Last week, Brian and I headed out to Washington DC for a fun weekend getaway before I attended the Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE), which is a large, annual conference for dietitians, dietetic students, and dietetic interns.
The summer before my senior year of college at Butler University, I actually lived in Washington DC as an intern at the Smithsonian and I hadn’t been back since (that was 8 years ago!). It was really fun to walk down memory lane, show Brian some of my favorite spots, and explore new-to-m e parts of our nation’s capital.
The photo above is a picture of me in front of the office I would enter every day during my summer internship at the Smithsonian.
Before diving into everything to see and do in my Washington DC travel guide, I want to share a few things that you should know before heading to DC that may help you plan and pack for your trip!
Visit the museums
Many of the Smithsonian Museums are located on the National Mall, and they are FREE to enter and explore. Because we had both been to many of these museums before and we were cramming SO much into a short period of time, we opted to check out just one of the amazing museums – The American History Museum.
Walk among the monuments
The Washington Monument is right near all the Smithsonian museums and the National Mall, and there are many other monuments nearby.
While living in DC, one of my favorite memories is of me and my roommates doing a self-guided nighttime walking tour of the monuments. They are all brightly lit and pretty stunning in the dark. That being said, they are pretty stunning any time of day and a walking tour is a great way to see them.
Visit the People’s Garden and the USDA Farmers Market
The People’s Garden and the USDA Farmers Market are right near the National Mall as well. The Farmers Market is ope on Fridays during spring, summer and fall through October. The market features delicious, vibrant produce, cooking classes, adorable foodie products, yummy eats you can grab for a fresh lunch, and a wonderful positive vibe. We grabbed a kombucha and made note of all the adorable hand towels, posters, prints, and cards with produce artwork on it 🙂
The White House
I feel like you can’t visit DC without at least walking past The White House! Thankfully, it is fairly close to the monuments and the National Mall, so you could fit it all into one trip!
Explore Dupont Circle
Dupont Circle is lined with eateries and cute shops, but what drew me in were the homes just outside of the actual circle. If you are an HGTV junkie like Brian and I, you’ll enjoy walking around this neighborhood (and so many others) too!
Shop in Georgetown
Georgetown is the cute, brick-lined road district where Georgetown University is located. The streets are literally covered with shops from vintage shops and cute boutiques to Patagonia and other name-brand stores. We stopped at the coffee shop Baked and Wired, and despite the long line the service was QUICK, the coffee was delish and the treats were drool-worthy (although there are so many options, make sure to ask the person helping you what they recommend to get the best one!)
Walk up and down 14th Street
There are TONS of restaurants and shops on this street. After dinner one night, Brian and I walked back to our AirBnB on this street while popping in and out shops and people watching. In our opinion, it was the perfect way to end the night.
I’ll preface these recommendations with the fact that there are SO many places to eat, we were not a lack of recommendations for food. These are the restaurants we chose to dine at 🙂
All Purpose Pizza
ADORABLE interior with a very vintage yet modern vibe. The tile on the floor and the walls was the perfect touch to make this place feel like an old Italian dining spot. After browsing the menu, we took our waiters recommendation and ordered the Duke #7 to share minus the sausage. This pizza had pickled veggies on it – and as a HUGE pickled veggie lover, this unique twist on classic pizza was the perfect first meal in the city.
We saw this local to DC coffee chain everywhere, and I think I stopped there each morning while visiting DC. They had unique latte flavors (almond butter latte?!), delicious unflavored latte and black coffee, and a few bites that made for easy grab and go breakfast options.
When I lived in DC, I walked past Founding Farmers every.single.day. We ate brunch at this restaurant once and I knew that if I ever had a chance to visit DC again, I would make a point to eat there. This restaurant did not disappoint! I enjoyed the benedict florentine and Brian enjoyed the crab cake benedict.
The service at this restaurant took it over the top! The man who took our order was so friendly and really seemed to care about what we thought about the food and our lattes. I would go back again just to experience that level of customer service again. Customer service aside, the avocado toast (what I ordered) and the biscuits and gravy (what Brian ordered) were spot on. I enjoyed a housemade oat milk latte and Brian enjoyed a Pandan latte (literally can’t explain it…but definitely recommend that you try it!)
This Latin-Asian fusion restaurant had seriously tasty eats. We started with the tostones (it’s hard for me to resist plantains!) and then shared two sushi rolls that our waiter recommended (I can’t remember which ones!). While the food was really good, the service was a little strange. We went in at 6pm on a Saturday and did not have a reservation, however when we walked in there was just one family sitting in a booth. The hostess explained that they were “fully committed” for the night and asked us to sit by the bar – which I totally understand BUT throughout the course of our entire meal…no other tables filled up! We were literally the only people in the restaurant, so that was a little weird.
Visiting a Milkbar has been on my list for quite some time. We didn’t have a chance when we visited New York City last year, so I was pretty excited we were able to fit this treat into our visit. The line was pretty long, but they moved quick! The things we were told to order: Cereal Milk Softserve with Cereal Topping (pictured above) and a Strawberry & Corn Milkquake. Both were spot on 🙂
DC has SO much to offer, I feel like we only scratched the surface!
I hope we get to make a trip back soon!