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7 Ways to Experience the Obamas’ Washington, DC

Obama family walking in downtown Washington, DC

Over the past eight years, POTUS and FLOTUS have been spotted at these restaurants and attractions throughout DC.

In addition to being the First Family of the United States, the Obamas are also big fans of Washington, DC, regularly getting out into the neighborhoods and on the National Mall. Local blogs and newspapers often report on unexpected date nights at a hot restaurant, a surprise visit to a boutique workout or a sighting at a sporting event. We’ve gathered up some of the highlights over the years so you can make like the Obamas before they hand over the keys to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on Jan. 20.

1 Plan a trip to the White House
Plan a trip to the White House Stephen Melkisethian

The Obamas have called the White House home for the last eight years. Plan a visit before Jan. 20. Request a tour of the presidential estate from your member of Congress at least 21 days in advance of your visit (no tours on Sundays and Mondays), and who knows, you might meet First Dogs Bo and Sunny or catch a glimpse of the most famous vegetable garden in the country. 

2 Stay near the White House
Stay near the White House The Hay-Adams

Find exclusive Inauguration Day hotel packages in January. If you want to do like Barack Obama, book a room at The Hay-Adams, a luxury hotel where he stayed the day before being inaugurated as the 44th U.S. President.

3 Work out like Michelle Obama
Work out like Michelle Obama Soul Cycle Mount Vernon

The high-energy spin class, SoulCycle, has taken the city by storm and has become a fast favorite of the uber-healthy Michelle Obama. You, too, can ride while rocking out to high-energy tunes at any of its four DC locations. If you want to take your bike out on the town, take a tour with Bike and Roll (which also offers extended rentals). Not much of a biker? Nothing beats an early morning run on the National Mall. Check out more ways to work out in Washington, DC.

4 Dine at any number of restaurants where the Obamas have been spotted
Dine at any number of restaurants where the Obamas have been spotted

As president-elect, Barack Obama ordered the famed chili-smothered half-smoke from Ben’s Chili Bowl on U Street. It’s a must-eat for any newcomer to DC. You should also bring your appetite to Art & Soul, helmed by the former personal chef to Oprah, for Southern-style fare – of which Michelle is a big fan. Explore the wonderful world of cuisine through celeb chef José Andrés’ eyes with a date at Oyamel, a shareable small plates restaurant where the Obamas once dined together.

For more first family vibes, check out these presidential dining experiences in Washington, DC.

5 Experience the new Smithsonian Museum of African American History & Culture

President Barack Obama & First Lady Michelle Obama with Bonner family at Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture Dedication Ceremony - Washington, DC

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama rang in the opening of the new Smithsonian Museum of African American History & Culture when it officially opened its doors on Sept. 24, 2016. Inside the free-to-enter museum, you’ll find 400,000 square feet of space dedicated to the history and achievements of African Americans. The entire African American experience has been chronicled through artifacts and exhibits that cover slavery, the Civil Rights Movement, sports, music, entertainment and politics.

6 Grab a drink and keep your ears open
Grab a drink and keep your ears open Old Ebbitt Grill

Obama staffers and other power players may call it a day at any number of bars and restaurants near the White House. Off the Record, in the lower level of The Hay-Adams, is a popular spot among politicos, as is Old Ebbitt Grill, DC’s oldest bar (which also offers two oyster happy hours daily). You can also sip craft beer and dine on select seafood at the bar of Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak and Stone Crab, where President Obama has dined in the past.

7 Make a trip to the National Mall

President Obama & the First Family at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial - National Mall - Washington, DC

President Obama dedicated the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in 2011. It remains one of the most impressive landmarks on the National Mall. Plan your visit to see the memorial and take a free park ranger-led tour around the memorial and National Mall. You may also want to see where Dr. King delivered his “I Have a Dream Speech” on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.  

The Obamas will depart the White House on Jan. 20, 2017, but that doesn’t mean President Obama and his family are leaving Washington, DC. The Obamas are the first first family since President Woodrow Wilson to stick around the nation's capital. Like Wilson, they’re moving to the Kalorama neighborhood, which you can explore just north of Dupont Circle.