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Washington Day Trips from New York

Washington DC is undoubtedly one of the most interesting cities in the United States and you can visit it in just one day from New York.

Alex Grande

Alex Grande

May 14, 2021 • 9 min read

Washington Day Trips from New York

One of the main avenues in Washington, D.C. | ©Jorge Alcala

The illustrious city of Washington represents the spirit of the United States with its streets and museums presided over by the Capitol. On a trip to Washington you can see, among others, the White House or the Pentagon.

1. The best tours to Washington from New York

The tour to Washington from New York is one of the best one-day experiences you can do from the Big Apple, and in fact, there are several types of tours to suit all budgets and trip lengths. I'll tell you the ones that for me, are the best:

2. Day trip to Washington from New York.

The Capitol | ©Caleb Perez
The Capitol | ©Caleb Perez

The best way to visit Washington from New York in one day:, not miss anything of the city, and learn the history of each monument with the explanation in Spanish of a professional guide is with an organized tour.

Why I like this tour

In addition to its good value for money, I recommend this activity because it includes a very complete tour of Washington with which you will get the most out of the tour.

This tour is a full day tour (between 12 and 15 hours) with round trip transportation by air-conditioned bus with WiFi. It takes about 4 hours to get to Washington from New York, and your group will consist of a maximum of about 50 people.

All entry fees are included on this tour, and you will have free time at lunchtime (which is not included in the activity) to explore at your leisure and eat where you choose. If you'd like a few recommendations on where to eat in Washington, I'll leave a few at the end!

What you will see

  • The White House
  • U.S. Capitol
  • Arlington National Cemetery
  • The Pentagon
  • National Air and Space Museum
  • Lincoln Memorial
  • Vietnam Veterans Memorial
  • Korean Veterans Memorial

3. Two-day tour to Washington from New York.

The Obelisk in the background | ©Jacob Creswick
The Obelisk in the background | ©Jacob Creswick

If you prefer to make the most of your time and combine two tours into one, the two-day Washington tour includes a visit to Philadelphia:: and is a good choice.

Why I like this tour

This is a more comprehensive tour and takes you to the main points of interest, not only in Washington, but in Philadelphia. There you will see the Liberty Bell and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, on whose stairs the famous 'Rocky' scene was filmed. This is a good way to take advantage of your trip to Washington, to get to know another of the main cities of the East Coast.

What you will see

  • The White House
  • U.S. Capitol
  • Arlington National Cemetery
  • The Pentagon
  • National Air and Space Museum
  • Lincoln Memorial
  • Vietnam Veterans Memorial
  • Korean Veterans Memorial
  • Martin Luther King Memorial
  • Liberty Bell
  • Rocky Statue
  • Amish Community

4. Four-day tour to Washington, Philadelphia and Niagara Falls.

Sunset over Washington DC | ©Casey Horner
Sunset over Washington DC | ©Casey Horner

If you have plenty of time to tour several points of interest on the East Coast of the United States, this trip is for you. In four days, you'll visit Washington, Philadelphia and Niagara Falls from New York:, seeing the most important of each place. If you are only interested in going to Niagara Falls:, you can read our article where we tell you all the secrets.

Why I like this tour

If you have four extra days on your trip to New York, this is definitely the best way to make the most of them. First, because I think this four-day tour will offer you a great contrast to what you will have seen in the Big Apple. The nature of the Falls, the history of Philadelphia and the stately spirit of Washington will seem like another world to you.

If you were to do this tour on your own, it would be impossible to fit it into such a short time, so this seems to me the most efficient way to squeeze the most out of your time.

What you will see

  • The White House
  • U.S. Capitol
  • Arlington National Cemetery
  • The Pentagon
  • National Air and Space Museum
  • Lincoln Memorial
  • Vietnam Veterans Memorial
  • Korean Veterans Memorial
  • Martin Luther King Memorial
  • Liberty Bell
  • Rocky Statue
  • Amish Community
  • Watkins Glen State Park
  • She-Qua-Ga Falls
  • Niagara Falls State Park
  • Niagara Falls (full tour)
  • Crossings Premium Outlets

5. What to see in Washington

The White House | ©Rene Deanda
The White House | ©Rene Deanda
:

Seeing Washington's major monuments is easy, as most are located inside the National Mall. As you might imagine, the main interest of these monuments is related to the political history of the United States and its presidents. Most tours follow an itinerary similar to this:

National Mall

National Mall (also known as the National Mall) is the extension that contains the Capitol, the famous Obelisk, the Lincoln Memorial, the Smithsonian Institution building, and other points of interest.

Capitol Hill and the Library of Congress

Start the day by visiting the iconic Capitol, home of the U.S. Congress, and the Library of Congress, which you are free to enter at your leisure and marvel at its spectacular interior.

U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial

You'll know this memorial statue when you see it. It depicts American soldiers raising the flag on Iwo Jima, and if you're lucky you'll see a military parade passing in front of it.

Lincoln Memorial

Located at the west end of the National Mall, the memorial dedicated to President Abraham Lincoln has been the site of numerous historically significant speeches, including Martin Luther King's famous 1963 speech.

Korean War Veterans Memorial

To the southeast of the Lincoln Memorial you will find a series of steel statues depicting a group of soldiers, arranged in a triangle shape in front of a wall with Korean War imagery.

The White House

A must-see if you take a trip to Washington. Even if you don't take a tour of the interior, you can see the unmistakable building from the outside fence (except on some occasions, such as official events).

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial.

Unveiled in 2011, the monument consists of a granite statue of the leader of the Civil Rights Movement quarried from a rock behind him, where a series of inscriptions related to Martin Luther King Jr. are located.

Arlington National Cemetery

This military cemetery is home to the remains of more than 14,000 veterans of wars as old as the American Civil War. Arlington National Cemetery is quite unique, with headstones rising above ground along a grove of trees.

6. Plan your trip to Washington from New York City

First of all, keep in mind that the round trip will take you about seven hours. If you're reading this, you know that discovering new places is always worthwhile, and the truth is that Washington is an interesting enough city overall to justify the long trip from New York.

That said, one day is enough to see the sights and buildings of interest in Washington, so some tours combine a visit to Washington with a Philadelphia tour.

Best day of the week to tour Washington from New York.

American flag at the Department of Commerce | ©Brandon Mowinkel
American flag at the Department of Commerce | ©Brandon Mowinkel

As you might imagine, it's best to visit Washington during the week and avoid Saturdays and Sundays. Specifically, the best days to do this tour are Mondays and Wednesdays, and the sights are usually less crowded after 2:00 p.m. Many of the museums and monuments close. Many of the museums and monuments are closed on holidays, so try to avoid public holidays to see everything.

Best time of the year to take a trip to Washington from New York City

Lincoln Memorial | ©Ian Hutchinson
Lincoln Memorial | ©Ian Hutchinson

If you happen to be visiting New York in spring or fall, you'll be lucky to be able to take a tour to Washington at the best time of year. Winter in Washington is quite cold, and the problem with summer is that it usually rains at least once a week and is quite hot. Undoubtedly, the best time to visit Washington is spring, as you will have the opportunity to enjoy the city full of almond blossoms.

  • Winter
  • December - March
  • Weather: Occasional blizzards
  • High 7ºC
  • Low -7ºC
  • Spring
  • March - June
  • Climate: Changeable
  • High 25ºC
  • Low -2ºC
  • Summer
  • June - August
  • Climate: Hot
  • High 28ºC
  • Minimum 13ºC
  • Autumn
  • September - November
  • Weather: Sunny
  • High 23ºC
  • Low 1ºC

9. Where to eat on your trip to Washington from New York City

Gourmet Burgers | ©Peter Dawn
Gourmet Burgers | ©Peter Dawn
:

Beware of restaurants in the more touristy areas! A meal for two can easily run up to $50. If you're on a bit of a tight budget, it's best to pack food in your backpack or look for cheaper dining options, as most tours to Washington from New York do not include food.

Some of my recommendations:

  • Pho 75 - near Arlington National Cemetery you'll find this Vietnamese restaurant, which ranks #7 of 712 on TripAdvisor.
  • Five Guys, Swizzler Burger Truck or Proper 21 - Washington is known for its all-American food and especially its burgers, so any of these options will delight any meat lover.
  • Lincoln's Waffle Shop** - another option is to have a hearty, American-style breakfast. If the combination of pancakes, bacon, and scrambled eggs makes your mouth water, this is the place for you.
  • Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken** - if doughnuts are your thing, head here and take one (or more) of these treats to go.

10. What should I take to Washington?

Another stop in Washington DC | ©Zetong Li
Another stop in Washington DC | ©Zetong Li

As a general rule, I advise you to wear comfortable clothes and shoes suitable for walking for a whole day, as even if you take public transportation you will have to walk a bit to visit each monument. Washington DC is a elegant city and its inhabitants reflect this: the style of dress is usually more smart than casual. You won't find too many people wearing flip-flops, shorts or a t-shirt, so if you don't want to look like a tourist it's best to avoid this type of dress.

Check the weather before you travel

Bearing this in mind, it is logical that if you visit the city in summer you go with an outfit as cool as possible because the temperatures are quite high. As you know, it usually rains, so it is a good idea to bring a raincoat or umbrella just in case. Winters are cold and it is rare for temperatures to go above 0º, so be prepared for some pretty extreme temperatures.

Alex's Tip

If you visit Washington during the hot season, Arlington Cemetery will be full of mosquitoes, so take repellent with you if you don't want to be massacred!

11. Last tips

Vietnam War Veterans Memorial | ©Ian Hutchinson
Vietnam War Veterans Memorial | ©Ian Hutchinson

You'll love Washington if you're interested in American politics and history, if you enjoy walking through cities full of monuments, parks and imposing squares, and if you're interested in architecture and urbanism as Washington has a somewhat unique floor plan, if you find this isn't your style, since you're in New York, try some of the hundreds of tours of New York City: that exist.

Washington with kids

And if you are visiting with children, don't worry: it is very easy to get around the city using public transportation, which is safe and quality. You won't have to walk too far and thanks to the abundance of parks and esplanades you can take a break from sightseeing when necessary.

Don't forget...

Some tips we can give you before your trip is not to carry too much cash to avoid having it stolen or lost, but keep in mind that in some restaurants and local stores credit cards are not accepted (for example, in Pho 75, you can only pay in cash). For the same reason, avoid carrying valuable belongings and leave what is not essential in your hotel or apartment.

Remember to carry your passport and be prepared to go through the occasional security check, especially at monuments and points of interest such as Arlington Cemetery. Washington DC takes security quite seriously, not least because of the political importance of the city.

Let's travel!

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