TRAVEL TIPS

General Travel Tips

  • Washington, D.C. is home to three airports (Washington Reagan National, Washington Dulles, and Baltimore-Washington). Washington Reagan National is the closest airport to downtown and is connected to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (METRO).

  • If you are staying at the Hotel Monaco (or another hotel in the Penn Quarter neighborhood), you can travel on the Yellow Line from the airport to the hotel and exit at Gallery Place-Chinatown. However, you will need to purchase a SmarTrip card from a fare vending machine to enter and exit the METRO system. METRO is the most efficient way to travel in D.C. UBER and taxis are always available throughout the city too.

  • If you are looking for a cheaper alternative to the Hotel Monaco, we would recommend the Courtyard Marriott Convention Center (900 F St. NW) or the Embassy Suites Convention Center (900 10th St NW).

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Top Holiday Attractions

DOWNTOWN HOLIDAY MARKET

The Downtown Holiday Market (Centered at 8th and F Streets NW) boasts more than 150 regional artisans selling art, crafts, jewelry, pottery, clothing, and specialty food items. There’s also seasonal entertainment and snacks while you shop. Check back regularly, since the exhibitors and the selection of goods rotates.

NATIONAL CHRISTMAS TREE

The lighting of the National Tree at the White House Ellipse takes place by December 1 each year and is open daily to the public from 4:30 to 10:00 p.m. During your visit, be sure to admire the creative ornaments adorning the surrounding trees representing each state and territory.

NORWAY CHRISTMAS TREE

Washington, D.C.'s Union station and upscale shopping mall features entertainment throughout the season to appeal to all ages. The Norway Christmas tree is a gift to the people of Washington and a symbol of the friendship between the United States and Norway. The tree symbolizes Norway’s gratitude for help received during and after World War I. Be sure to check out the Colossal Wreaths while you are too which hang from the station entrance off of Columbus Circle.

DOWNTOWN HOLIDAY MARKET

The Downtown Holiday Market (Centered at 8th and F Streets NW) boasts more than 150 regional artisans selling art, crafts, jewelry, pottery, clothing, and specialty food items. There’s also seasonal entertainment and snacks while you shop. Check back regularly, since the exhibitors and the selection of goods rotates.

ZOOLIGHTS

Indulge your wild side with an after-hours visit to the National Zoo during ZooLights, which illuminates the zoo with more than 500,000 environmentally-friendly LEDs, animated light installations, live music and more. Bid good cheer to various animals on display.

U.S. CAPITOL CHRISTMAS TREE

The tree is aglow each year in early December. You can visit the tree on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. Follow the tree’s Facebook and Twitter for the latest news and updates.

U.S. BOTANICAL GARDEN

The U.S. Botanical Garden gets decked out for the holidays thanks to this annual exhibit featuring a model train exhibit running through 45 plant-based models of iconic roadside attractions like South Dakota's Corn Palace, New Jersey's Lucy the Elephant and many more. Inside the Conservatory you'll also find the garden's collection of DC's iconic landmarks, including a new model of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture and a showcase of poinsettias. The gardens will stay open until 8 p.m. with holiday concerts most Tuesday and Thursday evenings.

CANDLELIT TOUR AT MT.VERNON

Your George Washington-inspired Christmas awaits at the Founding Father’s Mount Vernon estate. Walk through Washington’s iconic mansion and visit Aladdin the camel, a nod to Washington’s 1787 Christmas in which he paid 18 shillings to entertain guests with a camel. For a truly unique experience, see Mount Vernon by candlelight which includes 18th-century dancing and fireside caroling.

HOT CHOCOLATE AT THE GEORGETOWN RITZ CARLTON

Stop by the Living Room of the Georgetown Ritz Carlton for a free cup of hot chocolate with homemade marshmallows from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.  Happy hour includes $5 select beers, $7 red and white wines, and $10 of-the-day specialty cocktails.

SWEDISH CHRISTMAS BAZAAR

Held at the House of Sweden, this annual DC tradition held on Saturday, December 1st from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. features a Swedish marketplace with for-sale crystal glassware, artworks, food, plus more. Snack in the Swedish cafe, try to win prizes and stick around for the main event: the St. Lucia procession with traditional caroling.

MIRACLE ON SEVENTH STREET

It's no secret that Derek Brown knows DC's cocktail scene like the back of his hand. The famed mixologist's pop-up bar concept on 7th Street in Shaw will be decking the halls for year three with funky holiday decorations. Cool down at this cocktail winter wonderland in one of DC's hottest neighborhoods.

 

Historic Sites

To tour the historical areas of the Capitol, you must participate in a guided tour and advance reservations are strongly recommended. Please click here for more information. You can also schedule a tour directly through the offices of your Representative or Senator. These staff-led tours tend to be more intimate and provide you a unique way to see the Congressional Office Buildings. Your Representative or Senator can also assist you with arranging tours of the FBI, Library of Congress, and the White House. However, requests for these attractions must be submitted at least 3 months in advance!

 

In addition to the Capital, we would highly recommend you visit the following memorials: Lincoln, Jefferson,  FDR World War II, and Korean War. These memorials will be especially memorable at night because they offer a unique perspective.

BEST MUSEUMS
  • National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Ice Rink

  • National Museum of Natural History

  • National Museum of American History

  • The Holocaust Museum

  • National Air & Space Museum

  • Newseum

 

Favorite Restaurants

ZAYTINYA

701 9th St NW

Washington, DC 20001

Mediterranean

LE DIPLOMATE

1601 14th St NW

Washington, DC 20001

French Bistro

RASIKA

633 D St NW

Washington, DC 20004

Indian

TOKI UNDERGROUND

1234 H St NE

Washington, DC 20002

Asian

MINTWOOD PLACE

1813 Columbia Rd NW

Washington, DC 20009

American

BARCELONA

1622 14th St NW

Washington, DC 20009

Spanish Tapas

MATCHBOX

713 H St NW,

Washington, DC 20001

Pizza