48 Hours in Washington, D.C.

July 17, 2017

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Washington, D.C. Image via Flickr Creative Commons, by Tom Finzel.

Known primarily as a city of politicians and bureaucrats, Washington, D.C. often gets a bad rap. But after living in the US capital for seven years, The HUNT Washington, D.C. writer, Cori Sue Morris, has watched the District grow, and can tell you that everything she loves about the place has absolutely nothing to do with what happens in the government buildings downtown.

Plan to spend your days getting to know all that the charming, historic neighborhoods away from the tourist areas have to offer, and visiting engaging museums that aren’t located on the National Mall. If you’re a foodie, you’ll be thrilled with the variety here – this city offers an incredible array of fantastic drinking and dining options, which means you can spend your evenings savoring phenomenal dishes prepared by world-class chefs.

D.C. has experienced a renaissance over the last few years, and the once boring, stodgy town has gained new life – and a lot of style. There are always new watering holes and eateries to try, cerebral art exhibits to see and independent coffee shops and pop-up events to check out. The people who’ve founded these businesses and communities have made this a vibrant, quirky and exciting place.

Day 1

Jefferson Memorial and Tidal Basin. Image via Flickr Creative Commons, by Ron Cogswell.

9am: Begin your day as many Washingtonians do: with a run (or power walk) around the National Mall. It’s the most effective way to see the monuments and beautiful Tidal Basin, home to the Jefferson Memorial and thousands of cherry blossom trees.

10am: The Mall’s museums are now open, and you should pay a quick visit to at least one – they’re free! Cori Sue’s pick is the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, which is filled with incredible works of modern art.

11:30am: Hop on the 70 bus to Chinatown and stop at Compass Coffee, the only local roaster, and one that serves up a fantastic cup of joe.

12pm: Cross the street to visit the National Portrait Gallery. It houses the presidential portraits, as well as famous photographs and excellent traveling exhibits. Be sure to take a breather in the stunning atrium before moving on.

China Chilcano. Image by Cori Sue Morris.

1:30pm: Many of Penn Quarter’s restaurants are helmed by acclaimed chefs, so enjoy lunch right around the corner. For Italian, take a seat at chef Mike Isabella’s Graffiato. There’s also China Chilcano, an Asian-Peruvian eatery by chef José Andrés.

3pm: If it’s Saturday, catch a matinée at Woolly Mammoth Theatre, a quirky, innovative performing arts venue. Any other day, swing by Newseum, an engaging museum that chronicles the history of news.

5pm: Take the Metro from Judiciary Square to Dupont Circle, the epicenter of D.C. life. Stroll around the fountain and then drop by Kramerbooks & Afterwords, an independent bookstore and café, to pick up a new read.

6pm: The only thing better than happy hour is one that comes with a side of pampering. Make an appointment and walk 15 minutes east to Logan Circle’s nailsaloon, a luxury mani-pedi spot that serves complimentary booze.

Columbia Room. Image courtesy of the venue.

7:30pm: Cab over to the trendy neighborhood of Shaw for dinner at Chaplin’s Restaurant, where big bowls of ramen  and Prohibition-style cocktails are served.

9pm: Hit up Columbia Room, just three and a half blocks south, for after-dinner drinks. Have a glass of rum punch in the rooftop garden, or hole up indoors amongst the bookshelves and leather arm chairs.

10:30pm: Grab a taxi to JoJo Restaurant and Bar in U Street Corridor to hear some incredible live jazz before calling it a night.

Day 2

District Doughnut. Image courtesy of the venue.

9am: Rise and shine with a gourmet confection from District Doughnut, a little turquoise shop at the edge of Barracks Row. Both the salted dulce de leche and brown butter varieties are phenomenal.

10am: Amble over to Eastern Market, taking a slight detour past the US Capitol if you have the time, to peruse the foods, handicrafts and antiques the many vendors are selling.

12pm: Time to nosh. Capitol Hill is filled with weekend brunch options, but my pick is Lavagna for its Nutella pancakes and deal on bottomless booze. If it’s a weekday, Hank’s on the Hill, with its delicious oysters and lobster roll with Old Bay fries, will hit the spot.

Lynn Louisa. Image by Brandi Elyse Photography.

2pm: Peruse the whimsically named sections at Capitol Hill Books, then stop by Labyrinth Games & Puzzles to

pick up something for the tabletop gamer in your life.

4pm: Hail a cab and direct the driver to Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown. Grab a cup of authentic Argentine gelato at Dolcezza before picking up a few new additions to your wardrobe at Lynn Louisa.

6:30pm: If the weather’s nice, head down the hill to Georgetown Waterfront Park and soak in the view overlooking the Potomac River.

7:30pm: Dine at upscale Fiola Mare, one of Cori Sue’s faves, for delish Mediterranean food and a chic ambiance.

10:30pm: Have a nightcap among stylish locals at The Graham Georgetown‘s rooftop bar, where you can imbibe both your drink and the cityscape.

About The HUNT Washington, D.C. Writer: Cori Sue Morris loves nights out at great new restaurants, cocktails at the latest speakeasies, boutique fitness classes and bottomless brunches. A high-energy entrepreneur, she’s built a career out of exploring Washington, D.C. and sharing her experiences on bitcheswhobrunch.com, the website she co-founded. You can usually find her at the corner table of her favorite coffee shop or the best wine bar in town.

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