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Washington, DC | Public Domain/Pixbay
Washington, DC | Public Domain/Pixbay
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Things to Know Before You Visit Washington DC

Picture of David Lindsey
Updated: 9 February 2017
A visit to Washington DC is nothing short of fascinating. Visitors traveling there for the first time are probably looking forward to all the history and remarkable sights and attractions. However, planning the perfect Washington DC vacation can be a little bit daunting. Read on our list of things to know before you go.
Washington, DC | ©Pixabay
Washington, DC | Public Domain/Pixbay

‘Tis The Season

Washington DC is always a delightful, educational and entertaining destination but there are good times and better times to make the journey to America’s capital. It is best to go in spring or fall, when the weather is mild and the flowers are in bloom. Visitors planning to visit in spring will have an abundance of festivals and events to look forward to, the world famous Cherry Blossom Festival and the opening of the paddle boats in the Tidal Basin, just to name a few.

See The Sights On Land & Water

Everyone knows that Washington DC is filled with monuments and museums, but there are also many cool sights and attractions that can be seen from the Potomac River as well. On the DC DUCKS Tour, visitors will get to see most of them, as well as tour the Potomac aboard an amphibious vehicle that is able to go from the street to water. These unique vessels are fully restored 1942 military vehicles that were originally used to transport supplies back and fort to ships. The tour ends up at Gravely Point, underneath the flight path of the landing planes at the National Airport, which is an incredible experience.

River Potomac/ ©Pixabay
River Potomac/ | ©Pixabay

All The Smithsonian Museums Are Free

It’s hard to believe, but all 19 of the museums within the Smithsonian Institution offer free admission. So visitors can see any or all of these impressive venues without worries of budget restrictions. So be sure to take advantage of that and check out the American History Museum, the Air and Space Museum, the Natural History Museum and the Smithsonian Castle.

Smithsonian Castle | ©Robert Lyle Bolton/Flickr
Smithsonian Castle | ©Robert Lyle Bolton/Flickr

Take A Tour

There are dozens of different tours offered in Washington DC. To see the best of DC you may want to consider the Old Town Trolley Tour. This is the most comprehensive sightseeing tour in Washington DC, stopping at more than 100 points of interest. In 90 minutes, visitors can see all the sights with live narration, or the tour can be spread out even over a few days. The tour is flexible in that there are hop on hop off privileges due to the trolley’s schedule, making rounds every 15 minutes at each stop. The tour guide is a knowledgeable local who will share interesting facts and stories about the city’s history and the people and places you’re visiting.

U.S Capital Building | ©Ben/Flickr
U.S Capital Building | ©Ben/Flickr

The monuments and memorials in Washington DC are probably the most popular sights that people come to see. All of them are most crowded in the afternoon. To avoid the crowds, feel free to visit them after dark. It’s not just cooler (especially in the summer), they’re also open all night long. The Monuments by Moonlight Night Tour is a great option, which takes guests to many of the most popular monuments including the Lincoln Memorial, the FDR Memorial, the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial, and more.

Washington DC Dawn Monument - HDR | © Nicolas Raymond/Flickr
Washington DC Dawn Monument – HDR | © Nicolas Raymond/Flickr

Don’t Drive

Washington DC ranks in the top 10 of the most walkable cities in the USA. Traffic in the district is not only heavy, it can also be confusing for those who’ve never been to DC before. That being said, the best times to walk are when seeing the sights within a certain quadrant. If you are traveling from one area of the city to another, the best options are public transit or the Trolley Tour.

Lafayette Park, Washington DC/ ©Pixabay
Lafayette Park, Washington DC/ | ©Pixabay