Washington DC – Overview

America’s capital city is her only truly planned one. The city was designed at the request of the President and has largely kept the skeletal foundation from Jefferson’s time. It’s set-up in quadrants, so note every address’ appendage to know which quarter to head to.

The only bad original feature is that it was built in a drained, swampy area and the weather in summer is definitely still reflective of that which created the swamp in the first place.

In summer, that is now ameliorated by going from one air-conditioned space to another one, but when you are a tourist, you must be outside a lot and you will be standing in lines.

So, dress for summer:
___ bring layers of clothing, including a light sweater for overly-cold air-conditioned spaces
___ bring sunscreen
___ have a backpack with just the basics inside, so it can be easily inspected at security points
___ definitely have a hat – the wider-brimmed the better
___ make sure you always have a water bottle for each person
___ carry a small umbrella – as afternoon and evening thunderstorms are often the way that the weather “breaks” and becomes more livable.

There is well organized transportation now, throughout the larger Metro area, which includes parts of Maryland and Virginia. The transport system took a long time to develop.

Having it now means you may consider choosing accommodations in a wider area than just downtown. You will need to target an area and see whether it’s right for you, but DC has a reputation, in certain parts of town, so be sure to know if your hotel is in a good area. As with all large cities, you need to use good judgment at all times and learn the local situation right away.

Physically, the most “national” part of Washington DC befits a great nation’s capital city. The expansive public spaces and buildings are beautiful and the white marble just glistens.

It’s worth partaking in the political part of Washington and usually the major newspapers (and sometimes TV stations) will let you know what the various agenda are for the Day.

By far, I think the Smithsonian Institution and its myriad museums is the best choice for time well-spent in the City, but if you can see a little of Colonial Virginia, that is also a great choice.

Start with a drive or tour to Mount Vernon (George Washington’s plantation home) and / or do an all day (overnight is better) trip to see Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, in the southern part of the state. Actually, it’s very easy to spend even 3 days in and around Williamsburg, as there’s SO much to see and so much history happened here!

More on that another time.

Washington DC Metro Trip Planner.

Washington, DC Article Archive

©2010 mystic at Travel Vacation Review

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