Washington D.C. Travel Guide



There’s nothing I crave more than the sense of wonder that comes from departing a flight into unfamiliar territory. Simply put, I love traveling.

When I travel, I try my best to explore through the lens of a local. Avoiding overcrowded, overpriced, touristy hot spots as much as possible, I venture off the beaten path to discover hidden gems which tell the genuine, candid story of my destination.

This past week, I went to Washington D.C. expecting to embark on an educational journey of historical people, places, and events. From walking four blocks in the pouring rain to walking in the literal footsteps of our nation’s founders, this was a trip I will never forget.

I stayed at the Hyatt Centric in Rosslyn, Virginia, which was centrally located near the Rosslyn Metro station, Target, Starbucks, and several local restaurants and shops.





  • City style: Classic (with marble and granite buildings lining every street, D.C.’s dapper style is nothing less than the best)
  • Common outfits: Business attire, athleisure (you’re either going to work or a tourist, not much in between)
  • Most seen brands: Kate Spade, Tory Burch
  • Popular bags: Totes (like this one because tiny cross-body purses are deemed impractical and insufficient to carry a day’s worth of stuff)
  • Shoes: Flats, especially Tieks, and sneakers (Walking several blocks in stilettos? I think not.)
  • One store to describe DC style: J. Crew (simple, clean, and classy)




  • Sneakers – you’re going to be doing a lot of walking so choose cute and comfortable kicks
  • Lightweight / comfortable clothing – being overheated isn’t fun so keep it light and simple
  • Water bottle – hydration, hydration, hydration
  • Hat – because nothing is worse than a sunburn on vacation
  • Portable charger – make sure you’re all charged up and ready to snap pics
  • Camera – I would definitely recommend a DSLR
  • Earbuds – a must-have on the Metro if you’re avoiding the “Hi, I’m a tourist” look
  • Band-Aids – no blisters, no problem








  • The White House – tickets are only available by advance arrangement through your member of Congress up to six months in advance of your tour
  • Holocaust Museum – entrance is free but reserved timed tickets are required from March to August (tickets available without reservations for firefighters, police officers, or military personnel who show a valid ID at the visitor desk)
  • The Capitol – open to the public but must schedule tour online to see rotunda and the original house and senate rooms
  • Library of Congress – accessible by tunnel from the capitol building
  • Arlington National Cemetery – changing of the guard ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier every half hour during the summer and every hour during the winter, you can either walk or take the tram through the cemetery
  • Museum of National History – features the Hope Diamond, a live coral reef, and human origins, gems, and mammals exhibits
  • Air and Space Museum – 22 exhibition galleries covering the history of aviation, spaceflight, astronomy, and planetary science, also has a planetarium and virtual reality simulators
  • The National Mall  large park located in downtown D.C. with great photo opportunities featuring the Washington Monument, Capitol, Lincoln Memorial, and Smithsonian Castle
  • The Newseum – this is one of the few museums in D.C. that isn’t free so make sure to buy tickets ahead of time
  • Washington Monument – can not enter monument due to renovations that are projected to be completed in early 2019
  • Martin Luther King JR Memorial – features Stone of Hope statue which embodies Martin Luther King JR’s quote “Out of the Mountain of Despair, a Stone of Hope”
  • Iwo Jima Memorial – memorial inspired by the iconic 1945 photograph of six Marines raising a U.S. flag on top of Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima in World War II.
  • Vietnam Veterans Memorial – consists of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, the Three Servicemen Memorial, and the Vietnam Women’s Memorial  
  • Korean War Memorial – features mural wall and 19 stainless steel statues representing a  platoon on patrol, drawn from each branch of the armed forces and dressed in full combat gear in the rugged terrain of Korea
  • Jefferson Memorial – located at the Tidal Basin of the Potomac River, features statue of Thomas Jefferson and excerpts of the Declaration of Independence
  • Lincoln Memorial – located at the western end of the National Mall, featured in the classic American movie, Forrest Gump

Click here for a list of all parks and memorials in D.C.




Definitely the metro. It’s cheap, easy to use, and stops almost everywhere you’ll need to go. If there isn’t a metro station right next to your day’s destination, it’s usually only a 10 minute walk to where you need to be.
Not at all! In fact, I simply downloaded the Washington DC Metro app on my phone, plugged in my location and where I wanted to go, and it told me exactly which lines to get on and even when to transfer! It definitely was a HUGE lifesaver and I would recommend it 100%
There are places to eat everywhere! But, if you don’t want a long wait and don’t mind exploring a little bit, there are some really awesome hole-in-the-wall places near Union Station and also in Rosslyn.
I took my Jansport backpack with me everywhere we went. Inside was my camera, lightweight rain jacket, bare necessity touch-up makeup kit, portable charger, baseball cap, and earbuds.




Food – $15 / This all depends on where you’re eating. A meal at typical restaurants costs around $15. Meals at fancier restaurants cost around $25. There are also food trucks and street vendors all over downtown D.C. that provide tons of options for on-the-go snacks.

Museums – Free / except the Newseum, International Spy Museum, and Ford’s Theatre

Hotels – It really depends on when and where you’re staying. During the busy summer months, hotels in downtown D.C. average upwards of $350 per night, whereas hotels not directly in D.C. (Arlington, Rosslyn, etc.) cost around $250 per night.

Transportation – The Metro is your best option for getting around D.C. since it’s inexpensive and takes you everywhere you’ll need to go. You can purchase a SmarTrip Metrorail Day Pass for $15 or add a specific amount to your card. Taxi’s are more expensive and often times tack on several surcharges such as a $2.50 surcharge for each trip originating at the Reagan National Airport taxi stand and a $2 surcharge per passenger over 2 passengers. Most taxi rides will cost $15+ while Metro rides are around $2.


I had so much fun in D.C. and I can’t wait to share my next adventure with you very soon! If you have any questions or comments, make sure to leave them and I’ll answer them as soon as I can.

1 Response
  • Rita
    July 5, 2017

    Great write up, Sophie! Lots of good information.

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