5 Cool Things to Do and See in DC

(click the red links for web sites and more information)

An introductory word: almost all of the District is walkable from your hotel. Walking is one of the best ways to see any city, and we both love trekking DC when we’re here. 

#1: The Mall and Pennsylvania Avenue Area (the BIG ONE!)

Since you’ll be staying in this general area, we recommend starting Day 1 exploring the heart of it all. It’s a long hike, but you can walk this entire route. DC also has bike share stations all along the way. Sites to see:

Start at the White House. The best view is from President’s Park on the other side of the White House from Hay Adams. Stop in the White House Visitor Center.

From there, head down Pennsylvania Ave towards the Capitol. Be sure to make a stop at the Old Post Office in the Waldorf Astoria Hotel and take the (free!) elevator to the top for the best views of the City.

Continue on to the Capitol and stop in at the Visitor Center

When you exit the Visitor Center, the Supreme Court and the Library of Congress buildings are right across the street if you want a photo op there. It’s worth a peek inside the Library of Congress. It’s ASTOUNDING.

From there, head around to the other side of the Capitol and take in the same views of the National Mall and monuments that incoming Presidents get on inauguration day. It’s an inspiring sight! 

You could spend all day in any of the museums, so pick and choose the ones you most want to visit. We highly recommend the National Portrait Gallery where you’ll see world-famous works by American artists, presidential portraits, and a ton more. Plus, it’s a total Zen experience.

Work your way down to the Washington Monument and if you have time, take the trip to the top. There’s always a long wait here. Afterwards, head over to the World War II Memorial. It’s pretty cool. 

From there, as you’re looking towards the Lincoln Memorial, head down the right hand side of the reflecting pool to get there. Along the way, take a detour to the Vietnam Veterans War Memorial.

After you get your fill of the Lincoln Memorial (and you REALLY should plan to come back at night), head back towards the other side of the reflecting pool and follow the signs to these memorials:

From there, bear to your right and walk around the Tidal Basin (beneath the cherry trees that are all the rage in April) on your right towards the Jefferson MemorialAgain, both these are super cool at night!

And from there, just follow the walking paths back towards the Washington Memorial to get back to the main Mall area.

TIP: You might want to do all the museums and government buildings during the day when they’re open and save the monuments and memorials for evening. The area is well patrolled and there are always other visitors there.

#2: Capitol Hill neighborhood

Head up here on Saturday or Sunday for brunch follow by a visit to the Eastern Market. Prepare for your mind to be blown by the Market.

Brunch suggestionMr. Henry’s (the place we told you about where Roberta Flack got her start). It’s a bit rustic, but the brunch is great and you can get pitchers of mimosas! Sit on the street side outdoor patio—the people watching is great.

Travel tip: parking can be a bear here. If you feel comfortable getting on the Metro, Eastern Market Station is only a couple of stops away from your hotel.

#3: Adams Morgan Neighborhood

This is the place for all things DC nightlife. Our favorite watering hole is Madam’s Organ (Where the Beautiful People go to Get Ugly). Live music, karaoke, DJs on two floors.

And just wandering the streets on any given night is highly entertaining. Everything is basically on the same street as Madam’s Organ (18th Street)

#4 Georgetown

Georgetown is home of the Exorcist House and Steps at 3600 Prospect Street NW. But it’s so much more than that. It’s a lovely neighborhood to just explore. 

Also, you’re going to want to spend some time at the Georgetown Waterfront, the restored river area we told you about. Great restaurants, seafood markets, and lots of entertainment.

Here’s a link to the Capitol River Cruises we were telling you about. It’s worth it to take one to Georgetown Waterfront, both for the scenery and because parking is a again a real bear.

Click here for more cool stuff to see and do in Georgetown.

#5 DuPont Circle

Dupont Circle is the gayborhood of DC with dozens of bistros, bars, boutiques and museums, as well as the vibrant stretch along 17th Street famed for its gay-owned businesses. Most everything is on or just off 17th Street.

Our favorite drinking spot is Trio Bistro where just sitting on the outdoor patio and people watching is a great way to spend the afternoon. BEWARE: their drinks are lethal.

Annie’s Paramount Steakhouse just down the street is a delicious choice for dinner.

The Museum at the Mansion on O is just plain weird, but a fascinating attraction. Check it out!

Dupont is about a 10-15 minute walk north of your hotel.

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