Washington, D.C. has grown to be one of my favorite American cities. It buzzes with this vibrant and young energy, balanced by a great deference to the city’s history. Not only is there so much to see and do, but also so much to eat! Washington, D.C.’s food scene is very much alive with new restaurants popping up left and right. I truly don’t think there’s another city quite like it and I always look forward to visiting.
Earlier this month, I flew back out for the first time since February. After a grueling day of travel, I was greeted by a warm, summer night! And we were so lucky to enjoy beautiful weather all weekend. It was the first time I’d seen the city in it’s sunshine glory and it was magnificent. Since I’ve visited several times now in the last year, Matt and I took it easy and revisited some of our favorite spots. I didn’t realize how familiar and homey the city already felt.
Washington, D.C. is a great destination for couples, families, and solo-travelers alike. The city not only offers the incredible museums and monuments, but also a great food and nightlife scene. Perfect for a weekend getaway or a week-long vacation, D.C. is one of those cities that just has it all!
One of the best parts about visiting a new metropolis is exploring the neighborhoods. Each one has its own personality and culture with its own hub of destinations and restaurants. I love staying in the most walkable parts of the city as I believe the best way to explore is by foot!
Foggy Bottom & Penn Quarter – These two neighborhoods border the National Mall and are right next to the monuments and Smithsonians.
Downtown – North of the White House, Downtown is between the National Mall and the popular Dupont and Logan Circles. It has easy access to the National Mall, as well as the lively restaurants and boutique shops just north.
Dupont & Logan Circle – These neighborhoods are extremely walkable and occupied by an incredible number of sidewalk cafés and near all the fun places to go for a night out.
Georgetown – This famous little neighborhood is what a warm, sunny Sunday would look like if it was a place. Georgetown is, by far, my favorite. It exudes so much character and the Georgian townhouses will have you snapping pictures left and right. Enjoy the boundless boutiques and restaurants and walk along the riverbank to take in the views.
The traditional D.C. attractions are all conveniently next to each other. The National Mall is lined with Smithsonians and the monuments are arranged in a perfect path for visitors. These sights are wonderful as they’re not only historic, but allow for an active day.
National Museum of African American History and Culture – The newest Smithsonian is my favorite of them all. It’s incredibly powerful and beautifully designed. The history galleries tell a story, beginning with slavery in the basement of the museum and the collection of artifacts and stories is astounding.
Newseum – Famous for being incredibly interactive and dynamic. The Newseum follows the history of journalism and exhibits news produced around some of the world’s most famous, or infamous, events. Visitors could spend all day in the compelling Pulitzer Prize Photographs Gallery alone.
Thomas Jefferson Memorial – Located on the Tidal Basin, the Jefferson Memorial stands apart from the rest of the monuments. It’s modeled beautifully after the Pantheon of Rome and offers a beautiful walk over from the National Mall.
Food & Drink
The culinary scene is booming. There are an endless number of options for fine dining, casual eateries, coffee shops, and speakeasies – it can be incredibly hard to choose from! Find some of my favorites below.
Boqueria (Downtown) – a Spanish restaurant with an expansive variety of tapas. Not only is Boqueria a great dinner destination, but it’s also the perfect place for a big, boozy brunch with friends. Arrive early to enjoy endless tapas and mimosas on their outside patio.
Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe (Dupont Circle) – an epic bookstore with a delicious breakfast selection. Kramerbooks allows book-lovers to dine in their optimal environment. Browse through their broad selection of books before sitting down for breakfast or even a late night drink.
Baked & Wired (Georgetown) – a family-owned bakery with an artsy and creative space. Baked & Wired is famous for their massive cupcakes, paired with some tasty espresso drinks. Order a dirty chai cupcake to enjoy down by to the river on a sunny day.
Oyamel Cocina Mexicana (Penn Quarter) – a vibrant and lively Mexican restaurant near the National Mall. Oyamel serves some great tacos and makes the guacamole right at your table. It’s a great spot to grab a bite between museums.
Founding Farmers (Foggy Bottom) – a sustainable, American eatery with delicious food sourced from local farms. Founding Farmers is a popular spot for brunch and lunch. Their menu offers inventive American dishes and there is something for everyone!
Sotto (Logan Circle) – a cozy and classy speakeasy near Logan Circle. Not only does Sotto serve up some great cocktails, but they also have live music! Every night, a local musician or group will play anything from jazz to funk.
POV at the W Hotel (Penn Quarter) – a rooftop bar overlooking the White House. POV is a trendy lounge with a seasonal cocktail menu and a great view of the National Mall.
Le Diplomate (Logan Circle)– a French brasserie near Logan Circle. After a drink at Sotto, cross the street for a meal straight from the streets of Paris. Le Diplomate is one of my absolute favorite dinner experiences.
Rose’s Luxury (Capitol Hill) – a trendy neighborhood spot with an incredibly creative menu. Rose’s is one of the hottest restaurants in Washington, D.C.. Since they don’t take reservations, people start lining up more than an hour before opening for a table.
A Food Guide to Washington, D.C.