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The Best Hotels in Washington

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Best Hotels in Washington

Washington is that rare thing – a capital which is often overshadowed by noisier rivals. Despite the fact it may not have the bright lights of New York, or the glitz of Los Angeles, Washington is steeped in culture – both monumentally impressive and downright odd – as well as being the seat of power for the United States. From shopping to a vibrant nightlife and down-to-earth dining culture, there’s plenty to do in Washington for kicks, but there’s also lots to learn and explore during the day. Not to mention paying a visit to a certain resident’s rather grand house on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Things to see

The neoclassical architecture of The White House is noteworthy in its own right, but the first thing on most visitors’ minds isn’t the outside, but the hotbed of activity going on within its corridors. This is the seat of the President of the United States, and has been since 1800, and while you won’t be able to stroll around inside and have a chinwag about global policy, getting up close to this iconic and important building is at the heart of a visit to Washington. The National Mall isn’t, despite its name, a shopping center – rather it’s a huge national park which is home to a large number of memorials and other must-visit landmarks, such as the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, and the Constitutional Gardens. For something more educational, and offbeat, the Smithsonian Institution is home to 19 museums and galleries celebrating everything from science and culture to the nation’s folk and artistic heritage.

Hotels in Washington

Given the fact that so many of the great and good have to jet into the city for business, or pleasure, there’s no shortage of high-end hotels in Washington. You’ll be able to find five-star luxury among the recognisable chains as well as in independents, but what is constant is that these top-end options should all offer WiFi, flat-screen televisions, and either MP3 dockings stations or CD players in-rooms. Additionally expect to find indoor pools, spas and health clubs, and plenty of business facilities on hand too. You'll also find plenty of mid-range and budget hotels in Washington well geared to families and business visitors travelling without a bottomless expense account.

Where to stay

Whereas once it was a mostly commercial center, Downtown is these days becoming more residential and is an increasingly popular place for visitors to stay, as it puts them within walking distance of theaters, bars, and restaurants as well as the city’s most noteworthy museums. A mix of rowhouses and Federal school blocks, Downtown feels quite office-based, but there’s plenty to see and do. Dupont Circle also has a booming nightlife, and is a little artier, with plenty of bookstores and a more bohemian vibe. Capitol Hill isn’t just famed for its monuments, there are lots of shopping facilities on hand, but often inflated prices for accommodation.

How to get to

The city’s main transport hub is Ronald Reagan International Airport, which is located in Arlington. Transferring from the airport to Downtown is quite easy and convenient thanks to the city’s Metro system, but there’s a limited number of flights into Reagan due to security measures – you’ll also find heightened security onboard planes headed for this airport. Dulles International Airport is in Virginia, around 26 miles away from the center of Washington. Transfers are available and inexpensive, on the Washington Flyer – as this airport’s not served by the Metro - usually taking around 30 minutes to get to the heart of the city. .

When are the best times to travel to Washington?

Travel to Washington during the balmy spring months, and see the eruption of bright pink cherry blossom along the lush, monument-studded National Mall. Aside from the cherry blossom festival – which peaks in late March and early April – the spring is a quiet season, perfect for peaceful trips to Washington’s museums, and for cheap Washington hotels. For true discount hotels in Washington, however, travel during the snowy winter months, avoiding Christmas. In summer, Washington flourishes beneath bright sun and blue skies.

What are the top must-see attractions in Washington?

Stop by the stately looking White House, a white-washed 18th-century building championing a graceful Neo-Classical architectural style. South from here, discover the towering Washington Monument, a dizzyingly-tall sharp-pointed marble and granite obelisk dedicated to the USA’s first president, George Washington. A short walk west finds you at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, a huge shimmering pool capped on one end by a Greek Doric temple, which houses a solemn seated statue of Abraham Lincoln.

What are the best types of food and restaurants in Washington?

Washington’s cuisine scene boasts a little bit of everything – from cheap and easy fast food to fancy fine dining. If the idea of fresh, spicy Ethiopian cuisine seems good to you, dine in Washington’s Shaw district, where you’ll find Little Ethiopia. There are plenty of relaxed Salvadorian eateries in Columbia Heights, serving hearty pupusa tortillas. Georgetown, meanwhile, mixes hip brunch bistros with upscale European restaurants. The West End, East End, and luxury hotels in Washington are all fine dining hotspots.

What are the top things to do in Washington?

Many of Washington’s top museums are gathered along the grassy tree-studded National Mall. Art fiends can visit the National Gallery of Art, a sprawling Neo-Classical building housing a seemingly endless array of fine paintings, from the Italian Renaissance to contemporary work. Families can take their kids to the National Air and Space Museum, where a huge semi-cylindrical hanger houses replica aeroplanes and spacecraft. After, amble to the National Museum of Natural History, and gaze at giant dinosaur skeletons and to scale replica animal models.

What are some fun facts about Washington?

After you visit the White House, see the nearby statue of Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Square – the dark black metal statue was rendered from British cannons taken in the War of 1812. Literature lovers can’t miss Washington’s Library Of Congress, a truly vast house of learning containing approximately 830 miles of bookshelf. During the cherry blossom festival, take a moment to appreciate that the cherry trees wouldn’t be there if not for Japan’s Yukio Ozaki – one-time mayor of Tokyo – who gifted Washington with cherry trees in 1912 as a sign of friendship.

What kinds of public transport are there in Washington?

Washington offers an array of affordable and easily navigable public transport – the network of reliable public buses will whizz you around the central areas and suburbs, so too will the underground Metrorail, a grouping of 6 colour-coded rail lines that run from early in the morning up until midnight. There’s also a tourist oriented D.C Circulator Bus that runs between all the key city landmarks and neighbourhoods. You can also travel in Washington via taxicab – in abundance across the city, and easy to find outside central Washington hotels.

Washington Travel Guides & Things To Do

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