Washington is the smallest yet most diverse state west of the Rocky Mountains. Combine spectacular snowy glaciers and towering volcanic peaks, with rugged Pacific coastlines of secluded beaches and ancient rainforests. Hike, ski, surf and whale watch all in the same trip! Swing through the North Cascades, the San Juan Islands, the Columbia River Gorge, Mt. St. Helens, Olympic and Mt. Rainier National Parks. Take an auto tour of the high desert, vineyards or apple orchards! Lovely towns and modern cities like Seattle hold friendly people, cultural attractions, world-famous restaurants, Washington resorts and numerous entertainment options. Explore marvelous combinations of possibilities available in this extraordinary state.
Washington DC's primary industry after the federal government is Washington tourism. Washington tourism is one of the state's largest employers. Washington tourism plays a great role in economy.
If civic politics is the American religion, then Washington DC is the nation's holy city. White houses, capital and pentagonal buildings, supreme courts - these monumental Lego shrines are rarefied with real power.
To some, Washington means white marble, verdant lawns, and the colourful, ritualistic pageantry of American politics: the Capitol dome gleaming against an azure sky; limousine processions on Inauguration Day; the mournful, sombre, stately changing of the guard at Arlington National Cemetery.
The most comfortable times to visit Washington are in spring (March to May) and fall (September to November). The official tourist season runs from April through September. It's a good idea to buy advance tickets to popular attractions during this period because the queues can be monstrous.
Summers are hot and humid, especially in July and August. If you can bear the heat, this can be a good time to visit, as business travel to DC slumps and accommodation rates fall accordingly. Snowman aficionados may get a kick out of winter. If you plan on being in town for the city's biggest events - the Cherry Blossom Festival in March, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in June and Independence Day in July - book ahead.
Sightseeing in DC is a steady diet of museums and monuments. History, ethnography, flora, fauna, antiques and ancestral bones - anything you can display in a glass case, commemorate on a plaque, or stick in a cage - is available free of charge to the visitor.
Delivering the city from bureaucratic blandness, Jackie K kick-started a trend towards diversity. Today, Washington is a smorgasbord of ethnically varied food. Each community - Vietnamese, Salvadoran, East African, Caribbean or Middle Eastern - brings something tantalising to the table.
Washington tourism is bread and butter, so the city offers the complete range of accommodation, from dormitory-hostels to five-star historic hotels. It has the predictable chains, but it also boasts a wealth of small guesthouses, boutique hotels and expensive inns, often in charming areas.
Serious retailers may be unimpressed, but shoppers with a taste for kitsch love Washington - from FBI ballcaps to offbeat Americana (stars-and-stripes underpants, anyone?), DC shops sell the ultimate in memorabilia. Intriguing flea markets and fine bookshops are more tasteful options.
For a relatively small city, DC has a staggering number of clubs and bars. There's a scene for everyone, from buttoned-down professionals to go-go boys, from punks to Euro-hipsters. There's enough going on in the cherry blossom city to have those puritan Fathers turning in their mausoleums.