The nation’s capital is a culturally diverse city filled with history, museums, iconic monuments, hip neighborhoods and so much more! Every year I visit D.C. for the Hugh M. Hefner awards at the Newseum, and I’m constantly in awe of how much this city offers!
History comes to life in D.C., where eclectic neighborhoods splash a modern hue across a historic landscape. From monuments to museums, delicious cafes and charming neighborhoods, here’s a Washington D.C. city guide to help you explore the best things to do and see in the capital!
Washington D.C. Neighborhoods
Georgetown – D.C.’s historic neighborhood features charming 18th and 19th century homes and Federal-style architecture. Spend a day strolling the cobblestone streets, have brunch on the waterfront, pop into a music lounge or explore the canal, riverside promenade and gardens.
Downtown D.C. City Center – After a day of exploring Georgetown, pop down to the lively City Center for dinner or cocktails at the beautiful rooftop bar at W Hotel.
Washington D.C. Attractions
National Mall – Stroll the National Mall and visit the famous monuments where you’ll stand in the footsteps of American History. This iconic location is essentially the nucleus of the historic landmarks and monuments of D.C. The Smithsonian Museums, U.S. Capitol and White House are all within walking distance from the National Mall.
Explore the monuments – Most notably are the Lincoln Memorial, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial and Franklin D. Roosevelt monument. This is a sacred spot in the D.C. where you get the humbling opportunity to step into the legacies of U.S. revolutionaries and leaders that rallied the masses.
Smithsonian Museums – Learn all about American History from the Smithsonian Museums, which are all free! Choose from the National Museum’s of American History, African American History and Culture, Natural History, Air and Space, Gallery of Art and Portrait Gallery. Whichever museums you choose to visit, you’re sure to gain fascinating insight into U.S. history.
Newseum – The Newseum is devoted to raising awareness about the importance of the First Amendment and free press. Here you can learn about the historic events in U.S. history that helped shape the core freedoms of the First Amendment. This is also where we host the HMH awards every year. Check out the Hugh M. Hefner foundation website to see what we do!
Library of Congress – Boasting the esteemed title of the largest library in the world, the sheer scope and architecture of the Library of Congress will take your breath away.
White House – There’s only one place in the world where you get to step into the home of the president, and that’s the White House. Whether you enjoy the view from outside or book an appointment in advance to take a tour inside, you can’t take a trip to D.C. without seeing the White House.
Unique Sights in Washington D.C.
Busboys & Poets is a community gathering place located on popular U St., where culture and art meet. Grab coffee, browse the book store or grab a bite from the vegetarian-friendly menu.
Capitol Hill Books – This quirky, upbeat bookstore has become a D.C. landmark for its photogenic appeal and cornucopia of secondhand books.
See the Cherry Blossoms – The Cherry Blossom festival happens between March and April, when the city flourishes in pink petals and all sorts of celebrations and photo ops ensue!
As you can see, there’s no shortage of amazing things to do and see in Washington, D.C.! On your trip, you’ll get a rich scope of U.S. history with some of the most esteemed museums in the world. Beyond the incredible history exists a vibrant city with a thriving metropolis just waiting for you to explore!
Check out another historic U.S. city with my New York Travel Guide!
Photos by Adam Brockett