D.C. is easily my favorite city in the US. My sister lives here, so I tend to visit often, but I love that I discover new things each time I visit. This city has so much to offer: from monuments and speakeasies, to the canals of Georgetown. A weekend in the nation’s capital is well worth your time.

washington monument D.C.

The Cherry Blossom Festival is stunning, with flowering trees surrounding the Tidal Basin.

The Basics of D.C. 

About D.C.: This city is shaped into a wonky rectangular shape, bordered by Maryland on all sides, except where the city meets the Potomac River, with Virginia on the other side. It’s, of course, home to our President, and includes the White House, Capitol Building, and tons of monuments, museums, etc. This place is covered in history. What I think is cool about the city? No building can be taller than the Capitol Building, so it kind of has a European vibe.

When should I go? With its temperate climate, you could visit D.C. any time of year. The less crowded months are between March-May and September-November. However, the most crowded times are around July 4th and the Cherry Blossom Festival between the end of March to early April. The hottest month is July with an average high of 88°F (31°C) and average low of 71°F (22°C). The coldest month is January with an average high of 42°F (5°C) and a low of 26°F (-3°C).

What am I paying with? The US Dollar, about $1=£0.80 GPB

What are they speaking? English is the predominant language.

Where should I stay?

  • I typically stay with my sister since she lives there, but a good hostel to stay at would be: Highroad Hostel with a 9.6 rating on Hostelworld and about $45 a night, or Duo Housing D.C., with an 8.7 rating on Hostelworld and about $35 a night. D.C. is an expensive city, so hostels typically aren’t as cheap as some European cities.
  • For moderately priced hotels, I recommend Hilton Arlington. It’s not in the District itself, but it’s just across the Potomac River in Arlington, VA, with a metro stop close by. It’s about $111 a night.
  • This is also a good city to look into Airbnb since that is probably cheaper than most hotels.
    D.C. old town

    Explore the streets of Old Town Alexandria just outside of D.C.

    national cathedral D.C.

    Visit the National Cathedral- it’s beautiful!

    monuments D.C.

    A stroll or bike ride along the monuments always makes for a good day.

So the most important item: Food! What am I going to eat?

Ohhhh baby, D.C. has an amazing food scene! D.C. is such a diverse city, so the world is your oyster when it comes to food. My favorites? Let me tell you:

  • Daikaya (Ramen)- I know ramen is huge right now, and everyone is eating it, but this place is the best. I’ve had ramen in so many places (it may be my favorite thing right now too), but nothing compares to this. The broth, the noodles, the pot-stickers, and even the Japanese beer put Daikaya at the top of my list when it comes to dining in D.C. It’s not far from all the museums and White House, so I typically walk, or take a short metro ride here. It’s more of a lunch spot, and it opens at 11. My advice: Go as soon as it opens! This place is popular for a reason, but it’s a small place and there will be lines. If you go when it opens, you likely won’t be stuck waiting. Seriously, this place is amazing. I go every time I’m in town and take my friends, boyfriend, and anyone else here.
  • Sakuramen Ramen Bar (Ramen)- Speaking of ramen, another great place to grab a bowl of this delicious stuff is Sakuramen. This place is also pretty small, so be sure to come early enough to grab a seat. It’s in the Adams Morgan neighborhood, so if you’re not near the National Mall area, this is another great place to go for ramen.
  • Cava Mezze (Greek Tapas Style)- Another amazing place. My sister took me here and told me all about the cheese on fire (also known as saganaki)! Seriously, they fry up some cheese, put brandy on it, and light it on fire. It’s delicious. They also have a selection of dips like hummus and tzatziki, and various other delicious small plates of meats and veggies.

    The broth, the noodles, the pot-stickers, and even the Japanese beer put Daikaya at the top of my list when it comes to dining in D.C.

  • Hen Quarter (Fried Chicken/Southern)- If you love fried chicken, this is an amazing spot. It’s in Old Town Alexandria. I got the chicken and waffles (their specialty), and it was amazing. The waffle was perfect; the chicken was everything you’d want in fried chicken and more! Also, the customer service is amazing. We had to wait a little bit for our food, and the manager came over and said dessert was free. This is a place you may want to consider grabbing dessert: their pecan pie is delectable!
  • One word: BRUNCH! Go for bottomless mimosas anywhere, and you’ll be sure to have a good time. I love Agora, a Turkish restaurant that serves bottomless brunch (not just mimosas) for $35. So tasty! You have to try the feta and htipiti. Another great spot? Dirty Martini, it has an all you can eat brunch and drag show. It is an incredibly entertaining way to spend your brunch plans. Book early, as this books up fast!
  • You can get fresh crab and crab cakes anywhere. D.C. is right next to Maryland, which means, tons of delicious crabs! Head to Neopols Savory Smokery for some inexpensive seafood.
  • And for dessert: cupcakes! The famous Georgetown Cupcakes is located in D.C., and while super crowded, it’s amazing! I got the earl grey tea cupcake and loved every bite! Right now, they’re also serving up unicorn cupcakes, which are also amazing.
    daikaya D.C.

    Delicious Daikaya ramen.

    hens quarter d.c.

    Hen Quarter is the place to go for southern comfort food.

    drag brunch D.C.

    Dirty Martini and the wonderfully entertaining drag show brunch.

    georgetown cupcakes D.C.

    Unicorn cupcakes at Georgetown Cupcakes.

    cupcakes D.C.

    Cupcakes all around!

And finally, what can I do here?

For the One Who’s Here to Relax
  1. Visit Theodore Roosevelt Island: If you’re looking for a relaxing, easy hike, visit this island that has a statue of Theodore Roosevelt. There are few tourists, and you can relax, have a picnic, and just hang out.
  2. Get on a boat! With the Potomac River, there are harbors everywhere. There are boat tours of the city you can take or have a relaxing, evening cruise.
  3. Go visit the Northern Virginia wineries. There are several wineries scattered throughout Northern Virginia and are only about an hour’s drive from the city. The wine tastings are cheap and there are a good variety of red and white wines.
  4. Coffee shops: There are cafes all over this city, where you can relax, read a book, or even blog! My favorites include Baked and Wired in Georgetown, where you can decorate a napkin for the napkin wall, and Tryst, where you can relax in many cushy chairs while sipping your coffee.
wineries D.C.

Visiting Northern Virginia’s wineries. My favorite? Zephaniah Farm Vineyard.

napkin wall D.C.

Baked and Wired and leaving our mark on the napkin wall.

For the One Seeking Adventure
  1. Go kayaking: Again, with the Potomac River and the Tidal Basin, you can go kayaking, canoeing, paddle boating, etc. and enjoy the sights and sounds around you.
  2. Go hiking: Not only is there Roosevelt Island to explore, but there are countless parks around the city to visit and go on a hike.
  3. Bike the monuments: Want to see the monuments, but don’t have much time? Or you just don’t want to walk around that long? There are tons of bikes you can rent at various bike-sharing stations throughout the city. Just rent one near the Washington monument, and return it when you’re finished seeing the monuments.
biking monuments D.C.

Biking along the monuments is a fast way to see all the monuments in a short amount of time.

For the One Who Loves to Sightsee

You’re never short on things to see in D.C., with all of the monuments, museums, etc.

  1. Visit the Tidal Basin and see all the monuments. Most of the monuments are in this area, ranging from the Jefferson Memorial, to the new Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. Not to mention how beautiful the Tidal Basin is, especially during the Cherry Blossom Festival.
  2. All the museums! There are countless museums to see, with all of the Smithsonian Museums being free. There are 19 of these museums, ranging from the American Art Museum to the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Other, non-Smithsonian museums include the US Holocaust Memorial Museum and the International Spy Museum.
  3. Pandas! The Smithsonian’s National Zoo is free and has lots of great animals to see, including the pandas! Go see Bei Bei, the baby panda.
  4. Visit Mount Vernon- This was the plantation of George Washington. This could be a full day trip from the city, but it’s well worth it. The views of the Potomac River are gorgeous, and the plantation is huge.
  5. The White House and Capitol Building! A visit to D.C. isn’t complete without seeing the most important government buildings in the country. While going to see the outside is awesome in itself, you can go inside both, but that requires planning. You need to contact your state’s member of Congress or your home country’s embassy in D.C. well in advance (about 6 months) to see the White House. There’s no guarantee, but they do have tours you can go on. The procedures for visiting the Capital Building are also the same.
  6. Visit the cute neighborhood of Georgetown and check out the canals. This is a fancier neighborhood of D.C., with lots of shopping, cute restaurants, and beautiful canals to lounge by.
  7. Arlington National Cemetery. Pay tribute to those who have served and see more views of the city from this spot.
  8. Ford’s Theatre: The infamous location of Lincoln’s assassination. It has been restored to look like it did in its prime.

whitehouse d.c.

Strolling along Pennsylvania Ave to the Whitehouse.

monuments d.c.

Visiting the National Monuments is a must in D.C.

jefferson memorial d.c.

Jefferson Memorial.

dino d.c.

Next up: You gotta check out the museums. I love the Natural History Museum.

museum d.c.

Shoes of victims from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

cherry blossom d.c.

The best time to come to D.C.? When the cherry blossoms are in bloom!

cherry blossom d.c.

Frolicking by the Tidal Basin in the cherry blossoms.

mt vernon d.c.

Have time for a day trip? Head over to Mt. Vernon, where Washington lived.

georgetown d.c.

Exploring the gorgeous neighborhood of Georgetown.

georgetown d.c.

Small but stunning: the canals of Georgetown.

canal d.c.

Strolling along the canal.

georgetown d.c.

Georgetown, D.C.

For the One Who’s Here to Party
  1. You can visit the wineries mentioned, but be sure to have a designated driver. The wines are awesome, and take some home if you can!
  2. Brunch of course! See above.
  3. Breweries: D.C. has tons of breweries, and you should check them out. There’s D.C. Brau Brewing Company, Hellbender Brewing Co., Capitol City Brewing Co., and so many more. You can even take a brew tour to taste the best beer D.C. has to offer.
  4. Speakeasies. Yes, it’s exactly what you think. These are starting to pop up everywhere, but in D.C., there’s no shortage of speakeasies. These can be super hard to find, but are so worth it. They serve up some of the best cocktails you can imagine. Be sure to make reservations, as these places book up fast. My favorite? The Gibson. This place is super hidden on the popular U Street. It’s a black door with a light above it. You knock on the door and enter into a dark, cramped hall with stairs until they lead you to your seat. Want to feel like you’re in the 1920’s Prohibition era? This is the place.
  5. For a ton of nightlife, visit U Street, with countless bars and clubs. Dupont circle also has its share of nightlife.

speakeasies d.c.

Visiting my sister in D.C. and checking out the speakeasies.

D.C. breweries

Awesome artwork at one of the breweries.

Hellbender d.c.

Hellbender- named for the lizard native to Virginia. Great atmosphere and even better beer.