The Ultimate Guide to Washington DC

So as much as I obviously love traveling around South Carolina and the rest of the country, the north isn't an area I'm super familiar with. And yes, as a South Carolinian born and raised, I consider anywhere that regularly snows the North. I'm looking at you, Virginia and DC. I met my friend Katie, from A Touch of Teal, through blogging, and I instantly knew we'd be friends when I saw her collection of vineyard reviews! With her extensive knowledge on the DC area and mine of Charleston, we thought we'd take our followers on little trips of our own! Katie is on the blog to tell all of the must-sees, dos, and more in DC!

PS - I'm over on Katie's blog sharing my Charleston favorites, so check that out here!

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I am so happy to be able to collaborate with Emily today! When we first began talking about what we wanted to write about, it was almost a no-brainer. We both share a love of DC and Charleston, and we both are experts on one.

Pulling together this post really made me reflect on how much I have left to do in my own city. I can't wait to explore Zoo Lights this winter or Geortown more next spring. While DC may not be as laid back as LA or as cool as NY, it's definitely captured my heart. I hope you will fall in love with it, too. If you're ever in town or planning a visit, please don't hesitate to reach out with questions

Eat 

  • Farmers, Fishers, and Bakers // Located right on the Georgetown Waterfront, this sustainable restaurant offers delicious food made with only the highest quality ingredients. While every meal at Farmers is excellent, their $30 brunch buffet is the best bang for your buck—don't skip the homemade guac, pimento cheese and grilled ciabatta, or the meatballs. 
  • Dean & Deluca // Although the flagship is in New York, this gourmet foods market is a can't-miss after a long afternoon of shopping in Georgetown. My favorite? The cookie jars. 
  • The Italian Store // This Arlington establishment is worth a trip across the river, y'all! Known for their sandwiches, this Italian deli almost always has a line. While you're waiting for your sandwich though, be sure to check out all their groceries imported straight from—you guessed it—Italy.
  • Mission // Their gorgeous white brick and light-up sign welcome patrons straight onto Mission's always-full patio. This popular Mexican restaurant offers happy hour margarita pitchers for $20, and is the perfect spot for a weekday pick-me-up. 
  • The Pig // Right off Logan Circle, The Pig not only specializes, but excels at, pork-centric food. Even the cocktails pay homage to the animal this restaurant is named for—either by incorporating bacon or in name (my favorite is the Squealer). And whatever you do, do not leave without trying the bacon-wrapped apples.

See 

  • The National Mall + Tidal Basin // Whether you're a tourist or a local, the National Mall is a must-see spot in DC. Easy to stroll, bike, or run down, you'll catch glimpses of Lincoln, Jefferson, FDR, and MLK along the way. My favorite memorial is World War II, but the solemn Korean War Memorial and Vietnam Memorial are also worth a visit. To venture up the Washington Monument, be sure to request tickets ahead of time. And if you're coming during peak Cherry Blossom season, be sure to prepare for massive crowds. 
  • Library of Congress // Located right across the street from the US Capitol, the Library of Congress is a beautiful building with a stunning atrium. One of the oldest working libraries, anyone can visit, but only those with a Reader Identification Card may use its resources for academic pursuits. 
  • Washington Nationals // There's no better place to celebrate America's pastime than in America's capital. Be sure to head to the game early to take advantage of the corn hole games in the bullpen right outside the park, and once inside, skip your seats and head to the Red Porch to enjoy the game with a beer in hand. 
  • Smithsonian Museums // In most cities, you have to pay to enter museums. Here, whether it's the Hope Diamond, Jackie Kennedy's Inaugural ball gown, or the Declaration of Independence you want to see, you can—and for free!

Do 

  • Joyride the George Washington Parkway // This ride tops my cheap thrill list in the city. Start in Arlington where the Parkway and Route 50 meet and head east. Along the way, you'll get some of the best views of the city—for free. Keep heading east, and you'll eventually hit Old Town Alexandria.
  • Take a DC Duck Tour // I know, I know. This one might get some side eyes. But no other tour in the city goes on both land and sea in a historic vehicle used during D-Day. A fair warning this is a very family-oriented tour, but a great way to cover a lot of the city quickly.
  • Drink Sangria at Jazz in the Garden // File this one away for your warm-weather visit. The Sculpture Garden right off the National Mall hosts a happy hour each Friday afternoon in the summer featuring a live jazz band and some of the best sangria in the city.

Who 

  • The White House // DC's most famous residents are none other than the Obama's. In order to take a mansion tour, you need to write to your member of Congress a few months in advance to request tickets, as well as submit information for a background check. However, you can check out the Visitor's Center or snap pictures outside the North and South gates at anytime.
  • Bao Bao // Perhaps DC's second most famous resident, the Giant Panda Cub born last year brings people in droves to the National Zoo. If you're in town during the summer, be sure to check out Brew at the Zoo, and at Christmas, ZooLights is a must-see event. 
  • The Palm // Want to spot a Political Big Wig? The Palm is your best bet. This steakhouse is a favorite among Congressmen and lobbyists alike—just bring someone else to pick up the bill ;). 
  • Mount Vernon // George Washington may be long gone, but his spirit remains strong in this city. His beloved Mount Vernon is worth a trip, especially if it's one of their famous wine nights where you can enjoy the back patio views of the Potomac with a glass of vino in hand—just the way Mr. Washington intended. 

Shop 

  • Current Boutique // Located in the Clarendon neighborhood of Arlington, Current Boutique is constantly touted as one of the best consignment shops in the area, and for good reason. Whether it's Michael, Marc, or Louis, they have it here for a steal. 
  • M Street in Georgetown // There is no greater shopping destination in the city than M Street in Georgetown. They have it all, from Anthro to Zara, with ample hotspots to refuel along the way. 
  • Street Boutique Fashion Truck // Food trucks are all the rage here, but even more so is the DC Fashion Truck. All items are only carried once and there's new inventory every week. (MUCH BETTER souvenirs sold here than all those t-shirt stands lining up near the White House).

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And with that I'm officially in planning mode! Doesn't DC sound like so much fun? The only time I've visited was in 8th grade...on a large school bus...in the winter. Needless to say I think it's tie for a roadtrip!

Make sure to go check out Katie's blog, especially if you're a wine lover. She posts awesome reviews of wineries and vineyards around the DC/Virginia area!

travelEmily Lott3 Comments