Things to do in Washington, D.C.
America’s capital offers lots of affordable activities year-round. Of the 17 Smithsonian museums, all of which offer free admission, the National Air and Space Museum is a favorite (literally—it’s the world’s most visited museum) thanks to its vast collection of artifacts, which includes the 1903 Wright brothers flyer and the Apollo 11 space module. Meanwhile, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts stages fantastic music and theater performances each year (400 of which are free to the public). Awe-inspiring monuments such as the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial should appear on any itinerary of things to do in Washington, D.C. (perk: unlike the museums, there are no long lines). Another architectural wonder is Union Station, with its vaulted ceilings, three majestic arches, and massive columns. Of course, the city offers an array of in-depth historical tours, but one of our favorites is more whimsical: Paws for Spies, which reveals tales of espionage with as many as 17 highly-trained dogs in tow. For the best itinerary, plan two or three cultural activities during the day, then explore Washington, D.C.’s restaurant and nightlife scenes, and, finally, check into an uber-comfortable hotel to recharge.
The fun house of decor, open for more than 30 years, sells vintage pieces and architectural parts salvaged from residences, many in the District.
Paddle or sail the Potomac in a canoe, single or double kayak, rowing shell or Sunfish rented by the hour or the day. Go left and float by Watergate, the Kennedy Center and the Arlington Memorial Bridge; turn right for a snapshot of Georgetown’s convivial waterfront.
The 36-year-old performing arts center embraces Latin American culture with bilingual programs held in the Tivoli Theater, an ornate movie palace built in 1924.
The Tony award-winning Arena Stage has been presenting new and classic American plays for more than six decades.
Opened in 1992, this northwest D.C. store has been selling unique, vintage, and mid-century modern home furnishings for more than a decade. The U Street shop is filled with interesting, designer pieces that appeal to collectors, as well as shoppers seeking functional home furnishings.
Located on Connecticut Avenue in Woodley Park, Carbon is known for its selection of stylish, eco-friendly shoes, clothing, and accessories. The store, which opened in 2004, carries items from small, independent brand and designers that fit its sustainable chic mantra.
Established in 1997, the Dupont Circle Freshfarm Market is a year-round farmers' market welcoming producers from the Chesapeake Bay region. Located between Massachusetts and Connecticut Avenues, the market is open on Sunday mornings until 1 p.m.
A must-visit for both wannabe spy kids and their John le Carré-reading parents, this terrific interactive museum gives you the chance to try your hand at espionage.
This swanky watering hole with over-the-top décor is half hotel restaurant and half hopping DC nightspot.
The lodestar of this block’s constellation of eclectic housewares shops, Go Mama Go! is packed with a funky mix of Japanese ceramics, Murano glassware, bright Marimekko textiles, and decorative Asian tiles.
Strange Factor: Known for their keen sense of smell, dogs are the perfect companions to track down clues on this offbeat spy tour of our nation’s capital.
The 19 museums of the Smithsonian Institution are some of the most visited attractions in the DC area. The museums are known for their collections of priceless artifacts, works of art, and items of historic and cultural significance.
Founded by Christopher Reiter following a four-year stay in Asia, Muléh is a unique lifestyle store blending home furnishings and fashion. The home furnishings for sale reflect a decidedly modern, Asian aesthetic.
Wild Women Wear Red sells sexy but practical shoes, such as puzzle-patterned suede boots by Camper and Lisa Nading loafers with kittenish heels.
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art is dedicated to displaying, preserving, and educating the public about African art.