Inspiration Destinations USA There's Only One Washington, DC: The Best Things to See in the US Capital

There's Only One Washington, DC: The Best Things to See in the US Capital

April 9, 2024
A view of the White House and the National Mall reflecting on the water's surface, one of the best spots to visit in Washington, DC - Luxury Escapes

Being the cradle of American democracy is just one feather in the cap of Washington, DC. The city has myriad museums, must-visit neighbourhoods and even the National Cherry Blossom Festival. There are thousands of things to see and do but only one Washington, DC.

Washington, DC is the history capital, the culture capital and the cuisine capital of the United States.
Lovers of history can revel in the exhibits and stories at the Smithsonian museums, nature lovers
can see the sights of the spring cherry blossoms that rival Japan and food lovers can feast on some
of the most innovative flavours in the US, from chefs celebrating cuisines from all over the world.
As a city that draws college students, growing families, young adults, government workers
and everyone in between, Washington, DC brims with energy and creativity throughout its unique
neighbourhoods from the vibrant waterfront scene at The Wharf to the buttoned-up boulevards of

There is only one Washington, DC but there are so many ways for travellers to experience one of the most diverse and diverting cities in the United States.

Monuments, memorials and museums

A woman looking at a white wall with a variety of framed artworks in one of Washington DC's art galleries, one of the best things to do while visiting the capital of the USA  - Luxury Escapes

Starting at the western end of the National Mall, the Lincoln Memorial, with its huge marble columns and manicured greenery, is a powerful reminder of democracy towering over the reflecting pool. The Tidal Basin houses several memorials, a highlight being the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial that is located at 1964 Independence Avenue in honour of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Discover the Peace Trail in and around the country’s most famous war memorials and historic landmarks, including the poignant World War II Memorial with a beautiful fountain tribute; it’s a pilgrimage that draws tens of millions of visitors each year. Constitution Gardens, an often-overlooked area of the National Mall, is tucked to the side of the monuments and memorials with amazing views across to the Washington Monument. Art enthusiasts should visit the Phillips Collection, America’s first museum of modern art, and the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the world’s only major art museum solely dedicated to championing women artists. Other unique museums include Planet Word, the world’s first voice-activated museum, and the International Spy Museum. ­

The US capital of free

An aerial internal shot of the National Air & Space Museum, one of the best things to do while visiting the capital of the USA  - Luxury Escapes

The entire Smithsonian complex is free for all visitors, making a trip to Washington, DC an incredible value. Long before its inhabitants came to life in Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, this complex web of museums, research hubs and the National Zoo has attracted dreamers from all over the world. From the National Air & Space Museum to the National Museum of African American History and Culture, you can spend days lost in thought and lost in time. You can visit the Library of Congress, the largest library in the world, that is impressive not only for its book collection but its decorative arches of Gilded Age architecture. And there are over a hundred other free activities to discover on a trip to Washington, DC.

Love thy neighbourhood

The colourful exteriors of a series of buildings in U Street, which is one of the best areas to visit while exploring Washington, DC - Luxury Escapes

Speaking of interesting ‘hoods, Washington, DC is a city made up of dynamic and distinct hubs packed with local stories. Downtown boasts dining hot spots and some of the best hotels in the country, while CityCenterDC is packed with luxury retail and upscale restaurants. Venture to Adams Morgan for eclectic small businesses and artistic murals around every corner. Head to the music-filled U Street that is the birthplace of famous jazz musician Duke Ellington. This area has long been the centre for Black culture in the US and you can visit the Duke himself at his towering sculpture, see some live music in the Howard Theatre or sample some soul food.

Chowing down

The front facade of Ben's Chili Bowel, one of the best feeds in Washington, DC - Luxury Escapes

On the topic of food that feeds your soul, you have to get a table at Ben’s Chili Bowl, a family-run institution that started out in U Street in 1958. Ben’s is home to Washington, DC’s signature dish, the half[1]smoke, a hot dog served with mustard, onions and Ben’s very own spicy homemade chili sauce. Foodies will find plenty of other options along 14th Street, including a variety of international cuisines. Le Diplomate is a local institution serving up authentic French fare, while doi moi offers Vietnamese street food and Colada Shop doles out Cuban bites. Diners can taste around the world with the travel-inspired menu from Compass Rose and go for a night cap at contemporary cocktail bar, Jane Jane.

From the affordable to the decadent, authentic street food to craft cocktails and a deep dive into history that could see you lost for days, a visit to Washington, DC is always a capital idea.


This article was originally featured in the latest issue of Dream by Luxury Escapes magazine. Get your copy here.

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