“You take delight not in a city’s seven or seventy wonders, but in the answer it gives to a question of yours.” ~Italo Calvino
Washington, DC is a beautiful, iconic city. A friend once said, after making her first visit to DC, that it looks exactly as our nation’s capital should look. I have to agree. Having lived in or near it for most of my life, I love to show it off to tourists. I am a self-proclaimed expert at the quick and dirty tour for out-of-towners.
If you have a few days, the museums are great and many of them are FREE. That being said, my quick tour doesn’t include them, but click here for info on the Smithsonian (i.e. free) ones.
Without further ado, here is the best way to take in the history and grandeur of Washington, DC quickly. I first did this with a friend who had just a few hours to see the sights. After the tour, he left saying it was the best part of his trip to the US.
W Hotel Rooftop bar views:
If you get lucky, you’ll see Marine One come in for a landing on the White House lawn.
You can eat there for brunch or just have cocktails prior to going elsewhere. The view is fantastic, but you definitely pay a premium for it. It’s kind of a club scene after dark, which I don’t appreciate, so I prefer brunch/lunch/pre-dinner drinks.
*special note: if the snipers are on the roof of the White House, someone important is home, or will be soon*
The White House:
Just a short walk from the W Hotel
Monuments and the Mall:
If you find yourself there during the day, park near the mall and take a walk. Even quicker, though, hop in a cab/uber after dinner and ask them to drive you past the Jefferson, stop (and leave the meter running) at the Lincoln–definitely run up the steps for photos, then turn and observe the Washington Monument towering over the Reflecting Pool. Round out the tour by driving past the Capital dome, my favorite building, and a stunner whether set against the dark night or a blue, cloudless sky. Right now there is scaffolding on it for repairs, but hopefully it will be back in all its glory soon.
Turn 180 degrees, and here’s what you’ll see (click here for the movie version):
A side trip, which is WELL worth it is to Arlington National Cemetery for the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It’s somber, powerful, and wonderful.
Founding Farmers – good for brunch, lunch, or dinner with yummy drinks and very reasonable corkage fees should you decide to bring your own wine to save some $$. The food is delicious also, but can you tell where my priorities lie? Yes, with the booze.
Old Ebbit Grill – historic (the oldest saloon in the city), iconic, and walking distance to the W, the monuments, and the White House. It’s a little dark on the inside, but so convenient.
Blue Duck Tavern – only nearish to all the monuments, but so so delicious.
There are, of course, tons of other scrumptious options for food, but I had to stay on task.