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Content and photos courtesy of Washington DC's Official Travel Website

Basic information

  • Area: 177 km² (68 sq mi)
  • Calling Code: 202
  • Currency: United States Dollar ($)
  • Population (EST): 646,449
  • Official language: English
  • Time Zone: EST (UTC-5)

10 Reasons to Visit Washington D.C.

1. Washington, DC is one of the most fascinating cities in the world. Not only is it the center of politics in the Unites States, but it's a hub for culture and the arts in America. Here you'll find monuments celebrating the country's greatest heroes, and easily accessible tours and transportation to see it all with ease. Perhaps the most beautiful time to visit is March or April when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. In fact, the National Cherry Blossom Festival is a veritable parade of delicate pink and white petals.

2. The free museums make DC an affordable place to visit because you can take in the rich culture and history of the nation without having to pay a cent. There are 16 museums that are free and open to the public year round. Highlights include the National Zoo, National Museum of American History, as well as the Air and Space Museum and National Gallery of Art. These are all great for the whole family to visit, and offer the opportunity for education and cultural enrichment.

3. When in DC it's easy to get a glimpse into how U.S. politics work by paying a visit to the U.S. Capital, the White House, and the U.S. Supreme Court. All of these historic buildings are open for tours, and it's even possible to sit in on the Senate and House Members as they carry-on their business. The Supreme Court is also open so visitors can get a rare glimpse into the law of the nation at work.

4. The monuments and memorials of Washington are not only dazzling, both during the day and particularly at night, but they celebrate the heroes and major historical events of the country. There are plentiful tours and buses to take you to all the most important points of interest with ease. See the American story unfold at such important spots as the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Memorial, and the newest addition: the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. All of these spots are free to visit and simply stunning in their scale and emotional impact.

5. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is a wonderful place to see free performances and concerts. The Millennium Stage is where the free shows are happening at 6pm each and every night. From dance to plays, concerts and more, this is a great place to experience cultural enrichment. The Kennedy Center itself is a marvelous building to visit, for its stunning size and rich architecture.

6. Georgetown is a must-see location in Washington. Its fun university culture means that there's plenty to eat and drink, and the shopping in Georgetown is some of DC's best. With spas, boutiques, and luxury shoppes, there's something for everybody here. Be sure to pop into Georgetown Cupcake for some delicious American treats.

7. For cycling enthusiasts, a bike ride to Mt. Vernon is a fun way to get some light exercise and experience another locale brimming with culture and history. It's at Mount Vernon that one will find Theodore Roosevelt island and the home of George Washington, the first American president. It's a beautiful bike ride from Washington, and the sites along the road or lovely in the warmer months.

8. The 4th of July is a treasured holiday in the United States, marking the day when the country adopted the Declaration of Independence. As one can imagine, this is a pretty spectacular holiday to observe in the nation's capital. The National Mall simply ignites with red, white, and blue, and the Capitol Fourth Concert comes to life on the lawn of the U.S. Capital building.

9. No trip to Washington is complete without paying respects at the Arlington National Cemetery. It is in this hallowed ground that so many U.S. military have been laid to rest. There are over 250,000 soldiers, both men and women, buried here, who served their country, and lost their lives in the fight. It is here that such highlights as the Kennedy Eternal Flame and the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier reside.

10. Of increasing popularity in Washington is the Segway tour. These motorized machines give visitors to the city an easy and breezy way to travel from one amazing monument or museum to the next. It's fun to see every exciting site on the National Mall without ever having to have a blister. It is even popular for businessmen to travel around on these funny-looking two wheelers. A Segway tour is a refreshing way to get around without having to be stuck on a bus with numerous other tourists.

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