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Washington, DC

The first LEED-Platinum city in the world.
The best U.S. city for parks with 140+ miles of bike lanes and paths.
Sustainability lives in Washington, DC.

Washington, DC

About Washington, DC

It’s time to discover a city unlike anywhere else, where free daytime fun leads to lavish nightlife. Explore the 2,100 acres of Rock Creek Park, which features hiking and biking trails, horseback riding and a planetarium. Visit the only Da Vinci painting in the Americas at the National Gallery of Art. Take to U Street, once known as “Black Broadway,” to savour a half-smoke at Ben’s Chili Bowl before a show at the 9:30 Club. Add views of the National Mall to your nightcap in the only place you can.

There’s only one Washington, DC

What Makes Washington, DC Sustainable

Elliott L. Ferguson, II, Destination DC President & CEO

“Washington, DC is proud to be a city committed to sustainable tourism development and sustainable practices in all that we do. As the official destination marketing organization [sic] for Washington, DC, Destination DC ensures the tourism, meetings and events industry leaves a positive social, economic and environmental legacy in the city. Through the stewardship of our member businesses, our organization [sic] secures the longevity of the city’s attractiveness to both visitors and residents by making the city a safe, clean and vibrant city for generations to come.
Our commitment to sustainability is highlighted through multiple efforts:

    • Washington, DC is one of few U.S. cities that submits to the Global Destination Sustainability Index annually to assess our practices, learn insights and explore areas for improvement.
    • DC’s Mayor Muriel Bowser’s Sustainable DC 2.0 initiative aims to make DC the “healthiest, greenest, most livable city.”
    • Destination DC’s Sustainability District program recognizes [sic] local businesses that are focusing on sustainability to maximize their impact on the destination.

There’s only one Washington, DC and we are committed to continuously learning and growing to ensure tourism will have a positive impact on our destination. We hope to see you soon.”

– Elliott L. Ferguson, II, Destination DC President and CEO

See it for yourself

Washington, DC Gallery

Washington, DC

Quick Facts

When to Visit Sustainably

Spring is the most popular season for visitors to Washington, DC, for the National Cherry Blossom Festival, when the National Mall is covered in a blanket of pale pink cherry blossom and every corner makes the perfect instagram shot.
Summer is also a popular time to visit with long, warm days perfect for exploring the Smithsonian museums and local parks
In winter you can enjoy warming dinners in locally-owned restaurants, and wander through the snow-lined city streets.
The weather is most mild between March and May, and September and November, making them popular months to visit.

Suggested Season

To explore the USA's Capital without the crowds and without contributing to the strain on local resources - we'd recommend visiting in the winter months.

Time Zone

Eastern Standard Time (UTC -5)

How to Get There: Fast / Slow

Daily direct flights from the UK into Washington Dulles and Baltimore Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airports are available.
If you are already stateside and want to travel overland into Washington, DC, Amtrak offer a rail service, and there are national bus lines that go to the capital.

Currency

US Dollar

Tipping Etiquette

Tipping is voluntary; gratuities are not automatically added to the bill, except in some cases for large groups. Typical tips are between 15 & 20% for wait staff, 15% for taxi drivers, and $1 per bag for doormen, skycaps, and porters.

Your Peace of Mind

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Sustainable Highlights

  • Washington, DC is a LEED Leader and Sustainable Steward

    Washington, DC was named the world’s first LEED Platinum City in 2017, in part due to the city having the most LEED-certified buildings in the U.S., according to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

    LEED is the most widely used green building rating system in the world. LEED for Cities was launched in 2016 and enables cities to measure and communicate performance, focusing on outcomes from ongoing sustainability efforts across an array of metrics, including energy, water, waste, transportation and human experience.

    In 2022, Washington, DC was ranked the 5th Greenest State in the United States (WalletHub), and the third most ‘future-focused’ city in the US based on 8 sustainability metrics (FinanceBuzz).

    The American University is the first urban campus in the United States to achieve carbon neutrality (2018). Seven local universities have significant credentials in sustainability from courses offered to connections to industry and key policy institutes.

    Through the Sustainable DC Plan, the District has committed to sending zero waste to landfill and reducing waste generated by 15% by 2032.

    Washington, DC is the first city in the USA to establish a ‘Green Bank’ that funds sustainability projects across the city, providing employment and advances in sustainability tactics and technology.

  • Green Places and Spaces

    Washington, DC has over 5.7 million square feet of green roofs installed, making the District one of the top cities for green roofs, which provide stormwater management, cooling and more. The largest green roof in DC is the Smithsonian Gardens’ Enid A. Haupt Garden. The National Museum of Asian Art, the National Museum of African Art and several other buildings are underneath.

    On top of this, the city also houses 7,800 acres of parkland – the most park space among the most populous cities in the US!

    When viewed from above, 37% of Washington DC is covered by trees, providing a canopy that brings cooler temperatures in the summer months, and 24% of the land in DC is reserved for parks!

    Washington, DC’s environmental friendliness has a lot to do with its green space, as home to the National Park Service which operates various hiking trails, Memorial Parks, National Mall, Rock Creek Park, Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park and more. In May 2022, the Trust for Public Land rated Washington, DC the best big city park system in the USA for the second consecutive year.

    From Rock Creek Park to the Potomac River and National Harbor, there are plenty of places to connect with nature in DC, whether you want to get out on the water, have a picnic on the grass, or wander through the trees.

  • Sustainable Hotels, Responsible Restaurants and Eco-Friendly Catering

    The term “farm-to-table” is more than just a catchphrase in Washington. Many DC restaurants have expanded their sustainability awareness with biodynamic agriculture, local farming and more that goes far beyond the kitchen. All of the delicious farm-to-table restaurants in Farmers Restaurant Group – Founding Farmers, Farmers Fishers Bakers, and Farmers & Distillers – are LEED-certified and have in-house recycling and composting programs that keep 90% of waste out of landfills.

    Bresca, a contemporary bistro, has joined ZeroFoodprint in an effort to fight climate change by going carbon neutral. The Right Proper Brewing Company is run completely on solar power, producing almost all the company’s consumed electricity. The company also uses LED lights in the tasting rooms and production facilities and gives spent grain away for free to local farmers.

  • Walkability and Transport

    Washington, DC is the first jurisdiction in North America to launch a bike-share system which now has more than 7,000 bikes, 1,000 electric bikes and more than 700 Capital Bikeshare stations. The city currently offers 30 miles of protected bike lanes!

    The city has adopted goals to transition to a 100% zero-emissions bus fleet by 2045. As an alternative to traditional diesel fuel, buses that run on compressed natural gas (CNG) produce roughly 45% fewer hydrocarbons. In Washington, DC, more than 1,400 buses operated by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) run on alternative fuel that is less harmful to the environment, including CNG, advanced technology diesel fuel, and ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel.

    In addition, the DC Circulator costs just $1 (with free Wi-Fi) for all riders along six routes designed for easy-on, easy-off access at points of interest and popular neighbourhoods throughout the District. The Circulator services Adams Morgan, Dupont Circle, Georgetown, Woodley Park, U Street and Capitol Hill.

    Transitioning to zero-emission technology requires more than just new buses. Washington, DC will also invest in facility and infrastructure upgrades beginning with the January 2023 groundbreaking of its Northern Bus Garage Reconstruction Project which will become a 100% zero-emission facility upon reopening. The garage is currently being designed and built to accommodate a fleet of 150 electric buses.

Washington, DC

Where in the World?

3 days of Favourites in the USA's Capital

  • Day 1: The National Mall

    Morning:
    The National Mall, home to many of the museums of the Smithsonian Institution, is a great place to start your day. See the magnificent jewels, dinosaurs and mammals on display at the National Museum of Natural History and the stories, arts and crafts at the National Museum of the American Indian. And it’s all free of charge. The museums also offer free tours to groups who reserve in advance.

    Afternoon:

    The Mall is home to a host of other museums, including the National Gallery of Art, where the U.S.’s only Leonardo Da Vinci painting hangs, while the National Archives, which houses the original Constitution and Declaration of Independence, is a must for any American history buff.

    Evening:

    Start your evening with dinner at Ethiopic on H Street NE, thanks to the vibrant Ethiopian community in Washington, DC, this cuisine is a must-try when visiting the city. Plus, this is just a 15-minute walk away from Union Station, the departure point for tours of the monuments at moonlight offered by Old Town Trolley. For something a bit quirkier, Unlimited Biking and Capital Segway Tours (for ages 16 & up) also offer evening tours in season departing from other points in the city. Even if you’ve made the rounds at all the monuments and memorials by day, there’s something extra special and magical about a nighttime tour.

  • Day 2: Take your pick!

    Morning:

    Head to U Street for breakfast at a DC institution, Ben’s Chili Bowl. Or, if you’re visiting on a weekend, visit the colourful farmers’ markets at Union Market or Eastern Market on Capitol Hill. The blueberry buckwheat pancakes at Eastern Market are a local favourite. After breakfast, tour the Capitol Hill neighbourhood and explore the U.S. Capitol, Library of Congress and Supreme Court. The neighbourhood is also home to the Folger Shakespeare Library, which houses the largest collection of Shakespeare memorabilia outside of England. For lunch, take the Metro to Chinatown, where you’ll find an array of options on 7th Street, near the Capital One Arena. Or feast on fresh noodles and flavorful soups in Chinatown. And don’t forget to snap a photo of the ornate Friendship Arch that looms over H Street.

    Afternoon:

    Go undercover at the International Spy Museum, where you can crack codes, take on covers and even lead a covert operation. Or stop by the National Portrait Gallery and Smithsonian American Art Museum to see portraits of some of the country’s most famous historical figures. Animal lovers may also wish to pay a visit to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, home to famous giant pandas, cheetahs, tigers and other exotic species.

    Evening:

    Discover DC’s theatre scene. The Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage offers free performances many nights, along with a host of ticketed performances from opera to musicals to jazz. Other theatres, such as the Shakespeare Theatre Company, Arena Stage, Warner Theatre and National Theatre, regularly present familiar classics. For something a bit more contemporary, catch a show at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company.

  • Day 3: Explore the neighbourhoods

    Morning:

    Start your morning in one of DC’s prized neighbourhood attractions, like the Anacostia Community Museum, The Phillips Collection, Washington National Cathedral, Tudor Place or Hillwood Museum and Gardens, then head to Georgetown for fantastic shopping and sightseeing in a charming historic setting.

    Afternoon:

    Sports fans can watch the Washington Nationals, Washington Wizards, Washington Mystics, Washington Capitals or D.C. United in action at various venues around town. You can also get in on the action yourself with miles of trails in Rock Creek Park. In addition to trails, the public park has a planetarium, horseback riding and lovely spots for a picnic.

    Evening:

    If your group is looking for nightlife, head to the U Street neighbourhood for nightlife hot spots or live jazz music or Adams Morgan to experience DC’s eclectic, international scene. DC’s up-and-coming nightlife area, the H Street NE features a number of funky clubs and restaurants. For something slightly more low-key, DC boasts a number of wine bars to get your vino fix.

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Sustainable Stays

Want to see the sorts of Sustainable Stays we offer? From hotels and resorts to lodges, cabins and B&Bs we ensure that the properties we feature have been considered on a range of factors which contribute toward their overall sustainability. Learn more and view our suggested Sustainable Stays.

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See it for yourself

Washington, DC Gallery

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