- Capitol Hill: The U.S. Capitol and flanking Senate and House office buildings dominate this residential neighborhood of tree-lined streets, 19th-century townhouses, and pubs and casual eateries. Across the street from the Capitol lie the U.S. Supreme Court and the Library of Congress; close by are the smaller but still engrossing Folger Shakespeare Library, the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument, and Eastern Market. Only a half-mile or so away are Union Station, doing triple duty as historical attraction, shopping mall, and transportation hub; and an off-the-Mall Smithsonian, the National Postal Museum. But the neighborhood itself is a pleasure. Explore.
- Dupont Circle: In a city of national this-and-that attractions, Dupont Circle provides a charmingly personal counterpoint. Within this lively residential neighborhood of old townhouses, trendy boutiques, and bistros are mostly historic houses (such as the Christian Heurich House), embassy buildings, and beloved art galleries (such as the Phillips Collection). Follow the walking tour of Dupont Circle and Embassy Row for a fuller picture of the neighborhood.
- Foggy Bottom: Take the White House walking tour if you like, then continue westward to mingle with George Washington University’s students on its urban campus and with international employees of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, both headquartered here. Old Foggy Bottom holds 19th-century town houses; historic sites, like the building at 2017 I St. NW, where James Monroe briefly lived; and old churches, like St. Mary’s Episcopal, at 728 23rd St. NW, designed by James Renwick. Foggy Bottom is home also to the George Washington Museum and the Textile Museum, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the State Department’s Diplomatic Reception Rooms.
- Georgetown: The truth is, you want to get lost in Georgetown, because it’s the neighborhood’s side streets that hold the history and centuries-old houses of this one-time Colonial tobacco port. And not to worry—Georgetown is so compact that you’re never very far from its main thoroughfares, M Street and Wisconsin Avenue. One of the oldest parts of the city has long been best known for its major shopping opportunities, but we think the better reason to come here is to experience its rich history. A walking tour will lead you to centuries-old estates and dwellings, including Tudor Place, the Old Stone House, Dumbarton House Museum and Gardens, and Dumbarton House.
- Midtown: The White House is midtown’s main attraction and offers reason enough to visit this part of town, even if you’re only able to admire it from the outside. Midtown is where you’ll find an off-the-Mall Smithsonian museum, the Renwick Gallery, and smaller and more specialized art collections and several historic houses. Pick and choose from the offerings below, or follow the walking tour of the neighborhood outlined in chapter 10.
- Old Town Alexandria: Just a short distance from the District (by Metro, car, boat, or bike) is George Washington’s Virginia hometown. On and off the beaten track are quaint cobblestone streets, charming boutiques and antiques stores, 18th-century houses and other historic attractions, and fine restaurants.
- Penn Quarter: Most of this bustling downtown neighborhood’s attractions congregate near the Capital One Arena, on or just off 7th Street, the main artery. The ones that aren’t there, like Ford’s Theatre and the National Museum of Women in the Arts, are just a short walk away. If you enjoy layering your touring experience with stops for delicious meals or snacks, this is your neighborhood.
- U & 14th Street Corridors: In these old stomping grounds of Duke Ellington and his fellow Black Broadway jazz greats, the main attractions are of the nightlife and dining variety—jazz clubs, like Twins Jazz, that carry Duke’s legacy forward, and many restaurants and bars that cater to a range of appetites and interests. The two museums located here reflect the neighborhood’s identity as a stronghold of African-American history and heroes. Note: These two museums are located about half a mile from each other.
- Upper Northwest D.C., Glover Park, Woodley Park & Cleveland Park: A handful of attractions, such as Hillwood Museum & Gardens, the National Zoo, and Washington National Cathedral, lie in these just-beyond-downtown enclaves.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.