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Washington, D.C., Book a flight to Washington DC with Qatar Airways, and get ready to take the pulse of the United States’ political epicentre. America’s seat of power has more to offer than Capitol Hill and the White House, especially for the curious visitor prepared to stray off the beaten track.
Museums, parks and architecture serve to occupy both culture vultures and families at play. Thanks to the numerous communities that have made Washington their home, dining out is also an experience to remember.
The White House, Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument and Capitol Hill are just the prologue to your Washington, D.C story; Smithsonian museums, canal walks and a rich jazz and blues scene are also in store.
Get ready to see some of the most iconic American landmarks when you travel to Washington, D.C. The National Mall is probably one of the best ways to see the capital’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.
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 Cherry Blossom Festival each spring. Tours of the White House, a few blocks from the mall, are incredibly popular, and must be arranged in advance.
Washington DC is also home to an impressive number of museums. The Smithsonian Institution is a collection of museums, all open to the public and all free of charge. Popular choices include the National Museum of Natural History, National Portrait Gallery, and the National Air and Space Museum.
The Spy Museum is perfect for families with children. What could be more exciting 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 a little younger, then a trip to the National Zoo is highly recommended. Set in Rock Creek Park, it is home to favourites such as giraffes, lions and giant pandas. It is 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 huge part in District life and it’s worth setting aside some time to go and soak up what’s on offer. The musical epicentre of Washington, D.C. can be found at the intersection of 14th and U Street NW, and you’ll find all sorts of musical entertainment here. The 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 that comes to see up-and-coming talent, as well as established stars. Blues Alley in Georgetown is a famous supper club that’s played host to luminaries such as Miles Davis, Cab Calloway and Thelonious Monk.
However, if you want to savour the Great Outdoors, the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal runs through DC and is one of the city’s best areas for open-air pursuits. If you enjoy hiking, kayaking, biking or swimming, then look for the C&O Canal, as locals call it.
If you want to get the true flavour of the city on your trip to Washington, D.C., then stay away from the restaurants that everyone knows. Instead, seek out different cuisines in 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, Logan Circle or 14th Street areas. Each is home to different restaurants, some opened by some world-famous chefs. You will find everything from steakhouses to French and Italian restaurants. Some offer veritable banquets, if your credit card can take the punishment.
As with food, venture into different districts and you will be presented with different shopping options. Dupont Circle is perfect for those who like the shabby-chic style. Here you will find used bookstores, street artists selling paintings, clothes boutiques and jewellery stores. However, just a few blocks away on Connecticut Avenue, you will find brand-name clothes stores.
If you’re looking for high-end fashion, head to Georgetown, which is a retail hub in Washington, D.C. City Center in downtown DC is also home to many luxury brands.
In Capitol Hill you will find Eastern Market. On weekdays, it serves as 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. It is the ideal way to finish your trip to Washington DC, as you look for those last-minute gifts.
Essential facts about Washington, D.C.
Enjoy a hassle-free journey with all the information you need to know before your trip