When it comes to choosing a destination for a trip, there are many factors to consider. Weather, distance, and transportation are all key factors. Yet, arguably the most important factor to consider is this – what do you want to do while on your trip?
Lounging on the beach is quite different than hiking a mountain, which is quite different than visiting a museum. Most of our nation’s most popular tourist destinations offer very different activities, which is why it’s key to consider your desired activities beforehand!
If you’re looking for a unique blend of fun and education, one U.S. city combines those two features in a truly unique fashion – Washington D.C.
Sure it’s our nation’s capital and an important political place, but D.C. is much more than that – it’s a haven for learning in a fun and engaging way.
And we don’t mean learning about politics, D.C. features 17 Smithsonian museums, each covering different topics and themes. Yes, 17!
The point here is – D.C. is a fantastic leisure and learning destination (for all ages – kids, teens, young adults, adults, grandparents) and here are some of our favorite ways to enjoy the ample offerings of the city:
See it All on a Big Bus Tour
First thing’s first – get the lay of the land! A great travel tip that can be applied to any major metropolitan area is to take some sort of general tour at the beginning of your trip. D.C. has so much to see, can a brief look at all the options on a Big Bus Tour, and then choose which sites you might want to go back and explore more in-depth later on! The D.C. Big Bus Tours are hop-on hop-off tours where for either 24 or 48 hours, you can ride the bus to as many sights as you’d like to, get off whenever you want, and get back on whenever you want! Flexible, inexpensive, and convenient = win!
Explore The Smithsonian Institution
The Smithsonian Institution is the world’s largest museum, education, and research, institution. With a whopping 19 museums and a zoo, there’s plenty to explore, learn, and enjoy. Washington D.C. is home to nearly all of those museums and the zoo. One trip to D.C. is certainly not enough to visit each museum, but you can definitely visit at least one or two! Here are a few of our favorites:
- National Museum of Natural History
- National Air & Space Museum
- National Museum of African Art
- American History Museum
Go on a D.C. Lunch or Dinner Cruise
More on the leisure side of activities, D.C. offers a variety of lunch and dinner cruises on the Potomac River. Dine on delectable cuisine offerings as you sail past some of D.C.’s most iconic landmarks such as the Jefferson Memorial, Georgetown waterfront, and the Lincoln Memorial. There are a variety of different cuisine cruises, it’s up to you to choose which one strikes your fancy!
Smithsonian National Zoo
Not only does Washington D.C. boast one of the best zoos in the country, but the National Zoo is also a Conservation Biology Institute. Meaning, the zoo works hard to ensure that action is taken to protect endangered species and ensure their survival. This is no run of the mill zoo, you’ll find way more variety than just donkeys and zebras. Over 2,000 different animals call the 163-acre zoo home.
Prepare to be Shocked at The International Spy Museum
By far one of D.C’s coolest museums, The International Spy Museum is an entire museum dedicated to the history and art of espionage. At this museum, you’ll be able to view the largest collection of international espionage artifacts in the world. The intention behind the museum is to educate the public about espionage and intelligence in an engaging way and to provide context that fosters understanding of their role in and impact of current and historical events. Basically, prepare to have your minds blown around every turn. Engaging for all ages!
Pay Homage to Our Nation’s Past at The Lincoln Memorial
Perhaps one of the most iconic D.C. sites, The Lincoln Memorial is a must-see on any trip to D.C. It’s both fun and educational! The fun part being gazing up at the enormous statue of Lincoln and taking selfies with him. The educational part being learning all about our influential 16th President.
We could go on and on about the various sites to check out while in D.C., but a few seconds of online research and you’ll be privy to all of that information. What we want to leave you with is the feeling of just how much fun learning is while in D.C. Whether you’re learning about the history of our nation, espionage, animals, or cuisine, D.C. makes it all engaging and memorable. Few destinations offer entertainment in the form of cultural enrichment the way D.C. does, and it’s because of that we recommend D.C. as the top destination for leisure and learning!
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