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Despite the likelihood that you've already visited Washington, D.C. during a school trip while growing up, our nation's capital is home to a plethora of sites and activities to warrant a second look. Below we've listed several deals on accommodations, tips on free activities to keep your wallet happy, and some discounted food to sate your appetite at the end of the day.
Let's start off with an inexpensive flight via Spirit Airlines, which offers round trip fares for as low as $14 each way, or even $9 for $9 Fare Club members ($59.95 per year). That's less than most hostels charge for a night's stay, so it's likely affordable (and much more pleasant).
For your stay, we can recommend a few nights at the Churchill Hotel (from $71 per night, a low by $20), an upscale location at Dupont Circle. There, you're steps away from an interesting visit to the Woodrow Wilson House, Washington's only presidential museum. Or perhaps you'd like to view times for musicals and other plays at Ford's Theatre.
Other nearby housing possibilities include The Normandy Hotel (from $89 per night via code "TRAVELTICK", a low by $54) and The Dupont Circle Hotel (from $109 per night via coupon code "TRAVELTICK", a low by $60), the latter of which has an option for Level Nine, a "hotel within a hotel" that provides floor-to-ceiling windows, better culinary fare, and one of the most personal experiences in the area. Regardless of where you may stay, D.C. is luckily a fairly small city; most accommodations are extremely accessible to the usual major attractions, including the famed Smithsonian Museums, Washington Monument, Vietnam War Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, the Capitol building, and more.
One of the best things about our nation's capital is that there are so many nearly-free or completely free things to do, and many activities are within walking distance from one another. Every evening at 6 pm there are free performances at The Kennedy Center's Millenium Stage (near any hotel at Dupont Circle), with pieces from the National Symphony Orchestra, gospel groups, Jazz, or even poetry slams. You can listen to storytelling or view dance festivals at the National Museum of the American Indian, make money or see it made at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, and even see the stars in Rock Creek Park, the only planetarium operated by the National Park Service (read: free).
If you've now walked more in one day than you did in the past week, your stomach might be growling. Luckily, cheap fare is available at Levi's Port Soul Food Café, where you can get a soul food meal for two (for $16, $19 off) to really hit the spot. Or, go for upscale comfort food at Kitchen 2404, where you get get $30 worth of Mississippi-style barbecue, Southern-inspired cocktails, and creative dinner options (for $15, $15 off). If you're just in the mood for a few drinks and apps, head to the Topaz Bar, a Washingtonian Editor's Pick and a top-10-ranked "Place for a Drink" by Gayot, where you can get a discount on four signature drinks and two small plates (for $35, $29 off).
If Washington, D.C. isn't on your upcoming travel wish list, be sure to check out our weekly roundup of the top travel deals from the past week for additional discounted flights, hotels, and vacation packages.