It’s true that American history and legal buffs love our town, but we’re not just the nation’s capital! DC is a vibrant and diverse city in its own right. DC is a geographically small city, easily traversable on our extensive metro system, by foot, by bike, or by car. (Remember, residents, get free parking!) We have recently been named the 39th best place to live in America (2023) by U.S. News & World Report - compared not only to other cities but all places to live! There are a myriad of activities, events, and things to do in Washington, DC, but here are a few highlights:
Local sports teams
Washington, DC is home to several professional sports teams such as the Washington Commanders (NFL), the 2019 World Series Champions Washington Nationals (MLB), the Washington Wizards (NBA), the 2018 Stanley Cup winners Washington Capitals (NHL), the DC United (MLS), the 2019 WNBA Champion Washington Mystics (WNBA), the Washington Spirit (NWSL), and a World Tennis Team (Kastles). Because many folks living in D.C. have their roots elsewhere, it’s not uncommon for visiting teams to have a significant fan base at our home games. Sports stadiums and arenas are easily accessible via the Metro and from the Foggy Bottom neighborhood.
The District (as locals call it) is a great town for running! We have many miles of running trails, including Rock Creek Park, the C&O Canal Towpath, the Custis Trail, and the Mount Vernon Trail. Running on the National Mall is just as popular and provides a great tour of our monuments. Don’t miss the amazing views in early April when running around the Tidal Basin with its famed cherry blossoms. DC has many organized road races every year including marathons (Marine Corps Marathon, Rock-and-Roll Marathon), ten-milers (Army 10-Miler, GW Parkway Classic, Cherry Blossom Run), and countless charity 5K and 10K races.
Washington, DC is one of the safest cities for bicyclists as well as one of the best cities to bike to work. It’s no wonder why with our many miles of dedicated bike trails, marked bike lanes throughout the city, and the explosion of Capital Bikeshare, a local bike rental company with pick up/drop off points throughout the city, including three within easy walking distance of GW hospital. Just as the picture depicts, we recommend taking a leisurely bike ride around the tidal basin during the cherry blossom season.
If you like museums, DC is for you! We were named Travel & Leisure's #1 City (2016) for museums, history, and free attractions. There are too many to name, but note that all Smithsonian museums (you’ve heard of these – Air and Space, American History, Natural History, National Gallery of Art, etc.) are free to the public and open nearly every day of the year. We also have countless other non-Smithsonian museums to strike your fancy on a relaxing day off. Don’t even get us started on monuments – but some of our favorites are the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Memorial, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, and the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial.
Just because you live in a city doesn’t mean you can’t go hiking! Rock Creek Park offers hiking trails right in the city, and just outside of the city in Virginia and Maryland are several other beautiful trails, including Great Falls National Park. Those willing to drive a couple of hours out of the city are rewarded with the beautiful views of Shenandoah National Park. Also, some of the best beaches on the East Coast can be found a short drive away in the beautiful state of Delaware.
The Kennedy Center, located just a few blocks from GW Hospital, is a famous site for touring Broadway performances, ballets, operas, musical and dance acts, and plays. Theatre and dance lovers will also find many other venues to choose from with shows every weekend (and many weekdays). Arena Stage has a reputation for premiering musicals before they make it to Broadway. Those preferring more eclectic theatre performances will love the Woolly Mammoth Theatre. Don’t forget to check out the Howard Theatre (supper club) and to brush up on your Shakespeare with one of our two Shakespeare theatre companies (Shakespeare Theatre Company and Folger Shakespeare Theater).
As a major stop for touring bands, DC’s Capital One Arena is just one of several venues in the city to host big-name stars. DC also has an active live-music scene with many genres from which to choose and several venues, including the Black Cat, Blues Alley, and 9:30 club, which are regular stops for popular bands who prefer to avoid stadiums and arenas. For those willing to drive beyond the city's borders, check out Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts in Virginia and Merriweather Post Pavilion in Maryland.
DC was named Restaurant City of the Year (2016) by Bon Appetit! Our city has too many restaurants to count, of every ethnic heritage, atmosphere, and price range you could desire! You can also find establishments steeped in history such as the Old Ebbitt Grill where Presidents as far back as Ulysses S. Grant dined or Martin’s Tavern in Georgetown where you can sit in the same booth where a young senator named John Fitzgerald Kennedy proposed to Jackie Bouvier. Remember, as the nation’s capital, we are a crossroads for immigrants and international travelers… and people who are too busy to cook their own dinners.