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Distinguished DC: Experience history, fine dining and more in this captivating capital city

A prestigious powerhouse wrapped in history and culture, Washington D.C. offers visitors an array of enthralling experiences to explore. | By Paul Oswell | June 1, 2023

There’s certainly no shortage of things to do in the nation’s capital. Attractions in Washington include grand historical landmarks such as the White House, the United States Capitol and the National Mall, plus an enviable list of world-class museums. The biggest challenge for visitors is planning ahead, whether you want to see the National History Museum, the Smithsonian National Museum of American History or dine at any one of the city’s award-winning restaurants. Here are our suggestions for an elevated stay in Washington:

  • Inspirational history: World-famous seats of power, monuments and memorials are complemented by an unbeatable choice of renowned museums

  • Revitalizing green spaces: Recharge your sightseeing batteries with a stroll around the city's many tranquil parks and gardens

  • Dynamic dining: From Michelin-starred kitchens to casual cafes that celebrate world cuisine, you’ll find a gastronomical playground for foodies

View of building through window
Attached to Waldorf Astoria Washington DC, the former Old Post Office clock tower is a marvelous historical sight to explore.

Step into the past

No other city tells the story of American history with such depth — and with such an inspirational array of monuments and museums. Start at the Lincoln Memorial and take a 2-mile (3.21-kilometer) stroll along the National Mall, ending at Capitol Hill, and you’ll see many of the institutions and memorials that make up the living history found in America’s capital.

Artifacts help bring a vibrancy to that history, and the inventory at the National Museum of American History spans the Gettysburg Address to the original Star-Spangled Banner flag. African American history is also a significant part of the city’s evolution, and your concierge can arrange a private guide to interpret important sites such as the African American Civil War Memorial, before taking you through the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

While staying at Waldorf Astoria Washington DC, you’ll have enthralling sights literally at your doorstep. Attached to the hotel is a clock tower that was formerly part of the Old Post Office. Ride an elevator to the top of one of the city’s tallest towers to enjoy 360-degree views and exhibits on the observation deck. Afterward, allow your concierge to facilitate a stress-free, comprehensive tour of the city’s must-see sights with a customized golf cart tour. Your private guide will take you to all of the major monuments and memorials, as well as pass by the White House and Capitol building, with Georgetown and Embassy Row being popular additions. Consider taking the tour at night to see these landmarks strikingly illuminated, making for more memorable photo opportunities.

Washington Monument in reflecting pool at dusk
Captivating views and scenic parks throughout Washington make it an exciting destination year-round.

Green spaces

It’s easy to get caught up in monument and museum visits, but Washington sightseeing shouldn’t be confined to its albeit impressive educational offerings. Your memories of the city will benefit from spending time recharging your batteries in some of the peaceful green spaces that abound in Washington.

The United States Botanic Garden, the U.S. National Arboretum and the Smithsonian’s National Zoo are among some of the most scenic, and during cherry blossom season (late March to early April), a walk along the scenic Tidal Basin pool, drenched in pinks and reds, is hard to beat. Take an afternoon to soak in the timeless ambience of Dumbarton Oaks or the equally historic lawns of Mount Vernon, the historic home of America’s first president, George Washington.

Your concierge at Waldorf Astoria Washington DC can arrange for a private historian to join you at the storied home. Fascinated by Abraham Lincoln? Your guide can also take you to Ford’s Theatre and Lincoln’s Cottage. In fact, the hotel’s DC in A Day tour channels the best of the city’s off-the-beaten-track spots with a bespoke itinerary tailored to your specific needs and preferences.

The Bazaar by José Andrés
Culinary artistry by Michelin-starred chef José Andrés awaits at Waldorf Astoria Washington DC’s The Bazaar by José Andrés.


Washington’s reputation as a global powerhouse is evident throughout its history, but it’s also apparent in its dynamic global food scene. The city boasts over 20 Michelin-starred restaurants, where you’ll likely rub shoulders with international power players and high-flying politicians.

Book well in advance to experience the city’s most decorated kitchens. Jônt, for example, is an intimate, 14-seat counter that showcases some of the best Japanese-influenced plates in the country. Pineapple and Pearls has an equally high-end tasting menu with innovative deconstructed dishes such as its famous French toast with foie gras, blue cheese and black truffles.

Enjoy an extraordinary culinary experience at Waldorf Astoria Washington DC’s The Bazaar by José Andrés, with innovative dishes that pay homage to the city’s history, curated cocktails and theatrical presentations. At the hotel’s Michelin-starred Sushi Nakazawa, embark on a flavor journey with their omakase menu featuring Nigiri sushi and one of the largest sake selections in North America. Your concierge can also arrange a private yacht for you to enjoy a sunset cruise along the Potomac River. Add in a gourmet champagne dinner, and it’s the perfect way to toast a truly memorable stay in Washington.

Steeped in history and bursting with intriguing culture and cuisine, Washington is an all-encompassing destination that will enthrall your senses, capture your imagination and excite your wanderlust for years to come.

Paul Oswell is a British award-winning journalist and published travel author based in New Orleans, Louisiana in the United States. His books include Bucket List North America and The Great American Road Trip, as well as New Orleans' Historic Hotels. He has also been an editor of and contributor to several guide books/editions published by Dorling Kindersley (owned by Penguin), including New Orleans, Florida, Orlando, Los Angeles, California and The United States. His work has appeared in Conde Nast Traveler, Travel & Leisure (both of which he has written multiple online travel guides for) and The Guardian, as well as dozens of international newspaper and magazine titles, and inflight magazines for major airlines.