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Six Things You'll Totally Dig in Washington, D.C.

There’s more to Washington, D.C., than just politics. It doesn’t matter if you lean blue, red, or some kind of purple, you’ll love the historic monuments, top-notch food, and cool hotel options across the DMV (D.C. - Maryland - Virginia).

The Lincoln Memorial The sculpture is an impressive tribute.

You’ve Gotta See Honest Abe

Perhaps the most famous Washington, D.C., site, the Lincoln Memorial is the highest-ranked attraction in the area. Best of all, it’s totally free, making it the most visited site on the National Mall. Unlike many museums and ticketed sites, the Lincoln Memorial is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Some of the best views and peaceful, special moments can be had when the crowds disperse after dark or in the early morning hours.

Lincoln Memorial Overlooking the Reflecting Pool The Lincoln Memorial overlooking the Reflecting Pool is beautiful in the evening.

While the National Park Service offers no formal tours, Rangers are available to answer your questions every day from 9:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. (except Christmas).

Fun fact: You can go fishing at the nearby Constitution Gardens, although you might get a few strange looks. How do I know? Well…

Jay fishing in Washington DC A photo of a fish that Jay caught Even though the fish weren’t huge, it was still a great view.

The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History
The Smithsonian Museums are a must-see

It’s not just “The Smithsonian,” but rather 17 different museums, exhibits, art galleries, and even a zoo! From the Air and Space Museum to the African American History and Culture Museum, this impressive collection can be visited entirely free of charge. To better control crowds, some of the sites require advance tickets or timed entry so it’s best to check this page and plan ahead.

African American History and Culture Museum

The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History boasts the world’s largest collection of dinosaur bones, animal specimens, rocks, minerals, and tools. That’s over 150 million items! It also offers rotating exhibitions, special tours, and age-appropriate activities for kids.

Air and Space Museum The Air and Space Museum has an impressive display of planes.

One of the more unique museums in the District, the National Postal Museum has Earth’s largest collection of stamps. While you’re there, they’ll even give you free stamps to begin your own stamp collection.

Georgetown Georgetown, a quaint neighborhood in a big city.

By George, it’s a Cool Town!

Nestled along the banks of the Potomac River, the Georgetown neighborhood features authentic cobblestone streets, beautiful buildings, and a wonderful neighborhood vibe.

One thing we love to do when arriving in a new city for the first time is to take a “free walking tour.” Are they really free? Sort of. They’re group tours that are totally free to join. At the end of the tour, you are welcome to pay the guide whatever you feel the experience was worth. This is a great place to try one.

Streets of Georgetown Europe? Nope, D.C.!

From strolling along the scenic waterfront to dining at hip eateries to checking out the 200-year-old Tudor Place home and museum, you’ll want to spend an entire day here. Then, at night, enjoy bocce bowling at a place called Pinstripes.

Korean War Veterans Memorial
Pause a Moment at Moving Memorial Sites

D.C. is home to some of the most sacred monument sites in the country. A visit to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial is a moving tribute to the sacrifices of our service members. The 19 soldier statues placed throughout the grass and bushes in the Korean War Veterans Memorial are so detailed that you’ll want to spend some time in silence to truly appreciate them. The National World War II Memorial honors soldiers from all 56 states and territories, each with their own pillar circling the fountain.

National World War II Memorial The National World War II Memorial

Each year, Tri-State Honor Flight allows local veterans to fly from CVG to Washington, D.C., to visit and see the war memorials in person. These monuments are very special places to visit for everyone, though.

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, as its website states, teaches millions of people each year about the dangers of unchecked hatred. It’s recommended to get your tickets in advance, as free timed-entry tickets are required to enter the permanent exhibition.

The National Archives The National Archives

See the Actual Documents That Started Our Nation

It’s not just any archive, it’s The National Archives Museum. This is where our country keeps its most important original documents, including the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. And yes, you can actually see them in-person.

The back of a $2 bill The back of a $2 bill shows the signing of the Declaration of Independence

Admission is, as you might have guessed, free, and no reservation is required. However, $1 timed-entry reservations are recommended from March through September to avoid waiting in a long line.

There are also ongoing exhibits that highlight different facets of American life.

Georgetown Cupcakes Feeling fancy? Georgetown Cupcake offers “designer cupcakes”

Go Eat All The Food

Movers and shakers get hungry - Washington, D.C., is known for having some of the best restaurants in the country.

There are two ways I like to find a new restaurant when traveling. The first is TripAdvisor’s highest-rated restaurants. You can check out D.C.’s list here and find a spot that fits your taste and budget. I also like to use the “Near Me” feature on the TripAdvisor app while traveling. This is perfect for when your stomach starts rumbling and lets you find highly rated restaurants that are close by.

Camp Wharf S'mores Bar Camp Wharf S’mores Bar offers a great place to unwind.

Eater offers up their 38 best restaurants in the DMV, while the Michelin guide highlights some of the fanciest (and most expensive) places to get dessert.

After dinner and dessert, cycle off some of those calories on a bike tour of the city.

Washington Union Station Washington Union Station offers a beautiful photo op.

Getting There

There are three airports serving the D.C. area.

  • Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA)
  • Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD)
  • Baltimore / Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI)

You may have visited the latter, as it’s a popular Southwest hub that many Cincinnati flights connect through.

The US Capitol Building The U.S. Capitol Building at sunset.

Like New York City, having three different airports in one spot means more flight choices and better fares. I’ve seen roundtrip fares under $200 for most of the year, oftentimes closer to $100 - $150. There are nearly a dozen nonstop flights year-round from CVG on multiple airlines, including American, United, Southwest, and Delta. Flights leave CVG as early as 6:00 a.m. and return as late as 9:00 p.m., allowing you the flexibility to see as much as possible during the day, then hop on a quick 90-minute flight home.

Cherry Blossoms in front of Washington Monument. The end of March or early April offer an amazing display of cherry blossoms.

Keep an eye on Jay’s Deals page for the lowest priced airfare, and I’ll see you in D.C. soon!