Washington has beautiful buildings, charming residential districts, a large number of free museums, culture, entertainment and, of course, political power.
Washington’s “Mall”, a 2-mile car-free zone in the shape of a cross, is certainly worth a visit, because of its sights. At one end of the Mall, there is the Capitol, where the US Congress meets, and at the other end, there is the Jefferson Memorial. The White House, which is the home of the president and his family, is also nearby and should not be missed.
Other sights include the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, which provides a magnificent view of the city, and Ford Theater. Washington also has a number of interesting museums, including the National Air and Space Museum, which has more visitors than any other museum in the world, the National Museum of Natural History, which has the biggest blue diamond in the world, and the National Museum of American History.
EAT The Eastern Market is the city’s oldest outdoor market, and a good place to eat without worrying that you’re going to blow your entire holiday budget on one course. Market Lunch (225 7th St SE, www.easternmarket-dc.org) serves pancakes, soft-shell crabs, burgers and pulled-pork sandwiches along wooden tables. It’s a lot of fun.
- The Washington Monument (15th St NW, Washington, www.nps.gov/wamo) was erected to honour George Washington. Fun fact: it’s both the world’s tallest stone structure and the world’s tallest obelisk.
- The Library of Congress (101 Independence Ave SE, www.loc.gov) was Thomas Jefferson’s personal library, before they began stuffing it with artworks, historical documents, famous manuscripts, sculptures and dozens of other incredibly rare, incredibly beautiful things. Truth be told, the domed roof design and ornate marble work alone would make it worth a visit.
- At weekends they close Rock Creek Park (3545 Williamsburg Ln NW, www.nps.gov/rocr) to traffic, and this beautiful spot floats away from the city surrounding it. There are plenty of bike and running trails, and for those craving a little nature, it’s an ideal way to spend a morning.
- Washington Flyer Taxicabs take you from the airport to downtown for $68/€60, and the trip takes around 45 minutes.
- The Silver Line Express will shuttle you from Dulles to Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station for $5/€4.30. From the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station, you can connect to any destination in the Metrorail system. Buses leave every 15 to 20 minutes from 6am to 10.40pm, and the trip takes around 10 minutes.
ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization)
If you are a citizen of a country that is part of the Visa Waiver Programme, you are able to travel to the US without a visa provided you hold a valid ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization). Check your eligibility and apply for your ESTA here >>
In addition, you also need a valid e-Passport. You can identify an e-Passport by the 'chip' symbol on its front cover.
These rules also apply for travellers who are planning to transit in the USA or intend to stopover on the way to their destination.
Please note that if you transit through or stopover in Canada to travel to the US (or viceversa), you will need both an eTA and an ESTA.