If you’re still looking for a US travel destination this summer, look no further. In addition to this list of 8 reasons to visit Washington DC, the city will certainly also be in the limelight for the remainder of the year because of the impending 2016 USA presidential election. So come…don’t hesitate! DC is great and here are the 8 reasons to visit Washington DC on your next holiday or vacation.
8 Reasons to Visit Washington DC
1. The monuments at night
There is a certain mystique and aura to seeing the major monuments in DC after sunset, especially on a clear summer’s night. The monuments’ glow prompts reflection and the words inscribed, particularly those within the Lincoln Memorial, seem more meaningful.
For the best nighttime monument viewing, start at the Lincoln Memorial and then walk alongside the Reflecting Pool towards the National WWII Memorial. Finish the night off right near the statue of John Paul Jones on the corner of 17th Street and Independence Avenue, where you’ll get a lovely view of the Jefferson Memorial.
2. The free museums
One of my favorite and certainly one of the 8 reasons to visit Washington DC is free entry to some of the best museums in the country. The Smithsonian Institution manages and curates over a dozen museums in the District, including the National Zoo. Most of them are located at the National Mall so make sure you reserve a day or two to explore them. If you’re traveling with children, don’t miss the National Air and Space Museum, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, as well as the Natural History Museum.
3. It’s the best place to learn about US history
One of the best ways to learn about US history is to read about it and there’s no better place to do that than here in Washington, DC. Read the original documents that founded this country at the National Archives Museum or see iconic images carefully preserved at the Library of Congress.
4. It’s also the best place to become part of US history
Bills that become law originate here in Washington. These policies and regulations will shape our country for years to come. Take a tour of the US Capitol to see how bills are introduced through the legislative process and bear witness as these laws are implemented by the justices that seat on the highest court of the land at the Supreme Court.
5. It’s bike friendly
Biking in DC is one of the best ways to explore the city and thanks to the great efforts made by the District, also one of the safer options. Capital Bikeshare has a number of stations around the District and offers hourly, daily, and weekly rates. It’s perfect for traveling shorter distances and for those looking to hop on and off as many attractions as they possibly can in a day. For those who want to sight-see and pedal longer distances, check out Bike and Roll DC, which offers daily and weekly rates. They also have kid bicycles for rent. Not only will you cover more ground when visiting and staying in Washington, DC but you also won’t miss out on the intimate pockets often closed off to cars and tourist buses.
6. Great starting point for exploring the mid-Atlantic
Washington, DC sits in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States, making it a great starting point for a scenic and history-packed summer road trip. After visiting the monuments in Washington, get a rental car and take a day trip to a few of the Civil War battlefield sites. Manassas and Fredericksburg in Virginia are within an hour’s reach and both feature charming old town centers while Antietam in Maryland is perfect for those looking for scenic hikes.
7. Beaches within two hours
Being near the coast of Virginia, Delaware, and Maryland gives visitors to Washington, DC a number of seaside retreat options as well. Check out the Delaware coast where you’ll experience old Americana piers at Lewes, Bethany, Rehoboth, and Dewey beaches. You can also combine rest and relaxation with a food trip to Ocean City, Maryland; the perennial place to eat freshly steamed crabs harvested from the Chesapeake Bay.
8. Mountain scenery within two hours
If hiking, waterfalls and mountain scenery is more your idea of summer, Washington has plenty of those too; yet another one of the 8 reasons to visit Washington DC. The lovely town of Harper’s Ferry in West Virginia has a number of trails suitable for beginner to experience hikers. The nearby Catoctin Mountain Park provides lovely views of the Blue Ridge Mountain range and of course, the scenery presented by the Shenandoah Valley is definitely a sight to see.