Ultimate Washington DC Travel Guide (Travel Tips & Itineraries)

Seeing the Capitol is a must during any Washington DC weekend Itinerary

What to Know For Planning a Trip to Washington DC Travel Guide

Planning a trip to the United States Capitol? This Washington DC travel guide has you covered! From the best monuments to must-see museums, this guide has you covered on everything you need to know before visiting the Capitol.

Washington DC is located on the East Coast on the USA, and is considered the District of Columbia and a territory. Bordering states include Maryland and Virginia. Other nearby states include New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and North Carolina.

Disclaimer: This page contains affiliate links. I may earn a small commission at no cost to you. Disclosure.

Washington DC Travel Guide Tips

Here is some practical information and travel tips for traveling in Washington including popular cities, favorite eats, and more!

Washington DC Population:

The population in Washington, DC is around 701,974 people.

Credit Cards/ATM:

Credit cards are widely accepted in Washington DC. Some of the major banks are Etrade, Suntrust Bank, PNC Bank, and M&T Bank. Carrying some extra cash is fine for tips. Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted. Amex and Discover are also accepted at most establishments.

International travelers can also use the Revolut card. It offers 28 in-app currencies and acts like a debit card connected to your bank.

Also, make sure to have your physical card as not all establishments accept mobile wallets.

Airports Near Washington DC:

There are 3 major airports you can choose for getting to Washington DC. Reagan (DCA) and Dulles (IAD) are in Northern Virginia. Although slightly further, the Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) is another popular airport to consider. Find flights here. 

Cell Phone Reception in DC: 

If you are visiting DC from abroad, getting a sim card is not as easy as it is in other countries. Phone plans are quite expensive, but pre-paid plans are available. Use wifi when you can or what your current carrier can do for you.

Carriers in the USA include Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile, AT&T, and Sprint. T-Mobile tends to have pre-paid plans. Make sure your cellphone is unlocked to accept another sim card.

Getting Around Washington DC:

Transit in Washington DC can be difficult by car. Most tourists choose to experience DC by foot and use the Metro (subway) or Metrobus for further distances. You can find the Metro Schedules here.

Some hotels even offer bikes and scooters to explore around the city. If you do drive, parking your car can be quite expensive. Uber/Lyft car service is also widely available.

Popular Neighborhoods in Washington, DC:

Georgetown, Columbia Heights, Capitol Hill, Dupont Circle, and Adams Morgan.

Food and Restaurants to Try in DC:

Ted’s Bulletin, GCDC Grilled Cheese Bar, and Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab. DC is known for having a large variety of cuisine and great seafood – especially crab.

Washington, DC Safety:

Washington is ranked the seventh safest large city in the US making it a fairly safe city to visit!

Helpful Travel Apps:

Google Maps, Citymapper, Spothero (if you drove). Find more travel apps here!

View of the reflection pond and the National Arboretum Capitol Columns.

Weather in Washington, DC

Washington DC is semi-continental with cold winters and hot summers. Keep in mind it also rains a lot in DC! They even average more rain than Seatle. Every time I’ve visited, it rained, so consider your raincoat or travel umbrella.

The weather in spring (March – May) is pretty unpredictable. The days can begin with beautiful sunny weather and quickly switch to cold winter-like weather on the same day. Temperatures rarely fall below 38°F or exceed 89°F. I have personally experienced this!

During summer (June – August) in DC, you should come prepared for hot and humid days. The humidity is also high, but not as bad as in Florida. The humidity can make it feel hotter than it is, although it will still be in the high 80s, so sunscreen and water are a must! 

During fall (September – November) the weather in Washington is still warm but the humidity won’t be as bad. This makes it a really enjoyable time to visit. They are known for having lovely fall foilage in the USA! Temperatures range from 11°F to 57°F. Similarly to spring, the day can feel a little unpredictable.

Although winters (December – Feburary) in Washington are cold, they are not brutal like say, New York. In the winter the temperatures range from 23 F to 41 F. It does snow in DC, so make sure to check the weather beforehand and have a winter coat on your packing list.

Washington DC Travel Itineraries

Find detailed Washington DC itineraries and guides that include DC.

Where to Stay in DC

Washington DC offers tons of hotels to choose from. Some of our favorite areas to stay in DC include Georgetown, Dupont Circle, and the Woodley Park neighborhood. Some top hotels to choose from include:

Dupont Circle Hotel |  Omni Shoreham | Grand Hyatt Washington | JW Marriott Washington, DC