Washington D.C. is definitely not short of fun things to do. Since my BFF S moved there about two years ago, I’ve visited upwards of ten times, and we’ve barely scratched the surface of all the museums, monuments, and must-see attractions. If those touristy activities aren’t your thing, you’re in luck– because aside from the White House, which never really gets old, they’re not mine or Sarah’s either. When you’ve only got 24 hours to spent in The Capital, here are our recommendations of what you should do and see, as shot through the lense of my iPhone last February:
|8:00AM: Breakfast at Ted’s Bulletin|
You really haven’t lived until you’ve tried one of Ted’s Bulletin‘s gourmet tarts. My two personal favorite flavors are the Blueberry Cheesecake and Peanut Butter Bacon pop tarts, although I lasted visited around Valentine’s Day, and their seasonal, heart-shaped chocolate covered strawberry pop tart may take the whole pastry cake. When placed on the side of eggs, bacon, and pancakes, you’ll be in your own little caloric euphoria. If you’re feeling fancy (and don’t need to be at work later on in the day), try the Millionaire Malt. It’s made with a double shot of 18-year-old Scotch, and it may be my favorite milkshake in existence. Oh, and breakfast at Ted’s, which has multiple locations throughout greater DC, is served all day.
If they’re super busy with a 1-2+ hour wait, fret not. Old Ebbitt Grill is just as delicious and is located just steps away from the White House. The Oyster Bar at Old Ebbitt is D.C.’s most famous, although they’re equally well known and loved for their delicious breakfast/brunch menu.
|10:00AM: Read a book, enjoy a cup of coffee, and people watch in Meridian Hill Park|
Meridian Hill Park gives you the old-time DC feel without the loud hustle and bustle of crowds. It’s undeniable beauty comes from its distinct Parisian influence– meaning lots of stone stairways, a cascading, thirteen basin waterfall, picnic-worthy grassy knolls, and lots of nature to enjoy. Plus, if you’re into people watching, you’ll be pleasantly entertained by the wide variety of park goers.
According to locals, its main attraction is a drum circle which was originally founded as a means for segregated African Americans to socialize prior to emancipation. You may even hear it referred to as “Malcolm X Park,” as it gained a lot of national attention after the assassination of Malcolm X in 1965. Still to this day, the drum circle meets near the Joan Of Arc statue every Sunday afternoon. Anyone can bring a percussion instrument and play.
If you’re on the hunt for a great nearby coffee shop (or some cute seasonal tree decorations), here are Washington DC Eater’s top 25 recommendations– and below is adorable shot of a nearby church’s Valentine’s Day tree ornaments.
|11:30AM: Lunch at The Jefferson|
Set in a 1926 beaux arts building, this plush multi-restaurant hotel is a 5-star must-see. Whether you’re staying with them or not, you can enjoy experiential dining in the award winning Plume (fancier and better known for dinner) and Quill (more of a lounge feel with an exquisite lunch and afternoon cocktail menu).
|1:00PM: Shopping in Georgetown|
Georgetown is easily my favorite area in all of downtown DC. From the fashion-forward Ann Mashburn and Sid Mashburn boutiques to the recently opened Warby Parker and Free People stores, you can pick up an entirely new (and better) wardrobe in a matter of hours. If you’ve got an event coming up, you can rent a dress or gown at one of the only Rent the Runway locations in the country– or you can snag fashionable finds for less at one of their many consignment shops, including Buffalo Exchange, Ella Rue, and Second Time Around. Plus, they’re home to Georgetown Cupcakes, and just the thought of one of their fresh vanilla cupcakes makes my mouth water.
Oh, and be prepared for a zillion photo ops, as this city is one of the most gorgeous and picturesque in the country (in my humble opinion). Full outfit details for the below ensemble can be found here.
|3:00PM: Drink Wine at a Virginia Vineyard|
One thing that’s unique about Washington D.C. is that Virginia and Maryland are less than an hour away. If you’ve got a little extra time to explore, drive out to a vineyard in rural Virginia. I’ve personally been to and greatly enjoyed Chrysalis Vineyards and Greenhill Winery & Vineyards, although there are literally dozens more I’m dying to explore. For a full list of Virginia wineries, click here.
|5:00PM: Dinner at Ben’s Chili Bowl|
If you’re a fan of fresh homemade chili, you’ve got to drop in Ben’s Chili Bowl for a bite to eat. It’s iconic, incredibly affordable, and is frequented by the POTUS himself.
|7:00PM: Enjoy a Show (or a Sermon) at Lincoln Theatre|
Lincoln Theatre is literally steps away from Ben’s Chili Bowl, and it’s absolutely stunning. Built in 1922, it was a cultural center of D.C., predating and influencing Harlem’s renaissance, and it’s still going strong today. There are regular National Community Church services held inside on Sunday mornings, and you can view a full schedule of events on their website here.
|9:30PM: Drinks at the St. Regis|
S and I met up with two friends for after dinner cocktails at the St. Regis Bar on Valentine’s Day, and you can’t beat the atmosphere. It’s classy, quiet, and in the heart of downtown DC. We enjoyed a bottle of Prosecco, but if you’re not a big wine or cocktail drinker, come back and visit for their renown Afternoon Tea service.
|12:00AM: Wander around Capital Hill|
If you ever get the chance, wander around Capital Hill at night. Speaking from personal experience, you’ll avoid the massive crowds of fellow (obnoxious and photo-hungry) tourists and experience a unique appreciation and perspective of the iconic downtown monuments. Just bask in the majestic splendor of the Washington Monument, Lincoln, FDR, and Jefferson Memorials, and many more– either by self-guided or Urban Adventure tour. It’s like a museum on crack, trust me, and photos can’t even begin to do the monuments justice– so I didn’t even try.
Although I’ve visited many many times, I’m still a Floridian in no man’s land. For all you DC locals, did I leave any worthy additions out of my 24-Hour DC Travel Guide? I’m willing to make amendments if persuaded!