Hi, friends! It’s been awhile, but I’m back on the blog to share a new post in my Travel Guide series! About a month ago, I randomly decided I wanted to visit a friend in Washington D.C., so I booked my ticket without even checking my schedule beforehand. Luckily, everything worked out magically and I got to spend this past weekend exploring a city I hadn’t been to in 11 years. Wow, that makes me feel old.
The last time I went to Washington D.C. was when I was in the 7th grade. So, honestly I don’t really remember that many things about it — plus I didn’t really adventure outside of the normal touristy things.
This trip was all about seeing the undiscovered parts of the city — the ones I never knew about. It definitely helped that my tour guide of a friend has lived there long enough to know the coolest spots!
Well. that’s enough of my rambling — let’s get started with my Washington D.C. travel guide! I’ve compiled all of my favorite places I think you’ve got to see on your next trip to the nation’s capital.
What To See
My Favorite, Can’t-Miss Museum Exhibits – All these museums are free, by the way!
National Museum of Natural History
I’m a huge history buff, so I love going to this museum! I had to check out the Hope Diamond, which is something I didn’t have the opportunity to see the last time I was here. I tried to get a glimpse of it way back when, but a large group of tourists pushed my 13-year-old self out of the way, so you know I needed to see it now, in my adult life!
The entire gem collection at this museum is really incredible, if you’re into that kind of thing. Also – while you’re here, pay the $7.50 to go into the butterfly exhibit. You won’t regret it! I love butterflies, so this was a no-brainer for me. You go into a greenhouse while the butterflies fly all around you — seriously so cool!
Smithsonian American Art Museum
If you love art museums, don’t miss out on this one! This is where the Obama portraits are located, and it was so, so cool to see them in person! There are also tons of portraits and works of art by other artists in American history, so definitely worth a quick walk-through if you have time!
National Museum of American History
This museum has everything, or pretty close to it! I went to this particular museum to see the collection of dresses and dinnerware from the first ladies. I loved getting to see the different styles and how they’ve changed throughout history. I think I was in this museum for 30 minutes, but you can spend so much more time because there’s tons to see!
Smithsonian National Zoo
Okay, so this really isn’t a museum, but I still think it falls into this category. My friend and I chose this as our Sunday morning activity, and it was a great place to get a good walk in! Although a lot of the animals were indoors because it was chilly outside, we still got to see the ones we came for. There are three pandas that live at this zoo, and they’re the cutest and funniest lil’ things. If you love pandas, the zoo is a must!
What To Do
Shopping In Georgetown
You cannot go to Washington D.C. without going to Georgetown for a little shopping! All of my favorite stores were on that street, even ones I didn’t know had locations in D.C.! Whether you’re just window shopping or looking to bring home some cool finds, this is the place to go. There’s a Dr. Martens store, & Other Stories, Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, Free People, Zara — the list goes on!
Washington Monument + Lincoln Memorial
I remember going to these two places when I was younger, but I thought it was even cooler to see now. It was such a beautiful day when we went, so the reflecting pool looked unreal. Lincoln was also one of my favorite presidents, so I wanted to check out the memorial again just for fun. Walking up the stairs to the monument is a workout — one that I’m still feeling in my calves as I write this. It’s such a surreal place to go, so add that to your D.C. list if it’s not on there already!
Where To Eat
The Smith was such a trendy restaurant, but with a really cool concept. Basically, you can either sit at a table with the people you’re with, or choose to sit at a big community table with other people. We chose the second option since the restaurant was pretty crowded. The service was super quick, and the food was AMAZING. If you have a food allergy, they’re awesome. I ordered one of their salads and it was one of the best I’ve ever had.
Lebanese Taverna is located in a more residential area of D.C., but it’s a can’t-miss if you love Lebanese food! The aesthetic inside the restaurant is eclectic and sophisticated — and the food was so savory and delicious. I ordered the Mihshi, which I recommend to anyone who hasn’t eaten much Lebanese food before. It was a great introduction plate for me! Also — be sure to ask for a side of vegetables with their homemade hummus.
Pizzeria Paradiso is right in the heart of Georgetown near many of the shops, so it’s a great place to stop for a bite to eat after an afternoon of shopping. We waited about 15 minutes for a table, which I didn’t mind because their gluten free pizza was the best. They have a great wine selection, too. I love pizza, so you know I’ll be going back here the next time I’m in town.
Barcelona Wine Bar is located in Cathedral Heights, which is such a charming D.C. neighborhood! My friend and I walked there, so we got to see all the beautiful houses along the way. This is a tapas-style restaurant, so you each order as many small dishes as you want and share them. My friend and I each ordered 3 dishes and it was more than enough food! They have tons of options, even for those with food allergies. This was hands-down my favorite meal of the trip.
Obviously being the dessert lover that I am, you know this list wouldn’t be complete without something yummy + sugary. My friend and I decided to do something fun for dessert: a taste test between two D.C. cupcake companies: Georgetown Cupcake + Baked & Wired. I personally liked Baked & Wired more because they were unlike any cupcake I’ve ever tasted before. Both establishments have gluten free options, too, which I was really happy about! I challenge you to your own D.C. cupcake taste test! Let me know your winner!
Well, there you have it: my travel guide for Washington D.C. It’s such an awesome city, so definitely add it to your list the next time you’re looking for a place to go for a long weekend! 🙂
Until next time!