Located in Dulles, Virginia, Washington Dulles International Airport is one of Washington's three airports. It sits 26 miles from the nation's capital and has a Main Terminal designed by famous French architect Eero Saarinen that can accommodate 70 million annual passengers. When boarding, flights operate from midfield concourses A, B, C and D as well as from Z-gates that connect to the Main Terminal, totaling 139 airline gates. There are four runways that have the capacity to handle 600,000 aircraft operations each year, and after the recent construction, the airport will have two parking garages, a new airport traffic control tower and an automated mover system called Aero Train. By 2018, a 23-mile expansion of the region's Metrorail system is expected to be complete. To arrive to Washington Dulles, travelers can drive through the region's highway system via the Airport Access Highway. For business travelers and others who need to access the internet, it's useful to know that there is free Wi-Fi and charging stations throughout the airport.
When you arrive, choose from one of the 50 hotels near Washington Dulles Airport. For travelers who want complimentary shuttle service to the airport, Crowne Plaza is likely your best bet. Another popular option is Holiday Inn Dulles, which has received consistently good reviews from guests. It's comfortable for both business travelers and leisure lovers. For a more inexpensive airport hotel, look into Homestead Washington Dulles Airport, which offers instant access to flights.
Welcome to Washington, D.C.
As the capital of the U.S., Washington D.C. stands as an epicenter of world politics and American culture. The city is home to roughly 646,000 residents as of the 2012 U.S Census as well as a plethora of federal government buildings and historic monuments, making it a world-class destination for all personalities of travelers. Besides its patriotic sites, The District, as residents commonly refer to it, boasts a wealth of arts and culture, family-friendly attractions and culinary delights. Because of its location on the Potomac River between the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean, Washington D.C. brings in hot, humid summers, pleasant autumns and springs, and mild winters, with a snowfall averaging around 17 inches.
To get around the city, it's best to understand the street system. Within each of the four quadrants - northeast, southeast, southwest and northwest - numbered streets run north to south while alphabetical streets run east to east. Visitors should also utilize the D.C. Metro, a quick transportation system that offers stops near major tourist attractions and businesses. For business travelers, Washington plays host to 176 foreign embassies in addition to the headquarters of dozens of international organizations, professional associations and trade unions.
Things to Do in Washington, D.C.
The District of Columbia is the quintessential destination for U.S. history buffs and political gurus. There are countless national monuments and museums, most of which are situated around the National Mall. Be sure to visit the White House to see where the president of the U.S. lives, before making your way to the Smithsonian for treasures that range from art to space exploration. Many visitors might enjoy a guided tour to hit all the sites - the African American Civil War Memorial and Museum that honors the struggle for freedom in the U.S.; FDR Memorial, boasting four outdoor galleries; Jefferson Memorial that commemorates the nation's third president; and many more. Of course, you might want to check out the iconic Lincoln Memorial, a giant marble portrayal of Lincoln seated on a 10-foot-high base that overlooks the reflecting pool.
To soak in the arts, head to the National Portrait Gallery, a National Historic Landmark building that holds the country's only complete collection of presidential portraits outside of the White House. The National Gallery of Art is another popular site, ranked as one of the world's most impressive art museums. During the spring, you won't want to miss the most popular festival of the year, the National Cherry Blossom Festival.