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Washington D.C 1 day itinerary in 2024

Lincoln memorial Washington d.c


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It is freezing to spend time in the American Capital during winter! But, coming directly from Honolulu as we did, dressing for the weather is essential (and so I found out the hard way, no socks equals freezing to death). So here is what we did in Washington, D.C., in a day.

Things you should know before you go


Check ivisa regarding visa requirements. Ivisa’s quick and easy system is an efficient way to organise your required visas online. It is the best way to ensure you aren’t caught looking silly when you arrive at immigration.


SafetyWing is the world’s first International Travel Medical Insurance developed to meet the needs of entrepreneurs and remote workers travelling or living abroad worldwide. I can not recommend travel medical insurance enough! For those who are going to be away for long periods, live and work abroad or are on a short vacation.

washington dc

Weather in Washington D.C

In Washington D.C, the summers are warm and muggy, the winters are freezing, and it can be partly cloudy all year round. Over the year, the temperature typically varies from -1°c to 31°c and is rarely below -8°c or above 35°c.

Car hire

When hiring a car, it is easy to book online with Discover Cars, easy to use, and available in all major cities worldwide.

Washington DC

Getting to Washington D.C-

Driving – Driving from N.Y.C. to Washington DC takes approximately 6 hours, and although this is a relatively easy drive, winter can complicate the journey.

Train – From N.Y.C. to  Washington, D.C, can be a better option in winter. If you take the Acela, the train will take an average of 2 hours and 56 minutes, while the Northeast Regional will take about 3 hours and 30 minutes. 

Bus – There are many options to Washington D.C via bus, which is the most affordable route. Many options, such as BestBus and Megabus, have many daily departures. The journey can take between 4 and 5 hours, depending on the bus company.

Flights – There are no direct flights to Washington, DC, from Singapore, so your best bet is to stop in New York and then fly down. The flight time is approximately 1. hour 20, and American Airlines, Delta and United all fly direct daily from New York.

Washington DC travel

Hotel recommendation for Washington D.C

Marriott Hotel

If you aren’t already signed up for a hotel loyalty program, here is the time to do so; we love the Marriott chain for many reasons.

1- The point system is much more generous than other hotel chains; we also have a membership.

2- They often offer members specials and free services such as parking and access to the executive lounge (be mindful that not all lounges allow children under 12).

3-They have many hotel selections for all price ranges to fit any traveller’s budget.

The view from our hotel room was so beautiful at night, with the location (walking distance to the Whitehouse) and the bed giving me the best night’s sleep I have ever had (the jet-lagged helped as well).  

Washington DC


If you are like us and do not have the luxury of time, then a day tour is the way. There are many sites to see; one day isn’t enough to explore the place yourself. Our group was tiny, which was excellent, and the tour guide was somewhat knowledgeable (the thick accent was a little hard to understand at times, though).

The tour group we used was Zohery, which we booked through Get your guide online. There are many other options, but we went for the introductory Washington D.C. tour. Unfortunately, there was a little confusion with the pickup time, which saw us waiting in the lobby for much longer than we had hoped.

Be sure to email them and confirm the pickup time before the day of the tour.

zohery tours Washington D.C

Research for Washington D.C

Below is a list of books to read or shows to watch before you go; if you are like me, I do a lot of research before we travel.

  1. Night at the Museum 
  2. Frommer’s EasyGuide to Washington, D.C.D.C. 2017
  3. The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr
  4. Scandal 
  5. Criminal Minds

Washington D.C


Lincoln Memorial

For those who love history, then this is a great place to start; learning about what President Lincoln did for his country, mixed with a large memorial, makes this a great place to visit. However, if it is about visiting because you have seen the monument in a movie or two, you will not regret attending. The Lincoln Memorial is within walking distance of the Vietnam Veteran Memorial and the Korean War Veteran Memorial, both worth visiting. Behind the Memorial, you will find the Arlington National Cemetery; however, from the top of the staircase, you will find a great view of the Washington Monument and Capitol Hill. 


Martin Luther King Jr Memorial

This monument was incredibly moving. If you walk along the inscription wall and read his words of wisdom, you can understand why so many people stood up and listened to what he had to say. This Memorial is relatively new, built in 2011, but I believe it was a long time coming. You will find a wall quotation such as “Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope” from his I had a dream speech back in August 1963. You will find this Memorial within walking distance of Franklin Delano Roosevelt (F.D.R.F.D.R.) Memorial, which is also moving in its design.

Washington DC

The National Wall isn’t just for American history buffs; it is for everyone. You will not walk away without the feeling that Washington, D.C., has so much history, and you can not help but be moved by it. There is a lot to do and see in and around this area. So take your time and enjoy it (even when the weather is so cold you can not feel your hands).

american flag

Arlington Cemetery

It is hard to explain the feeling you get when you enter this cemetery; with as many as 400,000 graves, it is incredible to see in person. When walking around and reading the sides of the Marine Corps War Memorial, it is hard to believe that many wars have been fought. The monument itself is huge and was built in the ’50s. It is hard to believe that this was copied from a film in the 40s of real Marines.


The Whitehouse in Washington D.C

I wish I had taken my camera with me the night before, as the daylight does not give it justice. During the day, big crowds make taking an unobstructed photo difficult. However, at night the Christmas tree is set up beautifully, and the area with the other Christmas Trees representing the fifty states, along with the decorations and train sets, is breathtaking. 



If you want to see Washington, D.C., at your own pace, then the hop-on hop-off bus is a great way to do it! See below for more places that might interest you, especially if you have a few days to take it all in. Purchase your ticket here

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the best of washington dc

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. I hope this post has given you the information you need. If you have any recommendations, tips or advice, I would love for you to share them in the comment section below!

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  • Paula Barreca Barnes

    So 17 years ago, my husband and I set off with our little family in tow, embarking on a short-term assignment in Taiwan. Although without any knowledge of expat life or the Taiwanese culture, we took the chance and decided this would be an exciting little adventure; little did we know it changed the direction of our lives forever.

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