The Nation’s Capital is an amazing place to visit. The first time you come into town you probably visit the usuals – National Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, WWII Memorial, White House, Smithsonian Museums, etc. There’s so many free things to do it’s crazy from various memorials to all the different Smithsonians and Art Museums. But what do you do when you’re on round two of visiting the city and you want to see more of what the Nation’s Capital has to offer?
1. Union Market and Eastern Market
Both of these places are so much fun to visit on a Saturday or Sunday, and they have different things to offer. Union Market has amazing fresh food and is basically a farmer’s market, meat market, and fish market all in one but it’s open every day. They also close off the streets around it on Saturday and Sunday’s and have booths set up with amazing local products and goods.
Eastern Market is a little different, it’s all indoors and it does have a small market of goods but it’s mostly a hodgepodge of restaurants in one very large room. If you don’t know what you want to eat, go to Eastern Market and you’ll find anything and everything you could ever crave. I highly recommend TaKorean and Mason Dixie Biscuit Co.
2. National Arboretum
Not far south is the U.S. National Arboretum, a 446-acre escape in Northeast D.C. Check out the azaleas, the bonsai collection and the Capitol Columns, which started at the U.S. Capitol but were moved after it was determined they couldn’t sustain the weight of the dome.
3. National’s Park
Even if you’re not a big baseball fan, going to a National’s game is so much fun. You can even see the presidents all race with their big mascot heads. And while you’re in the park there are SO many choices for food, but the best and something DC is known for, is Ben’s Chilli Bowl.
4. Visit Georgetown
Most of the time on your first visit to DC you don’t have the time to get over to Georgetown, especially since there’s no metro that goes to it. But it’s a gorgeous historic area with amazing buildings. The main street is M Street which has most of the bars and high end shops, it’s great to visit on a Sunday and walk around. Also, you can find the stairs from The Exorcist movie there.
5. Bar Crawl or just ride around town with the Capital Bikeshare
My favorite part of the city (because I love biking) is the Capital Bikeshare. You can pick up a bike on one side of town and ride around to the next bikeshare area to drop it off and explore that area before you move on. If you use it for less than 30 minutes, it’s free! It’s a really convenient part of visiting the area and let’s you avoid spending your vacation budget on Ubers.
6. Take a drive to Old Town, Alexandria
Virginia is right across the Potomac from DC and home to one of the cutest towns ever, Old Town. It still has some cobblestone streets and a ton of small boutiques to pop into. It’s a fun getaway if you want to escape the busy city life for a few hours and feel a little small town for a bit. Grab brunch at Chadwick’s to overlook the Potomac and a drink at Union Street. If you’re looking for a classy Italian place check out Landini Brothers and peruse through The Shoe Hive for a great shoe collection.
7. Find a Street Festival
It seems like there’s a different street festival every weekend. The various different areas on DC all put on street festivals in the spring and fall and most of them are a ton of fun. I would avoid Adam Morgan’s Day Festival but definitely try to hit H Street Festival. Some other good ones are Cherry Blossom Festival, Passport DC, Taste of DC, Trucktoberfest (and other food truck events), etc.
8. W Hotel – POV Bar
If you want an amazing view of the city DC doesn’t have a lot of rooftop bars. But there is one rooftop bar at the top of the W Hotel called POV at W Washington DC. The food is pretty expensive and a little overrated so just go for a few drinks, overlook the White House and watch the sunrise and grab dinner nearby.
I had to throw this in, it’s not the most amazing place, we all know DC isn’t really known for it’s pizza. But this pizza place is so darn good, and you make your pizza just like you make your burrito in Chipotle. You just go down the line piling on toppings and it’s flat price of $10 no matter what you put on it (except shrimp is an extra $1.50!).
You could visit DC 25 times and still not cover all the ground and see all the sites. It’s an amazing city with so much to offer and a gorgeous spot for our Nation’s Capital.