Washington, DC: Top 5 Favorite Places to Visit - Activities and Attractions for Tourists
My Favorite City!
Washington, D.C. is by far, my most favorite city. I travel there frequently for work and pleasure and know the city like the back of my hand. Even if you're not involved with politics, this phenomenal city has something for everyone. It's a great family destination where you can sneak in a little history and your kids won't even know that they're learning. It's also a very romantic city in the evenings; try a walk in the dusk along the Potomac River or even a dinnertime cruise on the Potomac. For tourists, Limousine sightseeing tours are usually offered at very affordable rates.
If I was to do a true “Top 5” list of my absolute favorite places in D.C., I would choose all the landmarks in the city because of what the represent in our nation's history; not to mention they are incredibly breathtaking. Anyway, I'm sure we all can name off at least 8 landmarks in D.C., so to make this article a little more interesting;
Here are my top five places of Washington, D.C. in the following categories:
- National Landmark
- Shopping Area
National Landmark: The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Arguably the most famous residence and office building in the entire world. This is hands down, my favorite place in Washington, D.C. The White House is said to accommodate 5,000 visitors a day, although this number is not all tourists. Many are dignitaries, ambassadors, lobbyists, etc. On your next trip to Washington, D.C., you absolutely must take a tour!
How to Take a Tour of the White House: Because of security restrictions, it is no longer possible to simply walk up to the gate, get a ticket and get a sneak peek inside. If you would like a tour of the White House, simply contact one of your state's U.S. Senators' office and request tickets. I suggest doing this, at minimum, three months in advance. You will need to provide your Social Security number and your date of birth. A background check will be run on you and your party and the office will contact you when your tickets are available, or you may even be able to pick them up at the Capitol building when you arrive in town. Also inquire about a tour of the Capitol Building; these are much easier to get and the Capitol Building is absolutely breathtaking, even more so than the White House. Unfortunately, the "generic" White House tour does not include acces to the West Wing, which is where the Oval Office is located. In order to get a coveted tour of the West Wing (which houses the President's Office, the Oval Office), you must know someone that works for the administration. They can typically arrange a private tour that will give you limited accesst to the West Wing at a much shorter notice. Out of courtesy, you should give them at least a month to make the proper arrangements.
Museum: Smithsonian's Museum of Natural History
The Smithsonian Institute boasts a whopping 18 museums in Washington, D.C. alone. They are all free to attend and are incredible places to visit. I've haven't seen all of them...yet.
My absolute favorite Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C. is the Museum of Natural History.
It is at this museum that you can view the world's most gorgeous diamond, the Hope Diamond. It is a whopping 40+ carats! You can also see the most famous type of dinosaur's skelton, the Tyrannosaurus Rex. It is huge and is absolutely breathtaking. Next time you're in D.C., definitely check out the Museum of Natural History. It's completely free and is very suitable for entertaining the entire family.
Restaurant - Kramerbooks
Out of the thousands of restaurants in D.C., Kramerbooks is my favorite. I have about 20 other favorites that consist of more traditional dining, but Kramerbooks, which is located on Dupont Circle, is a wonderful place to eat breakfast or brunch. It is a great place for tourists to check out. It's moderately priced, but the food and service is fantastic. Try to get a seat outside and you'll have a great experience. They stay open until 1am in the morning, which is very convenient and their brunch is to die for. Mimosa's are even included in their brunch price. Kramerbooks also serves as a bookstore and is a very charming shop. It's not (yet) a chain and is therefore unique which adds to the experience. Try it; you won't be disappointed!
Nightlife - Hawk 'N Dove
Located on Capitol Hill, the Hawk 'n Dove is the place to go if you want to check out what the nightlife is like for Capitol Hill staffers. If you're lucky, you'll also occasionally see a few legislators there, as well. The Hawk 'n Dove is an Irish pub that has great drinks, not to mention great food and has a wonderful ambiance. Some fun trivia is that this pub has even been featured on NBC's critically acclaimed drama, "The West Wing". It gets very crowded on the weekends, especially if there is a private party upstairs and the level is closed off. Definitely check it out on your next trip, but try to get there on a weeknight.
Shopping - Georgetown
There are tons of great places to shop in D.C., the most famous place is probably the Union Station which has around 100 stores. My favorite place to go shopping in D.C. however, is the commercial district in Georgetown, mainly on M Street and Wisconsin Ave. For a gorgeous area, wonderful shops and a great shopping experience, you have to try this area out. It is adjacent to a beautiful canal and makes for a great sightseeing experience, all while getting to sample a variety of high-end shops, restaurants and bars. Why shop inside at the mall when you can spend time in historic Georgetown?