So, you’re visiting the nation’s capital for the first time, and you don’t know where to start? Check out my guide for how to maximize your three-day weekend in the city. This itinerary gives you a mix of the highlights: local favorites, delicious food, + history, museums, and monuments, oh my!
While this is a jam-packed itinerary, I guarantee you’ll leave DC already planning your next trip. My #1 tip? Bring your walking shoes!
- Arrive in early morning into Washington National airport, and hop on the Metro for a 20-minute ride into downtown Washington, DC
- Buy a SmarTrip card, and you’ll save $1 per ride for the weekend.
- Drop your bags the hotel – I recommend staying in the Dupont Circle area for easy access to all sites (The Dupont Circle is my favorite.)
- Hop on the metro and head for your first destination: The Capitol building.
- Pro-tip: - call your congressman! Each congressional office is set up to give personalized tours to its constituents during business hours.
- Following the Capitol, step into the Library of Congress to see the largest collection of books in the world, including Thomas Jefferson’s personal library.
- Grab a quick lunch at Sweet Greet or Good Stuff Eatery, or hit the Hawk N Dove, a renovated original Capitol Hill staffer dive bar, if you have a bit more time.
- After lunch, walk over to the Newseum (Paid) – A well-done, interactive museum that lets you re-live history as it happened, including a beautiful tribute to coverage of the 9/11 attacks. The second floor boasts the best views in town.
- Finally, walk the few blocks down Pennsylvania Avenue, to the White house. Take the obligatory photo op, and check out the protest of the day.
- and the Renwick Gallery (it’s across the street!) – a small, but innovative museum where photo taking is encouraged. You’ll enjoy the a/c and interactive exhibits.
- Hit Founding Farmers for dinner, and head back to the hotel. You’re exhausted!
- Begin the day in Georgetown at Baked & Wired for a morning pick-me-up and the best baked goods in the city. Grab your treats to go and check out Washington Harbor for beautiful views of the Potomac while you eat.
- Next, head back to the Mall to hit your museums of choice. I recommend:
- Spend the afternoon/evening wandering 14th Street & Shaw neighborhoods with delicious restaurants and great shopping. Depending on your mood, check out one of these below. They don’t take reservations, so I recommend you put in your name and hang at the bar or peruse the street until your name is called.
- Etto (14th Street) – Italian – Billed as rustic-chic Italian, their wood-fired pizzas and fresh ricotta appetizers will hit every taste bud.
- Estadio (14th Street) Spanish – Never ending tapas.
- Le Diplomate (14th Street) – French – Voted best burger in Washington.
- Compass Rose (14th Street) - Street Food with incredible music
- Finally, grab an Uber to check out the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Memorial. Each lit beautifully, these are best viewed at night!
- Start your morning with a visit to the The Flea at Eastern Market; open 10-5 PM on Sundays. Find the line at Market Lunch for their legendary buckwheat pancakes. Enjoy outside or at their communal table. Spend the next few minutes walking the stalls of the market, and checking out DC’s creative scene.
- In the early afternoon, head over to Nats Stadium to check out a summer game. If you have time before the game starts, grab a beer at the Bullpen Beer Garden before heading into the stadium (open two hours before game time).
- Finally, if you’ve snagged a late flight, create your own brewery tour, including DC Brau, Atlas Brew Works, Bluejacket Brewery, and Capital City Brewing in the Navy Yard neighborhood, just outside Nats stadium.
- Once you’ve gotten a good buzz, head back to the hotel to grab your bags, and start missing DC!
If this itinerary, doesn’t fit your schedule, check out my full list of Washington, DC recommendations here.
I hope you enjoy your time in my favorite city!