Washington, D.C. Travel Guide
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.
Drinking isn’t the only sport at this vintage motorcycle-themed watering hole. The downstairs bar resembles a retro-rec room with shuffleboard tables, Skee-Ball, pinball and Stacker, which can earn the winner an Angry Birds charm necklace, the rare nod to the 21st century.
The two-time winner of Food Network’s Cupcake Wars bakes vegan cupcakes so rich and tasty, they could dupe even the most diehard dairy- and egg-eater.
Established in 1932, the two-acre park is named after French sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, whose classical fountain (which predates his iconic Statue of Liberty) rises among the mini-landscapes of flowers, plants and secluded benches.
The Tuesday-Sunday public market has been in continuous operation since 1873, despite a 2007 fire. The food vendors have since returned to the South Hall, where they sell all the fixings for a picnic a deux or a dinner party for 20.
Toro Mata specializes in Peruvian art and crafts, covering every available space with pottery, reverse-painted glass, figurines, paintings, textiles, jewelry and toy-size Andean pack animals.
The mansion, designed by U.S. Capitol architect Edward Clark, is a study in eclecticism and eccentricity. The museum collection can only be described as pack rat with a trust fund, and its tours are equally wild and unconventional.
The Navy museum, one of only 14 in the country, focuses on the long and thrilling history of the military branch, covering major wars and model ships as well as Arctic expeditions and deep-sea explorations.
The American Institute of Architects bookstore mixes the academic with the whimsical.
On this self-guided walking tour, piece together the neighborhood’s history by following the 17 informational signs sprinkled throughout the protected historic district.
The historic golf course, part of the National Park system, comprises three courses: red (nine holes), white (nine) and blue (18). Or play a round on the oldest continually operating mini-golf course in the country, built in 1930. Greens fees start at a reasonable $10 for 9 holes.
The boutique for men and women features a well-curated selection of styles appropriate for nearly every occasion: day job, garden party, weekend in the Hamptons, your best friend’s wedding.
Jack Rose takes its liquor seriously: The tippling establishment claims to have the largest collection of spirits in the world (more than 1,400) and the largest assemblage of whiskey (more than 900) in North America, if not beyond.
The boutique features a rotating cast of 12 designers (all local, minus the co-owner’s Wisconsin mother) who create clothes, accessories, and jewelry out of repurposed and recycled materials.
Sail into the rosy sunset aboard the 65-foot schooner, American Spirit, part of the National Maritime Heritage Foundation’s community sailing program.
Visitors to Ford’s Theatre immerse themselves in the life and death of Abraham Lincoln. Tours encompass the theatre, site of the assassination; the Petersen House, where the president died; the Center for Education and Leadership, which covers his legacy; and the newly renovated museum.