6:30am: Work out with Abe at the Lincoln Memorial
Rise and shine because there’s no better view while you feel the burn, and it’s all within view of Honest Abe, who is just sitting there (not fair). Try to time your visit on a Wednesday morning when dozens of workout nuts come together for The November Project, a year-long exercise class that’s free to anyone who joins.
8:30am: Take in the view from the top of the Washington Monument
Head east to the Washington Monument, where the early bird gets an elevator ride to the top of the Washington Monument. (And let’s face it, you’re in no shape for stairs by this point.) The National Park Service distributes free daily tickets promptly at 8:30 am, so get in line for up to six tickets per person, or… sleep in and order them online for a small fee.
City Center DC
10am: Ham it up at the White House
To get beyond the gates, you have to speak nicely to your member of Congress for tickets. But nothing is stopping you from taking pics on the other side (just don’t piss off the Secret Service with your selfie stick). The North Lawn offers some of the most iconic views of the building itself, and the surrounding Lafayette Park area is surprisingly tranquil.
10:30am: Explore the Renwick Gallery
The current experience art exhibit, WONDER, is currently one of the the most Instagrammed spots in the city. It runs through July, after which the museum will reintroduce the permanent exhibit -- on-hold since some pretty extensive renovations to the building. The best part? This, like all the Smithsonian museums, it’s 100% free. View on Map
12pm: Grab lunch at David Chang’s Momofuku CCDC
Virginia native David Chang is mostly known for his New York restaurant empire, but he came back home this fall -- or close enough. Ever since, tables have been filled with happy patrons downing bowls of ramen and beef noodle soup. Tables are hard to nab for dinner, but lunch is considerably easier, when our nation’s tireless legislators are eating sandwiches at their desks. View on Map
11am: Brunch Viennese-Style at Kafe Leopold
If there’s one thing DC knows how to do, it’s brunch. Class it up a bit with a Viennese style breakfast, and if you can swing it, a seat by the fountain. The coffee and drinks in general are strong, and the cafe is adjacent to some of Georgetown’s best shopping. View on Map
12:00pm: Paddle board the Potomac
Head to the Key Bridge Boathouse for rental kayaks and stand-up paddle boards. And while D.C. is pretty populated, you’ll have the river to yourself (not many tourists here) and just a few other row boats as you head north and west towards the Three Sisters, an area of jagged rocks, where boaters will hang for sun, fun, and a swim.
Capitol Hill: 1pm - 5pm
2pm: Hike to Kingman Island
On the east end of Capitol Hill is Kingman Island, a small wetland marsh and island that sits in the middle of the Anacostia River. Time your visit right, and you can participate in a nature hike or a kayaking excursion on the river.
5pm: Line up for Rose’s Luxury
Okay, this is serious. Dinner at Rose’s Luxury is not for the faint of heart. If you want to ensure a table at this no-reservations restaurant, run by Chef Aaron Silverman, line up at 5pm. It’s well worth the wait; Silverman is a 2016 James Beard award-winner, for dishes like his pork sausage, and habanero-lychee salad. View on Map
1pm: Drink lavender latte at Compass Coffee
Yes, a lavender latte may seem a bit out there, but trust us here and you’ll wonder how you ever coped with non-herbaceous coffee up til now. Compass Coffee is also the type of place where you can take advantage of some free wifi, like the many regulars who make this their daily work spot. View on Map
2pm: Explore the African-American Civil War Museum
Get up on some important history at this tribute to the more than 200,000 African-American soldiers who fought for the Union in the American Civil War. Then check out the war memorial across the street, directly adjacent to the U Street Metro station. View on Map
4pm: Down a half-smoke at Ben’s Chili Bowl
It’s practically a rite of passage to eat at the iconic Ben’s Chili Bowl on U Street, and the half-smoke is something unique to DC. It’s a half-pork, half-beef sausage that’s usually covered in globs of chili. Ben’s gets credit for being the original, so pay your respects, saddle up to the bar, and try not spill chili on yourself. View on Map
6pm: Indulge at Larry’s Ice Cream
Who says you can’t have ice cream for dinner? End your day with a double scoop in a waffle cone. At Larry’s Ice Cream, decadence is actually flavor; it’s a dark chocolate concoction that’s been on the menu for decades. Take your ice cream to-go, and sit by the Dupont Circle fountain. Did someone say “Instagram moment”? View on Map
4pm: Play bocce at Logan Circle
A few professional leagues routinely play bocce ball games at Logan Circle, just off the 14th Street corridor. If you don't have your own set -- and have the skills to not completely embarrass yourself -- ask to join a game!
5pm: Grab a cocktail at Two Birds, One Stone
Bartender Adam Bernbach is obsessive about a good drink. He designs and hand-draws his cocktail menu each week, which should tell you everything. Two Birds, One Stone is also the kind of place that’s just hidden enough -- in the basement of sister restaurant Doi Moi -- to stay on the chill side of too crazy. View on Map
2pm: Skip the meat (or not) at Beefsteak
This fast-casual restaurant by Chef Jose Andres isn’t vegetarian, but veggies and grains are the star component here, so get your 5-a-day. It’s usually packed during the lunch-rush, so time your visit in the early afternoon. Order up a beefsteak burger -- a thick slice of perfectly ripened beefsteak tomato between two buns. View on Map
3pm: Explore DC on two wheels
DC is a particularly bike-friendly city, with tons of designated bike lanes across the downtown area, and of course, the fact that the city is relatively flat. Just outside the Foggy Bottom Metro Station, you’ll find dozens of bikes to rent-out for the day. Pay the day-rate and pedal towards the Potomac River, where bike paths will offer a new perspective on some of the city’s most iconic buildings and monuments.
9pm: Get das boot of beer at Dacha
Start out at this outdoor German-themed beer garden, open from March to November, and whenever winter temperatures are oddly spring-like. Dacha is most notably the place where you can buy gigantic steins and boots of beer, which are always fun, especially with a sausage platter on the side. View on Map
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1. Campono600 New Hampshire Ave, NW, Washington DC
2. Momofuku CCDC1090 I St NW, Washington
3. Fiola Mare3050 K St NW, Washington
4. Compass Coffee1535 7th St NW, Washington
5. Ben's Chili Bowl1213 U St NW, Washington
6. Rose's Luxury717 8th St SE, Washington
7. Iron Gate1734 N St NW, Washington
8. Beefsteak800 22nd St NW, Washington
9. 2 Birds 1 Stone1800 14th St NW, Washington
10. Le Diplomate1610 14th St NW, Washington, DC
11. Boundary Stone116 Rhode Island Ave NW, Washington
12. The Red Hen1822 1st St NW , Washington
13. Dacha Beer Garden1600 7th St NW, Washington
14. DC9 Roofdeck1940 9th St NW, washington dc
15. Ivy and Coney1523 7th St NW, Washington
16. Renwick Gallery1661 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington
17. Kafe Leopold3315 M St. NW, Georgetown
18. Key Bridge Boathouse3500 K St NW, Washington
19. The African American Civil War Memorial and Museum1925 Vermont Ave NW, Washington
20. Eastern Market225 7th St SE, Washington
21. Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe1517 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington
22. Larry's Ice Cream1633 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington
23. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts2700 F St NW, Washington
24. Showtime113 Rhode Island Ave NW, Washington