The U.S. capitol is beautiful in its own right. Then add the fact that nearly every monument, museum and gallery is free, and you’ve got a winning combination for budget travelers.
What to see: Washington, D.C. is possibly the greatest spot for sightseeing in the country. In a (long) day you can see the White House, Congress, the Jefferson and Lincoln memorials, the Washington Monument and the World War II memorial. The next day, head out to Arlington Cemetery and watch the changing of the guard.
What to skip: The Smithsonian museums offer interesting exhibits (for free), but with so many other attractions you may want to skip this one.
What to eat: D.C. has several districts with great food. Georgetown offers a collection of British pubs, while the Adams Morgan district serves up bohemian dishes and tapas. Check out Madame’s Organs, a soul-food restaurant with arguably the world’s best macaroni and cheese (trust me on this).