Crammed full of more monuments and museums than almost any culture vulture could hope for, the USA’s capital has also finally shed its unfair stereotype of being a boring city. And you never know, if you’re extra-lucky you may even get a glimpse of Obama.
Most of the places of interest are handily near each other, many centred on the National Mall. This unique National Park is home to the White House, the US Capitol Building, the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial and Reflecting Pool to name but a few. Be sure to take good shoes as walking is by far the easiest way to get around.
But don’t think Washington is limited to traipsing around impressive buildings. With fifty percent of the population having relocated there in the past five years, there’s now a fresh and ‘anything can happen’ vibe to ‘DC’, as the locals calls it. It’s home to some of the country’s best restaurants and wildest clubs, and there’s a good shopping incentive with everything from upscale boutiques, to malls and vibrant outdoor markets.
October’s a particularly good month to visit if you’re looking for a fright. Celebrate Halloween with terrifying trails through Markoff’s Haunted Forest in Poolesville, under an hour’s drive DC.
While you’re there…
Walk through Georgetown
Visit the capital’s historic waterfront that is crammed full of shops and restaurants of almost every nationality.
Tour the Three Houses of Government
Understand the division of power in the USA by exploring the White House, Capitol Building and the Supreme Court.
Take a dinner cruise along the Potomac River
Enjoy an indulgent meal and sip on cocktails as you enjoy Washington’s monuments in a more relaxed way.
Where to stay
Mandarin Oriental (+1 202 554 8588, www.mandarinoriental.com/washington)
Within walking distance of most of the capital’s monuments, including the museums of the Smithsonian Institution, all of the rooms blend Asian elegance with traditional style.
The Jefferson (+1 202 448 2300, www.jeffersondc.com)
Enjoy a European ambience in the heart of the US capital. Inspired by former president Thomas Jefferson’s trip to Paris, every suite is furnished in the style of a Parisian salon, with velvet couches and hand-crafted chandeliers.
Tabard Inn (+1 202 785 1277, www.tabardinn.com)
Just five blocks from the White House, but on a quiet tree-lined street, each of the 40 rooms has a unique character and design. Relax in the cosy restaurant and lounge and listen to live jazz.
Jay-Z – Looking his usual cool self while smoking a cigar outside his hotel.