Washington DC For First Timers
A visit to Washington DC is nothing short of fascinating. If you’re traveling to the nation’s capital for the first time, you are no doubt looking forward to all the history, points of interest and popular attractions. However, planning the perfect vacation to this large city can be a little bit daunting. Here are 6 things to know before you travel to Washington DC.
‘Tis the Season
While Washington DC is always a delightful, educational and entertaining destination, there are good times and better times to make the journey to our nation’s capital. The best time of year to go is in the spring or fall when the weather is mild and the flowers are in bloom. If you plan to visit in the spring, you’ll have an abundance of festivals and events to look forward to, the world famous Cherry Blossom Festival and the opening of the paddleboats in the Tidal Basin.
See the Sights by Land & Water
Everyone knows that Washington DC is loaded with monuments and museums, but did you know there are many cool sights and attractions you can see from the water? On the DC Ducks Tour, you’ll not only get to see most of them, you’ll also get to tour in the Potomac aboard the only tour bus that’s also a boat. The Duck is an amphibious vehicle that is able to go from the street to the water without so much as slowing down for the splash down. These unique vessels are fully restored 1942 military vehicles that were originally used to transport supplies back and fort to ships. On the Duck tour, you’ll see the sights on land and in the water, then end up at Gravely Point underneath the flight path to the National Airport.
All the Smithsonian Museums are Free
It’s hard to believe, but all 19 of the museums within the Smithsonian Institution offer free admission. You can visit any or all of them without increasing the cost of your Washington DC vacation budget. Be sure to take advantage of this perk and check out the American History Museum, the Air and Space Museum, the Natural History Museum and the National Zoo, if not all the rest of them as well.
Hop Aboard for a City Tour
As you can imagine, there are dozens of different tours offered in Washington DC. If you want to see the best of the city and its most important sights, consider the Old Town Trolley Tour. This is the most comprehensive sightseeing tour in Washington DC and makes stops at more than 100 points of interest. In 90 minutes, you can see all the sights or you can spread the tour out as long as you wish, even over a few days. The tour is flexible in that you can get off and on as often and for as long as you wish because there are trolleys coming along throughout the day. And 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.
The Monuments Are Open 24 Hours a Day
The monuments and memorials in Washington DC are probably the most popular sights that people come to see, and all of them are most crowded in the afternoon. So if you’d like to avoid the crowds, feel free to visit them after dark. It’s not only cooler, especially in the summer, but it offers a different view of these magnificent structures. You can even take the Monuments by Moonlight Tour, which takes you to many of the most visited monuments including the Lincoln Memorial, the FDR Memorial, the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial and more.
Two Feet Might Be Better Than Four Wheels
Washington DC ranks in the top 10 of the most walkable cities in the USA, which isn’t surprising given the heavy and confusing traffic patterns. That being said, the best times to walk are when you’re seeing the sights within a certain quadrant. If you’re going to be traveling from one area of the city to another, the most convenient way to do it is by trolley tour. This way you can get off, spend a few hours within a certain area, then hop back on and get to the next sight along the tour.