One of the wonderful things about visiting a city like Washington, D.C. is that it is home to people, not just tourist attractions. These people congregate in several different neighborhoods, many of which are just as charming and historical as the more touristy areas. In fact, being a city that is a couple hundred years old--and has been a center of government for much of it--Washington is loaded with important places.
Each neighborhood has its own style, sites, and importance, not to mention the various hotel and dining options found in each one. Here are the neighborhoods that we think are worth a visit:
The 2-mile strip of land that contains many of the most popular museums and monuments including the Air and Space Museum, the Washington Monument, and the Lincoln Memorial
One of the most famous streets in the world. The section we discuss contains government buildings, monument, and ends at the White House. You'll see the Navy Memorial, FBI Headquarters, and the U.S. Archives here.
The area around the U.S. Capitol is charmingly residential, but also contains some wonderful small museums, gardens, and monuments. Here is where you'll find the Supreme Court and Library of Congress in addition to the massive Capitol building.
Three small areas rolled into one. Judiciary Square is home to many courthouses, but also the National Building Museum. Chinatown has shrunk, but still retains some authentic Asian flair. Penn Quarter is a rebuilt, vibrant area with some great museums like the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the International Spy Museum.
A lovely historic residential area with some beautiful homes, stately parks, and a good dining and nightlife scene.
A culturally historic area home to many good dining options and the African American Civil War Museum.
This area contains the Phillips Collection art museum, several lovely parks, and dozens upon dozens of gorgeous homes, many of which are now foreign embassies. There are also lots of dining and nightlife choices.
Just north of the Mall, this is a mixed area of government, like the State Department, museums such as The Octagon, historical places (The Watergate Hotel), and student life at George Washington University.
Most famous for its namesake University, the high-end shopping, wonderful homes, well-kept parks, and famous past residents such as President John F. Kennedy fill this area out nicely.
A large area home to large things like the National Zoo, National Cathedral, and Rock Creek Park.
Just across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. is Arlington, where you can walk through the powerful Arlington National Cemetery or see The Pentagon.
Heading out into the areas which many Washington worker reside brings you to one of the best air travel-related museums in existence--the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center.
Home to some amazing sites like President Lincoln's cottage and the beautiful National Arboretum.
The smaller southern areas of D.C. are great for sports fans, with both the Washington Nationals Park and RFK Stadium--home to the D.C. United soccer team. The U.S. Museum of the Navy is also in this area along with a burgeoning dining and nightlife scene.
A glorious body of water surrounded by monuments and cherry blossoms, the Tidal Basin is where you'll find memorials to Thomas Jefferson, FDR, and Martin Luther King, Jr.