Have you ever thought about why to visit Washington DC? Is this beautiful capital city on your bucket list?
We always wanted to visit this city, but we always came up with some other idea. It is because we Europeans don’t fly to Washington DC for a few days. If we go to the USA for a city trip, then we probably fly to New York.
We travel to London, Berlin, Copenhagen, Madrid… People like to travel to the most of the capital cities in Europe. It is just the way, right?
What about a city trip to the capital city of all capitals? The fact is, this capital city is unlike any other capital city worldwide.
Do you think it is not as fancy as New York? Sorry to tell you, but we have seen fancy. We have seen clean streets, friendly people, great food, delicious coffee, easygoing lifestyle, and the historical buildings are just the cherry on the top.
Why to visit Washington DC?
It is beautiful and clean. You will find dirty streets quiet easily in the heart of New York City. But not here. Unless you will go a bit out of town. Otherwise Washington DC is spotless, and we felt very safe.
Like it or not, Washington DC is the place where the history is usually made. We don’t want to talk about politics but think out of the box. There is no other capital, which is that often in the news.
Standing in the streets and walking along all these majestic and historic buildings is something special. And you can enter these buildings. We visited The Capitol. It is still unbelievable, that such a historical building is open for public, at least a small part of it.
But for us, the best part of this trip was the free entry into museums. We don’t know that in Europe. You always pay if you want to visit a museum. Which is fine, because we only know it this way.
Okay, there are a few museums where you have to pay, but the major museums and historical buildings are free. No entry fee. YES to this!
For how long should you visit Washington DC?
We only spent 4 nights, and it was too short. Our flight from Frankfurt got delayed and instead of arriving in the afternoon, we arrived in the evening. So we lost a day. We walked a lot! We walked every single day. It was beautiful. We visited a few museums.
It is really up to you, but do a thorough research on what you would like to see and do in this stunning city. I am saying it, because there is so much to do, and it is your personal taste and interest what you would like to see and do.
The distances between some historical buildings are quite long and if you are like us and walk, it takes time to get from one place to the other.
You should explore this city by foot, it is beautiful and you don’t want to miss anything, right? But the public transportation works excellent and takes you anywhere you want. You can also rent a bicycle.
We would recommend at least 5 full days. Even longer if you plan on visiting many museums and galleries.
When is the best time to visit?
When we will travel to Washington DC again then definitely in spring or in summer. Probably we will choose spring because the cherry blossom blooms and the city is so stunning.
Unfortunately, we visited in February and were not lucky with the weather. Well, the sky was blue, but it was freezing. And it is no fun to walk in freezing conditions outside. At least not for us.
We did the best out of this trip and had a really great time.
What to see and do
There is much to do. As already mentioned, there are tons of museums and galleries for free. I still can not get my head around this.
Visit Smithsonian Museums, view the spectacular Lincoln, Jefferson, and Martin Luther King Jr. Memorials. Get a free tour of the US Capitol, which was such a significant experience. Check out art at the National Gallery of Art and get a look at the original Declaration of Independence at the National Archives.
All these free for you.
The White House, United States Capitol, Washington Monument, Arlington Cemetary, and more … these are the-must see attractions.
Thriving food scene
Why to visit Washington DC? For its thriving food scene.
You will find so many great restaurants at any price range. You can choose from plenty of different cuisines, so everyone finds something for themselves. We had steak and burger; we had delicious Mexican food and Indian food. And having pancakes with chicken for breakfast is possible in the USA. We love it!
Stop at Union Market, which is a food market in a warehouse building and offers so much. We actually didn’t know what to eat first. It all looked delicious and smelled even better. Markets are always a great way to go.
Grab a cup of coffee in one of the many cafes you will find around the entire city. Washington DC has many universities, so it is only obvious that the coffee scene is improving.
Fancy a drink? Yet again, it depends on your personal taste. You can either visit a wine bar or cocktail bar. For everyone, something to choose from. You prefer beer? No problem breweries are here too.
We went for a cocktail in an area called IVY City, which is an up-coming area in northeast of Washington DC. What a great place.
Before you head there, download and register on Uber app so can get easily back to your hotel. It is cheap and easy. We know Uber is not as common in Europe as in the USA.
We Europeans love to shop in the USA because it is cheaper. To be honest, we didn’t go to Washington DC for shopping. But we did a bit of window shopping. Don’t worry, we let the credit card do its job.
You will find the big brand names, but you will also find a small shops with great stuff. What you look for, you will find here. Downtown has plenty to offer.
Make sure you check the Georgetown area for shopping. It offers from Indian specialist shops, boutique shops to high luxury labels. When you are already in Georgetown, check their University campus. It is fabulous.
Okay, to be fair with you, we stopped at one outlet mall to spend some money. We went to Leesburg Premium outlet, which was fun. It is fun to shop in the USA, isn’t it? You will find it in northwest from Washington DC, so rent a car.
Yes, this is why to visit Washington DC.
Washington DC is a cosmopolitan city and should be on your bucket list, on your culture travel list. It is exciting to see it for yourself. It is unbelievable to see the beautiful United States Capitol for yourself.
As much as we love road trips, we love city trips; we love to educate ourself, learn history, get a fresh perspective and stay open-minded. All this you will find in the capital city of the United States of America: in Washington DC.
We didn’t know what to expect. We didn’t know if we will like it. But we were so nicely surprised by the beauty of this city. It is worth the trip; it is worth your time and the money you will invest in this trip.
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We hope our brief introduction to Washington DC inspires you to visit this unique capital city.
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With love, Teri and Felix