a citizen’s guide to Washington D.C.

say hello to DC

Home to over 175 embassies,  Washington DC is a melting pot of powerhouse politics and petal-strewn parks. A place where grand neoclassical monuments rub shoulders with modern monoliths, and the past is as palpable as the future. Whether you're a politics buff, a culture vulture or a culinary explorer, DC is your all-access pass to an American experience, unfurling in all its diverse, electrifying glory. Step into the heart of the nation, where every corner turned is another story told.

where is Washington DC

You'll find Washington DC in the heart of the US East Coast, with Maryland to the north and Virginia to the south. Cuddled by the curving arc of the shimmering Potomac River, DC serves as a geographical nexus, an urban confluence of power and elegance (aren’t we fancy). Though it’s slightly more than a simple stone's throw away from the buzzing hubs of Baltimore and Philadelphia, DC has an irresistible charm all its own. 

talk DC to me

Want to be part of the in-crowd? Forget the formality of 'Washington DC'. Locals have carved it down to a sleek, smooth 'DC' – a name synonymous with the rhythm of jazz, the elegance of a skyline and the pulse of the street. So whether you're lobbying for more vacation days or just marveling at the cherry blossoms, remember, it's 'DC' to you now!

best time to visit DC

The best time to visit Washington is between April and June, then late September and October, with sweet spot temperatures from 23 to 28°C – perfect for a sunny city trip.  

Can’t make those dates? No problem. Washington DC is always buzzing, no matter the month (or the weather). 

Into cherry blossoms? Visit DC between March and April, when these beauties are in full bloom and the city turns into a rose-hued rainbow.

Love your own personal space? Come to DC in January and February. You’ll avoid the crowds and have plenty of space to geek around the museums and political sites. Bring your cashmere sweater – it gets a little cold.

Don’t mind the sizzling heat? July and August is your time to shine. Think paddle surfing, Aqua Gardens and fireworks on the 4th of July. Temperatures rise to a hot and humid 31°C, but don’t worry, citizens, there are plenty of places to cool off.

getting around in DC

DC may be the nerve center of the nation, but getting around is easy as pie.

Kickstart your journey with the ever-reliable Metro system that weaves through the city. A word to the wise: it's best to sidestep the bustling rush hours, unless you're eager to get up close and personal with locals on their daily commute.

Fancy a bit of fresh air? Hop onto one of the DC Bike Shares. Trust us, there's nothing quite like feeling the breeze in your hair as you pedal past the city’s iconic landmarks.

And let's not forget the city's hidden transport star: the DC Circulator Bus. It'll give you an authentic glimpse of DC life from the comfort of your seat. It's a bit like having a local buddy showing you the ropes, just without the small talk.

Remember, no matter your mode of transport, every path in DC promises an adventure. And when you're ready to kick back and relax, citizenM Washington DC Capitol is just around the corner with a plush pillow and a cheeky nightcap!

things to do in Washington

DC isn't just for politicians in suits – it's for art buffs, history nerds and folks who just want a taste of something cool. So, here’s the real deal on getting your culture fix in DC: where to go and what to see or do while you’re there.

National Mall: iconic monuments

Alright, first things first: no shopping here! Just a front-row seat to America's front yard. Snap some pics and bask in the epicness of the iconic National Mall.

Smithsonian Museums: binge-watch history

Think of it like Netflix for museums. Dive into a binge-worthy lineup of art, history and space. And guess what? It’s on the house – literally, entrance is $0!

Georgetown: streets that tell stories

Cobblestones and cupcakes? That's Georgetown. Chic boutiques, charming streets and a slice of DC history with every step.

Embassy Row: a passport-free global tour

A trip down this avenue is as close as you can get to globetrotting without the long-haul flight. Get ready for mini flags and grand mansions galore!

Eastern Market: more than just groceries

A local bazaar-meets-art gallery, Eastern Market is a feast for the eyes, ears and taste buds too!

The Kennedy Center: put on those dancing shoes

Date night or solo adventure? No matter. Find a show for every mood, from ballet to head-banging concerts.

U Street: jazz up your evening

Dive into DC’s fabulous, musical heart. Don’t blame us if you don’t want to go home.

Union Market: a foodie paradise

For the food-loving traveler, this place is like Disneyland. Grab a bite from anywhere in the world, under one cool roof.

Arlington Cemetery: a moment of reflection

Slightly heavy but totally worth the visit. Witness solemn traditions – and a whole lot of feels.

Library of Congress: a book lover’s dream

It's huge, it’s magnificent and it might just turn you into a book lover (if you aren’t one already!)

There you have it! Lace up your comfiest kicks, sip that iced latte and immerse yourself in the wonder of DC – it’s going to be marvellous.

summer fun in DC

Can you handle the heat, citizen? We’re about to deep dive into the capital's summer scene. Whether you're splashin', snackin' or just sunbathing, these DC hotspots (literally) have you covered.

Paddle on the Potomac: not your usual commute

Swap the metro for a kayak and glide down the serene Potomac River. Wave at the monuments (and maybe a duck or two)!

The Wharf: seafood, sips and splash

Snag a waterfront spot, munch on fresh crab, sip cold brew, and take in the vibes. Want even more water fun? Try paddleboarding!

Yards Park friday night concerts: groove by the river

It’s the place to toe-tap, head-bop and maybe even break out in full dance – and it won’t cost you a cent. Free beats, free vibes.

Jazz in the Garden: sculptures and saxophones

The National Gallery of Art’s Sculpture Garden turns jazzy every summer. Sip on sangria and swing to the beat under a sea of stars.

DC Outdoor Cinemas: popcorn and pictures under the stars

Grab your blanket and basket! Parks across DC host movie nights all summer long. It’s fun, romantic and though we can’t prove it, popcorn tastes better outdoors.

Capital Riverfront: more than just a pretty face

From dragon boat festivals to riverside workouts, there’s always something splashy going on here.

Georgetown Waterfront Park: dip your toes in!

Relax by the fountain, engage in some water play or just enjoy the serene river view with a scoop of gelato.

National Zoo Evenings: perfect for night owls

The zoo isn’t just for daytime! Special summer evenings let you experience the wild side under twinkling lights.

Farmers’ markets galore: from the farm to your mouth

Fresh summer produce, local artisans and that unbeatable DC summer vibe. Find one and keep coming back all summer.

Summering in DC – the citizenM Way!

Our advice on DC’s sizzling summer scene? Slap on the sunscreen, dive into the capital's coolest (and hottest) summer spots and make every sun-soaked moment count.

Oh, you want the full tour? Alright citizens, here's the insider scoop on Washington DC's seven must-visit neighborhoods. Trust us, it’s worth the read.


Cobblestone chic! With cute streets and waterfront charm, this neighborhood knows how to woo and wow. It's where history meets fashion. Just try to leave without buying a new pair of shoes – I dare you. Shopaholics, the boutique stores on M Street are calling your name. History enthusiast? Wander the historic mansions, like the gorgeous Dumbarton Oaks. Foodie? The waterfront restaurants serve up a feast for both your eyes and your taste buds. Love the arts? The Georgetown University Art Galleries will add that splash of culture to your day. And when night falls, the lively bars are ready to toast to a fabulous time in the town. Oh, and don't forget a stroll along the C&O Canal – it's like a hug from old-timey America. Georgetown, you're not just a neighborhood; you're a diva doughnut wrapped in elegance and sprinkled with fun!


Oh, NoMa, Washington, D.C.'s trendy little gem. Where to begin with this bustling neighborhood? Fancy a bit of art? Swing by the Gallaudet University's museum, and you'll be chatting about it for weeks. Hungry for some local culture? The Union Market is bursting with flavors, crafty vendors, and that 'Instagram-worthy' flair. Need a spot to chill? NoMa's got parks like the Alethia Tanner Park, perfect for that afternoon laze-around or a fun-filled picnic. And don't even get us started on the seasonal outdoor film festivals – movie buffs, eat your hearts out! Whether you're an art connoisseur, a food lover, or just someone looking for a groovy time, NoMa is shouting, "Hey, come hang out with me!" And really, who are we to resist?

Capitol Hill

Politics, pastries and an absolute showstopper! But wait, located right in the heart of D.C., this neighborhood is more than just politicians and power suits. It's a culture-packed hub that knows how to have a good time. Want history? The U.S. Capitol Building stands tall, ready to share its secrets. Craving knowledge? The Library of Congress is at your service, with more books than you can shake a stick at. Need a green fix? Meander through the lush paths of the United States Botanic Garden. And if you're hungry, don't miss Eastern Market, where fresh produce and quirky finds await. After all that, if you're feeling the need for a cheeky tipple, the local bars offer both classic charm and hip vibes. Capitol Hill isn't just a place to see; it's a place to be seen, darling! And trust us, it's worth every glance.

Dupont Circle

If you're craving culture with a side of sophistication, strut your stuff over to Dupont Circle. Art galleries and embassies galore. Dupont Circle is the life of the party and the intellectual soul all in one. Bookworm? The independent bookstores will make you swoon. Art aficionado? The Phillips Collection has your name written all over it. Craving global flavors? The international embassies host cultural events that'll whisk you around the world without leaving the block. And let's not forget the actual circle – a park where locals and tourists mingle, play chess, and maybe even engage in a friendly debate or two. When night falls, the lively bars and restaurants turn up the volume on the fun. Dupont Circle, you're like that friend who's always up for anything and never disappoints. So grab your walking shoes, and get ready to dance through the streets – Dupont's waiting, citizens.

The Wharf

Seafood and sunsets, anyone? The Wharf is waterfront elegance at its best. Love the water? Of course, you do, and The Wharf's marina is winking right at you. Foodie at heart? The seafood restaurants here serve up flavors so fresh, you might just hear the ocean in the background. Concert-goer? The Anthem's stage has seen more stars than a clear night sky. Fancy a ride? Hop on a water taxi for a rip-roaring good time. Shopping enthusiast? The boutique stores are lined up, ready to be explored. And don't even get us started on the views – sunset at The Wharf is a splash of color you won't soon forget. So grab your sunhat and your appetite for fun, because The Wharf is serving up a big, delightful dish of "Come on over!"


Got a beard and love artisanal coffee? Shaw's quirky vibe and craft cocktails are calling you, hipster citizens! Jazz lover? Shaw's your groove, baby, with a history that'll have you tapping your feet. Ever been to the Howard Theatre? It's legendary! Food fanatic? The local eateries range from hipster coffee joints to divine fine dining. Want to shop 'til you drop? Boutique stores are sprinkled all around, each with its own unique flair. And if you're into the arts, you'll find murals and galleries that scream creativity. When the sun dips, Shaw's nightlife sparkles, and those cocktail bars? They’re mixing more than just drinks. Tunes, appetizers and welcoming vibes!

Adams Morgan

Nightlife and international cuisine? Yes, please! Adams Morgan is the melting pot of fun and flavors. So say "hello" to your new favorite dinner spot. This neighborhood is a lively, eclectic gem in D.C. The restaurants here serve up everything from Ethiopian delights to Latin flair. In the mood for music? The live venues are jamming out tunes that'll make your feet itch to dance. Art lover? The murals paint a picture of a neighborhood that's as vibrant as a carnival. Night owl? The bars and clubs light up like a fireworks display when the sun goes down. Shopper? The boutique stores are brimming with unique finds that'll have your friends asking, "Where'd you get that?" Adams Morgan, you're like that cool cousin we all wish we had, showing us around town with a wink and a smile. Come for a visit, and who knows? You might just end up joining the dance.

Whew! After bouncing between D.C.'s cool monuments, artsy museums, and oh-so-busy political scene, isn't it time to treat those taste buds? Dive fork-first into the city's drool-worthy dishes. And if there's one thing citizenM knows better than the perfect pillow, it’s where to snag the tastiest treats. Buckle up for the best bites in D.C.

1. Half-Smokes at Ben’s Chili Bowl

If D.C. had a food anthem, half-smokes would be its chorus. These local sausages, smokier and spicier than your average hot dog, are a must-try. Where to go? Get them at the legendary Ben's Chili Bowl on U Street. Pro-tip: Get it “all the way” with mustard, onions, and spicy homemade chili.

2. Jumbo Slice Pizza in Adams Morgan

After a night on the town, there’s no better D.C. tradition than a ginormous slice of pizza. The spot? Jumbo Slice Pizza in Adams Morgan. Perfectly cheesy, this is the slice you didn’t know you needed, until you absolutely did.

3. Chesapeake Blue Crabs

Feel like going a bit posh and cracking some crustaceans? D.C.’s close proximity to Chesapeake Bay gifts it fresh blue crabs. Your move? Head over to The Wharf and pick a restaurant (like Cantler’s Riverside Inn) for a bucket of this delicious treat.

4. Mambo Sauce

This tangy, sweet, slightly spicy sauce is D.C.’s signature condiment. Slather it on wings, fries, or anything deep-fried. The place to be? The Carryout spots around the city. A bottle of Mambo sauce should definitely be in your suitcase back home.

5. Pupusas from El Rinconcito Café

This Salvadoran treat has found a warm place in the heart of D.C. Think stuffed tortillas oozing with cheese, beans, and meats. Destination? El Rinconcito Café in Mount Pleasant.

In D.C., your history lesson isn’t limited to the landmarks. It’s on your plate, in the aromas wafting from corner to corner, and in every bite you take. Cheers to an edible adventure.

best bars in DC

Ready to swap your sightseeing shoes for dancing heels? Let's be real, a city's heartbeat is best heard after sunset. Dive into Washington D.C.’s nocturnal scene with these top picks.

The Gibson

The U Street corridor’s clandestine gem. Hidden doors open to liquid masterpieces.


In Logan Circle, be part of a beer brigade. 555 choices, infinite memories.

El Techo

Adult treehouse meets Latino vibes in Shaw. Exotic, elevated, and exceptionally enticing. Margaritas under the stars, anyone?

Eighteenth Street Lounge

A mansion of many moods. Groove, chill, or swing – it's your call.

As You Are. DC

An LGBTQIA+ heartening haven. Come as you are; leave as a star.

Dacha Beer Garden

Shaw’s shining star. German beers, whimsical walls, and community tales.

Denson Liquor Bar

A sip back in time. Relish the 1920s spirit below Chinatown's hustle.

Pineapple and Pearls

Capitol Hill's crown jewel. Luxury in a glass, garnished with class.

Beuchert’s Saloon

Where history meets mixology. The past has never tasted so present.

Royal Sands Social Club

Capitol Hill's beachy escape. No passport, just passion.

Top of the Gate

Overlook the Potomac at this Watergate rooftop gem. With views stretching from the Kennedy Center to the Key Bridge, it's the capital of cocktails and vistas.

TAKODA - Rooftop Restaurant & Beer Garden

Shaw’s American haven. Pair your drafts with views, and let the city lights light up your evening.

Stories aren't just forged in boardrooms and by monuments in D.C. They’re crafted in dim-lit bars, on pulsating dance floors, and in the clinks of glasses. Here's to a night you'll (hopefully) remember.

where to stay in Washington

After a whirlwind of DC sights, bites, and nights that might've involved one too many dance moves, don't you think your feet deserve a bit of luxury? We're here to pamper those weary feet and recharge your spirit.

Slide into citizenM hotels in Capitol Hill or NoMa, the perfect places to snooze. Our hotels are not like any you’ve seen before. They're your home away from home in the middle of all the action. At both spots, you'll be right in the heart of the city, a quick stroll from all the key sights. And our team of ambassadors? They're the friendliest bunch you'll ever meet – always ready to share a laugh and a local tip. The decor is so inspiring, you might just find yourself snapping photos of the lobby instead of the Washington Monument! And then there are the beds... oh, the beds! Think XL-size, cloud-like comfort you could easily get lost in.

So why wait? Plan that trip to Washington D.C. and dive into a stay that's as adventurous, friendly, and design-savvy as you are, citizens!

Book your hotel