You’ve asked for more “Cities on the Cheap” articles, and we don’t like to disappoint! So far, we’ve explored Montreal, Chicago and New York City; but we think your next vacation should take place in… Washington D.C.! Read on for great places to visit while on a budget.
- There are two main airports that serve the Washington metro area: Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport. There is no need to hail an expensive cab to get to your hotel: Reagan has a Metrorail station connected to the blue and yellow lines. As for Dulles, Washington Flyer Coach Service offers bus services every 30 minutes to (and from) the West Falls Church stop on the orange line.
- D.C. is a great walking city with a vast metro system, so be sure to take advantage of all the monuments and memorials of this historic city. Your best bet is on The Mall, a national park that boasts many war and veterans memorials, the Washington Monument, the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial, the popular Lincoln Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial and our favourite, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial, which features statues of the late President and some representatives of the Great Depression, as well as beautiful waterfalls.
- Rich in history and architecture, it is a treat to walk past familiar landmarks like the White House, the Supreme Court building, the U.S. Capitol building, and the Library of Congress.
- Want some great views of D.C.? When you visit Arlington National Cemetery—a solemn location where many U.S. war veterans and casualties are buried—be sure to trek up the hill to Arlington House, the former mansion of General Robert E. Lee. Overlooking the Potomac River, it offers stunning views of the District.
- Georgetown is a quaint-yet-trendy neighbourhood that is well worth the visit. It boasts many shops and cafés, the historic Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, and Georgetown University.
- For history buffs, the National Archives building is well worth the visit. It is free to view some of the United States’ most important historical and governmental documents, such as the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, the U.S. Constitution, and others.
- Inarguably the largest library in the world, the free Library of Congress tours run from Monday to Saturday and offer information on the building’s architecture, information on the library’s various collections, and offers a glimpse of the impressive Main Reading Room.
- The Supreme Court building is stunning both on the outside, and even more so on the inside. You can walk around the building on your own, but if court is in session, the first floor is closed to visitors. However, the ground floor offers great exhibitions. (Note: for three weeks in August, the Courtroom is closed to visitors for cleaning.)
-The National Air and Space Museum is a treat for adults and children alike. You get to see the likes of Wright brothers’ famous aircraft, Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis, and much more. Entrance is free, but there is a charge for both the Planetarium and the IMAX theatre.
- The National Museum of American History is a museum that can please anyone, from history buffs to pop culture junkies! You not only get to see the American flag that inspired “The Star-Spangled Banner” (the United States’ national anthem), but also Julia Child’s kitchen, the red slippers that were featured in The Wizard of Oz, and much more.
(The Smithsonian Institution has many other fascinating museums—mostly located near the Mall—that are free of charge.)
- From pandas to Sumatran tigers, the National Zoological Park is the perfect place to take the kids (or the kid-at-heart). Between June and September, the zoo even offers night tours and sleepover events!
- During the summer months, the Kennedy Center offers free outdoor concerts on its Millennium Stage. The concert schedule can be found on its website.
- D.C. boasts many parks, as well as running and bike paths. The Mall is a favourite for runners and cyclists.
- In the winter (between November and March), inexpensive outdoor skating can be done at the National Gallery of Art’s Sculpture Garden ice rink.
Where to eat
- For the best chili dogs in D.C. (even U.S. President Barack Obama stopped in for a bite!), try Ben’s Chili Bowl.
- Yummy sandwiches can be found at popular eatery, Breadline. Just a few blocks from the White House, you’ll also melt for their delicious bread.
- Cupcakes are on the move with Curbside Cupcakes! Visit their site or follow them on Twitter (@CurbsideCupcake), and you can get their daily schedule on where their truck will be waiting to sell you best-sellers like Cream Cheese on Chocolate and The Black Cupcake.
For more great ideas, check out D.C.’s Official Tourism Site. And if you’re planning a trip to Washington D.C., find an inexpensive travel deal.
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