Politics may be a dirty business, but Washington, D.C., still shines as an inspiring place. Visiting this buzzing metropolis, awash with buildings representative of our democracy, marble monuments and more than a dozen Smithsonian museums (all free) will make you feel smarter.
Gain a different perspective sightseeing by moonlight on a tour of the National Mall. The National Air and Space Museum ranks as the most popular Smithsonian, but the new National Museum of African-American History and Culture is drawing crowds, too.
Guests at the Willard InterContinental feel like Washington insiders. The hotel sits next to the White House and its lobby is where the term lobbyist gained popularity. Absorb the charm of a bygone era at the legendary Round Robin Bar, a social hub since Lincoln’s administration. A stay at the Kimpton Mason & Rook Hotel will make you feel like you’re crashing at a hip friend’s apartment. The Logan Circle hotel has a trendy rooftop pool and bar, handsome guest room and suites and a daily hosted wine hour where you can sip and nibble to your heart’s content.
Make a beeline for Ben’s Chili Bowl and order the legendary half-smoke topped with chili and onions. Food halls, including the venerable Union Market, offer another easy option. For flavorful ethnic eats, sample Spanish tapas at Estadio, Indian delights at Rasika and inspired Peruvian-Asian fusion dishes at China Chilcano (think colorful ceviches, dim sum and cocktails crafted from an extensive pisco collection).
Check out more buzzworthy destinations at AAA.com/CityScape.