Close-up perspective of the façade of the U.S. Capitol building
Monuments, culture and local flavor: a brief guide to Washington, D.C.
But take the time to venture beyond the Mall. Myriad museums, sophisticated dining, diverse shopping, professional sports teams and in the spring, the incredible cherry blossoms around the Tidal Basin, are easy walks, short bike trips or Metro rides away.
In D.C., it’s easy to pair your sightseeing with museum touring. A number of Smithsonian Institution museums are located on or near the Mall, and they’re all free. The National Air & Space Museum, Museum of American History and the Museum of Natural History are must-sees. Art lovers will want to visit the Corcoran Gallery, the American Art Museum, the Freer Gallery of Art, the Museum of African Art and Museum of Women in the Arts. And, these are just a few of the many found throughout the District.
Via Segway, bicycle, foot or coach, guided and self-guided tours make it easy for you to see the icons on the Mall and beyond. Various companies offer bus and walking tours; others use bicycles, Segways and even amphibious duck boats to show you the sights. Themed tours have also become popular, including scandal and ghost-story narrations. Food-themed tours include craft beer, Italian cuisine and a six-course moveable feast with historical insights.
One of the perennial “best restaurant cities” in the U.S., the District’s dining scene ranges from sophisticated to down-home, with everything in between. You can enjoy traditional game served with a modern touch, inspired molés from Mexico, fine French cuisine, Southern-inspired delights and the greatest concentration of Ethiopian restaurants in any city outside Africa.
The District, as locals call it, is relatively compact with unique neighborhoods that you can explore easily by foot, bike, cab or Metro. Restoration of the U Street corridor, with restaurants, shops and live-entertainment venture, has spurred improvements in the nearby Shaw neighborhood, with its lively bars and restaurants. Neighboring Adams Morgan blends clubs, restaurants and exotic shops with new apartment complexes. Dupont Circle’s cosmopolitan outdoor dining, shops and Victorian architecture make it popular with happy hour revelers, as is nearby Georgetown, famous for its upscale shops, nightclubs and fine dining. Don't miss the charming Eastern Market home to one of the oldest markets in the USA and the bustling Barracks row with distinct architecture and some of the best dining in the city.
You’ll also find plenty of rich culture, beyond the museums and monuments. If you’re looking for classical arts, look no further than the Kennedy Center with its concert hall, opera house and theater, which presents theater, dance, the national symphony, the national opera and various chamber and chorale groups.
Looking for variety? The Shakespeare Theatre Company is acclaimed for its productions, while The Avant Bard, Constellation, Mosaic and Rorschach theaters offer thought-provoking modern stage works. For live music, the 9:30 Club highlights popular national acts, and blocks away, the U Street Music Hall features underground DJs and indie acts.