Planning a trip to Washington, DC this spring? You couldn’t have picked a better time! DC’s best season is most definitely in spring, particularly during the National Cherry Blossom Festival. There are fun-filled activities suitable for the entire family and numerous festivals to coincide with the peak blooms of the Tidal Basin’s 100+ Japanese cherry blossom trees. In addition to the annual National Cherry Blossom Festival, spring in Washington DC also presents visitors with comfortable temperatures and lesser crowds than summer months. Here are some helpful ideas on how to make the most out of your stay in Washington.
Spring in Washington DC
Attractions to Visit and Memorials to Pay Homage
Washington, DC is the closest city the United States has to the grand capitals of Europe. It’s a center for history and culture and a showcase for some of America’s most iconic buildings and monuments. The Smithsonian Institution runs almost all the major museums in the District including crowd favorites like the National Air and Space Museum, the National Gallery, and the National Museum of Natural History. It also operates the National Zoological Park, the home of the giant panda family of Mei Xiang, Tian Tian and Bao Bao.
The Lincoln Memorial, the grandest of all the monuments, is a favorite among visitors. It sits on the one end of the National Mall, right next to the Potomac River. Climb up the 87 steps from the reflecting pool to the chamber to have some of the best views in Washington. On the other end of The Mall sits The Capitol. This neoclassical designed building is the home of the legislative branch of the United States government. Tours are available by appointment.
The District also has a number of war memorial sites to visit. There are poignant dedications to the war victims involved in Vietnam and Korea, as well as the thousands of white tombstones erected at Arlington National Cemetery in honor of the unknown soldiers who perished.
Spring in Washington DC is also a great way to explore the different neighborhoods within and around the District. Georgetown for example, is one of the city’s oldest and most beautiful neighborhoods. Its Georgian architecture lined streets, adorable boutique shops, and miles of picturesque trails makes this neighborhood a darling choice to get away from city living. Across the river in Virginia, Old Town Alexandria springs to mind. The historic neighborhood was the adopted hometown of the likes of George Washington and Robert E. Lee. The rows of Victorian town houses coupled with numerous art galleries and top ranked restaurants makes the area a favorite among foodie’s and art lovers. Old Town Alexandria also has plenty of urban squares and parks that appeal to nature lovers. When deciding on where to stay in Washington, consider one of these charming neighborhoods.
Prepare Your Taste Buds
The Washington, DC metro is quite possibly the United States’ best-kept secret to multi-ethnic eats. Restaurants like Rasika (Indian fusion) and Zaytinya (Greek/Mediterranean) are just as affectionately recommended as the original Ben’s Chili Bowl. Brunch is also big in the District and spring in Washington DC brings out the crowd. Places like Commissary, L’Enfant Café and Old Ebbitt Grill are popular hotspots so make sure to call and make a reservation before heading out, particularly on weekends.
Mix and Mingle
The city has three primary hotspots for nighttime activities: Georgetown, Adams Morgan and U Street. Georgetown has a number of bars catering to the younger crowds and distinguished dignitaries. Ri Ra on M Street is a popular Irish pub and sports bar. It offers decent pub food and cheap beers on tap. There’s also live music every night of the week. In contrast, The Rye Bar, housed inside the Capella Hotel, is one of the District’s finest whiskey and cocktail bars. Head north towards Dupont into McClellan’s Retreat and you’ll find a civil war themed bar with inventive drinks at surprisingly affordable prices.
DC on the Big and Small Screens
If you haven’t already noticed, the District has and continues to be the setting for some of Hollywood’s most famous films and television shows. Spring in Washington DC is one of the best times to tour the city and have a look at some of these famous buildings and filming locations. The Hay Adams Hotel featured in Wag the Dog, a bar called The Tombs featured primarily on the 80’s movie St. Elmo’s Fire, and of course, who can forget the chilling bottom of the staircase location in Georgetown where Father Damien Karras died on The Exorcist. On television, you’ll find that DC is the setting for some of today’s most popular series: House of Cards, Madam Secretary and Veep just to name a few.
Got additional suggestions on how to enjoy spring in Washington DC? Let us know!