Distinguished destinations such as New York, Boston, or Los Angeles will always rank highly on any traveler’s bucket list when it comes to the United States.

But to see deep into the heart and soul of the country, there’s really only one destination you should head to, and that’s Washington, DC.

This clean and compact capital city has a lot to offer, and hype around it is at an all-time high right now.

Both Ronald Regan National and Dulles International Airports recently reported a record-breaking 50.6 million passengers in 2023 – almost 2 million more than the previous record that was set in 2019.

Just what is it about this truly iconic city that makes travelers tick?

Unrivalled History And Culture

us capitol building at sunset with reflection in the foreground

It should be no surprise that the nation’s capital is ranked as one of the top 5 destinations for a cultural experience when you consider some of the iconic attractions it is home to, like the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, and Capitol Building.

Unique And Boutique

waldorf astoria hotel in washington dc

Washington has a host of wonderful hotels that can make your stay feel a little special.

One of our favorites here at Travel Off Path is the Waldorf Astoria, which used to be one of the city’s post offices before being converted into a luxury five-star hotel.

We rated it as the third-best hotel in the U.S. in our most recent Travel Off Path Awards.

Catch Cherry Blossoms If You’re Quick

the jefferson memorial in washington dc with cherry blossom tress around

“When the cherry blossoms are blooming, there isn’t a more special place to be than Washington, DC,” – that’s according to president and CEO of Destination DC, Elliott L. Ferguson, II, at least.

If you’ve ever had the pleasure, then it’s hard to disagree with this statement.

Peak bloom normally occurs towards the end of March and into the start of April, so there’s still time to go and check out this explosion of pink prettiness if you hurry.

There are also a ton of events taking place to celebrate the blossom and the arrival of spring, including the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade on April 13 and the Sakuri Matsuri Japanese Street Festival on April 13-14.

New Flights To Washington This Year

view of the concourse at washington dulles airport

As reported by the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority, Washington Dulles Airport will be adding several new flights to its program in 2024 that will make it even easier to get to for many Americans.

New flight route destinations for Washington include Hyannis, Massachusetts; Punta Gorda, Florida; Williamsport, Pennsylvania; Phoenix, Arizona; Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Anchorage, Alaska.

Dulles also has a huge range of international flights available, making Washington a great place to go and visit for a few days before heading off to some far-flung corner of the world like Sao Paolo, Cape Town, London, or Tokyo.

If you’re flying into Ronald Regan National Airport, then take solace in the fact it’s one of the U.S. airports with the least amount of delays.

Flourishing Foodie Destination

famous half smoke restaurant in washington dc bens chili bowl

Washington is not a city that regularly comes up in lists of top foodie destinations in the United States, however, the scene here is evolving all the time and is now considered by many to be an underrated gem when it comes to food.

You can enjoy the best flavors from the United States, Mexico, Italy, France, Japan, China, and more at DC’s wide range of restaurants and eateries.

Washington’s most iconic dish is perhaps the half-smoke, which is a pork and beef sausage with onions, mustard, and chili to add a little spice – the best place to seek one out is Ben’s Chili Bowl.

You Can Visit On A Budget

national monument and national mall in washington dc

While unlikely to win any prizes for being the most affordable destination out there, Washington DC can still be visited and enjoyed by those on a budget if you’re smart.

Many of the monuments and memorials that make the city what it is are free to visit, as is walking through the National Mall.

Outside that, you can visit Smithsonian Museums, which are free to enter, and the Library of Congress.

A great way to make sure you don’t miss any essentials in Washington is to sign up for a free walking tour with a friendly local guide.

If you want a bit more adventure and a fun way to get around downtown, there are plenty of electric scooters dotted around that you can rent with your phone with companies like Lime.

More Than Just The Obvious

colorful buildings of adams morgan neighborhood in washington dc

Once you have ticked off the main attractions, consider exploring some of Washington’s lesser-known neighborhoods and districts for a more authentic experience of the city.

Highlights include Adams Morgan for nightlife and bars, U Street Corridor for black heritage and jazz clubs, and Chinatown for some of the best food the city has to offer.

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