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Book a flight to Washington D.C. with Qatar Airways and you’ll be visiting one of the most vibrant and eclectic cities in the world. Most of us are aware of it as America’s seat of political power, but there’s much more to this city than Capitol Hill and the White House, especially if you’re prepared to stray off the beaten track.
Thanks to the numerous communities that have made Washington their home, the city is a kaleidoscope of cultures, many of which define the neighbourhoods they settle in. Catch a flight to Washington D.C. with Qatar Airways and give yourself the opportunity to really get under the skin of this extraordinary city.
The National Mall is probably one of the best ways to see Washington’s monuments. The Mall is teeming with museums and exhibits, with the iconic Lincoln Memorial on one end and the United States Capitol on the other. The Memorial has been featured in numerous movies and TV shows, so it would be a shame not to include it in your trip to Washington D.C. Also on the mall are the world-famous Washington Monument, World War II Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, and Vietnam Veterans Memorial. If you walk south of the mall you can also find the Tidal Basin, popular during the annual Cherry Blossom Festival each spring. Tours of the White House, a few blocks from the mall, are incredibly popular but must be set up in advance.
Washington D.C. is also home to a countless number of museums. The Smithsonian Institution is a collection of museums, free of charge to the public. Popular Smithsonian museums include the National Museums of National History, National Portrait Gallery, and the National Air and Space Museum. The Spy Museum is perfect for families with children. What could be more interesting than lipstick pistols used by the KGB, invisible letters or Navajo code-talkers? Also popular is the Newseum, which has great views of the city on its top floor balcony. However, if your kids are that bit younger, then a trip to the National Zoo is highly recommended. Set in Rock Creek Park, it houses favourites such as giraffes, lions and giant pandas. It’s worth bearing in mind that it can get busy, so your best bet is to go early or in the mid-afternoon.
Music plays a large part in Washington life and it’s worth setting aside some time on your trip to Washington D.C. to go and soak up what’s on offer. The city’s musical epicentre can be found at the intersection of 14th and U Streets NW and you’ll find all sorts of musical entertainment here. The historical John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is home to several artistic performances.
The Bohemian Caverns is a long-established jazz venue with a loyal crowd who come to see up and coming stars, alongside those who’ve staked their claim on the jazz scene. Blues Alley in Georgetown is a famous supper club that’s played host to luminaries, such as Miles Davis, Cab Calloway and Thelonius Monk.
However, if you want to savour the Great Outdoors, the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal runs through Washington and is one of the city’s best areas for outdoor pursuits. If you enjoy hiking, kayaking, biking or swimming, then look for the C&O Canal, as the locals know it.
If you really want to get an authentic flavour of the city on your trip to Washington D.C., then stay away from the restaurants that everyone knows. Instead, seek out the different cuisines in the different districts. Ethiopian food is extremely popular, and you can feast on kitfo leb leb, a dish of steak, marinated in a chilli-based spice blend and lightly cooked.
For more high-end dining head to the West End, Georgetown, Dupont Circle, and Logan Circle/14th Street areas. These areas are home to new and exciting restaurants being opened up by some of the most popular chefs in the world.. You'll find everything from steakhouses through to French and Italian restaurants offering veritable banquets (if your credit card can take the battering – 'high-end' tends to also mean 'high price' in Washington).
The same rule applies to shopping as it does to food: go into different districts and you’ll be presented with different things. Dupont Circle (which puts the ‘DC’ in Washington) is perfect for those who like the shabby chic style. Here you’ll find used bookstores, street artists selling paintings, clothes boutiques and jewellery stores. However, just a few blocks away in Connecticut Avenue, you’ll be presented with brand-name clothes stores.
If you’re looking for high-end fashion, head to Georgetown which is a retail hub in Washington D.C. The newly opened City Center in downtown D.C. is also home to many luxury brands.
In Capitol Hill you will find Eastern Market. On weekdays it’s a farmers’ market, selling meat, vegetables and home-made produce such as chutneys and pies. However, come the weekend, it takes on a more entertaining aspect, hosting art and craft fairs, antiques, collectibles and imported goods. The Market is the ideal way to finish your trip to Washington D.C., as you look for those last-minute gifts.
Washingtonians are among the friendliest people you could meet and, although they might be culturally different, all are proud to call the city their home.
Unless you are walking into religious or cultural centres, there are no major considerations to take into account.
Flights to Washington D.C. land in Washington Dulles International Airport. It’s a busy place, but you’ll find taxis and car-hire facilities, as well as routes to the subways.
Visa restrictions for entry into the country will depend on your country of origin, length of stay and whether your trip is for business or pleasure. So before you fly to Washington please check the visa and passport requirements.
Currency: United States Dollar (USD)
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