A Design Lover's Travel Guide to Washington, D.C. In a Day

Drift by Matthias Pliessnig is one of the installations at the Renwick Gallery
Drift by Matthias Pliessnig is one of the installations at the Renwick Gallery | © soomness / Flickr

Washington, D.C. is a trove of wonderful architecture and design. You have memorials created in the Roman style, bright graphic street murals – heck, even the metro arches are eye-catching. Here is the comprehensive guide to D.C. in a day for design lovers.

‘The Perfect Storm’ — King Crab, Poached Shrimp, Dressed Oyster, Smoked Char, Shrimp Linguica, 2 shots of Vodka and Bloody Mary Mix. The ultimate brunch cocktail! Brunch this weekend on both Saturday and Sunday. Make your reservation now! #edibledc #dcbrunch #dcdining #oversizedcocktail #bloodymary #rawbar #oysterbrunch #dceats #acreativedc
A post shared by The Salt Line (@thesaltline) on Dec 8, 2017 at 8:32am PST

Brunch at the Salt Line

Restaurant, Seafood

Start your day at the Salt Line. This New England-inspired restaurant has a clean and marine aesthetic. Get reservations for brunch and order a jaw-dropping, gravity-defying Perfect Storm Bloody Mary. It is both a culinary and architectural masterpiece. Make sure to add it to your Instagram story!

Historic morning walk

cherry blossom szn > formal szn
A post shared by Sav Glasgow (@savannahglasgow) on Apr 12, 2018 at 4:37am PDT
Walk off brunch with jaunt around the National Mall. Start by taking in the Capitol’s rotunda before making your way to the obelisk Washington Monument. From there, gaze at the Roman-style Lincoln Memorial. From the Lincoln, head toward the White House and take in the French Second Empire-style Eisenhower building next to the White House. It houses 553 rooms and two miles of black and white tiled corridors. (Fun fact: It was originally considered a monstrosity and compared to an asylum.)

Pop into the Renwick Gallery

Museum, Shop

© Ted Eytan / Flickr
The Renwick celebrates contemporary art styles and crafts. Walk among larger-than-life exhibits and learn about the innovative artists that make it all possible. And for those of you who enjoy architecture and history, this was the first building in the United States built with the specific purpose of being an art museum.

Explore the National Building Museum

Building, Museum

Explore the National Building Museum
© National Building Museum
Dive into architecture and design exhibits at the National Building Museum. Unleash your inner kid with the interactive exhibits, especially during the summer block party installation at the National Building Museum. Previous years have seen a giant ball pit, a bee hive, and a giant iceberg.

Grab Lunch at Union Market

Charcuterie, Market, Contemporary

Grab Lunch at Union Market
© Union Market
Union Market is part Farmers’ Market, part shopping center all within an amazing warehouse-style location. Browse pop-up shops as you munch on empanadas. You can pick up some great D.C.-made home wares at the Salt and Sundry location in Union Market.

Enjoy Sangria and Jazz at the Sculpture Garden Pavilion Cafe


Enjoy Sangria and Jazz at the Sculpture Garden Pavilion Cafe
© Mr.TinDC / Flickr
During the summer, share a pitcher of sangria and enjoy live jazz music at the National Gallery of Art’s Sculpture Garden. Before the concert, explore the outdoor sculptures and waterside views.

Commemorate your trip with a poster

Day 2 of @craftybastards is on! We’ll be here till 5. Booth 154 @thisismadeindc
A post shared by Victory Dance Creative (@victorydancecreative) on Oct 2, 2016 at 7:14am PDT
Support local artists and instead of buying from the museum gift shop, pick up a poster from Victory Dance Creative. Artist Anthony Dihle created a bright and funky neighborhood series so you can order one that reminds you of your trip and brings a little bit of D.C. design to your home.

culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.