Best Layover City in the US: Washington, DC

If you have wanderlust to explore the globe but live in a smaller market, you don’t have to fret! Living in Miami gives us access to the best routes (and prices) to South America, but not necessarily to Europe, Africa, or the rest of the world.

We have found that some of the best travel deals often originate from Washington, DC (IAD or neighboring BWI). As such, we have made several “day” vacations in Washington, DC before departing for our international destination.

Washington, DC is a wonderful city to explore for very little money. It offers an insight into almost every culture around the world and the world class dining to match! Here's our take on the best layover city in the US: Washington, DC.

Book Your International Flight from either Dulles International (IAD) or Baltimore Washington International (BWI)

Some of our favorite sites to find deals include:

Getting to Washington, DC

We love to book domestic flights from FLL to BWI on Southwest Airlines. Southwest offers nonstop routes and great values (often $59/each way). If you have a Companion Pass, you also benefit from only having to buy only one ticket as your companion will fly for free!

In addition to the low fares and nonstop routes, Southwest also offers two huge advantages over other domestic carriers:

No Change Fees – in case of a change to your International flights or for any other reason, you can change your Southwest flight or cancel all together without paying any change/cancellation fees (other airlines charge exorbitant rates)

Two Checked Bags – if you’re going on a long trip and have a lot of luggage, you can bring along two bags per person at no extra charge; we are not aware of any other domestic airline which offers this perk!

*We are not compensated by Southwest for any information shared in this blog; we are simply sharing our own positive experiences.

Things to do to enjoy your layover in Washington, DC

Washington Monument

Being one of the most iconic landmarks in Washington DC, this is a quintessential photo opportunity and a great place for an afternoon picnic (depending on the temperature).

While construction is currently ongoing, you can check this website to see when the elevator tours will be re-opened if you’d like to visit the very top.


Lincoln Memorial

Whether you’re a Planet of the Apes fan, a history buff, or neither, the Lincoln Memorial is another wonderful picture stop and somewhere you must visit to learn and celebrate the life of America’s most celebrated President.



National Mall

Take in World-Class Museums, Art, Gardens, and a Zoo for FREE! There are amazing institutions that don’t charge a cent.

Cherry Blossom Festival

If you’re lucky enough to be in Washington, DC during the Cherry Blossom Festival (mid-March to mid-April), do not miss this beautiful gift from Japan.

Shenandoah National Park

If you have the time and appetite for adventure, enjoy a scenic drive or trails through this pristine park. We were there in April and saw a mama bear with her three little cubs enjoying the beautiful Spring Day! Shenandoah National Park is a great for family outings and all age groups.

The food scene for the best layover city

Toki Underground

For the love of ramen, there’s no better place! Check out this funky, hipster joint and enjoy some top-notch noodles during your visit.

Ben’s Chili Bowl

Who doesn’t love chili on a cool, brisk day or even in mid-summer? This spot is often frequented by celebrities and there is sure to be a wait, but it’s definitely worth your patience!


Be adventurous, try something different! Rasika offers a fusion of old world Indian flavors blended with modern flare and design. This place is sure to impress your date and create a newfound love for the far east.


This place lives up to it’s name! According the website, Agora translates to “a gathering place” in the Aegean Region. The Mediterranean gem is definitely very hip, happening, and sure to draw a crowd so make sure you have reservations.


Potbelly’s is THE sandwich spot! Whenever we are in a city which has a Potbelly’s (not in South Florida yet), we make the time to enjoy some of our all-time favorite sub sandwiches.

If you’re trying for the first time with a partner, we highly recommend going halves on a Chicken Salad on wheat and a PB&J on wheat. You will not be disappointed!

We would love to hear about your favorite spots in Washington DC! Please share your suggestions and recommendations below: