My first trip to Washington DC was a school trip in 8th grade. I stayed in a hotel room with 3 girlfriends without parents for the first time! Hey o! Needless to say it was a bit of a boy-crazed weekend! But that’s not to say I didn’t learn anything. I have fond memories of seeing the White House for the first time, doing a scavenger hunt at the Smithsonian, and sitting in the theater where Abe Lincoln was shot. It was incredible to learn about history this way rather than from a book!
My mom gave me a camera to use on the trip and 20 rolls of film (pre-digital camera era). I took most of my pictures from the bus that took us from monument to monument. When I got my pictures developed you couldn’t see a thing! They were all blurry because I had taken them while the bus was moving! ha! Let’s just say my photography has come a long way since!
I’ve visited DC a few times since then and last year Mike signed up for the Marine Corps marathon which was a great excuse to scope out the city again. Recently I’ve had a few people email for tips on what to see in DC, so I thought it was about time to put together a little guide for those of you visiting for the first time. DC is pretty easy to get around, so you should be able to see a good chunk of this city in just a weekend. Without further ado, here is Traveling Chic’s guide for Washington DC.
Have a hearty breakfast at Founding Farmers and gear up for a lot of walking.
Spend the morning on a “Monumental walk.” Head over to the National Mall, see the Washington Monument, the WWII Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and many more. You can find a quick overview of most of the monuments here.
If you prefer you can join a walking tour, bus tour, or even ride on a segway to see everything.
It’s also fun to see the monuments at night, so you could try the Monuments by Moonlight tour if that interests you.
For lunch stop at Old Ebbitt Grill it’s a little touristy and a little pricey, but it feels like a place you’d lunch at if you worked in the White House… maybe that’s because it’s only steps away! Be sure to make a reservation. Or for a cheaper lunch check out one of the many ‘& pizza‘ locations around town. One of my favs!
If you didn’t see President Obama at lunch, be sure to walk by 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. and say hi!
If you need a little rest head back to your hotel, otherwise make your way across town to Georgetown. My favorite spot in the city!
Georgetown is a historic neighborhood with great shopping, tons of restaurants, and adorable townhouses. It’s also home to Georgetown University.
There are plenty of bars to explore in the area if you’re making a night out of it, or head home early to rest up for another busy day!
Head over to DuPont Circle for coffee and a picturesque stroll. There are a number of embassies in the area that you can walk by. When you’ve had your fill check out the Capitol Hill neighborhood and pop in or walk by the US Capitol, the Library of Congress, and the Supreme Court.
For a quick lunch there are a few Shake Shacks around the city and this one is right by the Spy museum.
After lunch check out one or two of the many museums DC has to offer. Some of my favorites include the International spy museum, Newseum, and the Holocaust Museum as well as the Smithsonian – National Museum of American History!
If you want to see the Declaration of Independence then head to the US National Archives. Be prepared to wait in a long line.
If museums aren’t your thing check out Ford’s Theatre (where Lincoln was shot), join a Bike and Roll tour, head over to Arlington Cemetery to see the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, visit Old Town in Alexandria, or go see the Washington Nationals, Washington Wizards, Washington Mystics, Washington Capitals or D.C. United play.
I’ve had a fun dinner at Le Diplomate, but there are so many great restaurants in town. One of my good girlfriends lives in DC, so I hit her up for a few dinner and nightlife options. Her recommendations include: Barcelona if you’re in the mood for a wine bar. Teddy and the Bully Bar for drinks or food. Masa 14 for yummy dinner and cocktails! And the Dacha Beer Garden for a fun atmosphere!
There is no shortage of nightlife in DC! From clubs, to jazz, to dive bars, the city has it all! If you’re hoping to see a performance, check out what’s playing at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts.