The Ultimate Washington, D.C., Guide

There are a thousand and one things to do and see in Washington, D.C., whether it's attractions, museums, restaurants or shopping. In the city that fuses politics and cosmopolitan culture, you won't have time to do it all, so we've put together this list--a crash course, if you will--to highlight the ?musts? of the district.

Updated: August 09, 2010

What to See: D.C. Attractions

White House

1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20500

The official residence of the president of the United States of America is both historically significant and visually impressive. Request to be a part of a public tour, or simply gaze through the iron fence along Pennsylvania Avenue--you may catch a glimpse of important guests coming and going.

National Gallery of Art

4th St NE & Constitution Ave NE, Washington, DC 20002

The National Gallery's collection includes paintings, prints, drawing, sculptures, and photographs that trace the development of Western Art. The gallery's permanent collection spans from the Middle Ages to the present day, including the only painting by Leonardo da Vinci in the Americas.

National Museum of Natural History

1000 Constitution Ave NW, Washington, DC 20004

With more than 500 million artifacts of natural history--plants, animals, fossils, rocks and minerals--this Smithsonian museum hosts a wide array of permanent and temporary exhibits showcasing elements of human and cultural history. Visit the Hall of Human Origins, the Hall of Geology or the Insect Zoo.

International Spy Museum

800 F St NW, Washington, DC 20004

This immensely popular Penn Quarter museum is dedicated to the seductive field of espionage. The museum features 20,000 square feet of interactive exhibits on methods and materials used by spies from the American Revolutionary War through the Cold War years.

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

100 Raoul Wallenberg Pl SW, Washington, DC 20024

The United States Holocaust Museum is our nation's official memorial to the Holocaust. The museum has an incredibly large and comprehensive collection of Holocaust-related material, including written archives, artifacts, film and video, music, oral history and photographs.

Lincoln Memorial

900 Ohio Dr SW, Washington, DC 20242

Built to honor our 16th president, this memorial located on the National Mall features a massive seated sculpture of Abraham Lincoln and inscriptions of two of his most well-known speeches, the ?Gettysburg Address? and his ?Second Inaugural Address.?

Thomas Jefferson Memorial

900 Ohio Dr SW, Washington, DC 20242

A bronze statue of the third president of the United States stands under a neoclassical marble dome at this presidential memorial, designed by John Russell Pope. The interior walls of this National Mall attraction feature inscriptions of Jefferson's most prominent writings.

National Mall

no address, Washington, DC 20599

This downtown D.C. park refers to the area between the Lincoln Memorial and the U.S. Capitol Building. The mall contains many of the city's prominent museums, memorials and landmarks.

Washington Monument

1 Harry S Truman Dr, Washington, DC 20785

This marble, granite and sandstone obelisk was completed in 1884 to commemorate George Washington, the first president of the United States. A prominent and iconic sight, the Washington Monument is tallest structure in the city at 555 feet tall.

Smithsonian's National Zoo

3001 Connecticut Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20008

This 163-acre urban park is one of the oldest zoos in the United States. Visitors can see more than 2,000 animals of 400 different species, including the world-famous giant pandas. Like all Smithsonian museums, entrance is free!

Where to Eat: D.C. Restaurants

Ben's Chili Bowl

1213 U St NW, Washington, DC 20009

This landmark restaurant, located along D.C.'s U Street corridor, is known for its half smokes, cheese fries and milkshakes. Obama dropped by this 50s style eatery for a chili dog in January 2009.

Ray's The Steaks

1725 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22209

Known for being somewhere between a serious steakhouse and a charming neighborhood haunt, Ray's the Steaks serves up consistent and beautifully prepared meat with generous sides. Diners appreciate the diverse wine and beer lists, too.

Sequoia Restaurant Georgetown

3000 K St., Washington, DC 20007

Spectacular views of the Georgetown waterfront compliment incredibly fresh seafood and modern American classics at this popular lunch and dinner spot.

Founding Farmers

1924 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20006

: Located in Foggy Bottom, this LEED-certified restaurant serves up sustainably farmed, grown and harvested foods, whose purveyors change seasonally. The restaurant is both supplied and owned by a collection of American family farmers.


2401 Pennsylvania Ave., Washington, DC 20037

This Foggy Bottom French restaurant offers a three-course pre-theater dinner, which changes daily and includes a car service to the nearby Kennedy Center. A knowledgeable and attentive wait staff, notable wine list and delightful ambiance make Marcel's an exceptional choice for fine dining.

Cafe Atlantico

405 8th St NW, Washington, DC 20004

This Jose Andres hot spot is an impressive three-level restaurant featuring updated versions of Latin American classics. The contemporary decor compliments chef Terri Cutrino's fun and colorful tasting menu, popular among large groups.

Where to Stay: D.C. Hotels

The Willard Washington Dc

1401 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20004

Just two blocks east of the White House, the Willard InterContinental boasts luxurious guest rooms, a famed bar and restaurant and stunning views of the National Mall.

The Hay-Adams

800 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20006

The plush Hay-Adams Hotel occupies the site of the 1885 homes of John Hay and Henry Adams--practically a stone's throw from the White House. Experience old-world luxury in the hotel's restaurant, the Lafayette, and bar, Off the Record.

W Washington D.c.

515 15th Street NW, Dc, DC 20004

Also near to the White House, the W Hotel of D.C. fuses Italian style and elegance with sleek, innovative design. The hotel boasts a full-service Bliss spa, a world famous steakhouse and an extraordinary rooftop bar.

Renaissance Mayflower Hotel

1127 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036

This historic hotel in downtown D.C. is the city's largest and longest running, and has hosted every U.S. Presidential inaugural ball since Calvin Coolidge.

Where to Shop: D.C. Stores

Eastern Market

225 7th St SE, Washington, DC 20003

Tuesday through Sunday, Eastern Market is D.C.'s destination for fresh produce and foods, handmade crafts and antiques, flowers and community events. Weekends are especially exciting at Eastern Market, where shoppers can find live music and local flair.


3030 M St Nw, Washington, DC 20007

Shop two floors of designer duds at this Georgetown favorite, including items from J Brand, Elizabeth and James, Joie and Diane Von Furstenberg. You'll find casual basics upstairs and more expensive trends on the main floor.

Shops At Georgetown Park

3222 M St NW Ste 140, Washington, DC 20007

This M Street center for shopping houses J. Crew, Intermix, Anthropologie, Sunglass Hut, H&M, and Victoria's Secret. Enjoy a variety of dining options on the ground floor.