Washington DC is the capital of the United States of America. Known as the seat of the country’s three branches of government, the capital is also home to museums, performing arts centers, and neoclassical architecture. Spend a weekend here to discover the nation’s history, soak up the iconic style of the city, and indulge in the amazing food that this tiny metropolis has to offer.
Start your Saturday morning with a stroll past the White House. Since 1800, the White House has been the official residence as well as workplace of the President of the United States. A fun fact: the White House has held names such as “President’s Palace,” the “President’s House,” and the “Executive Mansion,” but it was President Theodore Roosevelt who officially gave the White House its current name in 1901.
After wishing you too had a basketball court and a bowling alley in your house like the famed White House, head to the Library of Congress. This is the research library that serves the United States Congress and happens to be the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. It also isn’t your typical dusty library. Gorgeous mosaics and paintings surround visitors as they marvel at its beauty.
Then head to the Capitol Building, home to the United States Congress! Sit on the lawn out front or participate in one of the Capitol’s 45-minute tours to round out your morning.
For lunch, enjoy a meal at Old Ebbitt Grill, Washington’s oldest saloon! Next, take a walk over to the Smithsonian Castle. A beautiful landmark in its own right, it is also the Smithsonian Institution’s administrative offices and information center. Here you will find all the documentation you will need to determine which museums you would like to visit that are under the Smithsonian umbrella. As the government owns these DC museums, you are able to visit these museums for free. My personal favorites are the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Portrait Gallery, and the American History Museum. Sample as many or as little of the museums as you’d like throughout the afternoon!
Spend the evening at Founding Farmers, one of my favorite places to eat in Washington DC. The restaurant offers a delicious variety of meaty and veggie filled options (for example, the wonderful meatloaf and conversely, a meatless meatloaf!) Notable menu items: the skillet cornbread speckled with bits of fresh corn and the beignets that will have you hoping someone can roll you out of the restaurant.
On Sunday, have brunch at Le Diplomate, a bright French restaurant with delicious food (i.e., pancakes), warm staff, and quick service. You’ll need to move fast because you have a packed day ahead! After fueling up, head to the Lincoln Memorial. Once you walk up the stairs to see the iconic statue, turn around and look out at the breathtaking view of the Washington Monument across the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool.
Then walk to the Tidal Basin and the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. If you are visiting during cherry blossom season (roughly around the last week of March through the first two weeks of April), the Tidal Basin is THE place to be for breathtaking views of the pink buds. It is also a lovely opportunity to go paddle boating!
For lunch, walk to Fig and Olive. Spend the afternoon either at the United States Botanic Garden for a focus on plants or take a taxi over to the United States National Arboretum for a focus on trees. I personally love the National Capitol Columns in the Arboretum, which is an arrangement of 22 columns that were a part of the US Capitol from 1828 to 1958, now in an open meadow.
Hop in a taxi to Georgetown at night for dinner at the most lively and old school Italian place called Filomena Ristorante. The food is outstanding, the service is impeccable, and the portions are huge! I was there around Easter, and the place was decked out in bunnies, flowers, and colorful eggs. I highly recommend the rigatoni with sausage.
I hope you enjoy your stay in DC!