The Perfect Long Weekend In Washington DC

September 14, 2013 8:00 AM

Photo Credit: Gallery Place

When you’ve got four days to spare, the nation’s capital can be a magnificent and memorable place to visit. From the nation’s finest icons to seeing a show or sporting event, there’s so much to see and do in Washington. But if you only have four days, here are the must-hit destinations in the District.

Dupont Circle
9 Dupont Circle NW
(between N P St. & N Connecticut Ave.)
Washington, DC 20036

Dupont Circle was part of the original city of DC. Well before its modern sprawl, Dupont was only developed after the Civil War. Centered by a gorgeous circle with a stunning fountain, the area offers beautiful architecture, fantastic shops and delectable restaurants. Sundays are the perfect time to visit with the farmers’ market being one of the most popular attractions. More than just produce and meats, there are prepared foods like quiche or empanadas to enjoy as you stroll through. Try the pain au chocolat or croissants from the French bakery for one of the best patisseries outside of France. But don’t fill up too much on market food as Dupont offers great brunch options. For a nice boozy brunch, stroll down to Urbana at the Hotel Palomar for a bottomless build-your-own bellini bar. The restaurant provides you with the bottle of Simonet Champagne and you choose from three different fruit purees that change with the seasons. After brunch, stroll along the streets of Dupont for some shopping. For the best in vintage clothing, try Secondi. Dupont is also known for its bookshops. For vintage and secondhand books that are well worth an exploration, check out Second Story Books, but if you’re looking for something more modern and a coffee to go with it, head over to Kramers & Afterwards bookstore, which is open 24 hours on the weekend. Finish off your day watching soccer matches at one of Dupont’s soccer pubs. The Big Hunt offers craft beer in a casual, dive bar atmosphere. Lucky Bar has three big-screen televisions so you’ll be sure to catch your game.

Gallery Place
616 H St.
Washington, DC 20002
(202) 349-3700

Gallery Place is the perfect destination for a Friday or Saturday. From day to night, you’ll have so much to do. Start with the museums during the day. Be sure to check out the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, but also the gorgeous juxtaposition between modern and classic architecture in the courtyard. For a fun museum that will make you think espionage, there’s the Spy Museum. A popular attraction in Gallery Place, the Spy Museum showcases spies through the centuries in a highly interactive exhibit. For lunch, you have a huge selection of Asian restaurants in the nearby Chinatown area. You’ll know it by the Chinese gates on 7th and H St. NW. There is plenty of shopping in the area and ample entertainment. Take in a basketball or hockey game at the Verizon Center, or for a night at the theater, enjoy the classics at one of Shakespeare Theatre‘s two locations. Before the show, grab a bite to eat at some of the best restaurants in town. If you feel like a mezze-style share plate meal, make a reservation at Zaytinya. If you are more in the mood for some delicious Italian dishes, try Graffiato.

Related: Best Funky and Modern Hotels in DC

1000 Potomac St. NW, Suite 122
Washington, DC 20007
(202) 298-9222

Georgetown is one of DC’s most iconic neighborhoods. Known for its fantastic shopping experiences and stunning waterfront, you’ll have plenty to explore in the area. Georgetown is also the perfect place to get out into nature. Pick up the C&O Canal Trail and walk along the water enjoying the beauty of the locks. Or for the more adventurous, grab a kayak from the Thompson Boat Center and paddle the Potomac. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, there are tons of options for food. For views of the Potomac along with locally sourced food from the DC area, head over to Farmers Fishers Bakers for an eclectic modern menu with a view of the harbor. For dessert, check out the cupcakes that Washingtonians crave so much that there’s a line around the block at Georgetown Cupcake. After an exciting day on the water, enjoy all the finest shops in DC.

National Mall
Washington, DC
(202) 426-6841

It’s easy to spend more than one day on the National Mall. First and foremost, there are the monuments. Take a walk around the Jefferson, WWII, Vietnam, Lincoln and Martin Luther King memorials to get a feel for America’s history and for gorgeous views of the best of the nation’s capital. When you want to get inside for the education experience, check out the free admission museums of the Smithsonians. From the American History to the Air and Space and even art in between, you’ll find something for everyone at the Smithsonian museums. For a slice of American journalism, head over to the Newseum where you can learn about America’s history told by the media. Stop by The Source by Wolfgang Puck for one of DC’s favorite restaurants.

Related: Best Hotels in DC on a Budget

Jamie Hardin is the counter-culture Washingtonian in the know. Inspired by food, sustainability issues, and public health, she prides herself on finding DC’s off-the-beaten path treasures. When she isn’t enjoying organic food or reducing her carbon footprint, Jamie’s traveling on her scooter or walking her two pit bulls. Her work can be found at

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