Plan the perfect summertime trip with this DC itinerary full of museums, outdoor activities and incredible culinary experiences.
Day 1: History & Music
Start your day with breakfast at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel, where Martin Luther King, Jr. completed his “I Have a Dream” speech. It’s a short walk from the Willard to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, the newest landmark on the National Mall. Once you’re down there, visit the nearby Lincoln Memorial or Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial or one of the other must-see monuments and memorials on America’s front yard.
It’s not summertime in the nation’s capital without an epic Independence Day celebration featuring fireworks soaring over the iconic National Mall. After the music of ‘A Capitol Fourth’ concludes, the night sky lights up with a colorful display that you will never forget. Make sure to stay tuned to the event website for details. We’ve also compiled a list of the best spots to watch the Fourth of July fireworks in Washington, DC, as well as other ways to celebrate Independence Day in the District.
Head to the National Museum of American History, which features Honest Abe’s top hat and the landmark Woolworth’s lunch counter from Greensboro—where African-American students held a sit-in after being told they wouldn’t be served. Afterwards, Metro to Ben’s Chili Bowl in the historic U Street neighborhood. This longtime DC staple has served everyone from President Barack Obama to Bono.
Day 2: From the Hill to the Top of the W
See what DC’s Capitol Hill denizens do in their off hours with a trip to Eastern Market. This farmers’ market offers farm-fresh produce and all kinds of “cakes,” from fresh blueberry buckwheat pancakes and local crab cakes to homemade cupcakes. Continue your journey through the Capitol Hill neighborhood with a guided tour of the U.S. Capitol and Visitor Center. Nearby, explore the Library of Congress and U.S. Supreme Court.
Hop on the Metro to Penn Quarter & Chinatown. While in this neighborhood, discover a wealth of museums, from the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, home to the country’s official presidential portraits, to the International Spy Museum, an interactive affair that traces the history of espionage.
Day 3: DC’s Art Scene
Enjoy a power breakfast at Seasons Restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel in historic Georgetown. Then, spend your morning perusing the paintings at The Phillips Collection in nearby Dupont Circle. America’s first museum of modern art, Phillips features works from Renoir and Rothko, Bonnard and O’Keeffe, van Gogh and Diebenkorn.
Head over to the National Gallery of Art for two museums in one. The West Building features more classical paintings and sculptures, including works from Da Vinci, Money and Van Gogh; the newly reopened East Building hosts the gallery’s extensive modern art collection. Afterward, grab lunch at the Gallery’s Pavillion Café, which offers panoramic views of the Sculpture Garden.
H Street NE Neighborhood – Atlas Performing Arts Center & H Street Country Club – Washington, DC
End your evening with dinner at one of the trendy restaurants along H Street NE, and then pick from a number of theaters throughout the city.