With its marbled monuments and high-profile politicos, Washington, D.C., has long been saddled with a reputation as a stuffy government-driven town. A "city of southern efficiency and northern charm," as John F. Kennedy once described it, Washington is often seen by outsiders as slow and inefficient. The District also offers a host of renowned museums and interesting neighborhoods. And with a recent explosion of restaurants, cafes, boutiques and clubs, D.C. is transitioning into a thriving cultural hub.
Washington Dulles International Airport (IATA: IAD, ICAO: KIAD, FAA LID: IAD) is an international airport in the eastern United States, located in Loudoun and Fairfax counties in Virginia, about 42 km west of downtown Washington, D.C.
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The best times to visit Washington, D.C., are from September to November and March to May. In the autumn, the sweltering summer is gone, taking with it most of the high season tourists. All that's left are crisp breezes and changing leaves, which, by the way, look great against all those marble monuments. Second to fall is spring, which is also a mini high season thanks to the National Cherry Blossom Festival in late March and early April. Summer in D.C. is hot and sticky, making less than ideal conditions for exploring the great outdoors. That said, many museums blast the air conditioning, so if you can stand the heat, you'll find plenty of free attractions to keep you entertained. Winter is low season. Although the chance to find lower hotel rates is high and the weather is mild compared to other destinations along the East Coast, the city is prone to cold temperatures and snowstorms.
1. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial – or "the Wall," as it's commonly referred to – is a long black granite wall with the names of more than 58,000 Americans who perished during the Vietnam War emblazoned on its surface. Recent travelers said their visits to the site were heartbreaking but thought-provoking and powerful, adding that even the toughest of individuals will find it hard not to become emotional while reading the wall's names.
2. The Lincoln Memorial - is free and can be viewed 24 hours a day, but keep in mind that the site is only staffed by National Parks Service rangers from 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. You'll find the memorial situated at the western end of the National Mall, which can be reached by walking from the Foggy Bottom-GWU Metro station or taking the DC Circulator's National Mall bus. Though most agree the Lincoln Memorial is worth checking out during the day or at night, many recent travelers say the most captivating time to visit is after dark when the attraction is lit and less crowded.
3. Tidal Basin - a 2-mile-long pond that was once attached to the Potomac River and serves as the backdrop to some of D.C.'s best-loved sites. Every spring, the Tidal Basin bursts with color as cherry blossom trees (gifted to D.C. from Tokyo) bloom into cotton candy-colored tufts, and they attract hordes of visitors. You can follow the path that leads around the basin, but many recent visitors recommended testing the waters in a paddle boat.