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World Travel Guide > Guides > North America > United States of America > Washington, DC

Washington, DC Weather

6°C

Local time Washington, DC

Currency

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Travel to Washington, DC

Flying to Washington, DC

Airlines offering flights to Washington, DC from the UK include British Airways, United and Virgin Atlantic. Prices rarely fluctuate throughout the year, but flights do tend to be a little more expensive from July to September. All the major US airlines operate domestic flights to the city.

Flight times

From London - 8 hours 30 minutes; New York - 1 hour 15 minutes; Los Angeles - 4 hours 45 minutes; Toronto - 1 hour 25 minutes; Sydney - 20 hours (including stopover).

Travel by road

The minimum driving age in Washington, DC is 16 years and traffic drives on the right. The speed limit on all roads within the DC area is 40kph (25mph) unless otherwise indicated.

Technically overtaking should only be done on the left lane, although, in reality, cars on a five-lane highway often pass on both sides. At traffic lights, right turns on the red light are permitted if the way ahead is clear.

At crossroads without traffic lights, the four-way stop system means that it is first come first served, or if two cars arrive simultaneously, the one on the right has the right of way. All traffic must stop when school bus hazard lights are flashing. Visitors must possess a full national driving licence to drive in the USA.

The American Automobile Association (AAA) (tel: +1 866 636 2377; http://midatlantic.aaa.com) can provide information and may offer reciprocal benefits to members of automobile clubs in other countries.

Emergency breakdown services

AAA (tel: +1 800 222 4357).

Routes

I-66 heads west into Virginia; I-50 to Annapolis in Maryland; I-95 to Baltimore, Richmond, Philadelphia and New York; and I-270 to Maryland and beyond.

Coaches

Greyhound (tel: +1 800 231 2222; www.greyhound.com), Peter Pan Bus Lines (tel: +1 800 343 9999; www.peterpanbus.com) and Megabus (tel: 1 877 462 6342; www.megabus.com) operate long-distance buses from Union Station at 50 Massachusetts Avenue, NE. Buses and ticketing can be found at 0 level of the station.

Time to city

From Baltimore - 1 hour; Richmond - 1 hours 50 minutes; New York - 4 hours; Philadelphia - 2 hours 30 minutes.

Travel by Rail

Services

Rail services in and out of Washington, DC are frequent and reliable, but not always the most cost-effective mode of transport. The vast Union Station is on 50 Massachusetts Avenue, NE, and its extensive facilities include restaurants, shops, ATMs and left luggage.

Operators

Amtrak (tel: +1 800 872 7245; www.amtrak.com) operates long-distance services to and from Washington, DC, including regular departures to Philadelphia (Acela Express), New York and Chicago.

MTA/MARC (tel: +1 410 539 5000; mta.maryland.gov) operates local services, including to Baltimore and other towns in Maryland.

Journey times

From Philadelphia - 1 hour 40 minutes; New York - 3 hours; Chicago - 17 hours 25 minutes.

Featured Hotels

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Hotel Tabard Inn

Located on a tree-lined side street in the Dupont Circle neighbourhood, this is the small hotel that residents recommend to their friends. As it was constructed from three Federal-style row houses, no two rooms are exactly the same, but each is filled with unique antiques and has Wi-Fi access throughout. Some rooms have a shared bathroom. Victorian sitting areas in the lounge are quite cosy and feature live jazz on Sunday night. The hotel's downstairs dining room, a popular lunch spot for both guests and non-guests, features American cuisine. The restaurant's brick-walled garden is one of the most pleasant places to pass an afternoon in Washington, DC. Price includes continental breakfast.

Hotel Helix

If funk is your thing, you'll love this Kimpton boutique hotel where pop art meets Hollywood. The guestrooms are decorated in eye-popping patterns, bright red, green and blue colours, and underscored with rounded mirrors and large pillows. Twelve of the rooms are themed including the cool Zone rooms, fun family Bunk rooms and Italian-inspired Eats rooms. The lighting system changes from blue to gold in the hotel's bar/café, Helix Lounge, and the outdoor patio is popular with locals. Located in the Logan Circle neighbourhood, Hotel Helix is more appealing to young hipsters rather than sedate business people.

The William Lewis House

A home from home, this welcoming bed and breakfast has all the trinkets and touches of grandma's place with patterned rugs, plump sofas and candles and doilies above the fireplace. Actually taking up two Edwardian townhouses, The William Lewis House has 10 individually decorated rooms, scattered with antiques and family heirlooms, plus free Wi-Fi. What's more, the owners host happy hours with wine and hot chocolate. Gay friendly.

Washington Plaza Hotel

Under the watchful eye of architect Morris Lapidus, the Washington Plaza sprung up in 1962, placing a resort-like hotel in the middle of a city. Right next to the Smithsonian museums, the location is superb, while its glorious swimming pool, 340 well turned out rooms and recently renovated fitness suite are all as good as any modern contemporaries.

Normandy Hotel

Located on an elegant street with embassies as neighbours, and within walking distance of bars, restaurants, shops and the Dupont Circle Metro, this small hotel is a real find. Extensively renovated in 2009, the 75 rooms are decorated in black and white highlighted with fabrics in warm colours. The lobby and rooms have complimentary Wi-Fi internet access and although there is no restaurant, afternoon tea and coffee is served to guests and there is a free wine and cheese reception some evenings.

Mandarin Oriental Washington, DC

The award-winning Oriental is one of the most popular hotels in Washington, DC. Touches of Feng Shui have made its huge guest rooms calming - in fact, you may not want to leave them. All have Chinese marble bathrooms, silk bed tapestries, flatscreen TVs, high-speed internet access and smashing views of city monuments or the Potomac Tidal Basin. The hotel also has a state-of-the-art spa plus two restaurants - the Asian-inspired, award-winning Cafe MoZU and the Sou'Wester, serving regional American cuisine. For lighter fare or cocktails try the Empress Lounge.