When you think of Washington DC, you probably picture the Capitol Building and White House. Branch out from the classic sightseeing itinerary, though, and you’ll discover scenic parks, hipster food scenes, lively nightlife, and the vibrant cultures of the nation’s capital. Here are our picks of DC’s most interesting districts.
Quintessential Washington DC, Capitol Hill is the first district on many visitors’ lists. The most efficient and informative way to see the political hub is on a sightseeing tour that includes entry to highlights such as the US Capitol Building, Supreme Court, and Library of Congress. Alternatively, explore Capitol Hill and the surrounding monuments and National Mall on a hop-on hop-off trolley that provides transportation but lets you set your own pace.
Located on the Potomac River waterfront and lined with 18th-century mansions, Georgetown easily takes the prize for historic charm. Perhaps surprisingly, the neighborhood also holds its own when it comes to hip dining opportunities. Foodies can visit an assortment of sustainable, locally owned eateries on a walking tour that takes the guesswork out of finding the local favorites.
Revolving around its namesake plaza, Dupont Circle is a cosmopolitan melting pot buzzing with stylish locals and in-the-know tourists. Take a picnic to the central fountain and spend the afternoon people watching—or check out the area’s many pubs, international eateries, and historic establishments.
Continue north to find Dupont Circle’s gritty, bohemian neighbor. With rowdy bars and restaurants, and a continual stream of college students and hipster locals lining the 18th Street corridor, Adams Morgan is known for its happening nightlife and laid-back food scene. Enjoy affordable drink specials, late-night pizza-by-the-slice, and eclectic bars with live music and DJ dance parties.
Penn Quarter and Chinatown
To experience bustling downtown DC, head north of Pennsylvania Avenue. History buffs shouldn’t miss Ford’s Theatre, the site of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. And if you’re a culture fan, seek out the area’s independent theaters and Chinatown’s authentic shops and dining opportunities. A pedicab tour can be a fun way to get around the busy streets.