Among the world’s most awesome destinations, Washington DC tops the list of the greatest places to visit throughout the year. Although there are limitless strings of things you can do and see in this lively city, there are lots of things you can pack within 48 hours of your visit. From exploring the most famous museums and the National Memorials to seeing the iconic White House, Supreme court, The U.S Capitol as well as checking into the local food restaurants, shopping malls, arts, and cultural centers, Washington DC has more than the eyes can meet.
For U.S citizens and international visitors who are stepping into Washington DC for the first time, here is a two day itinerary that will help you determine what you want to do and see as well as setting your personal priorities.
Day One in Washington DC.
Start Your Morning By Touring The Capitol Hill.
The U.S Capitol is one of the iconic buildings in the United States that echoes a rich history of the country. At the Capitol, you will learn about the history of America as well as admiring the architectural work of the iconic building that serves as the legislative branch of the U.S government. Although touring the Capitol is free, you are required to obtain a tour pass in order to access the building.
The Capitol is open from Monday to Saturday, starting 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The visitors’ center has two orientation theatres and an exhibition gallery that gives an insight into American history. There is also a cafeteria with a capacity of about 500 seats, restrooms as well as gift shops.
Walk Into The Library Of Congress.
Who would never want to step into the world’s largest library? This Library is not only famous for being the largest Library in the world but also serves as an attraction site due to the neoclassical nature of the building that harbors more than 130 million items including books, photographs, manuscripts, films, maps, and sheet music. The library is always open to the members of the public and offers a wide range of exhibitions, concerts, lectures, displays, and educative films.
Take Lunch At Eastern Market.
From the Congress Library, you can walk east to the Eastern Market where you will find a wide variety of local foods at a cheap price. A few blocks away to the 8th street SE is the Barrack Row where you will find several great restaurants that offer a wide range of both local and international meals. After lunch, you can catch the metro bus and visit the National Mall.
Visit The Museums At The National Mall.
The National Mall is referred to as “America’s front yard” and thousands of tourists take their time off to explore the magnificent mall that serves as the heartbeat of the nation. Access to the museums and monuments is absolutely free and are open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Some of the most popular museum and monuments include:
• The national air and space Museum- While in this Museum, you will be able to see some of the ancient and original wright 1903 flyers, the Apollo 11 and the “Spirit of St. Louis.”
• National Museum of Natural History- Every kid’s or adult dream is to find a museum that has a blend of animals and insects from all corners of the world. If you love the scenic beauty of nature, then this is a perfect place to be. At the Museum, you can take a look at some of the precious gems such as the Hope Diamond as well as other minerals. There is also a massive collection of ancient fossils and a display of coral reefs in a massive gallon-tank.
• National Gallery of Art- For art enthusiasts, the National Gallery of art is one of the most amazing places to visit inside the National Mall. It has one of the largest collection of fine arts in the world including photographs, drawings, sculptures, prints, and decorative masterpieces of the ancient times dated from the 13th century.
Take a Tour to The White House.
From the National Mall, take a Metro at the Smithsonian Station and head to McPherson Station. From the McPherson station, exit towards the Lafayette Square and walk shortly towards the White House located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The White House is one of the Iconic Buildings in the United States and everyone enjoys taking a glimpse of the President’s House and Office. Although you may have seen the White House several times on television, a close look of the house with your bare eyes is grasp-worthy. The White House echoes dignity and pomp. During cold nights, it shimmers with luminescence to give the surrounding environment a magnificent look.
Take Dinner and Shop in Georgetown.
Georgetown is one of the most vibrant neighborhoods in Washington DC characterized by massive shopping malls, eateries, bars, and restaurants. Although the area is not accessible by metro, you can still make it to the town using a circulator Bus from the union station or simply take a taxi. The Wisconsin Avenue and M street are the most preferred as they boast of awesome places where you can enjoy dinner and a happy shopping. There are a variety of meals ranging from the local American meals to International meals, so, you will always have something that fits your needs.
Spend Your Night in Top Hotels Around Washington DC.
After a whole day of walking and visiting places, you will need to relax in some of the top scale city accommodations. Some of the best picks include Jefferson Hotel in Dupont, Kalorama Guest House in Upper Northwest DC, Hotel Helix (Downtown), and the American Guest House. All these hotels offer a wide range of quality services that any other top city hotel can offer.
Day Two in Washington DC.
Visit The Memorials.
The National Memorials in Washington DC area “must see” attractions. These spectacular historic landmarks bear the rich history of the United States. They are located in various places and the best way to access them is using a guided tour. The Lincoln Memorial, Korean War Memorial, Vietnam War Memorial, and the World War II Memorial are located close to one another and as such you can walk from one memorial to another.
Take Your Lunch in Penn Quarter.
From the Memorials, you can take a Metro to the Penn Quarter. Penn Quarter is a vibrant neighborhood in Washington DC that is considered one of the chilling destinations for entertainment and dinner. It has a wide variety of restaurants and bars that offer different kinds of meals suitable for personal or family dining.
Visit Ford’s Theatre.
Ford’s Theatre is a historical landmark where Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth. It is one of the most interesting places to visit and learn about the life of Abraham Lincoln and the circumstances surrounding his tragic death. Although the Museum is open to the public, advance ticket booking is required. Just across the street, the Center for Education and Leadership harbors the exhibits about the life and death of Abraham Lincoln. To fully explore the Theatre, you need about two hours of stay.
End Your Day at P.O.V.
P.O.V. is one of the finest rooftop bars at the W Hotel. It is famously known for its scenic view of the Washington DC surroundings including the White House and the historic Monuments. The bar has a wide range of wine selection and cocktails and is home to what many refer as “happy hours”. This place is a perfect destination to wind up your trip to Washington DC as you take the panoramic view of this spectacular city.
All said and done, the United States is a friendly Country that allows visitors of all walks of life from all over the world to enter the country. However, for international travelers seeking to enter the United States, one is required to have a valid passport and a U.S visa that is provided through the U.S embassies in their respective countries.
The Visa Waiver program also allows international visitors from certain countries to enter the U.S under limited conditions for a specific period, usually not more than 90 days, without obtaining a visa. However, a valid passport is required. Additionally, you will be required to go through a screening process via an automated system known as Electronic System for Travel Authorization to determine your eligibility to enter the U.S under the Visa Waiver Program. You can check esta application online, fill the application form and submit. The authorities will verify your details and give you results within 72 hours. The ESTA should be applied about two months prior to traveling to the United States. You can also check online to find out if your country is under the Visa Waiver Program.
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