5 Reasons to Visit DC & 5 Things to Know Before You Go

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Reason to Visit

1. The Smithsonian Museums are world class and all FREE!... including the Zoo. Definitely check out the Air and Space Museum on the National Mall as well as their annex by Dulles Aiport too. The Dulles airport hanger is where they keep all the cool stuff like a Concord, the Enola Gay, a space shuttle, and heaps of other planes and flying machines/tech.

 Panorama of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center at Dulles. 

Panorama of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center at Dulles. 

2. Visit the Old Post Office Tower for some great views of the city. It's located in the Trump International Hotel building in the Federal Triangle neighbourhood and also has park rangers on site to answer any inevitable questions you'll have while enjoying this bird's eye view of America's capital.

 View from the Post Office Tower... as seen in House of Cards

View from the Post Office Tower... as seen in House of Cards

3. Do Operation Spy at the Spy Museum for a fun way to meet some new people and see one of the coolest museums you'll ever visit.  

4. On a hot day, run through the fountains at the German American Friendship Garden located just north of the Washington Monument.

5. If you can make it in the spring, aim for the Cherry Blossom festival!

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Things to Know

1. Book any tours ahead of time. Things like the White House require an advance request from your senator or embassy and the Pentagon requires at minimum 2 weeks advance request on their website. I 

 Many don't know this view is actually the  BACK  of the White House! 

Many don't know this view is actually the BACK of the White House! 

2. Don't waste your money on a Metro day pass.  it's only good for the city core's short distance buses and trains and chances are you won't take the amount of trips necessary to make the price worth it. Do however buy a SmarTrip card and load it with some money. Average trips cost about $2 and it costs more if you don't have the card.

3. Still on the note of transport, Capital Bikeshare is the absolute best way to see the city and more specifically the National Mall. For when you need a car, download Lyft if you don't have it already. For those who don't know, it's an Uber competitor and if you're a foreigner, chances are you've never used them and could get free rides.

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4. The area around the National Mall gets pretty dead after dark. Chinatown and the area near Metro Center are your best bets for dinner or some bars.

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5. It gets very hot in the summer, bring a water bottle to fill at fountains all over the place and skip wasting your money on small bottles that will be gone in one gulp. Nalgene are the best by far!

 

As a closing note (and as always), we recommend trying to find your own way and just go with the flow. Don't overbook your time. Use Pinterest, ask friends, and grab flyers from your hotel to find the things you want to do. Happy trails!