What You Need to Know about Washington, DC

  • Make restaurant reservations in advancePopular dining establishments tend to fill up quickly, so ensure your place by making a dinner reservation onOpenTable weeks ahead of time.
  • Walk or metro — don’t driveThe public transportation system can take you anywhere you want to go without the hassle of finding your way through D.C.’s congested streets.
  • Stroll the marketsD.C. hosts several weekend markets where you can get a feel for the local art and culinary scene. Check out Eastern Market and the vibrant markets in the Dupont Circle and Columbia Heights areas.

How to Save Money in Washington D.C.

  • Visit the Smithsonians Admission to this magnificent host of museums — and the National Zoo — is free, making it a very economical option for visiting families and solo travelers. The Smithsonian Castle, the institution’s national headquarters, serves as an excellent starting point for gathering additional information about each Smithsonian outpost.
  • Check out the U.S. Capitol Get in touch with your congressman and schedule a free tour of the U.S. Capitol Building. While you’re at it, saunter over to the Library of Congress’ three iconic buildings, which are also free to enter Monday through Saturday.
  • Skip the street vendors These kiosks provide overpriced (and mediocre) drinks and treats. Bring your own water bottle and snacks while touring the National Mall’s monuments and museums.

Culture & Customs

The District has long attracted lobbyists, petitioners, history buffs and power players, but these days it’s growing a diverse population thanks to its resurging neighborhoods and unfolding restaurant, shopping and nightlife scenes. The city also beckons to people from all parts of the country and places around the world due to its high-power jobs and universities. During your time in the nation’s capital — regardless of whether you’re a D.C. transplant or tourist — there are certain unspoken customs to follow. For example, if you don’t want to stick out as a visitor while using the metro, remember that the right side of the escalator is… most read more about Washington DC.

What to Eat

As the epicenter for American politics and nonprofits, too, Washington, D.C. attracts a diverse clientele — and the restaurant scene reflects this melting pot of ethnicities and cultures. Wander the streets of Georgetown, Dupont Circle and the U Street Corridor, and you’ll find plenty of interesting eateries, from white-tablecloth restaurants to trendy tapas joints plating everything from zesty Spanish bites to succulent oyster shooters. In addition, a strip of ethnic restaurants on H Street Northeast in the Atlas District plates everything from Belgian to Japanese fare. For slow sips at one of the capital’s swanky cocktail bars, head over to the U Street Corridor.


While you probably will not encounter any major crime as a tourist in D.C., it is still wise to be vigilant when exploring the city. Use common sense when walking around — avoid quiet side streets, especially when you are alone or don’t really know where you are going, and be sure to keep your purse and wallet secure. Visitors should be particularly wary in the Capitol Hill, Atlas District and Southwest areas at night. As a tourist, it’s unlikely you’ll encounter any major crimes; however, if you plan to visit any of the District’s crime-ridden areas, which includes Anacostia, Southeast and Northeast D.C., east of 15th Street Southeast and Northeast, stay alert and avoid traveling alone, especially after dark.


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Getting Around Washington D.C.

The best way to get around Washington, D.C., is via the clean, safe and efficient Washington Metrpolitan Area Transit Authority public transportation system. Most travelers (and residents) use a combination of the metro trains, the buses and their own two feet to get around, but keep in mind that as the metro continues to develop the new Silver Line, which is scheduled to be completed in 2018, you should prepare for delays and closings. You can even take a metro train or bus into the city from the closest of the area’s three airports: Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA) in Arlington, Virginia. Renting a car isn’t advised; D.C. is regularly ranked as one of America’s worst cities for driving. If you must have your own wheels, you should primarily keep them parked at your hotel. You can also traverse the capital city by taxi, but it’ll cost you.

Washington, D.C., is also serviced by the Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD), located about 30 miles west of the city. Another airport, Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI), sits just south of Baltomore.  The best way to get from BWI Airport into the city is to take a Marc Train from Union Station. To get from Reagan airport into the city, you can take the metro; to get from Dulles into the city, you can take a shuttle. Taxis and rental cars are available from all airports.


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