What To See And Do In Washington, DC

Above: The United States Capitol building in Washington DC
Above: The United States Capitol building in Washington DC

In order to see everything there is to see in Washington and do everything there is to do, you would need to move there. The city, though easy to navigate, is jam packed with museums, monuments, galleries and interesting neighbourhoods to explore. But even if you only a have a few days you can pack in a lot if you’re strategic and make good use of public transit. DC makes a great city break destination on a weekend where you feel like getting out of town, but not going too far. If you go, here are a few noteworthy things to see and do.

If you’re looking for comfort, style and convenience, the Hotel RL Washington DC is within walking distance to a lot of what you’re likely going to see, but also close to the DC Metro, which is efficient and easy to use. Despite being located right downtown, walking into the intimate lobby space feels instantly relaxing. Friendly front desk staff are knowledgeable about their city and quick to answer any questions about the area and offer suggestions on what to see and do, including offering recommendations for where to eat and drink based on taste and mood. Large, comfortable rooms come with kitchenettes and free Wi-Fi and a stay includes free passes to two nearby gyms should you feel like working out.

Eat & Drink
Teddy & The Bully Bar, named for Theodore Roosevelt, offers the best of a few worlds in terms of atmosphere. There’s a good sized front patio for al fresco dining, an expansive bar area where happy hour (from 3 to 7 p.m.) gets busy with the after-work crowd taking advantage of deals on drinks and bar bites, but there’s also a quieter dining room if you prefer a more low-key night. Food here is made from ingredients sourced from local farms and producers and the wide range of dishes highlight seasonal ingredients.

Bright and airy Fig & Olive is a beautiful restaurant located in CityCentreDC, an upmarket district that combines retail, residential and communal outdoor space. The Mediterranean-inspired spot has a menu centred on olive oils and ingredients from the region, with a particular focus on olive oil and how it pairs with various dishes. The expansive restaurant makes for a good place to grab a light lunch or would also be an ideal date night restaurant.

See & Do
Explore Dupont Circle: Get yourself to Dupont Circle to be in close proximity to several things to see and do, including great shopping and a tempting array of bars and restaurants. Here you’ll also find art galleries and museums like the National Geographic Museum, Woodrow Wilson House and Philips Collection. Depending on weather, people watching at the Dupont Circle Fountain is a relaxing way to while away an hour.

Make time for a visit to the Newseum: No matter where your interests lie, there’s a museum in DC to suit your tastes. One that really stood out for us was the Newseum, a museum dedicated to (as the name would suggest), the news. The engaging, interactive museum is filled with interesting exhibits like the gallery of Pulitzer Prize winning photographs from the past 100 years, or an exhibit dedicated to reporting the Vietnam war.

Explore the National Mall: Roughly a 15 to 20-minute walk from the Hotel RL Washington DC is the National Mall and Memorial Parks where you can spend some time monument-hopping, visiting monuments dedicated to some of the most significant people and events in American history, including the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial. One of the best times to visit is close to sunset for snap-worthy views as the sun starts to go down.

After a meal or drink at Fig & Olive, stick around to do some shopping at CityCentreDC. The stylish district covers 10 acres, much of which filled with high end stores including Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Dior, Burberry, Hugo Boss and more. There are also many restaurants and cafes in the area as well as well-designed public spaces.

Dupont Circle is also a good ‘hood to shop in DC, with an eclectic mix of shops selling everything from menswear and accessories, to jewellery, gourmet goods and books. Speaking of books, if you’re in the market for one, make a stop at Kramerbooks & Afterwards, a sprawling book store that’s also a café. When it opened in 1976 it was the first bookstore/café in DC and is a must-do for book lovers. The café also serves booze if you want to imbibe with a book.

Jessica Padykula

Jessica Padykula is a freelance writer based in Toronto. Her work has appeared on Styleathome.com, ElleCanada.com, Slice, Travel + Escape, Thrillist, AmongMen.com and SheKnows.com among others. When she’s not writing or researching a story she can be found planning trips to places near and far in a never-ending quest to travel the world. You can follow her on Twitter @JessPadykula

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