Visiting Washington DC

Washington DC is one of the most exciting cities to visit in the world.  The political power center of the world, monuments, restaurants and sites of the city provide memories that will last a lifetime.

Ten Tips To Visiting Washington, DC

Plan Your Trip

Washington, DC can be overwhelming with so many places to visit and things to do in the city.  The best way to have a fun and enjoyable trip is to plan specific places to visit prior to arriving in the city.

Visit During The Right Time Of Year

What may appear to be the wrong time of year for most…may be the best time of year to visit for you if economics are a consideration.  There can be significant savings on hotels and travel during the winter and late summer.  A heavy coat and heat tolerance can result in big savings in your pocketbook. Otherwise, plan on paying higher rates during the primetime visits of most people to the city.  Travel is normally heavier in the spring, early summer and fall.  The Cherry Blossom Festival in Mid-March to Mid-April can also bring heavy tourism to the city.  The wrong time for savings could be the right time to visit beautiful events such as the Cherry Blossom Festival.  These are also heavy tourism times:

Fourth of July

Memorial Day

School Break Times (School Tours)

Fly In To Baltimore

Check all of the area airports for the best savings on your flights.  You may find that flying into Baltimore (BWI Marshall Airport) sometimes can result in significant savings on your airfare over direct flights to Washington.  Upon arrival at the airport take the shuttle to the train terminal. The airport has free and regular shuttles to the train terminal. The trip to Washington, DC’s Union Station is only around 35 minutes.  Check the price…but recently, it was around $7 one way on MARC.

Use The Local Train From Baltimore

The local MARC Train will take you to Union Station in Washington, DC from the Baltimore train terminal and save you money.

Stay Close To The Monuments If Possible

If you are following a plan…that may include staying at a hotel close to the sites you are visiting.  This will save you time, money and sore feet.

Wear Comfortable Walking Shoes

This is no joke…don’t regret leaving your comfortable walking shoes at home.  A relaxing and beautiful vacation can become an instant nightmare when your feet and back are aching.  Unless you are used to walking or running several miles a day, the stress of visiting several monuments and museums over a couple of days can be extremely uncomfortable in the improper clothing (especially footwear).

Consider Ride Share, Street Buses Or The Metro

Parking at hotel garages can be $40 or more per night.  That doesn’t include the added expenses of street or temporary parking at sites.  Ride share companies, street buses and the Metro can add significant savings to your trip.   Finding locations while driving can often be cumbersome and add loss of time to your trip.  Remember, time is your friend when visiting Washington, you want to save as much as possible for actual tourism…not travel.

Prepare For Security Checks At Museums

Pack light when visiting museums…remember this is the 21st Century and you are in the capitol of the United States.  Expect security checks upon entering tourist sites.  Prepare by packing only the essentials in an easily accessible form…and be prepared to wait.

Visit The Monuments In The Early Morning

Avoid the heavy crowds and experience the beauty of the early morning sun rising over one of the monuments.  The morning may be the ideal time to visit your favorite monument for the serenity that will come with the quietness of the beginning of the day and smaller crowds.

Watch Congress Live

Remember, you are visiting the heart of government in the worlds most political city.  Why not witness laws being made and debating in person.  Plan appropriately.

Less Often Is More  

Instead of trying to see every monument and museum in town over two or three days.  It may be best to plan for your favorites…and spend a lot of time touring and learning at those.  It can really take over a day at some museums to properly experience and learn from it’s offerings.