USA road trips offer the potential to take in a wide range of destinations while in the country – but whichever places you choose to visit on American holidays, one of the most important locations to stop at has to be Washington DC.
The country’s capital offers a plethora of things to see and do, whether you’re looking to find out more about American history, politics and culture or have a great night on the town. Be sure to head to the city’s smaller attractions as well as the more famous ones to get the full Washington DC experience on USA fly drive holidays.
Among the bigger sights that many view as a must-see in Washington DC is the White House – not only is it the home of arguably the most powerful person in the world, but it is also a beautiful building that is an attraction in its own right. In order to visit the White House you’ll need to contact the British embassy for help with submitting a tour request.
Tours are self-guided, free and bookable up to six months in advance. It’s also worth checking out the White House Visitor Center while you’re there for a host of exhibits and information on the history of one of the world’s most recognisable buildings. It’s open from 07:30 to 16:00 local time every day, so time your tour in a way that you’re able to squeeze the visitor centre into your schedule.
Another popular attraction in Washington DC is the Smithsonian’s amazing collection of museums. There are 13 to take in, although it’s unlikely you’ll be able to fit them all into your trip unless you choose to extend your stay! Some of the main ones to visit include the Natural History Museum, the Air and Space Museum, the American History Museum, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and the National Zoo.
Elsewhere, the Washington Monument is a huge draw for tourists – which is easy to see from the long lines that often snake away from the site from the moment it opens early in the morning. The obelisk-shaped attraction was built in honour of George Washington, America’s first president, and is free to visit as long as you nab a ticket at the front of the aforementioned queues. It’s open daily except on Independence Day – July 4th – and Christmas Day.
Some of Washington’s less famous sights include the Chesapeake & Ohio canal and towpath – a great destination on summer days perfect for hiking and cycling – as well as the Hillwood Museum & Gardens and its huge collection of imperial Russian art. The B’nai B’rith Klutznick Museum has one of the largest collections of Jewish objects in America, while the Tidal Basin is a fantastic place to visit in the spring as this is when the city’s Japanese cherry blossom trees bloom in a riot of pink every year.
When it comes to nightlife, Washington DC has all bases covered. If you love live music, the city is a popular destination for some of the hottest new acts around, particularly when it comes to venues such as Blues Alley, Bohemian Caverns and the ultra-hip 9:30 Club. Alternatively, you might prefer to take in a play or a musical – some of the main places to go for this type of entertainment include the Signature Theatre, the Folger Theatre, the Kennedy Center and Imagination Stage.
If you love evenings out where things take a turn for the unexpected – in a good way, of course – a visit to the Palace of Wonders might be right up your street. This unusual venue is the world’s only establishment to have a dedicated vaudeville stage, museum of oddities and full bar and features spectacles ranging from sword swallowing to burlesque shows.
When you get hungry, there’s a staggering array of restaurants to choose from – so why not narrow your options with the help of a food tour? You can book tours focusing on a range of different tastes and cuisines to help you get a sense of what Washington DC has to offer. Or you could strike out on your own, or perhaps make an excursion to the district’s wine region. wine tours Willamette Valley