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There are many ways to relax and unwind after a long week, but one of the best and most rejuvenating is by treating yourself to a day at the spa. But if you’re going to drop a bunch of money on a spa experience, you definitely want to make sure it has the perfect ambience and services to match your preferences. Whether you live in Washington DC or are just here on a weekend getaway, here are 5 spas in Washington DC that are sure to leave you feeling pampered and rejuvenated.

The 5 Best Spas in Washington DC

Argentta Spa at the Watergate

With its modern decor and high-end treatments, the Argentta Spa at the Watergate (yes, that Watergate Hotel) is definitely one of the best Washington DC spas on our list. Here, the spa offers a wide variety of services, from massages to facials to body wraps and more.

Low lights and mild scents welcome you into their spacious facility, where refreshments are available to guests throughout the entirety of their stay. If you book a spa treatment, you are entitled to use the saltwater swimming pool, the saunas, and their Vitamin C showers free of charge afterward.

Why we love it: Everything about the Argentta experience is thoughtful, from the cozy, blanketed waiting area to the champagne and macarons waiting for you once your treatment is over. The staff is courteous and the facilities are modern and clean. For those on a bit tighter of a budget, there are happy hour services at discounted prices.

How to book an appointment: You can book an appointment online.

The Petite Spa at The Jefferson Hotel

With its stunning home in one of Washington DC’s poshest hotels, the Petite Spa at The Jefferson is one of the most luxurious and opulent spas in the Washington DC area. The Petite Spa facility features white and cream colors to provide a comfortable and relaxing environment for all guests.

The Petite Spa is known for its wine therapy massages and uses imported flowers and herbs from Europe in its treatments. Best of all, if you’re hoping to make your stay an entire weekend of luxury, you can book a room at the Jefferson Hotel and enjoy one of its top-notch dining options.

What we love about it: The simple menu makes it easy to choose from their curated handful of massages, facials, and express treatments. To seal the deal, the herbal treatments they use smell incredible. After each massage or spa treatment, the spa staff also provides an array of post-treatment refreshments.

How to book an appointment: You can book your spa treatment(s) online or by calling the Petite Spa at (202) 448-3270.


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spas in Washington DC massage
Who wouldn’t want a relaxing spa massage? Photo Source: Max Pixel

Unwind Wellness Center in Adams Morgan and Georgetown

With two locations to choose from, in Adams Morgan and in Georgetown, Unwind Wellness is one of the best spas in Washington DC for busy people on the go. Washington City Paper has acclaimed Unwind Wellness Center to be one of the absolute best spas in town.

When you walk through the doors at Unwind Wellness Center, you can’t help but…well…unwind. Mid-century decor and cozy accents make it an inviting and comforting atmosphere. You can choose from a variety of relaxing treatments, from massages to facials, and even acupuncture! The Georgetown location also has a sauna for even more unwinding after your treatments.

What we love about it: This spa is perfect for a young professional who wants to escape the stress of the corporate world without shelling out too much cash. The services are fantastic, and with the two locations, it’s convenient to get there from almost anywhere. It’s easy to get an appointment at Unwind Wellness Center, and the price is a great value given the professionalism and beautiful interior of the place.

How to book an appointment: You can book an appointment online or call Unwind at (202) 232-2232.

The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Georgetown

Ready to get treated like absolute royalty at one of Washington DC’s nicest hotels? Head to the Ritz Carlton Spa in Georgetown for one of the most opulent and relaxing treatments that will leaving you feeling on top of the world. The Ritz-Carlton spa is one of our favorites because of its high-end ambience, including a cozy fireplace and light fragrance. It was also recently renovated to feel even more modern.

The spa offers massages, facials, body wraps, men-specific treatments, and other services (you can see the full menu here). You can mix and match treatments or pair them with a stay in a guest room inside of the spa! It’s no wonder the Ritz-Carlton Spa is one of DC’s favorites.

What we love about it: It really feels like you’re stepping into your own royal palace here. All of the details and touches are very thoughtful, including the decor’s muted colors and the cozy waiting areas. The treatments are some of the best and most varied out of any of the Washington DC spas on our list.

How to book an appointment: You can book your appointment online or by calling (202) 912-4175.

spas in Washington DC
Photo Source: Pixabay CC

Aura Spa

With several locations around the Washington DC city limits, the Aura Spa is one of the most beloved spas in Washington DC. With services including massages, waxing, and facial treatments, you can pick and choose your treatment to best suit your trouble areas. There’s also a sauna available to spa guests.

One of their specialties at Aura Spa is the microcurrent facials. These use red LED lights that help reduce the appearance of aging on the face. The treatment is said to tighten the skin of the face and eliminate wrinkles and signs of aging.

What we love about it: Even though it is located in a busy neighborhood, the atmosphere inside is tranquil and quiet. It’s also significantly less expensive than many spas in Washington DC, without a decrease in quality of services. Many reviewers describe it as a “Ritz Carlton experience without the price tag.”

How to book an appointment: Appointments are very easy to book through either their website or the location-specific phone lines.

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Full of business executives, government workers, and young professionals, Washington DC is the place to be these days. Where you stay in the city will greatly influence your perception of the city’s vibes and personality, so it’s important to choose wisely. With dozens of different neighborhoods and areas to explore, it can be difficult to decide where to stay in Washington DC. To help you find the perfect accommodation option for your budget, we’ve compiled our suggestions below.

Where to Stay in Washington DC: Our Recommendations

Where to Stay in Washington DC
The St. Regis Hotel in Washington DC (Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Luxury Hotels

1. The St. Regis

Opulent, elaborate, and totally classy, the St. Regis DC is everything you want in a cosmopolitan luxury hotel and more. Upon walking into the lobby, you’ll be greeted with gold-embellished decor, plush red velvet furniture, courteous staff, and a swarm of people indulging in high tea or sipping on cocktails at the St. Regis Bar. The St. Regis is just steps away from the White House, and a short walk from the National Mall and many of DC’s best museums and monuments.

The guest rooms are bright and beautifully decorated with gorgeous velvet and wood touches. For travelers needing a slightly larger space, the hotel offers a handful of spacious suites as well. While there, don’t forget to join the staff for their evening champagne toast – a true St. Regis tradition!

Address: 923 16th and K Streets, Washington, DC 20006, United States
Book Now: You can book the St. Regis here or on Booking.com.

2. The Four Seasons Georgetown

Boasting their reign as DC’s first and only five-star, five-diamond hotel (that’s a lot of shiny things!), the Four Seasons Hotel is one of Washington’s finest hotel properties. This monumental hotel has played host to many high profile guests over the years, including domestic and international politicians and diplomats.

In addition to its luxurious guest rooms and friendly staff, the Four Seasons also has fine in-house dining options, a spa and fitness center, and more. Located near Georgetown University, the Four Seasons offers easy access to the Kennedy Center, the Potomac River waterfront, and dozens of shops and dining options in the charming neighborhood of Georgetown.

Address: 2800 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20007, USA
Book Now: You can book The Four Seasons here or on Booking.com.

3. The Jefferson Hotel

Located across from the National Geographic museum and offices, The Jefferson Hotel is a DC classic five star establishment. Sparkling, white decor, marble busts with determined expressions, and an overall regal ambience invite guests as they enter this upscale property. Not only is it a quiet and comfortable oasis from the bustle of DC’s busy streets, but it’s just a short walk from most main attractions in the city.

In addition to beautiful, cozy guest rooms, the hotel has three dining areas to enjoy. Enjoy lunch in a bright, open space reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland at The Greenhouse, or grab an Old Fashioned and some olives at Quill, the hotel’s bar. If fine dining is more up your alley, you can enjoy the tasting menu and wine pairings at the Jefferson’s Michelin-starred restaurant, Plume.

Address: 1200 16th St NW, Washington, DC 20036, USA
Book Now: You can book The Jefferson here or on Booking.com.

4. The Ritz-Carlton Georgetown

Also located in Georgetown, the Ritz Carlton Georgetown (one of two Ritz Carltons in Washington DC) is a beautiful luxury development near Georgetown’s waterfront. As with the entirety of the Ritz-Carlton chain, you’re sure to have a luxurious and comfortable stay here. Built into a historic brick building, it has the perfect aura of history and modernity within its walls.

The rooms boast clean and bright designs with all of the Ritz’s typical amenities, including a bathrobe and fine toiletry products. But perhaps the most luxurious thing of all is the proximity of the hotel to all of the wonderful things Georgetown has to offer.

Address: 3100 South Street NW, Washington, DC 20007, USA
Book Now: You can book The Ritz Carlton Georgetown here or on Booking.com.

Pride Lights
The Line Hotel in DC. Photo Credit: Victoria Pickering (Flickr CC)

Trendy Boutique Hotels

5. The Line DC

A hotel-gone-local hangout, The Line DC is a beautiful and modern hotel located just outside of the Dupont Circle area. As it’s situated across from the main street in one of the liveliest neighborhoods in the city, it’s the perfect vantage point for nightlife in the city.

With stylish, bright rooms with touches of metallics and bright colors, The Line is best tailored to young professionals or design lovers. The Line feels pretty posh and upscale, but at an affordable price point, it’s accessible to most travelers heading to the city.

Address: 1770 Euclid St NW, Washington, DC 20009, USA
Book Now: You can book The Line DC here or on Booking.com.

6. Hotel Hive

You might pass by Hotel Hive on the street and think it’s a local social club or an upscale apartment building. But no, my friends, it’s actually a loft-style boutique hotel that YOU can stay in! Within 10 minutes walking distance to sights the Lincoln Memorial, the White House, and Georgetown, it’s the perfect nest for a trip to Washington DC.

Hotel Hive’s rooms are a cross between a renovated factory and a cute loft apartment, with exposed brick walls, bronze furnishings, and creative decor. While the rooms are a bit smaller than the other hotels on this list, they have a spacious and urban-esque feel.

Address: 2224 F St NW, Washington, DC 20037
Book Now: You can book Hotel Hive here or on Booking.com.

7. The Graham

Despite being owned by Hilton, from an ambience perspective, The Graham Hotel defines “boutique hotel.” Named after Alexander Graham Bell, this hotel embodies the essence of its namesake in its timelessness and innovative hospitality. Situated in Georgetown, it is accessible to a variety of shops and drink options and an easy bus ride or taxi into the main parts of the city.

The rooms are very modern and feel spacious, with colored patterns and subtle touches. Room options range from simple two full beds up to a luxury king bed suite, and the bathrooms feature sparkling marble counters. For the entertainers out there, the hotel boasts a cocktail cellar and speakeasy, alongside a rooftop lounge with a gorgeous view of the city.

Address: 1075 Thomas Jefferson Street NW, Washington, DC 20007
Book Now: You can book The Graham Hotel here or on Booking.com.

8. St. Gregory Hotel

Located in Dupont Circle, the St. Gregory Hotel is one of our favorites on this list for one reason: it’s really well-designed. An inviting lobby with wood paneling and beautiful decor welcomes visitors into their upscale boutique property. There’s even a 360-degree fireplace here, perfect for winter trips to Washington DC. The hotel also features a nightly wine event for guests and a bar that serves amazing oysters and charcuterie.

There are a wide variety of beautifully-designed rooms from studios to full apartments, and they even offer complimentary dog beds for visiting furry family members.

Address: 2033 M St NW, Washington, DC 20036, USA
Book Now: You can book the St. Gregory Hotel here or on Booking.com.

9. AKA White House

Unfortunately the White House doesn’t allow overnight guests, but AKA White House does! This chic hotel was designed by an NYC firm that has worked on some of the best restaurants in New York, and the thoughtful touches around the hotel really show. Two blocks away from the White House, AKA White House provides easy access to the National Mall, the Smithsonian museums, and many of the city’s beautiful monuments.

Unlike many hotel rooms, AKA White House actually seeks to provide guests with a home-like experience. In-room amenities include a full kitchen and appliances. A rooftop lounge with stunning city views and the White House is available to guests year-round.

Address: 1710 H St NW, Washington, DC 20006, USA
Book Now: You can book AKA White House here or on Booking.com.

Hamilton Hotel Washington DC
The Hamilton Hotel in Washington, DC. Photo Credit: Streets of Washington (Flickr CC)

Budget Hotels

10. The Madison Hotel

Centrally located and comfortable, The Madison Hotel is a popular hotel with business travelers in downtown Washington DC. Located on 15th Street NW, The Madison is a short walk from the National Mall and the Washington Monument. To make guests feel more at home here, there’s a free wine happy hour on weekdays perfect for socializing or relaxing after a long day on the town.

Inside, the hotel boasts a trendy, modern design and spacious rooms. Amenities include a fitness center, conference rooms, and an on-site restaurant. The Madison has the perfect location and value for a fabulous stay in Washington DC.

Address: 1177 15th St NW, Washington, DC 20005, USA
Book Now: You can book The Madison here or on Booking.com.

11. Pod DC Hotel

If you’re wondering where to stay in Washington DC without breaking the bank, Pod DC Hotel should be the first place that comes to mind. It’s youthful, friendly, and totally affordable. Located in the Penn Quarter/Chinatown area, the hotel’s biggest draw is its proximity to the main DC sights and the airport, as well as its fantastic value. The Pod DC Hotel is walkable to most of the central things to do in Washington DC.

The rooms here are intentionally small and ‘Pod-like,’ but the details really do help to maximize these cozy space. Rooms at the Pod are amazingly comfortable and – unlike the “capsule” style hotels around the world – have all of the amenities you’d expect from a hotel. Around the hotel’s public spaces, guests can admire colorful and vibrant artwork and design.

Address: 627 H St NW, Washington, DC 20001, USA
Book Now: You can book Pod DC Hotel here or on Booking.com.

12. Kimpton Rouge Hotel

Located in one of DC’s most vibrant neighborhoods, the Kimpton Rouge Hotel is the budget-friendly option for a comfortable stay in a more local atmosphere. To welcome your entrance to the hotel, there are dozens of Venus statues on the street leading up to the door.

The hotel is full of red accents (hence the rouge) and quaint artwork, which contribute to the bold design of its otherwise cozy public spaces. Rooms boast large windows, eccentric red designs, and plenty of space for relaxing or sleeping.

Address: 1315 16th St NW, Washington, DC 20036, USA
Book Now: You can book the Kimpton Rouge here or on Booking.com.

13. The Hamilton Hotel

With a prime location right next to the Washington Post, The Hamilton Hotel is one of the most affordable hotels that’s close to the White House and the National Mall. Much like its namesake, it’s bold and has really made a name for itself in the city. With a restaurant and a spacious lobby area, it’s perfect for groups or couples hoping to get right into the middle of all DC has to offer.

The Hamilton has a regal feel on the outside that’s paralleled by its interiors. With modern rooms and amenities, it provides a cozy place to rest your head, even if just for a few hours in between long days exploring the city.

Address: 1001 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20005, USA
Book Now: You can book The Hamilton here or on Booking.com.

14. The District by Hilton Club

The District by Hilton Club is a great value option located north of Dupont Circle near many of the city’s embassies. It’s a beloved choice by travelers – especially families – who are visiting Washington DC and want a spacious offering in a central location. In typical Hilton fashion, the hotel boasts modern, cozy rooms with typical hotel amenities and free WiFi.

Address: 
Book Now: You can book The District here or on Booking.com.

DC Hostel
HI – Washington DC Hostel. Photo Credit: javacolleen (Flickr CC)

Hostels, Apartment Rentals, & Other Backpacker Options

15. HighRoad Hostel & Suites

If you want a quintessential Washington DC experience without the price tag of a historic hotel, try HighRoad Hostel, which was built in a classic DC row house. Located in Adams Morgan, visitors can experience this trendy young neighborhood with a huge selection of some of the city’s best bars and restaurants. To get to the main attractions of the city, you can take a short bus ride or rent a bike from Capital Bikeshare.

The hostel boasts inexpensive dorm rooms with memory foam mattresses, perfect for resting after long days out walking in the city. With raving reviews from many former guests, it’s a fantastic option for the traveler on a budget or solo travelers who want to meet new people for a night out on the town.

Address: 1804 Belmont Rd NW, Washington, DC 20009, USA
To Book: You can book HighRoad Hostel here or on Booking.com.

16. Hosteling International – DC

The HI – Washington DC Hostel is one of the most well-known and centrally-located hostel in the city. Walkable to the White House, Chinatown, and the National Mall, it’s also easily accessible by public transportation too. Convenient location. As with most hostels, they offer dorm style rooms with twin beds and a few private suite options for couples or travelers who want a bit more privacy at a budget price.

Address: 1009 11th St NW, Washington, DC 20001, USA
To Book:
You can book HI Hostel DC here or on Booking.com.

17. Airbnb

Needless to say, Airbnb is one of the best ways to stay in a comfortable place without spending an arm and a leg, and let’s be real: some of the apartments on there are REALLY nice! One of the biggest perks about Airbnb is that many come with access to a kitchen, meaning you can save money on accommodation costs as well as dining out. If you’re a budget traveler looking for a little more comfort than a dorm bed in a hostel, Airbnb is the perfect option.

To Book: Use this link to save $40 off your first booking with Airbnb!

Not Sure About Any of The Options Here?

That’s okay. Luckily, there are hundreds of hotels and places to stay in Washington DC! Click on the button below to browse that various accommodations and price points this vast city has to offer.

Click here to check reviews and compare prices for hotels in Washington DC

Featured image: Pixabay (Source)


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One of the things Washington DC is most famous for is its world-class museums and exhibits. According to some sources, there are over 100 museums in the city! Tourists flock from all over the United States (and the world) to visit the amazing museums and galleries that are open in Washington DC. But what if I told you that there are DOZENS of free museums in Washington DC that you can visit on any day of the week?

Yeah, I know. It’s pretty magical.

When I first moved to Washington DC, I had no idea that many of the incredible museums in Washington DC don’t charge an admission fee. When I found this out, my mind was blown. So now, dear reader, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite free museums in Washington DC so you can keep that extra cash in your pocket (or spend it at happy hour).

The Top 21 Free Museums in Washington DC: A Guide

History & Science Museums

Smithsonian Castle & Parterre
Photo Credit: Robert Lyle Bolton (Flickr CC)

The Smithsonian Castle

This beautiful, brick castle on the National Mall serves not only as a beautiful piece of eye candy for DC’s city center, but also as an information center and exhibit hall for ALL of the Smithsonian Museums. If you didn’t know, all of the Smithsonian museums in Washington DC are free (but we’ll get to that later).

Year round, the Castle serves as a center for planning your trip to the rest of the Smithsonian Museums, including little samplers of what you can expect to find in each one. There are also rotating exhibits in the building, which span from photography to history exhibits and more.

Address: 1000 Jefferson Dr SW, Washington, DC 20560
Contact: By phone at (202) 633-1000 or by email at info@si.edu

National Museum of Natural History - Ocean - HDR (handheld)
Photo Credit: m01229 (Flickr CC)

The Museum of Natural History

One of my favorite museums in Washington DC, the Museum of Natural History is sure to bring out your curiosity of the amazing wildlife and plants the world has to offer. With full-sized dinosaur skeleton replicas and plenty of animal and plant specimens (taxonomy and alive), there’s no shortage of things to see and explore here.

Some of my favorite exhibits include the Hope Diamond, Lucy, and of course, the dinosaurs. But before I give too much away, I’ll leave you to wonder about what those things actually are until you go visit the museum yourself!

Address: 10th St. & Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20560
Contact: By phone at (202) 633-1000

Retired Orbiter
Photo Credit: Bill Dickinson (Flickr CC)

National Air & Space Museum

Were you one of those kids who dreamed of being an astronaut when you grew up? Or one who enjoyed learning about physics, meteorology, or astronomy? Well then, you’ll be sure to have a field day at the National Air & Space Museum, a museum totally dedicated to the exploration of our atmosphere and universe.

This museum is not only perfect for the former science nerd in you, but it’s also fantastic for kids because of the sheer number of interactive and hands-on exhibits. Live demonstrations in the museum help kids learn about physics, and there are many rooms full of activities just waiting to be taken advantage of.

Address: 600 Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20560
Contact: By phone at (202) 633-2214

think about what you saw
Photo Credit: NC in DC (Flickr CC)

Holocaust Memorial Museum

DC’s Holocaust Memorial Museum is a somber and moving museum that centers around the history and events of the Holocaust during WWII. Photos, artifacts, and immersive exhibits are sure to leave you well-educated about the horrifying events of the Holocaust. It’s a building full of sights, smells, and a lot of feelings, but it’s one whose cause is incredibly important to revisit and remember for generations to come.

Address: 100 Raoul Wallenberg Pl SW, Washington, DC 20024
Contact: (202) 488-0400

Smithsonian Museum of American History - Washington, DC
Photo Credit: Josh Hallett (Flickr CC)

National Museum of American History

How much do you actually know about American History? It’s much more than your 8th grade textbook might have you believe. Saddle up and get ready for a ride through all of the United States’ history, from the early settlements of Native Americans all the way to modern history.

Honestly, I never fancied learning about American History when I was growing up, but after visiting this awesome museum, I found myself fascinated by it. You could spend an entire day here just reading, looking at preserved artifacts, and watching the videos about various aspects of American History.

Address: 1300 Constitution Ave NW, Washington, DC 20560
Contact: By phone at (202) 633-3270

The National Musuem of the American Indian
Photo Credit: Bart (Flickr CC)

National Museum of the American Indian

Not only is the National Museum of the American Indian the National Mall’s most beautiful building, but it’s also one of my absolute favorites. This museum focuses not only on the history and customs of indigenous groups in the United States, but also across North, Central, and South America. Spread throughout the museum’s many floors are artifacts, traditional garments, information, and videos that detail what we know about each indigenous group.

In the various times I’ve been to the National Museum of the American Indian, I’ve seen exhibits on the Cherokees and the Incas in one day. I love that this museum allows me to get to know a variety of indigenous groups and ‘travel the world’ while I’m in my own city.

Address: 4th St SW & Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20560
Contact: By email at nmai-info@si.edu

National Museum of African American History and Culture

National Museum of African American History and Culture

As one of the newest free museums in Washington DC, the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) is a gorgeously-curated collection of African American history in the United States, starting with the dark days of slavery to Jim Crow Laws to the Civil Rights Movement to Black Lives Matter. It’s a refreshingly honest look at the journey of African Americans through time and space.

The museum doesn’t just address slavery and civil rights; it also focuses on the role of many influential black figures across American history. There are exhibits on the upper floors about the role of African Americans in American sports, music, art, and culture as well.

Due to high demand for the NMAAHC, you must reserve a free ticket online in advance. You will have an assigned entrance time for the museum during which you are free to enter and explore the various exhibits in the building. If you’re in DC and did not reserve a ticket, you can also check same-day availability at exactly 6:30 AM to try and secure a day-of ticket, but it is not guaranteed.

Address: 1400 Constitution Ave NW, Washington, DC 20560
Contact: By phone at (202) 633-1000

Nature & Wildlife

National Zoo
Photo Credit: angela n. (Flickr CC)

National Zoo

There are few places more fun or cheerful in Washington DC than the National Zoo, which is also run by the Smithsonian. Home to cuddly pandas, curious giraffes, and many, many other beautiful animals, the zoo is the place to go if you want to admire the amazing variety of nature. Here, you can also learn about many endangered animals and how the zoo is working to help preserve many of these fragile species.

Address: 3001 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008
Contact: (202) 633-4888

United States Botanic Garden

The Botanic Garden is kind of like DC’s version of Alice in Wonderland, because each room has something surprising and colorful to explore. This building near the Capitol is full of all kinds of tropical plants. There are also all kinds of art installations and lights that change throughout the seasons.

One of the best things about the Botanic Garden is that, because it’s a greenhouse, it’s a year-round plant exhibit that’s just as vibrant in the middle of the winter as it is in the summer!

Address: 100 Maryland Ave SW, Washington, DC 20001
Contact: By phone at (202) 225-8333

National Arboretum

One of the most beautiful museum areas in Washington DC isn’t a building at all – it’s a park. The National Arboretum is an outdoor garden area that’s dedicated to educating visitors about the various local plant life in the area. There are many walking trails and benches to hang out on, and it’s the only “museum” on our list that’s dog-friendly!

A “living museum” of sorts, the National Arboretum obviously has a variety of trails and plants, but only one central “exhibit” – the old Capitol pillars. Brought to the park in the 1980s, the Capitol pillars are some of the most iconic DC landmarks and stand out remarkably against the fields and forests of the rest of the arboretum. During the spring, visitors can walk around the park and admire the blooming flowers with the backdrop of the pillars and it’s pretty magical, to say the least.

Address: 3501 New York Ave NE, Washington, DC 20002
Contact: (202) 245-2726


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Art Museums

National Gallery of Art
Photo Credit: Rob (Flickr CC)

The National Gallery of Art

The National Gallery of Art is the central art museum in Washington DC, and it’s full of hundreds of works from various time periods and styles, including some by Degas and DaVinci. There’s also an adjacent sculpture garden with several interesting works, that also hosts free live music in the summertime on Friday afternoons.

Address: 6th and Constitution Avenue NW Washington, DC 20565
Contact: By phone at (202) 737-4215

Belief + Doubt
Photo Credit: jpellgen (Flickr CC)

Hirshhorn Museum

One of the most offbeat museums on this list, the Hirshhorn Museum is a national museum of contemporary art and, as in most modern art museums, there are a lot of strange things to see here. Many of the exhibits are politically-infused and some are just flat-out wild, but there are always bright and complex visual treats to be discovered here. To make things even stranger, the building is shaped like a donut and houses the exhibits in its rounded hallways.

Address: Independence Ave SW & 7th St SW, Washington, DC 20560
Hours: 10 AM-5:30 PM daily
Contact: By phone at (202) 633-1000

Blind Whino SW Arts Club

While we’re on the topic of strange museums, here’s another one for you: Blind Whino, the abandoned church-gone-art gallery and workshop. It’s only kind of a museum, because the majority of the building space is actually used for events, shows, and demonstrations. However, there’s a small free art gallery open on certain days of the week that has rotating exhibits by local artists. The works here at Blind Whino are different than anything else you can find in the city.

You can check here for what’s currently on display at the gallery or here for upcoming events.

Address: 700 Delaware Ave SW, Washington, DC 20024
Gallery Hours: Wednesday 5-8 PM, Saturday and Sunday 12-5 PM
Contact: By phone at (202) 554-0103

National Portrait Gallery

The National Portrait Gallery houses paintings of all of the United States presidents, plus several other influential figures in the history of the United States. Some of the most recent additions include the portrait of former President Barack Obama and, separately, one of his wife, Michelle.

Address: 8th and F Streets NW Washington, DC 20001
Contact: By phone at (202) 633-8300

Cross the Hall
Photo Credit: Geoff Livingston (Flickr CC)

American Art Museum & Renwick Gallery

If you’re interested in seeing some of the finest works from the United States, look no further than the American Art Museum. Here there are several exhibits across two floors that range in topic and time period.

The Renwick Gallery is an annex of the Museum of American Art, and is home to seasonal special rotating exhibits. The exhibits range from fine are to fairly psychedelic, depending on the time of year. You can check what the latest exhibit is on their website.

Address: Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street NW Washington, DC 20006
Contact: By phone at (202) 633-7970

Historic Buildings, Homes, & Gardens

Capitol (Washington)
Photo Credit: Alberto Ceballos (Flickr CC)

The Capitol Building

Many people are surprised that the Capitol Building allows visitors and is open to the public. To that I say: take advantage of it! You can have the chance to see where many important decisions for our country are made, and best of all…it’s free!

All you have to do is show up at the building and request a tour, or make an advanced reservation online

Address: First St SE, Washington, DC 20004
Contact: By phone at (202) 226-8000

White House
Photo Credit: Patrick Muller (Flickr CC)

The White House

While in DC, you can visit a living museum that allows you to walk where presidents past have walked. Yes, you guessed it: much like the Capitol, you can schedule a free tour of the White House! During the tour, you can see many of the various rooms in the White House, such as the Family Theater, the Blue Room and the State Dining Room. And, if it’s the season, you can also add on a Garden Tour on top.

To schedule a White House tour, you must request an invitation 21 or more days in advance from your local Member of Congress (either the House or the Senate). For more information and instructions on how to schedule a tour, visit the official website.

Address: 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20500
Contact: N/A

Old_Stone_House_08
Photo Credit: Ken White / IIP Photo Archive (Flickr CC)

Old Stone House

As the capital city’s oldest home, the Old Stone House in Georgetown may be one of the most unique free museums in Washington DC. It’s a fairly small home, but free guides in the house can give you special information about the people who lived there and the different purposes that the house served over the years. The Old Stone House is a designated historic site under the US National Park Service.

Address: 3051 M St NW, Washington, DC 20007
Contact: N/A

US Bureau of Engraving and Printing

The US Bureau of Engraving and Printing is exactly what it sounds like: the place where money is made. This institution is where dollars have been manufactured throughout American history, and you can see just how they do it on a guided tour of the facility.

To register for a tour, you must claim a free ticket at the Roaul Wallenburg Place SW. There are a limited number of tickets each day, so if you’re planning on going, be sure to get there early.

Address: 301 14th St SW, Washington, DC 20228
Contact: By phone at (866) 874-2330 or by email at moneyfactory.info@bep.gov

interior library of congress details
Photo Credit: Mario Antonio Pena Zapateria (Flickr CC)

Library of Congress

Located behind the Capitol, the Library of Congress is home to some of Washington DC’s most beautiful interiors and exhibits, and they’re completely free and open to the public. Here, in addition to a *real* library, there are rotating exhibits and various guided tours of the premises, including the Jefferson Building. There’s also a large Reading Room where you can sit for hours, reading and people watching at one of the most influential buildings in the United States.

Address: 101 Independence Ave SE, Washington, DC 20540
Contact: By phone at (202) 707-5000

Record Keeper
Photo Credit: Thomas Hawk (Flickr CC)

National Archives

If you’ve ever been curious about where they keep all of those important documents that, you know, served as the foundation for our entire country, then look no further! Many of them are on display at the National Archives Museum. While there are many Archives facilities around the Metro DC area, the main one is downtown, just off the National Mall.

Here, every day, you can go to see documents like the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. There are also rotating exhibits that have other important official documents that have played a significant role throughout history.

Address: 700 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20408-0001
Contact: By phone at (866) 272-6272 or by email at archives1reference@nara.gov

Travel Tips for Washington DC

Getting to Washington DC

By Air

There are three major airports in the Washington DC metropolitan area: Reagan National Airport (DCA), Dulles International Airport (IAD) , and Baltimore/Washington International Airport (BWI). All major airlines in the United States fly to at least one of these airports. The most accessible airport from the city is Reagan National, which is about 20 minutes from the city center on the blue or yellow metro lines.

To find the best flight deals, we use and recommend Skyscanner and CheapoAir.

By Ground Transportation

If you’re coming from somewhere else on the East Coast, there are trains and buses that will bring you from most major nearby cities to Union Station. Amtrak services the passenger trains, and prices vary greatly depending on where you’re coming from. Greyhound and MegaBus both operate several bus lines that arrive in Washington DC as well.

Where to Stay in Washington DC

The best and most beautiful hotel in town, hands down, is the St. Regis. Located just steps away from the White House, this beautiful and gold-embellished luxury hotel has a very classic feel. If you’re feeling extra snazzy, opt for one of their suites, and don’t forget to join the staff in the lobby for their daily evening champagne toast.

For mid-range travelersThe Line DC hotel in Adams Morgan offers chic, spacious rooms at a good price, and their lobby is one of the locals’ cool hangout spots.

Budget travelers will find the best bang for their buck either at HighRoad Hostel or in a locally-owned Airbnb. (You can click this link to save $40 off your first Airbnb booking!)

Click here to check reviews and compare prices for hotels in Washington DC

Featured image by m01229 (Flickr CC)


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You might not think about the United States capital as a cold weather getaway, but you might be surprised: there are actually a lot of wonderful things to do in Washington DC in the winter. Besides being an accessible winter getaway for East Coast dwellers, there are also tons of activities that will surprise and delight even the most skeptical of locals. To help convince you to put on pants and explore Washington DC in the winter, we’ve compiled 35 amazing things you can do in DC between November and February.

Top Things to Do in Washington DC in Winter

National Menorah Washington DC USA 50587
Photo Credit: Ted Eytan (Flickr CC)

Holiday Lights & Celebrations

1. Watch the National Tree Lighting Ceremony at the White House. This is an annual ceremony that happens in late November that officially kicks off all of the city’s holiday festivities.
(2018 National Tree Lighting Ceremony date: November 28)

2. …or enjoy the lighting of the National Menorah. Separately from the national tree, there’s also a national menorah that sits on the White House ellipse. There’s a lighting ceremony for this as well that typically occurs in early December.
(2018 Menorah Ceremony date: December 2)

3. Admire the various city holiday decorations. All around the city there are many different light exhibits to explore. The Botanical Garden, the Library of Congress, Union Station, and the Capitol all boast holiday decorations that will get you in the winter spirit.

4. Check out the holiday-themed international festivals around the city. You can travel around the world without leaving DC! For example, there’s a German Market, a Swedish Christmas Bazaar, and a Russian Winter Festival to enjoy, among many other smaller international celebrations.

5. Partake in the embassy holiday parties. All year round, there are events at the international embassies around the city, and YOU’RE INVITED! Check this page for events during the holiday season at the various embassies.

6. Enjoy the spectacle at the Holiday Boat Parade of Lights. Channel your inner seafarer and head to Alexandria for the annual Holiday Boat Parade of Lights, which is exactly what it sounds like: a fanfare of boats decked out in holiday lights.

7. Wander through ZooLights. What’s better than seeing animals AND lights at the same time? ZooLights, that’s what. It’s one of DC’s most romantic night time events during the winter, and trust me, it’s worth bundling up for.

white-gravenor hall
Photo Credit: ehpien (Flickr CC)

Shopping and Neighborhood Activities

8. Head to charming Old Town Alexandria for the cutest winter area ever. Alexandria won #4 for most charming towns in the United States this year…need I say more?

9. Be dazzled by City Center’s gorgeous winter displays. City Center is one of DC’s most shiny and sleek walking areas, and during the winter, it’s decked out in all kinds of ornaments and sparkly goodness.

10. Window shop in Georgetown. No, we don’t have a Fifth Avenue in Washington DC, but the next best thing is Georgetown’s retail district, which becomes a fun and festive place to bundle up, grab a chai latte, and window shop in the wintertime.

11. Check out Georgetown GLOW. Alternatively, if you’re in Georgetown in the evening, head toward the canals for a beautiful, somewhat psychedelic winter light show.

12. Stroll through Georgetown University’s empty campus. One of the most beautiful campuses in the city, if not the country, is Georgetown’s. Usually, it’s teeming with students, but in December, you can find it almost completely empty as the students have gone home for the holidays. It’s eerie yet beautiful.

13. Take a day trip to one of the wonderful landmarks and sights nearby. There are tons of day trips you can do from DC to nearby sights and cities like Mount Vernon, Fredericksburg, or Annapolis.

14. Celebrate the New Year. New Years festivities in DC are a hoot, and you’d be missing out if you didn’t partake in any of them. Here’s a complete list of public Washington DC parties and events to celebrate the New Year.

15. Enjoy the cheer at the Downtown Holiday Market. Did you feel like you were missing out on the European-style holiday market cheer? DC’s got one of its own that’s ready to welcome you with cute stalls, warm drinks, pretty lights, and over-the-top festivities.

The Spirit of Autumn
Photo Credit: Victoria Pickering (Flickr CC)

Escape the Cold (Awesome Indoor Activities)

16. Escape the cold at an indoor art gallery. There are several we’d recommend in DC, but our favorites are Artechouse, Dupont Underground, and Blind Whino.

17. Tour through Washington DC’s historic homes. There are many historic homes scattered throughout the city that you can visit during the wintertime. The Old Stone House, the Dumbarton House, and the Woodrow Wilson House are among the most fascinating homes that are open for visitors. 

18. Save your skin from the winter chill at a local spa. DC is home to so many amazing spas, I’ll have to write a separate post about them. One of my favorites is the Argentta Spa in the Watergate Hotel – the massages are amazing and all services include an afternoon at their pool and sauna complex!

19. Duck into Kramer Books for a cozy afternoon of reading. This adorable bookstore-gone-cafe in Dupont Circle is the kind of place that sucks you in and keeps you until you realize you’ve spent WAAAAYYYY too much time there.

20. Watch The Nutcracker at the Kennedy Center. Everyone’s favorite Christmas ballet makes its way to the Kennedy Center each year, and there are few things more classy than dressing up in your favorite red, green, or gold evening attire and watching it live. Click here to see this year’s dates and show times.

21. Take a bus or trolley tour. There are several tours of DC that you can take to see the city without freezing in the chilly winter air. Try a city-wide hop-on hop-off trolley tour or a small bus tour to stay warm while seeing all of the city’s best sights.

22. Plan a staycation. There are sooo many cool hotels, inns, and hostels to treat yourself to in DC, even if you’re a local. Planning a staycation is one of the best things to do in Washington DC in winter because it’s the tourism off-season for the city, so accommodation prices in general will be cheaper (except for holidays).

Click here to check reviews and compare prices for hotels in Washington DC

Lady In Red
Photo Credit: Photo YourSpace (Flickr CC)

Outdoor Activities

23. Enjoy the snow! Even though DC may not be as snowy as some more northern states, we do get a few dustings from time to time. When it happens, take advantage by lacing up your boots and strolling through the National Mall, or simply watching it from the comfort of your home.

24. Go ice skating at the National Gallery of Art, the National Harbor, or the Watergate Hotel. There are a few wonderful places in the DC area to go ice skating during the winter season. The National Gallery of Art’s Sculpture Garden hosts a wonderful outdoor skating rink, as does the rooftop of the Watergate Hotel. Bundle up and take your pick!

25. Go for a weekend at the ski slopes. Despite some misconceptions about skiing on the East Coast, there are a few fabulous ski resorts within a few hours of DC’s city limits. Snowshoe Resort (WV) and Wintergreen Resort (VA) are all fantastic options for all levels of skiers.

26. Join a city-wide snowball fight. When the snow falls, you know the Washington DC Snowball Fight Association will be out and about! Check their Facebook page when it snows for opportunities to get involved!

2017.12.09 Shaw People and Places, Washington, DC USA 1353
Photo Credit: Ted Eytan (Flickr CC)

Food & Drink

27. Pop into a holiday-themed pop-up bar. DC’s beloved Pop Up Bar in Shaw is the perfect place to get in the mood for any season, and the holidays are no different. Be sure to “pop” by their bar during the winter to see what the seasons greetings have in store!

28. Cozy up by a communal fireplace. There are a few outdoor patios that stay open in Washington, DC in the winter, where you can gather with friends under blankets and feel the warmth of outdoor fires while you dine or drink. Some of our favorite fireplace hangouts in the city include Barcelona, Masseria, and La Chaumiere.

29. Eat to your heart’s content during DC’s Winter Restaurant Week. Dozens of restaurants in Washington DC offer steep discounts on their finest dishes during Metropolitan Washington Restaurant Week, many of which rotate based on the season. Be sure to keep an eye on the participating restaurants and make your reservations early!

30. Participate in SantaCon. This Santa-themed crawl happens all over the United States, with the largest one in New York City. However, DC does its own spin on the Santa Con festivities, ”

31. Escape the cold at The Line’s high tea. Full of young professionals and relaxed waitstaff, The Line’s lobby bar, Brothers and Sisters, offers a great selection of high tea options. Or, if you’re feeling more laid-back, just hang out in their lobby with a cup of cappuccino from their all-day coffee bar and read a book.

32. …Or, if you’re feeling extra fancy, the St. Regis’ high tea… As one of the most lavish high teas in town, the St. Regis really knows their stuff. Petit fours on shiny tiered serving plates. An astounding variety of teas and other beverages. And top that all off with seats in what’s arguably DC’s most amazing hotel lobby. The St. Regis’ high tea will leave you feeling like royalty. (And yes, there’s a luxurious price tag to match.)

33. Warm up with DC’s best chai latte. I’ve spent over a year in Washington DC trying to solve a very important mystery: where the best chai latte in the city is hiding. While I haven’t been everywhere, I’d say for now it’s a tie between Compass Coffee and Tryst. Any objections?

Wreaths Across America Sunset at Arlington National Cemetery
Photo Credit: Joseph Gruber (Flickr CC)

Give Back

34. Lay a wreath at Arlington Cemetery. Each year, hundreds of people head to Arlington Cemetery to honor our country’s fallen veterans at a Wreath Laying Ceremony. The Wreaths Across America organization organizes an annual wreath laying event that anyone can volunteer at – click here for dates and more information on how to get involved.

35. Volunteer to help the less fortunate. The holidays and the biting cold of winter can be tough for people who are less fortunate. Luckily, there are many ways to give back and spread the winter cheer, including volunteering at the Capital Area Food Bank, to help make sure everyone gets fed this holiday season. Even better: convince your friends and family to do it with you!

Travel Tips for Washington DC

Getting to Washington DC

By Air

There are three major airports in the Washington DC metropolitan area: Reagan National Airport (DCA), Dulles International Airport (IAD) , and Baltimore/Washington International Airport (BWI). All major airlines in the United States fly to at least one of these airports. The most accessible airport from the city is Reagan National, which is about 20 minutes from the city center on the blue or yellow metro lines.

To find the best flight deals, we use and recommend Skyscanner and CheapoAir.

By Ground Transportation

If you’re coming from somewhere else on the East Coast, there are trains and buses that will bring you from most major nearby cities to Union Station. Amtrak services the passenger trains, and prices vary greatly depending on where you’re coming from. Greyhound and MegaBus both operate several bus lines that arrive in Washington DC as well.

Where to Stay in Washington DC

The best and most beautiful hotel in town, hands down, is the St. Regis. Located just steps away from the White House, this beautiful and gold-embellished luxury hotel has a very classic feel. If you’re feeling extra snazzy, opt for one of their suites, and don’t forget to join the staff in the lobby for their daily evening champagne toast.

For mid-range travelers, The Line DC hotel in Adams Morgan offers chic, spacious rooms at a good price, and their lobby is one of the locals’ cool hangout spots.

Budget travelers will find the best bang for their buck either at HighRoad Hostel or in a locally-owned Airbnb. (You can click this link to save $40 off your first Airbnb booking!)

Click here to check reviews and compare prices for hotels in Washington DC

Featured image by Zach Stern (Flickr CC)


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