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Washington DC (DC)

Washington - It’s a Capital City!

Washington DC (DC)

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District of Columbia

Photograph of Washington DC (DC)

Washington - It’s a Capital City!

Chosen by George Washington for its tactical location between the South and the North, and for its accessibility to the sea via the Potomac River, the capital of the United States is situated in a district specifically created to avoid the establishment of the capital city in any one state. Washington, DC (District of Columbia) with its low-profile skyline, is a city of green parks and open spaces, grand buildings, historic landmarks, marbled monuments and impressive museums, with character-filled neighbourhoods that support a thriving cultural scene with scores of top-notch restaurants, shops and night time entertainment.
This thriving cosmopolitan city is an international hub of power and diplomacy, commanding the political centre stage for one of the most powerful nations in the world, and representing all the democratic ideals that the country takes pride in. Washington, DC was one of the targets of the terrorist attack on the USA on 11 September 2001, when a hijacked plane crashed into the Pentagon, the heart of national and international security. Since then security has remained high around Washington's key monuments and police checks at top city attractions have lent a sober air to this pleasant city.
After politics, tourism is the capital's main industry. The city plays host to millions of people annually who come to explore famous sights such as the domed US Capitol, the stately White House, Lincoln Memorial and the soaring Washington Monument. The most well-known sights are located along the National Mall, a green park stretching from the US Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial on the Potomac River, and include several memorials to great US presidents of the past, as well as the outstanding museums of the Smithsonian Institute. Almost all major attractions are free.
Besides political sights, Washington is also a city of interesting neighbourhoods, each with its own character and culture. The most famous of these is historic Georgetown, with elegant colonial houses, boutiques, fancy restaurants, and a lively nightlife. One of the most colourful neighbourhoods is the bohemian district of Adams-Morgan with an assortment of funky shops and ethnic stores, while the arty suburb of Dupont Circle is an affluent business and residential area, with excellent restaurants, art galleries and shops that makes up the centre of DC's gay community. 

  • Take a sightseeing tour of the city. Although the most famous monuments and memorials are on the National Mall, a lot of DC's monuments are spread out; it is hard to visit all of them on foot.
  • Visit the Smithsonian Institute with 19 museums and galleries, there truly is something for everyone, covering subjects from art to space exploration.
  • Take a DC Segway or Bicycle tour, great ways to see the City.
  • Tour the three houses of Government, the U.S. Capitol Building, the White House and the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • Stroll through Georgetown, the capital's historic waterfront. The area is a shopper's paradise and the streets are lined with restaurants of every nationality.
  • Explore Mount Vernon, the 500-acre estate of George Washington, tour the 14-room mansion that is beautifully restored

We have featured the largest selection of USA city break destinations available on any Irish website and there is somewhere there for everyone.

We work with all the major Airlines and can book these for you with full flexibility through our in-house systems.

There are currently direct flights from Ireland to the USA with Aer Lingus, United Airlines, Delta Airlines, American Airlines and US Airways. There are also many connections via the UK with British Airways, Virgin and other airlines.

We have just given a brief glimpse of what we can offer you, please feel free to browse more or if there is a destination you would like to know more about call now on 01 853 5000, email [email protected], send us a quick message or complete the enquiry form - we will be delighted to help you, its all part of the Platinum Service!

There are regular direct flights to Washington DC from Ireland with United Airlines and numerous connections via the UK or USA.

Average flight time from Ireland to Washington DC is 7-8 hours.

When it comes to planning out how to reach your destination, Platinum Travel have all the air travel expertise to help you get the best route to your final location.

As a licensed and bonded Travel Agent we have access to negotiated contract and wholesale fares with airlines worldwide. Our Travel Concierge team members will help you with the best connections and airlines to suit your own personal requirements.

For many destinations a number of flights may be required and sometimes it will include arriving into one airport and leaving from another. We will ensure you have the best combination of flights to do this and make sure you cover the necessary MCT (minimum connecting time) so that you have the best opportunity of a smooth and easy journey.

Several airlines have introduced many ancillary charges such as seat assignments, checked bags, priority boarding etc. Platinum Travel will look after these for you and book you at the best available bundle package at the best price. Upgraded airline fares, lounge access & Fasttrack are also available and again Platinum Travel know how to avail of the best value for these extras.

Platinum Travel are a fully licensed and bonded travel agent so you have a lot more protection with us than with the internet (airlines are not bonded).

Washington Dulles International Airport

Connected to over 125 destinations worldwide, Washington Dulles International Airport serves Washington, Northern Virginia and Baltimore as well as being a jumping off point for anyone wishing to travel along the eastern United States.
With almost 24 million passengers passing through Washington Dulles International Airport annually, it's easy to think that individual passengers might get lost in the rush, but the airport manages to achieve a balance. Passengers transiting through Washington Dulles International Airport will find a range of shopping opportunities, including duty-free shops, as well as art galleries and live dance performances and other amenities.
The airport is situated 26 miles (41km) west of Washington, DC.
Getting to the city
The Washington Flyer Coach Service provides a direct link between the airport and the West Falls Church Metrorail (Tel: 202-637-7000), operating every 30 minutes to downtown, with a fare of $8. The coach service tickets are bought at arrivals door 4 in the main terminal and cost $10. A public bus service is available at the station for transport to areas not serviced by Metrorail. The Washington Flyer taxis are available from the airport and cost $54 dollars to the city centre (Tel: +1(0)703 661 6655). SuperShuttle operates a door-to-door shared van service. Hotel/Motel courtesy transportation can be arranged by using the phone hook-ups attached to the hotel courtesy boards on the Baggage Claim Level.
GMT -5 (GMT -4 from March to November).
Tel: +1 703 572 2700.
Car rental
Car rental companies include Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz and National.
Airport Taxis
Taxis are also available 24 hours from the lower level of the main terminal. The only taxis that may serve the airport is Washington Flyer (Tel: +1(0)703 661 6655). Taxis charge around $60 for the 30 to 60 minute drive into the city; you may pay by credit card. Facilities There are ATMs and foreign exchange services available. Facilities for the disabled are good. Other facilities include restaurants, bars, shops and duty-free, business services, cellular phone rental, tourist information and hotel reservations.
Hourly parking at Washington Dulles International Airport is available in the parking garage adjacent to the terminal and starts at $4 and goes up to $36 per day. Daily parking garages 1 and 2 cost $17 per 24 hours and the garages are connected to the terminal via a shuttle service. A cell phone waiting lot is provided for drivers picking up passengers at the airport.
Departure Tax
Most major airports across the world are connected directly, or via stopovers, to Washington Dulles International Airport. National carriers offering flights to Washington Dulles International Airport include British Airways, Aer Lingus, KLM, US Airways, Turkish Airlines, Qatar Airways and many others. Passengers booking cheap flights to Washington should also check out Virgin Atlantic, Continental, GoJet, United, Delta, SkyWest, ExpressJet, Mesa Airlines and JetBlue.
Laptop and tablet users can access wifi throughout the terminal, free of charge. There are also a number of internet kiosks after security in the terminal.
Business Lounges
A number of airlines operate lounges at Washington Dulles International Airport. Passengers with membership cards for Air France, All Nippon Airways, American Airlines (or the Admirals Club), British Airways, Lufthansa, United, and Virgin Atlantic can all make use lounge facilities on offer. Travellers in need of business facilities should head to the well-equipped Business Service Centre on the upper level before security. There are also four Business Service Centres after security. Services on offer include notary public, fax and photocopying. Conference facilities at Washington Dulles International Airport are available at the Marriott Hotel, which is located at the airport.

Getting Around Washington DC


Getting around Washington DC is relatively easy as most attractions are within walking distance of each other. The city is laid out in a circle around the White House, with 'spokes' radiating out from it. Washington DC has an excellent public transport system that includes buses and the Metrorail subway, which has stations at or near almost every tourist attraction. The system operates until midnight during the week, and metrorail stations stay open until 2am on Fridays and Saturdays. The efficient Metrorail subway system provides services throughout the city and to the Virginia and Maryland suburbs and is used by means of a computerised fare card.
The extensive Metrobus network fills in the gaps, but is more complex to use and is slower due to heavy traffic; bus transfers are free and valid for two hours from boarding. Both buses and trains charge a standard fare. Bus, train or combined one-day passes are also available. Although most visitors to Washington DC arrive by car, it is often easier to use public transport as traffic is heavy, and parking in the city is difficult and expensive. Taxis are a good way of getting around for short distances and they are cheaper than any other major city in the US; instead of meters they operate on a zone system with flat rates displayed, although several surcharges apply, including ordering one by phone.

What to See and Do in Washington DC

Washington DC Attractions

The bustling and exciting city of Washington DC boasts a number of must-see attractions. Visitors will love the iconic statues, buildings and museums that have become synonymous with Washington DC and have made regular appearances in TV shows and movies.
Visit National Mall, the place where Martin Luther King Jr made his legendary 'I Have a Dream' speech, marvel at the Washington Monument, have your picture taken outside the White House, and see the Capitol Building. The Lincoln Memorial is a must for history buffs, as is the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. Culture lovers will enjoy the National Gallery of Art and kids of all ages will love the International Spy Museum. Another popular attraction on any tour of Washington DC is a drive along Embassy Row.
Visitors should purchase the Washington DC Power Pass, or VisiTicket, which entitles the bearer to admission to many of the top Washington DC attractions and is available in one, two, three or five-day durations. The cost of the pass starts at $27 per day. However many of the best things to see in Washingto DC, including the Smithsonian Museums, the National Archives, and Ford's Theatre, are free to the public, making sightseeing in Washington DC a very affordable activity.

Washington DC Kids Attractions

Washington DC offers many unforgettable attractions for kids on holiday. Children will love seeing rockets and airplanes at the Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institute, and learning to pass secret messages at the Spy Museum.
On nice days, the National Zoo is a great kids' activity in Washington DC, offering the only opportunity to see Giant Pandas in the US. The city's many parks and gardens are great for running off excess energy and enjoying the beautiful weather in spring and autumn, and children will love the cotton-candy pink Cherry Blossom trees in the Tidal Basin each April.

Shopping in Washington DC

Shopping in Washington DC almost competes with politics for attention. The USA's capital also offers everything from trendy boutiques and shopping malls to 24-hour bookshops and renowned farmer's markets. Visitors to Washington DC will walk (or fly) away with their bags full!
The nation's oldest neighbourhood, Georgetown boasts up-scale designer boutiques and The Shops at Georgetown Park, which is home to designer labels like Ann Taylor, Polo and Ralph Lauren. The Georgetown Flea Market is good for antiques, jewellery, books, rugs, toys and linens. The Dupont Circle neighbourhood has a GLBT bookshop, Lambda Books, as well as designer boutiques such as Betsy Fisher and vintage shops like Secondi. There is also the FreshFarm Market to enjoy here.
Adams Morgan, previously dilapidated, now boasts a tredny reputation and a number of eclectic independent shops and boutiques. Penn Quarter is a great place to find antiques, art, home decor and collectibles.
On Pennsylvania, the White House Visitor Center and Political America sell authentic and reproduction campaign buttons, signed photos, letters and other American memorabilia. Weschler's Auction House on E Street holds public auctions each Tuesday. The National Mall has great gift shops and museum stores, and is the best place to find popular Washington DC souvenirs like miniature replicas of the White House and various monuments. The National Archives Gift Shop also offers reproductions of the Declaration of Independence and other famous documents.
Shoppers should keep in mind that a non-refundable sales tax is charged, but not included on the sticker price of items. Tax is added at the register in Washington DC shops, so prices will be higher than first expected.

Dining in Washington DC

The city's many politicians and their expense accounts ensure that Washington DC has some fantastic dining options to suit every budget and taste. From glamorous upmarket restaurants dripping with style, to roadside stalls and eateries, this city has all kinds of food.
Fresh seafood, crab, oysters and rock fish are among the most popular on restaurant menus, with special emphasis on dishes focuses around or being created with locally-caught crabs, such as crabcakes, blue crabs, crab legs, crab soup and even Crab Chips, a brand of potato chip unique to Washington DC. A popular spice is Old Bay, which is locally made and used to season just about everything from peaches to popcorn.
Most restaurants are centred round the Midtown, downtown and Penn Quarter areas with the very upmarket eateries close to Capitol Hill and frequented by a largely business crowd. Dupont Circle and the West End are also great areas for restaurants of all nationalities. A tip of 15% is expected in restaurants and it is customary to make reservations before dining out.

Washington DC Nightlife

Most people tend to associate the Capital City with politics, the White House and Capitol Hill, but in fact the nightlife in Washington DC will leave any hardcore party animal hard-pressed to find somewhere they don't like.
Atlas District is DC's newest and trendiest bar and club scene while other popular areas include Adams-Morgan; Dupont Circle along Connecticut Avenue, the Penn Quarter and Georgetown. Here is where most of the city's hippest nightlife can be found, with just about everything from dance clubs, jazz bars, rock bars, pubs and gay clubs in Dupont Circle.
Arlington Row is a more laid-back area that attracts a crowd of all ages where excellent live music is the order of the day. If a comedy show is what you're after, check out the Warner Theatre to see who's appearing. If you can't decide what you want, the Boomerang Bus stops at half a dozen venues, giving tourists a chance to sample the best of Washington DC nightlife.
Washington DC also has a first-rate performing arts scene, presided over by the renowned Kennedy Center. On any given night there is a wide variety of local and international performances ranging from Shakespeare, opera and ballet to jazz, rock bands, and Broadway shows. Ticketmaster and InstantSeats.com offer tickets to pretty much any event, while TICKETplace at 407 7th Street offers discounted last-minute tickets to anything that isn't sold out.

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