Washington, D.C.: Our Nation's Capital
Only a handful of cities rival Washington, D.C.'s history and influence. Tourists come from across the country to experience the nation’s capital. The District of Columbia is a vibrant place and although there are many ways to experience it, we recommend experiencing D.C. through the art, museums, and theater; its delicious culinary scene; and diverse neighborhoods.
Art, Museums and Theaters
Nicknamed “America’s front yard,” the National Mall is where you want to go while in D.C. The National Mall stretches 2.2 miles from the Capitol steps to the Lincoln Memorial. In addition to Abraham Lincoln, the mall includes memorials of Martin Luther King Jr., World War II, Vietnam War, Thomas Jefferson, Korean War Veterans, and Franklin Roosevelt. If you are looking for a place to fit in your exercise routine, the National Mall is a great backdrop. You will even find locals hanging out on the mall playing kickball and picnicking.
Throughout the year, you can find various free activities to do around D.C., including one of the largest collections of museums that are part of the Smithsonian Institution. Although some museums may require a timed ticket for entry, all of the Smithsonian museums are free to enter. From the National Museum of African American History and Culture to the National Zoo, the National Museum of the American Indian, and the National Air and Space Museum, the Smithsonian offers a vast array of opportunities for adventure. View a detailed list of Smithsonian museums.
The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the living memorial of John F. Kennedy, is one of the best art and theater venues to visit. At 6 p.m. each day, there is a free concert in the Grand Foyer of the Millennium Stage. The Kennedy Center houses children and adult theater, dance groups, and shows. Catch a concert or show at the Kennedy Center.
Washington, D.C.’s culinary scene is not one to skip. Ben’s Chili Bowl serves up The Original Chili Half-Smoke and is a highly recommended place to stop in and eat. If you love brunch, D.C. does, too. Busboys and Poets, an homage to the American poet Langston Hughes, is a trendy place to hang out for brunch. The Marriott Marquis, site of the University of Maryland, Baltimore Training Institutes, is within walking distance to Chinatown, where you can eat at more than 20 ethnic Chinese and other Asian restaurants. With a wide variety of options from affordable eats to the hottest restaurants in town that will satisfy any taste bud, D.C. will not disappoint.
The Marriott Marquis is located in Shaw, a downtown neighborhood accessible and the home of many landmarks, restaurants, and theaters (like the Howard Theater). Shaw is a trendy, edgy neighborhood that is full of culture, and is surrounded by many other vibrant neighborhoods that we hope you will get to experience. Many are a quick Metro or taxi ride away for an enjoyable commute within a close proximity. The Marriott Marquis is 1 mile (approximately 9 minutes) from the National Mall, which is in downtown D.C.
The Marquis is a 10-minute commute to Chinatown, a “historic borough” with stores and restaurants along H and I streets. There is so much to do in Chinatown, including snapping an awesome selfie in front of the Chinese gate on 7th Street, catching a Wizards basketball game at Capital One Arena, touring the Old Patent Office Building, walking through the American Art Museum, National Portrait Gallery, or Spy Museum, or grabbing Dim sum and homemade ramen noodles at Reren.
Capitol Hill is another neighborhood that is walkable and easily accessible by a quick 29-minute Metro ride. It has 19th-century row homes, unique craft markets, and foodie-focused restaurants. Once there, the Folger Shakespeare Library (the world’s largest collection) and the U.S. Botanic Gardens are experiences that you should not miss. Capitol Hill is not only the center of the U.S. government, but also locals and visitors.