America’s capital is much more than the politics that fuel it. DC’s wide avenues, parks and green spaces, and free national museums and memorials make it especially deserving of a weekend (or week!) away.
Spring and fall are lovely in DC, while the summer is sweltering. The spring is spectacular when the cherry blossom trees are in bloom along the River Basin and Jefferson Memorial.
If staying for a few days, purchase a SmarTrip card to use the Metro and bus system. Metro fares are discounted with the card.
Nearly all of the Smithsonian Museums are free!
Ben’s Chili Bowl A historic spot serving up late night chili and hot dogs. Obama is a fan!
Perry’s Book the Sunday drag brunch.
Thai X-ing Traditional Thai food in a charming row house on Florida Avenue.
The Blaguard Local dive in Adams Morgan that is one of the best pubs in the world.
Brixton Three-story British style pub with a roof deck.
Nellie’s Sports Bar Late night fun.
Botanic Garden Smithsonian greenhouse next to the Capital.
Capital Crescent Trail Walk or bike this 11 mile trail along the historic C & O Canal.
Capital Building and White House Tours Book through your local congressional office.
Eastern Market Local produce, meat and art in Capital Hill.
Holocaust Memorial Museum A national, free museum where visitors can learn about genocide, the Holocaust and remember its victims. A very moving experience.
Meridian HIll Park A terraced, urban park with statues and fountains.
The National Mall Tour the different memorials here and do not miss the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial and Jefferson Memorial.
Nationals Park Catch a home baseball game at the Nationals’ stadium near Navy Yard.
National Museum of Natural History The jewel of the Smithsonian museum network. The Hope Diamond is on display!
National Portrait Gallery Smithsonian in the Penn Quarter.
Newseum Interactive, seven-story museum promoting freedom of speech and the American First Amendment. It takes visitors through the evolution of communication. This museum is private and not part of the Smithsonian network.
Rock Creek Park Hike or bike through this park running through the heart of the capital.
DC is relatively small and there are many good neighborhoods. To be close to food, shopping and nightlife, look for a hotel in Georgetown, Dupont or Penn Quarter (though it will come at a cost).
For a more authentic, local experience, we recommend staying at an Airbnb in Adams Morgan or Capital Hill. Adams Morgan is a diverse, bohemian area while Capital Hill is close to the National Mall and museums.