Answers from Our Experts (2)
You’re in the heart of Washington, D.C. when you stay at Willard InterContinental. Here are the best things to do nearby:
1. Tour the National Mall. The National Mall, home to the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument and the Capitol building, is just a few blocks from the Forbes Travel Guide Recommended hotel. You could take a taxi there, but it’s so close you’re better off walking or using Washington’s Capital Bikeshare rental program. It’s also a great jog, and a favorite of Washingtonians. To get there from the Willard, make a right out of the hotel’s front door and head straight for the White House. Take a second to check it out, and then make a left on 15th Street NW. Run one block, and you’re there (Constitution Avenue is the northern border of the Mall). Once there, use the mall’s winding pedestrian trails to visit the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, World War II Memorial and Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and run right up to the Capitol steps.
2. Visit the Smithsonian Institution. The museums of the Smithsonian Institution are also on and around the mall, and they have one very attractive feature: they’re free. A favorite is the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, where you can walk through the history of America’s wars, visit a hall devoted to the presidents and see a gunship used in the War of 1812. The National Museum of African American History and Culture is also inside and features rotating exhibits.
3. Listen to jazz at the Smithsonian sculpture garden. If it’s a Friday in spring or summer, visit the Smithsonian’s sculpture garden, which is located right along the mall next to the American Art Museum, for a happy hour jazz performance. You’ll join hundreds of D.C. professionals picnicking and sipping wine on the garden’s grounds as a rotating group of musicians plays this free concert. If it’s too crowded, just spread your blanket on the main Mall’s grass, fire up your phone’s speakers and have your own concert and picnic.
4. Tour the White House. With the President so close to the D.C. hotel, you’d be remiss if you didn’t tour his home. White House tours must be booked in advance — visit whitehouse.gov to learn more and to schedule one.
5. Enjoy the National Cherry Blossom Festival. The Mall blooms during the National Cherry Blossom Festival, a century-old D.C. spring tradition that runs from late March through much of April. In 1912, Japan presented the United States with a gift of 3,000 cherry blossom trees, which remain a national treasure as they bathe the National Mall in pale pink for several weeks and signal the arrival of spring in the capital. The city teems with throngs of tourists and international visitors during this time, and there are daily art and culture events throughout the city during the festival. The blossoms often open before the festival does and often don’t last through its finish, so arrive early in the month to see their pale glory.
When you stay at the Willard InterContinental, you can walk around the White House, walk a block to the National Mall and visit the various monuments and museums. You can also enjoy a city lights tour of the monuments at night, visit Chinatown, Georgetown or Adam’s Morgan, and enjoy D.C.’s thriving restaurant scene.