I’ve always loved Washington DC – the architecture, the landscape, everything. And even though I’ve visited many times, some for business and others for taking family or friends around on a tour, I’ve never stayed overnight to enjoy it for successive days in a row. I’ve told numerous people that if Andrew ever wanted to live in a city (which will never happen), I’d pick DC. Recently, I had the chance to spend a weekend there with my sister so we went wild. We walked all over from Massachusetts Avenue to the Smithsonian area and the next day over to Georgetown. We enjoyed various restaurants (we were definitely a bit bummed to miss out on a few on our list but I guess you can only eat so much, right?). So I’ve put together an itinerary for a Washington DC weekend trip should you ever find yourself in this beautiful city.
Washington DC Weekend Trip
DC is full of things to do and so a weekend really isn’t enough time to fully get a feel for it. However, you can choose what type of weekend you want to have (museum-focuses vs art focuses vs shopping) and go from there. Washington DC’s tourism site has an option where you can order a tourist guide for free; this gives you even more ideas for your visit and breaks everything down by neighborhood for you. The beauty of Washington DC is that most museums and sights are free so you can pack a lot in for very little cost.
What to See
Monuments & Memorials – There are numerous monuments scattered throughout DC but my favorite ones are the Jefferson Memorial, Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial. All are extremely photogenic so make sure you at least add those to your list! You can also look for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Korean War Veterans Memorial. Both are beautiful to walk through.
Smithsonian Museums – Your Washington D.C. weekend wouldn’t be complete without at least 1 Smithsonian museum. The Smithsonian Museums are all FREE. As I said before, this is one of my favorite things about DC – really good museums for free. There aren’t many places like that around the USA so make sure you take advantage of it. My favorites would have to be the Air & Space Museum and the Natural History Museum.
Massachusetts Avenue – If you’re an architecture or travel lover, you can walk Mass. Ave. You can also drive it for a quick tour of all the embassies. IMO it’s fascinating to see how the architecture of each embassy differs from country to country. And if you’re lucky enough to visit during open embassy time, you’ll have the opportunity to actually walk through some embassies that open their doors for this unique experience. I toured Portugal’s embassy and they held a fun event complete with pasteis de nata and Portugal t-shirts.
Georgetown – You name any store, Georgetown has got it. If you’re looking for a shopping weekend, make sure you put Georgetown at the top of your bucket list. Aside from the great shopping, Georgetown is extremely charming and very picturesque.
Sunday morning farmer’s market – Fresh flowers, local produce, honey, jam, bread, pastries, the list goes on. The Sunday morning farmer’s market on Massachusetts Ave is plain old fun. Wander throughout each section but be careful, you’ll probably end up spending way more time and money on delicious goods than you were planning on!
Gardens – There are several gardens scattered throughout DC but a gorgeous (and free) one is the US Botanic Garden.
Where to Eat
Founding Farmers – High ratings for a reason. Founding Farmers not only has the best name but it offers amazing food and a hipster atmosphere to hang out in with friends. The chicken salad is fabulous. If you decide to get the chocolate cake, make sure you share it. It’s literally enough for three people.
Le Diplomat – I fell in love with the charm of Le Diplomat. It totally gives off a French vibe and the outdoor seating is too cute. Try the polenta with poached eggs and make sure you eat some of the complimentary bread (the fruit/nut one) they bring you. It is to die for.
Un Je Ne Sais Quoi – This French coffee shop deserves a visit. Not only is the coffee authentically European (aka they know how to make a latte), but they rock at making their speciality, the Merveilleux, a French meringue with chocolate and cream.
Baked & Wired – I know everyone recommends this place and it does have good cupcakes but IMO I wouldn’t go out of my way to come here. I did include it because their coffee is excellent. However, I’d save the calories and enjoy dessert elsewhere (unless you LOOOOVE cupcakes).
Station Kitchen & Cocktails – Located inside the Embassy Row Hotel, Station Kitchen offers an eclectic atmosphere and delicious drinks. It’s a fun place to meet up after dinner and it’s open late!
La Colombe – A Philadelphia based coffee shop, La Colombe has some of the best coffee in the DC area. Their drip coffee as well as their cappuccinos were fantastic. I can’t speak to all their pastries but the single pastry I tried was phenomenal so I think it’s safe to say that anything you try here will be great.
WHERE TO STAY
Embassy Row Hotel – Embassy Row Hotel is the perfect addition to your Washington DC weekend itinerary. It is ideally located on Massachusetts Avenue and is far enough away from the masses of tourists yet sits between the Smithsonian/Monument area of DC and Georgetown. If you are averse to walking, then you can easily opt for public transport or taxi to get you to the right section. We love walking and enjoyed the trek from one place to the next.
PIN FOR LATER…
*Thanks to Embassy Row for providing me with a complimentary stay*