The sun is shining, birds are chirping and tour buses are starting to roll into D.C. The spring warmth means that hundreds of thousands of visitors are headed to the nation’s capital to see the area’s many attractions.
There are the usual suspects on tourists’ agendas — The White House, the Washington Monument and D.C.’s many restaurants — but where should you go if you really want to see the best of the city?
We polled Washington Post’s staffers for their advice on what tourists should do and not do in the District. Start taking notes: this is what you’ll want to experience in D.C.
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Have a tip you’d like to add? Share it in the comments or tweet at us with the hashtag #tipsfortourists.
“Check out the new exhibit at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and be sure to go inside. The Hirshorn is one of my favorite places to visit on the planet.”
- Emi Kolawole, editor, Ideas@Innovations & On Giving
“Carillon Tower is a big bell tower with great views of the Lincoln Memorial and Capitol dome. It has a nice park area and is a great place to hang out and take pictures.”
- Jon DeNunzio, reader engagement editor
“It’s a city so be careful at night. It’s pretty at night but crime does happen in the area.”
- Krissah Thompson, politics reporter
“Gravelly Point near Reagan Airport is one of the coolest places to hang out in D.C. The planes fly overhead and are so close you feel like you can touch them. Plus it’s a beautiful park with benches and clear views of the D.C. skyline.”
- Mark Luckie, social media editor
“Stay at a hotel in Virginia or Maryland. It’s usually half the price and you can take the bus over and save a bunch of money.”
Alma Gill, newsroom administrator
“Walk around till you’re exhausted. Get a sandwich. Go to Meridian Hill Park. Stretch out on the grass.”
- Katie Rogers, blogger
“Near the Northwest side of the Capitol is a well and sitting area that’s great for picnics.”
T.J. Ortenzi, social media editor
“Never move in a direction in which you are not looking. You’ll inevitably run into people.”
- Emily Heil, staff writer, In the Loop
“If you’re here for more than a couple days, learn the value of a SmarTrip card or Metro day/pass. For $5, you get to breeze through faregates and buses alike and to boot, it’s a far more fun and less flimsy souvenir than a regular paper farecard. Function and fun.”
- Clinton Yates, local news editor, The Washington Post Express
“Traveling can force us to alter our daily schedules, especially when it comes to food. If you’re feeling off kilter when you hit D.C., the Hamilton is the perfect antidote. Whether you’re coming in on a red-eye or need to kill a few hours before an early morning departure, the sprawling complex bustles with life 24/7, serving everything from steaks and porchetta sandwiches to sushi. The cocktails are consistently impressive, and if you time it right, you might be able to catch a live show. That’s right, there’s a live music venue inside the Hamilton that attracts national acts like Mavis Staples and Van Hunt.”
- Alex Baldinger, Going Out Guide
“Tourists who may not know the city well still need to be aware of their immediate surroundings to ensure their safety. Thieves and robbers have targeted expensive smart phones, tablets and similar technology. So my advice is to not wear your headphones and when talking or texting while touring be aware of who is around.”
- Clarence Williams, night cops reporter
“Stand to the right on the Metro escalators. Please.”
- Everyone in the newsroom