Capitol City, and to put it simply, underrated!
D.C. was one of those cities that I did not have on my radar. When wondering what city in the U.S. to go to next, many other options came up before this one even crossed our minds.
Then one day, weeks away from a holiday weekend, we decided we were not staying in town and had to find a last-minute place fast. We messed with Kayak’s tool Explore (pretty cool, if you haven’t tried it, you should!). It gives you flight prices leaving from a specific city to anywhere in the world on specific date or month. This is awesome if you just want to be adventurous, or are planning to go somewhere like Europe, and need help in finding out what city is the cheapest to land in.
We noticed that flights to D.C were so affordable, (in our case, from Miami to D.C.) that we had to take advantage of it! It ended up being one of the greatest unexpected trips we’ve done, and almost made me want to live there!
So here are our list of the top things to do in the city:
The National Mall
Call it touristy, but this is the foundation of what makes D.C. and it’s where everything is at. First off, it’s not a mall, LOL. It is a national park with all the national monuments surrounding it. On the east end, you have the Lincoln Memorial, and on the west end, The United States Capitol, with everything else in between, including the Washington Monument right in the middle. (Don’t worry, I won’t give you a history lesson, you can google each on your own…).
Here you will also find most of the museums; almost all of them free! (Awesome, right?). You can find the complete list here: https://www.si.edu/museums. The museums can be overwhelming, and there is probably not enough time on your trip to see them all, so choose to your liking. We chose, the Air and Space Museum, the National Gallery of Art, The Museum of Natural History, and then took a stroll down the Smithsonian Gardens.
The Jefferson Memorial and the Martin Luther King Memorial.
These are the two monuments outside of the National Mall. Definitely worth visiting.
The Arlington Cemetery
Must see here is the JFK gravesite, and The Changing of the Guard that happens at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The Memorial Amphitheater is cool too.
The Botanical Gardens
This place is beautiful. The structure is amazing, and it’s filled with every type of plant you can imagine.
The White House
So we didn’t know this, but if you want to go inside the White House you need to reserve months in advance, either through their website or through your local congressman. We were out of luck on this one, however, we definitely enjoyed the views from outside the gate.
This neighborhood has so much charm! Here, you can check out the University, which is very impressive, take a stroll down M street, where many little shops are, try the delicious famed Georgetown Cupcakes (be there early to avoid a crazy line), and then chill at the Georgetown Waterfront Park or the Washington Harbor. We started off with a delicious unlimited brunch at El Centro for $35.
Other things you can do in D.C.:
- Ford’s Theater. (this is where Abraham Lincoln was assassinated)
- A night trolley tour. The city is gorgeous at night.
- Explore the Dupont and Downtown area.
- Chill at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden.
- Watch the sunset from the W hotel’s rooftop bar.
- Experience the Fish Market at the District Wharf and eat the delicious crab like a local or like Anthony Bourdain did.
Uber was perfect for us, and then you could always book a hop on-hop off bus that besides taking you everywhere, will also give you good historic information, even though I’m usually against this kind of stuff.
(Straight from my friend who lived there)
- Zaytinya in chinatown
- Le Diplomat on 14th
- Barcelona on 14th
- Sweetgreeen for lunch (Quick salads)
- Il canale in Georgetown
- Filomena in Georgetown
- Founding Farmers
- Mission in dupont
- Lost society on 14th
- Beer garden on 14th st
- Church key on 14
- Bar pilar on 14
- Sequoia on the Georgetown waterfront! (Oldest bar in the city)
- El centro (two locations) has unlimited brunch for $35 all you can eat and drink.
- Masa 14 on 14th st
- Farmers, fishers, and bakers in Georgetown
- Piola- dc (has unlimited pizza for brunch)
- Teds bulletin
- If you want to go to the top of the Washington Monument, you need to be there at 8am to get tickets, first come first serve.
- The National Mall is massive. Program about 2 days to see everything here.
Any questions about D.C., you can send me a tweet to @jesuistourist, and I’ll gladly help!