You are here
DC Itinerary: Explore the District's Diverse Neighborhoods
- Travel around the world in the restaurants and nightspots of Adams Morgan
- Shop your way through Georgetown, home to high-end names and local designers
- Take in a classic or unconventional show in one of Downtown's theaters
Start your morning by jogging or cycling around the scenic monuments or memorials. The Mount Vernon and Capital Crescent Trails take you past some of the city's most familiar sites. Running these trails is a favorite activity among Washingtonians, so you'll be exercising like a local. Reward yourself with a DC Brew Tour at 11 a.m., which will drive you to various local craft breweries and not only satisfy your thirst, but also your hunger - the tour includes delicious food pairings.
Spend the rest of your afternoon shopping for funky home furnishings and vintage clothing in the Arts District/U Street/Shaw neighborhood, which has become a design district of sorts in DC. Once known as Black Broadway for its musical roots, the U Street neighborhood heritage trail guides visitors past the historic Lincoln Theatre, the boyhood home of Duke Ellington, the African American Civil War Memorial and other points of interest.
Enjoy a cocktail and catch a live jazz show on U Street, or head to the Adams Morgan neighborhood, where you'll find an endless variety of cuisines from around the globe. Ethiopian, Vietnamese, Latin American ... take your pick. Live blues music pours out of Madam's Organ and salsa dancing beckons at Habana Village, while stylish crowds flock to bars like The Reef and the multi-story Club Heaven and Hell. Or belly up to the bar, dine on some comfort food and chat up the locals at the laid-back The Diner.
Have breakfast in Georgetown, where you'll find casual bistros and cafes situated on and around M Street and Wisconsin Avenue. Try on clothing and jewelry by local designers, rising names in fashion and international retailers in upscale boutiques in this neighborhood - one of the city's most famous shopping districts.
Don't forget to stop in for a sweet treat at the the famous Georgetown Cupcake or the LA transplant Sprinkles. Or, if you're feeling adventurous, head to the Georgetown Waterfront. Rent a kayak or canoe for a view of the city from the water, or hop on a bike and travel on the scenic C&O Canal Towpath.
In the afternoon, venture over to Dupont Circle and explore a fascinating collection of art galleries and book shops. In the circle itself, locals mix and mingle over pick-up games of chess. Have a picnic in the circle and people watch - or lunch at Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe, a favorite among locals. Take in an exhibition at The Phillips Collection, the nation's original modern art museum and home to some of the world's most prized paintings by Cezanne, Renoir, Rothko and other noted artists.
See for yourself why Washington, DC's live music scene has earned such acclaim. Music enthusiasts flock to venues such as the Black Cat and the 9:30 Club, where national and local artists enjoy an intimate playing space. The up-and-coming Atlas District on H Street also offers a host of quirky clubs for evening entertainment. Try out the H Street Country Club, featuring indoor mini-golf, or the Red Palace, with live burlesque shows.
Start your day in Rock Creek Park. The 2,000-acre park is home to miles of picturesque trails for a morning hike, plus a planetarium, horse stables and tennis courts, as well as Smithsonian's National Zoo. Visit with the famous giant pandas, Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, and explore numerous other animal habitats. Enjoy lunch in one of the sidewalk cafes and local restaurants in the Woodley Park/Cleveland Park neighborhood.
In the afternoon, explore Downtown/Penn Quarter/Chinatown DC's energetic city district. Visit the high-tech, interactive International Spy Museum or the Donald W. Reynolds Center for Art and Portraiture, home to the National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Check out the portraits of all 44 presidents at the National Portrait Gallery, or see their likenesses in wax at The Presidents Gallery by Madame Tussauds Washington D.C.
For lunch, sample one of the many restaurants on 7th Street, including authentic Chinese restaurants that make up Chinatown. You'll know you're there by the giant Friendship Arch - the second largest in the nation - that stands just outside the Gallery Place-Chinatown Metro.
Washington, DC's theater scene is booming with the second-highest number of theater seats in the nation. Enjoy a pre-theater dinner at one of downtown's most fashionable eateries, then take in a show at the edgy Woolly Mammoth Theatre, the unconventional Studio Theatre, the funky Warehouse Theatre or the classical Shakespeare Theatre Company. Half-price same-day tickets are available at Ticketplace, located on 7th Street. For more information on local DC theaters, check out TheatreWashington.