic glass cubes juxtaposed next to 19th-century Federal Revival rowhouses. Adams Morgan, Dupont Circle, Georgetown and U Street are just a few of the neighborhoods with distinct personalities that appeal to visitors. Urban adventurers enjoy exploring the lively mix of ethnic restaurants, architectural styles and hip shops that thrive next to public gardens, museums and official buildings.

Whether the agenda includes walking tours, sightseeing or business, Washington, D.C. keeps visitors busy with its cornucopia of attractions, restaurants, events and museums. Envisioned as a world-class city and mandated by the U.S. Constitution, it has  become representative of all 50 states and the world.

Restaurants

Five Guy Burgers and Fries

1331 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC, DC 20004

Named as the Washingtonian Magazine’s readers’ choice for #1 burger in DC and making Zagat’s survey every year since 2001, this is the place to go for the quintessential burger and fries in the capitol. Fans include President Obama, who was spotted ordering a burger while being interviewed by Brian Williams

Phone

+1-202-393-2135


Kinkead’s

2000 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC, DC 20006

The outstanding seafood offerings are what make Kinkead’s a perennial favorite of celebrities and politicians. The menu varies from day to day, but diners can count on the entrees being fresh and a feast for the eyes as well as the taste buds. The wine list includes more than 300 selections.

Phone

+1-202-296-7700


Komi

1509 17th Street NW

Washington, D.C., DC 20036

A daring chef, smart and attentive servers and the absence of a menu might surprise the uninitiated. But fans of chef Johnny Monis’ tiny restaurant (12 tables) know that they can expect a Greek-inspired, multi-course feast over the 2.5- to 3-hour meal. There is nothing else quite like it in the region.

Phone

+1-202-332-9200


Proof

775 G Street NW

Washington, D.C., DC 20001

From a location across from the National Portrait Gallery, this eatery is as visually appealing as its neighbor’s masterpieces. The outstanding wine list, with more than 1,000 options and 50 wines by the glass, may get the most buzz, but the inventive, Modern American cuisine more than holds it own.

Phone

+1-202-737-7663


1789

1226 36th Street NW

Washington, D.C., DC 20007

Clearly at home in a 19th-century Federal townhouse in the upper-crust neighborhood of Georgetown, 1789 features classic American fare and a menu that changes daily. You can dine against a backdrop of historical prints, silk-shaded lamps and working fireplaces while keeping a sharp eye out for socialites, politicos and media moguls.

Phone

+1-202-965-1789


Five Guys Burgers and Fries

13th Street NW and F Street NW

Washington, D.C., 20004

Named as the #1 burger by fans across the land and making Zagat’s survey every year since 2001, this is the place to go for the quintessential burger and fries in the capital. Fans include President Obama, who was spotted ordering a burger while being interviewed by Brian Williams.

Phone

+1-202-393-2135


Jardenea

2430 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, D.C., 20037

This outstanding restaurant, located in the Melrose Georgetown Hotel, offers farm-to-fork cuisine. Executive chef Nate Lindsey serves up a menu that is fresh and a feast for the eyes as well as the taste buds. The Lounge offers a menu of hand-crafted cocktails.

Phone

+1-202-955-6400


Fresh faces and celebrity chefs helped put the city on the "foodie map." From Julia Child’s Cambridge kitchen enshrined at the American History Museum to trendy eateries, casual burger joints and power lunch hotspots, there’s plenty to love about Washington, D.C. cuisine. Just like political alliances, the faces and menus change frequently.

As you might imagine, given the presence of more than 176 foreign embassies, there are plenty of chances to try excellent ethnic cuisine. Adams Morgan is well-known for the sheer variety of international restaurants that span the globe. Ethiopian cuisine is the highlight of Meskerem, and if Brazilian food and fun cocktails are on the agenda, then head over to The Grill from Ipanema.

Forty-one restaurants in the metro area have garnered Zagat scores of 27 out of 30. Generally acknowledged as one of the best in town, Komi has no menu, just a set of 18-22 small dishes with optional wine pairings, a veritable tour de force from the chef, Johnny Monis. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Hula Girl Truck and Red Hook Lobster Pound DC are two of more than 200 food trucks in DC that offer a wide range of fresh food at locations throughout the city. Prices are low, quality is high and everyone wins.


The posh streets of Georgetown boast some of the best restaurants in the district. While this neighborhood may be home to countless chi-chi clubs that attract students, the real stars are the outstanding restaurants. Whether you’re in the mood for 1789’s historical ambiance and Federal-style architecture with a classic meal, French delights at La Chaumiere or first-class Italian cuisine at Café Milano, you’ll be treated to award-winning dishes.

Downtown D.C. and Foggy Bottom cater to the movers and shakers, so it’s no surprise that lunch reigns supreme around here. Don’t miss a chance to dine at Old Ebbitt Grill, a favorite of presidents that has been around since 1856. Charlie Palmer, known for its artisan beef cuts and a wine cube with more than 3,500 bottles of exclusively American wines, is a favorite for power lunches where the agenda is as important as being seen. Jardenea, tucked away in the Melrose Georgetown Hotel, is one of the most popular "Farm to Fork" eateries in the city.

Dupont Circle just might offer more choices than any other neighborhood in the city. There’s everything from high-end cuisine to fast food that’s easy on the wallet. Among the standouts are Komi’s Greek-inspired dishes, the charming and historic Tabard Inn Hotel’s dining room with its cheery green and white checkerboard floor and whitewashed walls and the informal Hank’s Oyster Bar.

Penn Quarter and U Street are becoming the place to go for the trendy eateries and bistros that are providing upscale options. Just as in the city's other neighborhoods, there’s a wide range of cuisine and prices available. From the decidedly upscale Proof to the comfort food of Marvin, there’s literally something for everyone.

Events

Adams Morgan Day Festival

18th Street NW, between Florida Avenue and Columbia Road

Washington, D.C., DC 20009

[September 2015] Celebrating the Adams Morgan neighborhood’s cultural diversity, this annual festival showcases food from across the globe, music, dance, artists, vendors and everything else for a lively street festival, including Chinese lion dancers. Multiple stages, sidewalk cafes and pavilions for information about health and living green keep the party humming.


Capital Dragon Boat Regatta

Southwest Waterfront

Washington, D.C., 20024

[August 2015] A celebration of Asian culture, this racing event with traditional dragon boats is open to participants ages 12 or older. A variety of family friendly events also accompany the races.


Mark Twain Prize for American Humor

John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Washington, D.C., DC 20566

[October 2015] The 2015 Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at the Kennedy Center is celebration of the best in comedy. Previous honorees include Richard Pryor, Whoopi Goldberg, George Carlin, Carol Burnett and 2014's winner, Jay Leno.


National Cherry Blossom Festival

1250 H Street NW, Suite 100

Washington, D.C., 20005

[March-April 2015] For five weeks each spring, the capital blossoms as it honors the gift of the trees that bloom along the Tidal Basin. In addition to admiring the blossoms, visitors can attend Sakura Matsuri Japanese Street Festival, the largest one-day exhibition of Japanese culture in the US.


Smithsonian Folklife Festival

The National Mall

Washington, D.C., DC 20024

[June-July 2015] For two weeks each year, the National Mall becomes the site for a free festival. Each year’s theme offers guests fresh perspective on “living cultural heritage,” with topics such as American food culture and the Peace Corps. Activities, traditional craft demonstrations, performances and presentations offer visitors the chance to see, engage and learn.


History, a multi-cultural population and special interest groups may explain why there’s no shortage of fascinating festivals and events to attend in Washington, D.C. The yearly calendar is chock full of outstanding events to engage the senses, feed the soul and enlighten the mind. Each season provides plenty of opportunities to explore the best of the city.

   
Summers might be hot and humid, but those sunny days encourage the throngs of visitors to join local residents at one of the many outdoor concert series, such as the Marine Band’s series. The Smithsonian Institution hosts an annual two-week long folklife festival on the National Mall that highlights the arts, crafts and food from the honored country and select U.S. states. Designed to offer interactive events, the festival is conducive to meeting and speaking with traditional artisans and learning about a culture first hand.


The DC Blues Festival, Capital Fringe Festival and Screen on the Green offer the chance to enjoy a more focused celebration. Every Sunday, the Georgetown Flea Market offers some of the best bargain hunting for antiques and collectibles. While the market is open year round on every Sunday, take advantage of the locals’ exodus for vacation and snap up costume jewelry, vintage linens and political memorabilia.


Labor Day may signal the end of summer, but it sets the stage for grand opening nights for the performing arts community. Less formal and just as engaging is the multi-cultural street festival called Adams Morgan Day. Celebrating the neighborhood’s diversity, this family-friendly event offers the chance to improve your salsa and rumba skills, learn about health and green practices, engage in hands-on science experiments, sample a wide variety of ethnic food and, in general, have a good time. Other major fall events include the ever-popular Oktoberfest and the solemn ceremonies on Veteran’s Day at Arlington National Cemetery.


Winter brings the lighting of the National Christmas Tree and the National Hanukkah Menorah, ice skating amid the sculptures in the National Gallery of Arts outdoor garden and the five-week long ZooLights at the National Zoo. While those hoping to attend the tree lighting ceremony will need to enter the lottery for tickets, there is no need for tickets to see it after that first night, so plan to visit between dusk and 11pm. There are also beautifully lit trees on display at Union Station and the U.S. Capitol to admire. Dozens of light displays, a Gin-GRR-Bread Habitat contest and special Keeper talks entertain kids of all ages. Mount Vernon offers candlelight tours, costumed characters and Christmas carols over the course of four weekends. Those lucky enough to have secured tickets for a tour of the White House from their Congressional representatives will particularly enjoy the tour when the stately mansion is decked out for the holidays. F Street is the home of the Downtown DC Holiday Market which features unique gifts, specialty foods and live entertainment in a festive atmosphere. Football fans look forward to the Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman. And with the arrival of the New Year, the cycle begins anew!


Reagan National Airport (DCA): Washington, DC

Airport Address
1 Aviation Circle
Washington, DC 20001 USA

Ticket Counter Location
Terminal A - Sun Country Ticket Counter Ticket counter closes 45 minutes prior to flight departure.

Click here for Reagan National Airport terminal A map.


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