A pair of comfortable walking shoes is your must-pack item. This is a walking town, and if you fail to pack for it, your feet will pay. Business attire tends to be fairly conservative, but around college campuses and in hip neighborhoods like U Street Corridor, H Street, NoMa, or Adams Morgan, styles are more eclectic. While you shouldn't show up at upscale restaurants in a Hawaiian shirt and flip-flops, the dress code takes in a wide range of the spectrum. Even at the Kennedy Center you'll see a mix of sparkly long dresses and jeans.

Winters are cold, with nighttime temperatures in the 20s and daytime highs in the 40s and 50s. Although the city doesn't normally get much snow, when it does, many streets won't be plowed for days, so if you're planning a visit for winter, bring a warm coat and hat and shoes that won't be ruined by snow and salt. Summers are muggy and very hot, with temperatures in the 80s and 90s and high humidity. Plan on cool, breathable fabrics, a hat for the sun, a sweater for overzealous air-conditioning, and an umbrella for afternoon thunderstorms. Fall and spring are the most enjoyable, with temperatures in the 60s and occasional showers. Pants, lightweight sweaters, and light coats are appropriate.

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Fodor's Washington, D.C.: with Mount Vernon and Alexandria

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