Washington D.C. & the Capital Region holiday highlights

It is standard practice for resorts/hotels within the USA to charge a mandatory resort fee which is payable locally. This fee can be anywhere between 5USD to 40 USD per room per night and is not included in the cost of your Kuoni holiday.

Head to the National Mall in Washington D.C., a beautiful parkland containing a collection of iconic buildings. Here you can take in views over the striking Washington Monument, the tallest obelisk in the world, from the equally impressive Parthenon-style Lincoln Memorial, the spot where Martin Luther King delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech to 250,000 civil rights supporters in 1963. Visit the US Congress’s historic Capitol Building, the imposing Washington National Cathedral or the National World War II Memorial, before a enjoying a surreal up-close view of the White House, only a quick stroll away.

There is more to Washington D.C. than just memorials and monuments. Enjoy free entry to 17 Smithsonian Museums including Air and Space, the National Portrait Gallery and African American History and Culture. Head to The Kennedy Center in the West End for city skyline views from one of the only rooftop terraces in downtown Washington. This area is the hub of the capital, where you can visit an excellent theatre district, indulge in fine dining and wander beautiful open spaces including West Potomac Park and the Tidal Basin. North Central is the trendiest of Washington D.C.’s neighbourhoods and has a great range of shops, restaurants and clubs. The west is home to the historic village of Georgetown and various up-market shopping boutiques. Experience a diverse selection of cuisine, from widespread Mexican and Asian, to Indian in downtown D.C. and Ethiopian in the northwestern Adams Morgan neighbourhood.

Stop off in Virginia and you’ll discover some superb landscapes similar to New England. Charlottesville has quaint and historic houses plus rolling green countryside, and is not too far from the spectacular Blue Ridge Mountains. Here you can visit Shenandoah National Park and explore over 500 miles of hiking trails, including the famous 105-mile Skyline Drive along the Mountains’ crest.

Make your way down to the coast and spend some time on laid-back Virginia Beach, home to a good range of shops and restaurants along the three-mile boardwalk between Chesapeake Bay Beach and tranquil Sandbridge Beach. Try kayaking, or you may even have the chance to spot whales or dolphins on a guided tour. Head to the Virginia Peninsula and visit the Historic Triangle, home to the trio of colonial communities – Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown, where you can enjoy guided historical tours and museums. We’d also recommend a visit to the riverside state capital, Richmond – choose from a great range of tempting local and international cuisine as well as more than 20 craft breweries.

Where is Washington D.C. and the Capital Region?
In the eastern United States, Washington D.C. has a mid Atlantic position in between Maryland and Virginia. Charlottesville and Williamsburg are located in Virginia, a two-hour and three-hour drive, consecutively, from the capital.

Getting around
To see all the main attractions in the Washington D.C. and Capital Region we recommend our Capital Region Self Drive tour. If you are solely interested in Washington D.C. and also want to experience Boston, Philadelphia and New York, we recommend our East Coast Highlights By Rail. Travelling around Washington D.C. is easy by foot, DCMetro, taxi or hop-on/hop-off tours.

Shopping
In recent years Washington D.C. has managed to break free of its long association with stuffy suits and a nearly non-existent fashion scene, stepping it up with independent boutiques, high-end stores and interior design shops. Head to Dupont Circle and Georgetown for the best shopping experiences, whether you want Michael Kors and H&M or independent bookstores and vintage fashion. The Fashion Centre at Pentagon City is a traditional-style mall where you’ll find all your American brands, and a Metro stop right outside.

Food & drink
International flavours are proving to be a big hit in Washington D.C. and there’s a huge Southeast Asian food scene alongside high-end celebrity favourites including Bourbon Steak and Fiola Mare. Expect classic American diners with family-friendly milkshakes and burgers on tap and margaritas and tacos in the Navy Yard- perfect before watching a Nats game. You’ll find stylish Parisian bistros, fine dining near the White House and Jose Andres Michelin starred Minibar in the Penn Quarter. A classic Old Fashioned is the way to go for cocktails in the city but you can also expect breweries, wine bars and sophisticated speakeasies hidden everywhere from industrial warehouses to old churches whether you want to work through 555 labels of beer or try a frose and punch de jour.

Washington D.C. & the Capital Region key facts

Time difference

GMT -4 hours

Capital

Washington D.C. is the USA's capital.

Currency

US Dollar ($)

Flying time to destination

8¾ hours

Language

English is the official language, although many other languages are widely spoken in certain cities and communities. America has its own written US English spellings.

Passport & visas

•  Brits must have a full 10-year British Passport that's valid for six months after you return to the UK.
•  You will also need a USA visa or waiver form/ESTA. Apply for your ESTA at least 72 hours before travelling (http://esta.cbp.dhs.gov).

Voltage & electricity

The domestic electrical supply is 110V, 60 cycles AC. Sockets are for plugs with two flat pins.

Washington D.C. & the Capital Region good to know

Tipping

Tipping is an established and accepted custom in America. For good service, waiters and taxi drivers expect 15-20%, and counter and bar staff 10-15%. Porters can expect from $3-$5 per case, while tour guides can be given the equivalent of £2-£3 per day.

Public holidays

• 1 January: New Year's Day

• Third Monday in January: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

• Third Monday in February: Presidents Day

• Last Monday in May: Memorial Day

• 4 July: Independence Day

• First Monday in September: Labor Day

• Second Monday in October: Columbus Day

• 11 November: Veterans Day

• Fourth Thursday in November: Thanksgiving Day

• 25 December: Christmas Day