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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Why Washington DC is a fantastic location for a weekend getaway

If you want to make a quick weekend getaway, there are many terrific destinations in the United States, however, if you're looking for someplace exciting and full of things to do, Washington D.C. may just be the city you're looking for when considering a weekend getaway. The trip can be as relaxing or fast-paced as you want it to be.


View of US Capitol Building and surrounding streets
View of the Capitol from the Old Post Office tower

A destination made for all seasons, there is plenty to do and much to see in this city. Not only is D.C. the hub of the U.S. government and home to many amazing landmarks and historic events, this metro area is full of art and culture.  

Transportation


If you are traveling from afar, there are three major airports in the Washington D.C. Metro Region— Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport which is the closest to D.C. proper and Washington Dulles International Airport, located a bit further west in Loudoun County, Va.  The third airport, Baltimore/Washington International Airport, is in the vicinity, but a bit further of a ride and being along I-95 corridor and the beltway traffic is likely involved. (I've traveled through both Reagan and Dulles, but not Baltimore).
Union Station shopping, Washington DC
View of Union Station shops

For rail travel, Amtrak also comes into Union Station, which is a landmark in itself to visit, and there is also the city's Metro system, which is a convenient way to travel between D.C., Northern Virginia and parts of Maryland.

Accommodations

Accommodations in Washington are plentiful and visitors can select a range of star rated hotels. For those willing to pay more for convenience, it is probably best to stay in the District itself, however if price is more of a consideration, you are likely to get some better rates in nearby Northern Virginia and Maryland; getting into the city is a relatively quick Metro ride away.
 
Entertainment and cultural events

Plenty of entertainment is to be found in Washington. The city houses the Verizon center offering many sports and concert events. Additionally, sports lovers can take in a Redskins (football), Nationals (baseball) game at their respective stadiums, depending on the season. Many of the city's neighborhoods are known for their "personalities" and nightlife, for instance Georgetown and Adams Morgan have plenty of things going on.


Ryan Zimmerman playing at Nats Park
Ryan Zimmerman readies for a hitter at Nationals Park
The historic Ford's Theatre is open for tours run by the National Park Service. It is also a working theatre, open seasonally from November until usually sometime in late spring. Visitors can catch a professional production in the same theatre that was popular in the 19th century.

Other venues of entertainment are the Kennedy Center which hosts multiple events each year, including symphonies, opera, jazz, ballet, theater and comedy shows. There is even a free show in the evenings at 6 p.m. on the Millennium stage.

History and art

If you love history, Washington is definitely the place to be. You can visit the National Mall and view the beautiful architecture of the monuments. See the Smithsonian Institution's many museums in the city, all of which have a different focus on history or art. Admission to all Smithsonian Museums is free of charge. Hours may vary slightly according to season, so be sure and check individual museum website for current hours for each one you plan to visit. A number of smaller, independent museums are also located throughout the city and surrounding suburbs.

Other things to check out

One of the other terrific aspects of visiting Washington D.C. is its proximity to other historic and amazing landmarks in nearby Maryland or Northern Virginia. Many of these places of interest can easily be seen in the course of a weekend if the interest strikes, for instance, you can have dinner in one of the quaint or elegant restaurants in Old Town Alexandria - it's all only a short Metro ride away.
Farmer's Market, Old Town Alexandria
Browsing at the Farmer's Market in Old Town Alexandria

Washington D.C. makes a great weekend destination for either a family-fun getaway or a romantic escapade. Although, it is nearly impossible to fit everything in to one weekend, however, by carefully choosing what you want to see, it is possible to see a good amount of the city over a two or three day holiday weekend.

One thing is for sure, when visiting the U.S. capital city, you'll never find a shortage of places to see or things to do.

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