Methods to take advantage of someday in Washington, DC

Washington, D.C., provides guests world-renowned museums and iconic landmarks just like the White Home, the Capitol and the monuments alongside the Nationwide Mall. Town is not solely about historical past, nonetheless. There is a booming meals and leisure scene, too.

Many People first come to the nation’s capital on a college journey. However should you’ve by no means been to Washington, it may be onerous to prioritize the highlights, or take pleasure in some sights and experiences that veer off from extra well-trod itineraries.

For many who won’t be accustomed to town, my colleague, Emily Thompson, and I traveled there collectively in an try to craft the right one-day subject journey to Washington. After all, your excellent day could differ from ours, however listed below are our must-visit locations for anybody seeking to discover the District, together with some methods to maximise factors and miles alongside the best way.

Nationwide Zoo

Begin your day vivid and early so you’ll be able to arrive at 8 a.m. for the opening of the Smithsonian’s Nationwide Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute. You will possible see the two,000-plus animals being extra energetic within the morning than within the afternoon.

Emily and I arrived through the Connecticut Avenue entrance and walked down the Asia Path, the place we handed by the clouded leopard, sloth bear and purple panda displays.

However the actual spotlight of the zoo was seeing Xiao Qi Ji, the 2-year-old big panda. His identify means “Little Miracle,” a reference to the truth that his 22-year-old mother grew to become the oldest big panda to offer delivery within the U.S.


Many youngsters have been fascinated by Kamala (which means “lotus”), the 48-year-old Sri Lanka-born Asian elephant, whereas we have been there. She arrived with Swarna (which means “gold”) and her second calf, Maharani (which means “princess”), from the Calgary Zoo about 10 years in the past.

After an hour or so on the zoo, you will have hopefully labored up an urge for food.

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Weekend brunch in Georgetown at Farmers Fishers Bakers

Weekend brunch is a giant deal in D.C. and Washingtonians fiercely debate about the most effective brunch spot, however I am a giant fan of Farmers Fishers Bakers.

Serving what it calls “a competition of meals,” Farmers Fishers Bakers provides an elaborate brunch unfold with recent, sustainable components from native farms and producers.

The buffet consists of choices just like the well-known bananas Foster French toast, butterscotch bread pudding, a stay omelet station, molasses-glazed ham, freshly lower roast beef, spicy fried hen, seafood jambalaya, apricot-glazed salmon, chips and guacamole and far, way more.

There are additionally chilly choices like bruleed grapefruit, housemade granola and coconut chia bowls.

The eating room is vigorous and boisterous, and we estimate the restaurant serves round 500 hungry brunchers on peak weekends. Consequently, the buffet line can get a bit lengthy. Ask your server for the bakers pizza, farmhouse sushi and cinnamon rolls — these dishes are delivered to your desk upon request.


Our tip: Earlier than you allow, seize some Instagram-worthy pics on the Georgetown Waterfront.

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Nationwide Mall (Smithsonian museums)

From the Lincoln Memorial to the U.S. Capitol, the Nationwide Mall was designed within the 18th century by French American city planner Pierre L’Enfant. He envisioned a dramatic grand promenade just like the Tuileries Backyard in Paris.

Along with the gorgeous views of the Capitol and Washington Monument, the Nationwide Mall provides ample gardens and is fringed by a number of Smithsonian museums. This is an summary of the museums you’ll be able to entry from the Nationwide Mall:

  • Nationwide Museum of African American Historical past and Tradition.
  • Nationwide Museum of American Historical past.
  • Nationwide Museum of Pure Historical past.
  • Nationwide Gallery of Artwork.
  • Nationwide Museum of the American Indian.
  • Nationwide Air and Area Museum (open however at present present process important renovations).
  • Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Backyard (cease on the Sculpture Backyard should you’re craving a cup of espresso).
  • Smithsonian Establishment Constructing (extra generally referred to as the Smithsonian Fort).
  • Freer Gallery of Artwork.
  • Arthur M. Sackler Gallery.
  • Nationwide Museum of African Artwork.

The Holocaust Museum and Worldwide Spy Museum are a block south of the Nationwide Mall. The Spy Museum has an entry payment of $18.95 to $29.95 per individual.

Smithsonian Nationwide Museum of Pure Historical past. EMILY THOMPSON/THE POINTS GUY

Plan to make use of the restrooms contained in the museums, and skip the meals vans and underwhelming museum cafeterias since there are many nice eating places to take pleasure in in Washington.

Since time is proscribed (and also you want a few days to see all these museums), we advocate choosing one or two museums that curiosity you essentially the most. As an aviation fanatic, I wanted to maintain my eyes on the time on the Air and Area Museum so I did not miss out on our different stops.

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Afternoon tea at The Ritz-Carlton, Pentagon Metropolis

Since you’ve got been on the go for a few hours on the Nationwide Mall, a fancy afternoon tea throughout the river in Virginia is the right approach to recharge for the afternoon and night actions forward.

The Ritz-Carlton, Pentagon Metropolis provides probably the most decadent afternoon teas within the space. Although costly, it is a surprisingly good worth because it’s troublesome to seek out comparable experiences for underneath $90 in Washington.

When Emily and I have been right here, they served a barely enhanced Cherry Blossom afternoon tea for $75, together with a glass of Champagne or a mimosa.

The tea sandwiches and pastries have been delicious, and the selfmade scones served with clotted cream and native jam paired excellently with the sakura cherry rose white tea.

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Arlington Nationwide Cemetery

  • Hours: 8 a.m. to five p.m.
  • Price: Free for all, however you could current an ID.
  • Getting there: 10-minute ride-hailing service trip from Pentagon Metropolis.
  • Time required: One hour (3:45 p.m. to five p.m.).

The ultimate resting place of some 400,000 American veterans and statespeople, Arlington Nationwide Cemetery is a spot to acknowledge the sacrifices made by those that have served our nation.

Cease by the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, devoted to unidentified troopers who’ve misplaced their lives in service to the nation. The altering of the guard ceremony, which takes place on the tomb, is a solemn and shifting occasion each half-hour from April to September and on the hour from October to March.

One other must-see web site at Arlington Nationwide Cemetery is the John F. Kennedy Everlasting Flame. This flame marks the gravesite of President Kennedy, who was assassinated in 1963. The flame symbolizes the president’s enduring legacy and is a poignant reminder of his service to the nation.

Guests preferring a narrated hop-on, hop-off bus tour can reserve a ticket right here, although a ticket is not required to enter the cemetery.

After, take a bit break to clean up at your lodge earlier than the night actions.

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Evening monument tour


When you have a bit time earlier than the tour (as we did), cease by the foyer atrium of the Waldorf Astoria for drinks or tapas at The Bazaar by José Andrés.


Then, it will be time in your monument tour. Each night time, D.C.’s monuments come to life with dramatic lighting shows.

Once I had household and associates go to me after I was a scholar at American College, this was my favourite go-to night tour. You may go for an open-air trolly, electrical cart or bus, which all supply comparable experiences. The electrical cart is a extra intimate expertise with fewer folks, however it does not go to the U.S. Marine Corps Struggle Memorial in Arlington.

Whichever tour you choose, it will hit the highlights, together with the Capitol, White Home, World Struggle II Memorial, Korean Struggle Veterans Memorial and Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Lincoln Memorial and Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. Simply e book a tour that permits you to get out and take images somewhat than only a fast drive-by.

Since our go to fell throughout peak cherry blossom season, petals rained down on us as we handed by MLK’s quotes — really a rare reminiscence of our epic day.


Ben’s Chili Bowl

  • Hours: Monday to Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 a.m.; and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Price: $10 to $20 for an entire meal.
  • Getting there: 10-minute ride-hailing service trip.
  • Time required: half-hour (10:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.).

Few issues are extra D.C. than Ben’s Chili Bowl.

Based in 1958 by Ben Ali and his spouse Virginia, Ben’s Chili Bowl grew to become a well-liked gathering place for civil rights activists through the Nineteen Sixties. The U Road Hall, referred to as Black Broadway, is rooted within the thriving African American arts and leisure scene exterior Ben’s doorways.

Ben’s has gone hand-in-hand with civil rights in D.C. by donating meals and offering shelter to these in want through the 1963 March on Washington and 1968 D.C. riots.

The restaurant continues to be well-known for its half-smoke chili canine, fries and milkshakes. However greater than the meals, it is in regards to the institution’s legacy as a gathering place for civil rights activists through the Nineteen Sixties.


This can be a good alternative to wind down your whirlwind day with some informal, but filling, consolation meals.

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Backside line

Feeling a yawn come on?

If you happen to made it this far, you’ve got been out of your lodge room for round 15 hours, as Emily and I have been, however with a bit of luck, the remainder stops all through the day have made it extra manageable.

Honestly, there is no approach to see all the things in someday. In spite of everything, if in case you have the time, I might reserve a complete day on the Nationwide Mall alone, hopping from museum to museum.

However a correct subject journey to D.C. goes past the museums and monuments, highlighting American tradition and D.C.’s vibrant neighborhoods, together with Georgetown, the U Road Hall and Columbia Heights. Hopefully, you will be desperate to plan your subsequent journey to Washington earlier than this one is over.

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