Washington D.C. – The capital of our great nation. It’s a city steeped in history with an almost endless number of places to explore. Let’s journey together while I highlight this great family destination.

A few years ago my family spent several days in Washington D.C. during the Christmas holiday season. There was so much to do we couldn’t fit it in all. 😃

Hotels

We stayed at The Willard InterContinental Hotel. This hotel is perfectly located to explore the city as almost everything is within walking distance. We were just a short 5 minute walk from the White House. This hotel has a storied history dating back to it’s beginning in 1818. To stay in a 200 year old hotel was simply magical. Abraham Lincoln stayed here. The Battle Him of the Republic was written here. Martin Luther King Jr. made the final edits to his “I Have a Dream” speech here just hours before delivering it. The Dalai Lama has been here.

While we were there the hotel was decorated with a giant Christmas tree in the lobby. There were carolers each evening as well as bar service. Their signature drink is the mint julep. It was the perfect place to end our exploring each day.

There are a few other hotels that I would recommend as well. The Hay-Adams is also a hotel with a long history. The hotel is named for its residents, John Hay and Henry Adams. John Hay was the personal secretary of President Abraham Lincoln as well Secretary of State under two other presidents. Henry Adams was a historian and professor at Harvard. He was a descendent of Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams.This hotel is also within a short walking distance of the White House.

There are also several Hyatt Hotels that I would recommend – The Grand Hyatt, Hyatt House, and Hyatt Place. These are all excellent hotels and if you’re wanting to use hotel points, Hyatt is a great hotel chain.

Activities

There are more activities and experiences available to you in Washington D.C. than I could possibly talk about here. So, I’ll simply highlight a few of my favorite.

First and foremost, you must visit the White House. It’s important to know that you must schedule your White House tour through your Congressman’s office in advance. As we were there during Christmas, the White House was resplendent. Here is just one of the many trees.

The Red Room

One of my favorite photos from our trip was taken as we were leaving the White House. A picture of my boys with a member of the security services in the background.

The next activity and I would say our favorite was the evening monument and memorial tour. We took our tour with the Bi-partisan Tour Company. It was a small group tour of 14 people. The tour company picked us up and dropped us off at our hotel. You visit most of the major monuments and memorials including the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, the Lincoln Memorial, World War II Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, Washington Monument and several others. Our guide was very knowledgeable and shared several stories throughout the tour. This really is a must do.

Lastly for activities, I’ll say you can’t go to Washington D.C. without checking out at least a few of the Smithsonian museums. Our favorites were the National Air and Space Museum, the National Museum of American History, and the National Museum of Natural History. Best of all I got to see Julia Child’s kitchen.

Places to Eat

There are countless wonderful places to eat in Washington D.C. Because of this, I’m going to share only three great restaurants.

Breakfast – Ted’s Bulletin

The tag line for this restaurant is…Your go-to place to savor the Every Day. The food here is simple and unpretentious but oh, so delicious! It’s the perfect way to fuel your body before a day of exploring.

Lunch – Capital Burger

Scrumptious burgers and spiked milkshakes. Need I say more?

Dinner – Old Ebbitt Grill

This is the oldest saloon in Washington, founded in 1856. It is now a full service restaurant known for serving presidents and other members of the government. You will need reservations if you would like to eat here.

The entrance of Old Ebbitt Grill

Do you have a vacation bucket list? If exploring the history of our great nation is appealing to you, Washington D.C. needs to be on your list.

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