Washington, D.C. is one of those places that has something for everyone. There’s history galore, plenty of shopping, a continually developing food scene and even nature all wrapped up in a city that is manageable with or without a car and not too intimidating for those not use to a city tempo.
Of course I’m a bit biased. D.C. was home during my formative college days. Back then there was a list of the 101 things you should do before graduating. Some of them like locking yourself out of your room, riding the metro after midnight and pulling an all-nighter were easy to accomplish and probably happened a little too often. Others like seeing the Japanese Cherry Blossoms trees in bloom, getting ice cream at Ben & Jerry’s in Georgetown and then crossing the street to get ice cream at Haagen-Dazs and graduating in the city of presidents were a bit harder.
The living, breathing city shifts and adapts depending on the season, year and current dominate political party but a long weekend in D.C. is still enough time to see the sights, enjoy the food and come home with a suitcase full of new purchases.
Gerogetown with its mix of high-end chain stores and unique boutiques is a shopper’s paradise. It’s easy to spend hours browsing the shops along M Street and Wisconsin Ave. Snap a picture of the throng of people lined up for cupcakes outside of Georgetown Cupcakes, bargain with sellers on the streets and just enjoy the bustle. For antique and art lovers Eastern Market on a weekend can’t be beat.
The Living History
History is everywhere in D.C., some of it being created every minute.
Spend a lazy afternoon walking the National Mall and taking in the monuments. If you’re up for it the fountains at the World War II Memorial are turned off at midnight each day and it’s unique experience to watch and hear the fountains go quiet under the city lights.
The Smithsonian has something for everyone, but my favorite is the National Gallery, but the National Archives to see the Constitution shouldn’t be missed. Then there are the museums you need tickets for such as the Spy Museum great for kids and the Newseum for the media obsessed. Sign up ahead of time for a tour of the White House or Capitol.
If you or someone you know graduated from George Washington University visit the school to see a bit of their history. Members of each class since 1990 have their own brick at the University. It’s nice to own a little piece of Washington, D.C.
And there’s nothing better than the National Zoo. It’s small enough that it’s easily walk able in an hour or two.
Shopping, museum hopping and plenty of walking works up an appetite so be sure to enjoy the foodie scene.
Start the day off with breakfast at Old Ebbitt’s Grill at 675 15th St., NW. Located just feet from The White House the 1856 saloon is the oldest in the city. With breakfast seven days a week the restaurant is a favorite of both tourists and Washington insiders.
For lunch you’ll find a plethora of small cafes throughout the city. Grab some sandwiches and sit and eat by the canals in Georgetown or at the Kennedy Center or if you’re in the mood for a larger mood a new favorite is Thunder Burger & Bar in Gerogetown. Combing modern design with an old western feel the restaurant offers the opportunity to chow-down on an all-natural burger while enjoying a beer.
Paola’s Ristorante in Gerogetown is an Italian food delight. With plenty of pizza and pasta dishes to choose from, and its location it’s the perfect place to relax, dine and people watch. Ristorante Tosca on F Street is also worth mentioning since their pastry chef is a Mystic native.
The spring and fall offer the best times to visit D.C., but you’ll find it less crowded during the fall months. The beauty of city is that is such place to explore by walking about and getting lost in history filled streets.