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Explore Washington, D.C. in the Summer

With an abundance of museums, monuments and landmarks, it’s always a great time to visit Washington, D.C. And if you venture a little farther, the region offers even more attractions.


The Smithsonian Institution’s museums are a terrific source of fascinating and wide-ranging exhibits. With free admission, visiting at least one is a must-see on any vacation in our nation’s capital.


Shows on display through the summer include “Superheroes,” at the National Museum of American History, featuring comic books, memorabilia, costumes and props, including George Reeves’ Superman costume from the 1950s television series. At the National Museum of African American History and Culture, you can see books that were part of singer Ella Fitzgerald’s personal library. At the Natural History Museum, you can check out an exhibit of stunning nature photography.


The Smithsonian Folklife Festival, established in 1967, is a cultural highlight of the summer in Washington, covering a different location or topic every year. This year’s festival, which takes place June 29-30 on the National Mall, focuses on the power of music to entertain, educate, inspire and build community. Performances will take place both days, including a June 30 concert honoring the legacy of folksinger Pete Seeger.


Washington’s International Spy Museum reopened in May in a new and larger location, with videos, artifacts, interactive games and gadgets that portray the history — and tricks — of espionage.


This is your last chance to visit the Newseum, which is closing at the end of 2019. Test your skills in the NBC News Interactive Newsroom, see how newspapers covered historic events, learn about the challenges journalists face around the world and check out exhibits like “First Dogs: American Presidents and Their Pets.”


Georgetown is known for its restaurants, boutiques and nightlife. But this neighborhood of cobblestone streets and historic homes is also one of the most beautiful parts of Washington. You can get a glimpse of its rich history by touring the Tudor Place mansion and gardens. Built by a granddaughter of Martha Washington and completed in 1816, Tudor Place is one of the nation’s few historic urban estates that still features most of its original landscape.


For a break from the city, rent a car and take a day trip to National Harbor, Maryland. It’s about a 20-minute drive south of Washington. The resort along the Potomac River offers more than 160 shops and 40 restaurants, in addition to entertainment like the MGM National Harbor casino. This summer’s special events include the Universoul Circus, which performs daily from June 20 to July 28. To get out on the water, rent a kayak or paddle board. Take a spin on the Capital Wheel, whose gondola cars lift passengers 180 feet in the air for stunning views. National Harbor’s location on the east side of the Potomac also makes it a great place to catch the sunset.


For help planning a trip to Washington, D.C. and the surrounding area, contact your travel advisor or connect with one at Travel Leaders / Destinations Unlimited.