When you only have one day in the District, here are the top five things to do to get a glimpse of DC culture. From monuments to museums and everything in between, be prepared for a full day of history, culture and fun.
Dupont Circle N.W.
Washington, DC 20036
The historic and always charming Dupont Circle has been a residential destination for Washingtonians since the 1800s. Now known for its art, shops and great restaurants, Dupont Circle is a must-see destination for anyone visiting the District. Grab a coffee from Firehook Bakery and a seasonal cupcake from Hello Cupcake and sit in the park that defines Dupont Circle. Between students, working professionals and Washingtonians walking their dogs, it’s nice to enjoy the people watching. Be sure to check out the gorgeous fountain by Daniel Chester French that is the epicenter of the circle. Explore the rest of the neighborhood bars and restaurants or go shopping at one of the many bookstores, clothing boutiques or art galleries.
225 7th St. S.E.
Washington, DC 20003
More than just a name on a metro stop, Eastern Market is one of DC’s most treasured markets. Open every day except Monday, the market is home to fresh, local produce, artisanal foods and crafts and vintage art, clothing and other home goods on the weekends. The market is one of the most defining attractions in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, but be sure to wander down 8th Street SE to find all of the vibrant restaurants. For a delicious lunch, try Ted’s Bulletin, a DC favorite for elevated diner food. There are also plenty of quaint shops to enjoy, or just walk around the neighborhood on the brick-layered sidewalks checking out the beautiful townhouses where the movers and shakers of Capitol Hill call home.
616 H St. N.W.
Washington, DC 20002
Gallery Place is where shopping and great food meet entertainment and culture. The first thing you’ll see at the corner of H Street NW and 7th Street NW is the oriental arch that defines the Chinatown area. Some of DC’s best Asian cuisine can be found in this area, like Ping Pong Dim Sum. Meander through the shops on 7th as you make your way to the fun and trendy Spy Museum where you can see what it’s like to be clandestine spy for a few hours. If you have enough time to take in the arts, check out a classic show at the Shakespeare Theatre or a modern and cutting-edge play at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre. There’s always a concert, basketball or hockey game going on at the Verizon Center. Or just enjoy one of the many restaurants in that area. Gallery Place is a great location for day or evening fun.
Related: Weirdest Museums in Washington DC
1000 Potomac St. N.W.
Washington, DC 20007
Georgetown is one of the most historic and well-known areas of DC. From its waterfront dining options to the historic terminus of the C&O Canal, Georgetown remains a treasured favorite for Washingtonians and visitors alike. M Street is lined with shops and restaurants, both local and from around the globe. Check out DC’s famous Georgetown Cupcake, which you’ll know by the line outside. Dine on the waterfront at the locally sourced restaurant Farmers Fishers Bakers. Take a walk along the C&O Canal path and see the historic locks. Or explore the stunning architecture of Georgetown University. There’s so much to see and do in the Georgetown area.
National Mall and Memorial Parks
900 Ohio Drive S.W.
Washington, DC 20024
For history and to honor those that came before us, check out the National Mall and Tidal Basin with all the memorials and monuments. From the iconic Washington Monument to the newest Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, be sure to bring your walking shoes to explore the National Mall. Walk along the reflecting pool from the Washington Monument to the World War II Memorial, then along to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. End the mall at the Lincoln Memorial. From there, head down to the Tidal Basin stopping along the way at the Korean War Veterans Memorial. You can check out the memorials via water by renting one of the paddle boats or by walking around the basin to the Jefferson Memorial then to Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial and the new Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial.