We encourage guests to take advantage of the many historical treasures that our nation’s capitol has to offer. Our concierge is happy to make suggestions to seasonal highlights and activities sure to keep you busy in D.C.
A complimentary house car is available on a first come basis to sites within the DC city limits. Service is available weekday mornings from 7:30 am to 10:00am and weekday afternoons from 5:30 pm to and weekends from 8:30pm.
Cuddly giant pandas, enormous Asian elephants, gregarious gorillas and more than 2,000 other animals make the Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park a guaranteed hit with children. Lions, tigers and bears are just the tip of the iceberg at this world-renowned zoo, home to nearly 400 species. Little ones especially adore searching for sloths in the Amazonian rain forest, walking amidst free-flying birds in the Great Flight Cage and petting the friendly residents at the Kids’ Farm. The Smithsonian’s National Zoo is free and open every day of the year except December 25. April -October 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and November - March 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
No visit to Washington, D.C. would be complete without walking through the hallowed halls of the United States Capitol. Regardless of your political persuasion, you will likely feel an amazing reverence for the history and power of this magnificent building. Tours start with a short film about America’s struggle for a truly representative democracy. Then you will move room to room, learning about the famous paintings and statues that fill the ornate structure, as well hear tales of dramatic and historic events that took place there. Finally, spend time in the Exhibition Hall, a mini-museum filled with artifacts, special displays and videos teaching visitors about U.S. history.
The Smithsonian is the world's largest museum and research complex, consisting of 19 museums and galleries, the National Zoological Park and nine research facilities. As a steward and ambassador of cultural connections, the Smithsonian's work helps to build bridges of mutual respect and understanding of the diversity of world cultures. Admission is free for all Smithsonian museums and the zoo in Washington, D.C. and museums are open seven days a week from 10am to 5:30pm, except December 25.
From the 555-foot obelisk dedicated to George Washington to the Jefferson Memorial serenely situated on the Tidal Basin’s south shore, monuments and memorials have long made Washington one of the world’s most attractive capitals. Today, these and the hallowed Lincoln Memorial share space with sites offering more modern perspectives of sacrifice and honor: the Vietnam Veterans, Korean War Veterans, National World War II, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorials. Devote the better part of a day to exploring the area from 17th Street to West Potomac Park, but also plan to visit the monuments and memorials at night, when they are most breathtaking.
Standing amid the hustle and bustle of Georgetown’s main intersection of M Street and Wisconsin Avenue, you’d never suspect that a placid 18th-century port town hides here. Nestled beyond the trendy restaurants, designer shops, and lively bars, you’ll find picturesque gardens, historic house museums, and a healthy helping of political intrigue. Walk in the footsteps of presidents and scholars, athletes and socialites, as you take in the sights and stories of this action-packed waterfront neighborhood. Whether you are a tourist, eccentric heiress, college student, or history buff, Georgetown has something for you.
Historically, spiritually and architecturally, Washington National Cathedral is one of the capital’s richest landmarks. Begun in 1907 and completed in 1990, this strikingly gorgeous Gothic church is the world’s sixth largest cathedral and wows with a 30-story central tower, 112 gargoyles and 231 stained-glass windows. The cathedral has been the location of three state funerals, President Wilson’s official burial and countless services of national significance. After a mesmerizing tour, stroll through the lovely surrounding gardens.The Cathedral is open for visiting Monday – Friday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. The Cathedral Shop is open 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Tours are available, and services are open to the public.
The Kennedy Center, which opened on September 8, 1971, continues its efforts to fulfill President Kennedy's vision by producing and presenting an unmatched variety of theater and musicals, dance and ballet, orchestral, chamber, jazz, popular, world, and folk music, and multi-media performances for all ages. Every year the institution that bears President Kennedy's name brings his dream to fruition, touching the lives of millions of people through thousands of performances by the greatest artists from across America and around the world. As part of its commitment to encourage the widest possible audience for the arts, the Kennedy Center offers the nation’s largest Specially Priced Tickets program for students, seniors, persons with disabilities, enlisted military personnel and others with fixed low incomes.
A somber reminder of the thousands of men and women who have devoted their lives to the United States, Arlington National Cemetery is nevertheless an engrossing and rewarding stop during a visit to the nation’s capital. From the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, where an honor guard keeps watch every minute of every hour of every day to the burial site of President John F. Kennedy, Arlington National Cemetery will take your breath away with its poignant sweep of history. Rows of white tombstones line the property, one for each of the 14,000 veterans buried here dating back to the Civil War.
This is one museum that is actually worth paying for – especially if you’re burned out on the more nutritious museums (which you will be any second now), or if you have children over age 10. The Spy Museum, one of D.C.’s most popular attractions, is noisy with films and interactive displays. But at the end of the day, this museum works because spies are cool, and so are KGB lipstick pistols and invisible-ink letters. Be sure to check out the exhibit on the Navajo code talkers and the history of spying going back to Moses. There is a museum store offering unique gifts and a restaurant next door, the Spy City Cafe.
Established in 1800 as one of Thomas Jefferson’s legacies, the Library of Congress is the largest library in the world. Three buildings located on Capitol Hill house more than 151 million items in 470 languages, and some 7000 items are added daily. The library has a new visitors center and a 90-seat theater where you can watch an informative documentary about the facility. You’ll also find a gift shop, performing arts gallery and special rooms displaying some of the library’s important collections. Entrance to the Thomas Jefferson Building is free and open to the public. You may participate in a guided tour or a gallery talk, or take a self-guided tour of the building and the exhibitions. There is a weekly tour that we don’t think you will want to miss about Thomas Jefferson’s life, his works, and his influence on this institution and the nation.
Walking through the Newseum is like jumping directly into a newspaper headline or television newscast. It literally is a news museum and visitors can explore and go inside some of the most momentous occasions in world history. From touching a large section of the Berlin Wall to seeing a crumpled antenna from the World Trade Center, the artifacts in the Newseum are actual pieces of history. There is a gallery filled with newspaper front pages from throughout the 20th century. There’s a collection of Pulitzer Prize winning photographs. There’s even a recreation of the office of the late Tim Russert, beloved political reporter at NBC News. And there is gallery after gallery featuring historic videos, images, equipment and memorabilia from the world of news gathering. If you have kids with you, stop at the Newseum’s TV studios where children can stand in front of a camera and give their own news, sports or weather report. You can even get a digital copy of your budding newscaster’s work, for a fee, of course.
Raphael, Botticelli, Degas, Picasso, Pollock: masterpiece after masterpiece line the walls of the National Gallery of Art. From the only da Vinci on display in the Western Hemisphere to over 1,000 vibrant Rothko paintings, this world-renowned museum is home to an astonishing 109,000 works. Founded in 1937, the gallery consists of the West Building, housing 13th- through 20th-century art, the East Building, featuring the modern and contemporary collections, and the beloved sculpture garden, which is open year-round.