Know Before You Go – Washington DC

Have you booked a trip to the USA’s capital, but have never been here before? Then there are plenty of things you should consider before you arrive here, in order to make the most of your time in Washington DC.

Here are the top things we think you should know before you go:

When To Go

It all really depends on what you want to see and get out of the city. Like with most tourist destinations, DC becomes increasingly popular in summer. This can be both a good and bad thing – sure, it will be warm and sunny, but depending on what you’re used to, it may seem too humid. Plus, with the city being full, you might find it more difficult to book excursions or that you’ll have to wait in long lines at tourist attractions. A pro tip, if you can manage it, it would be ideal to visit in either spring or fall. April and October have the friendliest weather and as it’s almost off peak, you can enjoy the city at your leisure.

How to Get Around

As is the case with a lot of cities, there’s a great focus on walking, cycling and public transport in DC. The best way to see the city is by foot, and you’ll avoid the pitfalls of being stuck in any traffic. However there’s a great scheme called Capital Bikeshare which offers bikes at 175 pick-up and drop off points in the city, allowing you to explore by bike with either a one day or three day pass.

If you’re not sure how to navigate the DC grid, or want to make sure you can enjoy as much of the city’s attractions as possible, why not consider getting around on one of the Gray Line half day tours? Taking place on Fridays, Saturdays or Sundays through until mid-September, this tour offers the chance to take in all the cultural hotspots like memorials, the White House and much more, all neatly packed into half a day – meaning you’ll have loads of time to uncover the rest of DC’s hidden gems. Because our tours depart from Union Station, your hotel accommodations may be in a different part of the city. You can get to us from the DC Metro and use the smartphone app “Hopstop” to learn how to navigate its various lines.

Enjoy Free Attractions and Activities

The larger museums may charge entry, but places like the Smithsonian Institution complex, which encompasses 19 different museums and galleries, do not charge. Enjoy everything from American history, natural history to air and space in these locations without spending a cent. The National Zoo is another free attraction which is ideal for the whole family.

If you are more of an outdoorsy type, there are plenty of green spaces in DC to explore too. The Mall from end to end is about 2 miles, giving you not only a great walk in a green space, but also top views of things like the US Capitol and Lincoln Memorial. Rock Creek Park is another fantastic green area which is more than double the size of Central Park in NY, with plenty of trails and paths to uncover.

These are just some of the main things to know before you head to Washington DC, hopefully making your trip more full and memorable than you thought possible.