Washington, DC has much more to offer than powerhouse politicos and suited and booted lobbyists. It is a vibrant city with fantastic history, culture, an incredible food scene, and so much more. There are so many reasons to visit the USA’s capital city, but here are a few standouts.
There are tons of free things to do
Get a dose of history and culture in the city. Visit the Smithsonian Museums; view the poignant Lincoln, Jefferson, and Martin Luther King Jr. Memorials; get a free tour of the US Capitol; check out art at the National Gallery of Art; and get a look at the original Declaration of Independence at the National Archives. The best part? All of this is completely free.
Cherry Blossoms and monuments are DC symbols. Courtesy washington.org
The spring weather is glorious
Springtime in DC is fantastic: sunny days, no humidity, blue skies, and the burgeoning cherry blossoms. The National Cherry Blossom Festival, a month-long celebration, is a great mix of culture, music, art, film screenings, and more.
Gone are the days when DC only had steakhouses and stuffy white tablecloth joints. We now have the Michelin Guide, have been named the food city of the year by Bon Appetit, and have new places opening seemingly every other day. Try Kyirisan for French-Chinese fusion, fire-kissed Mid-Atlantic cuisine at The Dabney, spicy Laotian flavors at Thip Khao, Michelin starred Tail Up Goat, or local fast casual favorites & pizza and Cava Grill.
Jos. A Magnus & Co | Courtesy of Jos.A.Magnus & Co
We take bottomless brunches seriously
Weekends, we brunch. Plenty of restaurants offer bottomless food AND drink (typically between $35 -$40), or other fantastic deals if you just want endless Mimosas or Bloody Marys. Some local favorites are Ambar for a Balkan spread , El Centro for Mexican, and Vinoteca for a modern Spanish wine bar.
DC is not a late-night party town, but it’s definitely a post-work happy hour city! You are bound to find a good happy hour in any part of the city, so make sure to partake in some evening fun. Try Ghibellina for pizza and brews, Truxton Inn for cocktails, and Espita Mezcaleria for mezcal.
DC has a large Ethiopian population, which means some of the best Ethiopian food is to be had here. Try Dukem or Chercher in the Shaw area for a taste of the spicy stews, vegetables and spongy injera bread (and no cutlery!)
Okay, seriously, where else can you do this? When the court is in session between October – April, visitors are invited to visit and attend the oral argument sessions. It’s free to visit the Supreme Court itself anytime it is open, whether there is a session or not.
Partake in spy games at the International Spy Museum
You are in Washington, DC after all. Channel your inner spy by checking out the gadgets used by spies in years past at the Spy Museum. Then, participate in interactive spy experiences via “Operation Spy”, a live action adventure, or take it to the streets and see DC through the eyes of a spy with their spy tours.
Propose at the restaurant where JFK proposed to Jacqueline
Georgetown’s Martin’s Tavern (booth #3 to be exact) is where you need to go if you want to get engaged in the same place JFK did! It’s a popular spot for proposals, but is also a piece of DC history. No proposal necessary.
Pack a picnic and head across the water to Gravelly Point Park in Arlington, Virginia, just next to National Airport. Get close-ups of planes landing (or taking off), along with fabulous river and DC views.
A grid system in each quadrant makes the city easy to navigate, whether you are walking or biking around on the Capital Bikeshare. Public transportation is great too, with the metro and buses taking you pretty much everywhere you need to go.