Let’s forget politics, Washington, D.C. can take you in many more directions than the left and the right. The city is a uniquely inviting combination of a middle school field trip (the good kind, where you kiss your crush) and a modern exploration (full of vivid cultural moments and some of the best culinary situations the U.S. has to offer). Teeming with history, pride, art, science and activism, our nation’s capital is—and has always been—dynamic by nature. Whether you’re visiting for the museums, the monuments, the meals, or the mixology, The District has got you covered.
We encourage you to “miss” your flight, but if you insist on a capital quickie, here’s the deal…
12PM: Moon Rock
Check out the Space Window at the Washington National Cathedral and peep a 7.18-gram basalt lunar rock from the Sea of Tranquility, donated to the Cathedral by the crew of Apollo 11 (Neil Armstrong, Eugene “Buzz” Aldrin, and Michael Collins).
1PM: Walk The Line
Stop by The LINE DC for a delicious and ironic lunch situation. Chef Erik Bruner-Yang’s all day offerings at Brothers And Sisters are inspired by a little bit of everything for a culturally shocking and aesthetically monumental dining experience.
2PM: Top Secret
Reopening its doors on May 12, 2019 in a new and improved location, the International Spy Museum is the perfect opportunity to hone your ex-stalking skills. You’ll explore undercover situations from the point of view of a secret agent (A.K.A. you when you’re jealous).
While we’re keeping secrets, let’s talk about the FBI Spy House. In 1977, the Soviet Union Embassy moved into a new building complex. Queue: the FBI and the NSA setting up shop directly across the street. Smooth.
4PM: All The Things
5PM: Costume Party
For over 25 years, Meeps has been on the top of every “Best Of D.C.” list when it comes to vintage stores. Specializing in costumes and accessories, it’s the perfect place to outfit your inner hippie goddess.
Swing by the Colada Shop for a sunset drink—Cuban style. If the stars align and it’s Thursday, known here as Havana Nights, we’re talking all-night happy hour with $6 cocktails, $2 empanadas, and bumping Caribbean beats.
7PM: Food Science
There’s a reason José Andrés’ Minibar has not one, but two Michelin stars. His 27-course tasting menu is the definition of progressive molecular gastronomy. Example: basil foam and balsamic vinegar “caviar” with edible parmesan spoons. Say what?
8PM: Make Art, Not War
Inspired by the cultural capitals of Europe, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the National Cultural Center Act in 1958, establishing The Kennedy Center and a desire to fund the performing arts at large. Thanks, DDE!
9PM: Beer Broth
Sapporo-style ramen actually has nothing to do with beer, but we’re happy we got your attention. The ramen at Daikaya is distinguished by the Chintan stock which takes 16+ hours to prepare from a combination of chicken, pork and beef, coupled with noodles imported from Sapporo, Japan for ultimate authenticity.
10PM: You Fancy, Huh?
Columbia Room has three “situations” for those of you who take cocktails super seriously. The reservation-only Tasting Room has an omakase-style beverage menu, while the Spirits Library and Punch Garden offer a more relaxed vibe paired with equally serious libations.
11PM: Please Don’t Tell
Off The Record is a not-so-secret venue where D.C.’s crème de la crème act like they didn’t come to be photographed among the plush, Bordeaux decor.
12AM: Read More
When it opened in 1976, Kramerbooks was the first bookstore-meets-café in Washington D.C. Boasting a bar, restaurant, and vast literary selection, Kramer’s is an all day, all night go-to regardless of your bookworm status.
1AM: House Party
The Eighteenth Street Lounge offers a mix of live, local music and world-class DJs every Tuesday through Saturday. If your living room and a night club had a baby, it would be ESL.
2AM: Birth Right
Before there was Harlem, there was U Street. Recognized as an early center of African American culture in America, U Street has always been known for its music and nightlife. Head to JoJo for a taste of the block that raised Duke Ellington.
3AM: Get In Line
Celebrating 61 years of family-run success, Ben’s Chili Bowl has been serving half-smoke sausages smothered in their signature chili since 1958, when (now 83-year-old) Virginia Ali founded the joint with her late husband, Ben. Virginia still stops by, but today, the operation is run by their three sons.
4AM: Go Home
And while you’re being responsible, ask your UBER driver to take a detour down Pennsylvania Avenue. The nighttime view of the Capitol Building is beyond worth the delay.
5AM: Watch Your Step
If you’ve seen The Exorcist, you’ll recognize these stairs from the film’s final showdown. Pull over on M street and park at the gas station just before Canal Road to find yourself at the foot of the fateful stairway.
6AM: Worth It
Rise, shine, and get yourself over to the Lincoln Memorial to catch an awe-inspiring sunrise. Find a spot on the stairs and soak in the views.
7AM: Leggo My Eggo
Perfecting the waffle and everything else under the “greasy spoon” category for nearly 30 years, Lincoln’s Waffle Shop is the ideal place to begin your hangover recovery.
8AM: Hi Honey
Why stop now? Head to Astro Doughnuts for one of their famous crème brûlée doughnuts. They also have fried chicken honey breakfast sandwiches if you’re into placing awesome orders.
9AM: Sun Salutations
Start the day off right with a mindful and invigorating session at Yoga Del Sol. Designed for students of all levels, the teachers here offer customized, hands-on training that cater to your personal practice.
10AM: Man’s Best Friend
Stop by The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History to visit the legendary Sergeant Stubby. After spending 18 months in France and participating in 17 battles on the Western Front during WWI, Stubby was the first (and only) military dog to ever be promoted to the title of sergeant. Woof!
11AM: Set Sail
Take a load off and head to Key Bridge Boathouse to see D.C.’s sites and monuments from a new point of view on the Potomac River. Take your pick from an array of tours and rental offerings, so you can say you saw it all and actually mean it.