Washington, DC need to unquestionably be in your list of areas to stop by if you are organizing on traveling in the United States. I’d been there twice, and I’d happily go back! This post — portion of my Solo Travel City Guide series — was written by a fellow blogger, Kay Rodriguez, of Jetfarer.com.
Ah, Washington DC — the United States capital. Complete of middle college field trips, surly politicians, and ambitious young experts, it is a city that unquestionably has a lot going on…at all occasions.
Just hearing the city’s name almost certainly brings to thoughts photos of sparkling white buildings, the sweeping National Mall, and towering monuments. Mainly because of its usual stereotype, you almost certainly could have guessed that Washington DC is a amazing getaway for households.
Nonetheless, what you perhaps haven’t realized is that solo travel in Washington DC is also a fabulous expertise! A single of my favourite items about it is that it has a really young qualified vibe. It appears like so lots of individuals right here are ambitious and excited to do significant items in the globe.
This also suggests that the nearby neighborhoods (far, far away from the tourist regions in the National Mall) are truly complete of charm and power. In this guide, I’ll be sharing some of my favourite (nearby) items to do in Washington DC as a solo traveler.
Arriving in Washington DC
There are a quantity of techniques to arrive in DC, but the most preferred are by plane, train, or bus. It has 3 significant airports and one particular train/bus station, so I’ve integrated guidelines on how to get into the city from every single location right here.
From Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA)
Exit the airport and comply with indicators for the metro. Take the blue or yellow metro line into the city center. Exactly where you get off will rely on which neighborhood you are staying in, so verify the WMATA internet site or Google maps for the most correct guidelines.
From Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI)
Exit the airport and comply with indicators for the MARC shuttle bus. Board the shuttle bus and get off when you arrive at the MARC station. Acquire a one particular-way ticket at the kiosk and take the MARC train to Union Station (the final cease), exactly where you can catch the red metro line to most areas in the city.
From Dulles International Airport (IAD)
Obtaining from IAD to downtown DC can be difficult, but do not let that discourage you and force you into taking a SUPER costly taxi! Merely comply with indicators at the airport to the bus region (if you cannot come across it, ask at the Info desk), then board a bus to Wiehle-Reston East.
As soon as you disembark at Wiehle-Reston East, you can board the Silver metro line that will take you straight into downtown DC.
Going to Washington DC by Train/Bus
Union Station, DC’s significant bus and train station, is exactly where Amtrak, Greyhound, and Megabus arrive from numerous cities about the East Coast. When you arrive at Union Station, comply with indicators for the DC metro and take the red line to your final location.
Exactly where to Keep in Washington DC
You have a lot of alternatives when it comes to hotels in Washington, DC. What tends to make the distinction in your remain is selecting which region to be primarily based in. Right here are some recommendations.
Select Chinatown when in DC
A single of the finest and most central regions for travelers (specifically solo travelers) is Chinatown. It is far sufficient from the principal stretches of downtown to really feel nearby, but close sufficient to stroll to the principal attractions.
Right here, you can come across amazing eats, nearby reside music venues, and a buzzing neighborhood that generally appears to be filled with life. Inside Chinatown, I suggest the POD Hotel DC, a spending budget-friendly hotel with standard amenities, but at a really affordable cost point.
If you are hunting for a communal hostel vibe, the HI DC Hostel close to Chinatown is one particular of the most broadly identified hostels in the city.
Keep at West Finish/Georgetown
A single of the most charming and colorful regions of the city is Georgetown, dwelling to its namesake university and a bustling waterfront. Right here, the streets are lined with boutique shops, nearby bakeries and cafes, and some of the city’s finest restaurants and bars.
In addition, the views of nearby Rosslyn, Virginia across the river are completely beautiful! A cute and cozy location to remain in Georgetown is The Georgetown Inn. It is positioned in a really central portion of the neighborhood that is close to the Circulator bus cease, which you can take for just $1 to the city center and principal attractions.
Uncover accommodation in Dupont Circle/Adams Morgan
If you are hunting for a young, hip vibe, there’s no improved location to go than Dupont Circle/Adams Morgan. These neighboring regions are some of the most preferred areas for the city’s young experts to reside.
With the influx of young individuals came a bunch of new and intriguing cafes, bookshops, and bars as nicely. Right here, you can come across underground art galleries (we’ll get to that later) and colorful farmer’s markets adorning the streets.
In the Dupont Circle/Adams Morgan regions, my favourite hotel of all time is The LINE Hotel. Situated across the principal street in Adams Morgan in a stunning, significant creating, The LINE is a favourite nearby hangout spot as nicely as a hotel for guests.
Of all the hotels in DC, I’d suggest staying at this one particular for solo travelers simply because there are generally intriguing individuals to meet in the lobby and bar region.
For these on a bit extra of a spending budget, the HighRoad Hostel and Suites is also a nicely-loved selection. Situated in a central region of Adams Morgan, the hostel is best for solo spending budget travelers hunting to meet other individuals.
Factors to Do in Washington DC
For certain, there’s A LOT of items to do in DC. It is such a significant and intriguing city that vacationers do not get to do something other than scratch its surface when they remain a week. Right here are some of the should-dos when you are in the US capital.
Hit the Museums and Monuments
Yes, this is completely the most apparent issue to do in DC, but I definitely do not feel the museums and monuments are anything 1st timers need to miss.
There are quite a few absolutely free and low-expense museums all about Washington DC, and all of the monuments are out in the open for travelers to discover. A single of my absolute favourite museums to stop by on my personal is the Newseum – it is chock complete of fascinating exhibits about reporting and present events in the United States and about the globe.
The museums are normally only open throughout company hours, so if you are hoping to prevent the significant field trips and tour bus crowds, head more than on weekdays in the morning when they 1st open.
Due to the fact the monuments are open most hours of the day, the finest occasions to stop by to prevent the crowds are early in the morning (I’m speaking, like, sunrise), or late in the evening, when the monuments are all lit up in the evening.
Aleah: I visited DC twice, and on each occasions, I visited the identical 3 museums: the National Museum of Organic History, the National Air and Space Museum, and National Gallery of Art. I could go back to these 3 once more and once more!
Fortunately, on my second stop by final year (2018), I did handle to take in one particular extra: the Library of Congress. It has spectacular interiors, and like the museums in DC, you can go in for absolutely free, as well.
Tip: If you want to go in the very-rated and substantially in-demand National Museum of African American History and Culture, verify out their internet site on how to get a pass. They accept a restricted quantity of guests per day. I was in no way fortunate sufficient to get one particular.
Sample International Meals
A single of the Ideal items about Washington DC is the presence of lots of international groups. Aside from the embassies, which frequently host public events and talks for curious individuals, there are also hundreds of international restaurants all about the city.
From Eritrean meals to Peruvian, Oaxacan eats to Szechuan spice, you can come across actually any type of meals you are craving if you appear really hard sufficient.
My favourite restaurant in the city for sampling international cuisines is Compass Rose. Situated on 14th Street, an upbeat young neighborhood close to Logan Circle, Compass Rose has a menu that spans the corners of the Earth.
Founded by a lady whose husband traveled and lived abroad extensively for function, she collected her favourite recipes from all more than the globe and founded Compass Rose to share them with the DC neighborhood. Right here, you can attempt foods ranging from Georgia (the nation) to South Korea, Portugal to Peru, and extra.
A further, extra low-crucial location to sample scrumptious international foods is at Union Marketplace. This indoor marketplace warehouse, positioned in the up-and-coming neighborhood of NoMa, is complete of stalls with numerous kinds of international eats. Korean, southern-style American meals, Burmese desserts, and extra await you right here.
Go for an Outside Wander
DC prides itself on possessing lots of stunning green spaces, and if you appear really hard sufficient, you can conveniently come across them! Head to Meridian Hill Park on a weekend in the spring, summer time, or fall for reside music, picnickers, yoga, volleyball, and perhaps even a communal drum circle.
You in no way know what you are going to see or expertise when you stop by. Alternatively, head to Rock Creek Park or Wonderful Falls for a extra remote, tranquil expertise.
At each parks, there are quite a few trails and paths you can love, surrounded by lush forests close to the Potomac River. Inside Wonderful Falls, you can hike to the waterfall viewpoint or do a handful of rock scrambles…whatever suits your fancy.
Check out a Speakeasy
Inside DC’s city limits, you can come across lots of bars, but some of the most one of a kind ones you can stop by are actual speakeasies. Situated in hidden corners of buildings in very populated regions, these speakeasies are a definitely entertaining way to go out for a drink or a snack…if you can come across them.
My favourite speakeasy in the city is The Gibson. I’d say extra about its whereabouts but I do not want to ruin the surprise for you! Inside the Gibson, you will come across prohibition-themed decor in a dark but type of romantic region.
As a solo traveler, do not be deterred by the romance of it all — it is a best location to go solo, get cozy, and sip on a cocktail with a book in hand, or to individuals watch as individuals enter the speakeasy in surprise and delight.
Tour Offbeat Art Galleries
Of course, I’ve saved my absolute favourite for final: exploring DC’s somewhat “underground” art scene. Whilst Washington DC is not identified especially for its artists and galleries, there’s truly a really lively inventive scene inside the city.
Dozens of nearby artists function collectively to bring street art, interactive art exhibits, and extra to the city’s neighborhoods. To expertise DC’s art scene your self, my favourite areas to view art in DC are Blind Whino and Dupont Underground.
Blind Whino is an art collective (workshop, occasion space + gallery) positioned in Southwest DC. Tucked inside a formerly abandoned church, the exterior is now painted all sorts of psychedelic colors. But even cooler is the inside of the creating, which has open exhibits featuring nearby art exhibits and events. It is a definitely cool location to invest a weekend afternoon viewing some definitely one of a kind artwork.
Dupont Underground has a equivalent offbeat vibe, but is positioned in Dupont Circle in an old, subterranean streetcar facility. Now, they host common art exhibitions and concerts that you can attend for a tiny charge. Coming right here reminds me about how cool it is to repurpose unused space and turn it into anything stunning for the neighborhood.
Solo Travel Recommendations in Washington DC
Solo travel in Washington DC is protected and simple. Here’s how you can make your time there extra enjoyable.
Go Exactly where the Locals Go
If you are traveling solo, probabilities are you will not want to be surrounded by vacationers and significant groups 100% of the time. For solo travelers, I very suggest spending significantly less time in the principal regions (museums, monuments, and so forth.) and extra time exploring the neighborhoods, which have a substantially extra relaxed and nearby vibe.
Inside nearby DC haunts, you will have a substantially less difficult time meeting locals and finding a sense for the general culture of the city. Plus, they’re typically significantly less costly for dining and buying than in the extra touristy areas!
Take Public Transportation
Solo travel charges can add up if you are not splitting with somebody else. Taxis (and ride shares) in DC can get started to add up definitely immediately, and aside from walking public transportation definitely is the finest way to get about.
Fares normally variety from $1 to $three.70 based on the time of day, process of transportation, and your location. You can basically place your location into Google Maps and it will inform you precisely the finest buses and metros to use to get there.
Choose up a SmarTrip card ($two one particular time charge) at any metro station and load it up with a handful of dollars, and you will be great to go!
There are SO lots of areas in Washington DC that provide shared spaces for consuming, coffee drinking, and cocktail sipping. Do not be shy — use them!
Communal spaces like lengthy tables in restaurants and markets are MEANT to foster social interactions and new friendships. Some of the finest areas to do this are at Union Marketplace and The LINE Hotel (each talked about above), as nicely as the Eaton Hotel.
With its hidden bars, underground art, and energetic neighborhoods, DC is the best location to discover for a day or a week. Hopefully this guide has shown you that there’s a lot to see and do in Washington DC as a solo traveler, and even extra to learn as soon as you take the time to discover this stunning city.
Kay Rodriguez is the blogger behind Jetfarer and USA Weekend Guide. You can come across her on Instagram and Facebook, as well. When she’s not traveling or writing about it, you can come across her operating at the park or looking for the finest chai latte in just about every city she visits.