This post may contain affiliate links, which means that if you click on a link and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission. This is no extra cost to you, but it does enable my addiction to Target. Please see my full disclosure policy for details.
Washington DC is a fun city with lots of history and significance for the USofA. Recapping our 3 days in DC with this fun Washinton DC Travel Guide!
DC had been on the bucket list for my husband and I since we got married, so when I had a work trip scheduled there right around the time that we wanted to take our babymoon, we booked our flights immediately to our Nation’s Capital.
We decided to take a 3 day trip over a long weekend (Friday – Sunday) which I think is the perfect amount of time to spend touring a domestic city. Also, when you are pregnant, there is only so long that you want to be away from your own bed.
Our trip also fell right in the middle of a government shut down which had its pros and cons. Pros were that it was less crowded at some of the major memorials and on the National Mall. Cons were that none of the Smithsonian Museums were open. We did find some great private museums to go to, so that really wasn’t a total disappointment for us.
WASHINGTON DC IN 3 DAYS
WHERE TO STAY IN WASHINGTON DC
There are a TON of great hotels in Washington DC, but I would recommend staying somewhere that is within walking distance of the National Mall. That puts you right in the middle of all of the Smithsonian Museums and the major memorials. There are also a bunch of iconic DC restaurants right around there, so you can walk to those instead of having to shell for an Uber.
We stayed at the JW Marriott during our trip and we thought it was a fantastic location. It was an easy walk to the White House, the National Mall and plenty of museums. We were also able to walk to dinner for two out of the three nights we were there. We probably could have walked to our other dinner destination, but it was raining so we opted for the Uber!
We didn’t spend a ton of time in the hotel since we were out most of the day walking around or touring museums. But the gym was nice, the rooms were comfortable and there was a Starbucks in the lobby which was a huge plus for me!
Washington Mariott at Metro Center
I have also stayed at the Washington Mariott at Metro Center for a work trip and it was lovely. The room was great, the hotel restaurant was (Fire & Sage) was delicious, AND access to the Metro station is right outside the hotel lobby, so getting around DC couldn’t be easier from this hotel.
Other Top Hotels in Washington DC according to TripAdvisor:
- The Jefferson Washington DC
- Hotel Hive
- The Willard Washington DC – my DC-based coworkers recommended this hotel as well!
The Best Restaurants in Washinton DC
I will preface this by saying that I am not a big foodie, so I can’t tell you the best off the menu items at any of these restaurants, but I can tell you that they had great ambiance and were true DC staples.
One of my friends who lives in DC asked me if I saw any celebrities (aka politicians) when I went to eat at a few of these places, and TBH I have no idea if I did because there are SO MANY politicians and I really only know what the ones from my state look like. But apparently, it is a pretty common occurrence to see celebs when you go out to eat at the following spots, so if you see any when you go, let me know in the comments below!
PRO TIP: Make your reservations before you go! We made most of our reservations the day of/day before which meant that we had the option of eating at 4:30 PM or 9:00 PM.
My husband and I both agreed that this was our favorite meal in DC. The Hamilton had amazing food, great service, and a really cool vibe.
Being from Texas, we feel like we know what a good steak tastes like. And my husband said that he would recommend the steaks at The Hamilton to any Texan.
We also didn’t skimp on the desert which was tasted amazing, but I had to be rolled out of that restaurant, I was so full.
I got the St. Louis Gooey Cake and I am still having dreams about it. It was so good but definitely something I could have used help finishing! My husband got one of their many milkshake offerings which looked delightful.
We would certainly go back to The Hamilton next time we are in DC!
Old Ebbitt Grill
I was told that is place was “classic DC’ and it did not let me down. Just across the street from the White House, Old Ebbitt Grill is a must do.
I got a cheeseburger (because “not a foodie”) but I hear their oyster bar is top notch.
This place was one of those restaurants that gives you the “deals go down here” feel the second you walk in. It is dark and filled with old wood and velvet seating.
As with most DC restaurants, the tables are REALLY close together, so unless you make reservations in advance and ask for a both, be prepared to have dinner close enough to another couple that it is like a double date.
For real though, we sat next to another couple out on date night and ended up talking with them for a bit about football.
This Italian restaurant was SO YUMMY! Another classic DC spot that is located in adorable Georgetown, Filomena brought it when it came to pasta dishes.
I highly recommend the Agnolotti Alla Panna when you go here. It is ravioli with spinach and cheese, and it was AMAZING. All of their pastas are made fresh in house and you could definitely taste the difference. And their pasta sauce is also really great (and made from scratch!).
I could not get dessert here because the raviolis were HUGE and I didn’t want to leave any on the table. But even though I tried hard to eat the whole dish, the portion sizes are pretty big so I couldn’t finish all of it.
Pro Tip: Bring your appetite t0 Filomena.
Founding Farmers just sounds like a must do restaurant in DC, right?
This stop is a part of a family of restaurants in the DC area that are all part of a farm-to-table concept: Farmers Fishers Bakers and Farmers & Distillers.
Our time at Founding Farmers was FAST! We showed up for our reservation (9:00 PM sharp), and were seated immediately. Our drink and food orders were taken pretty quickly after we sat down and we had our food within 15 minutes of arriving. We were back in our uber by 9:45. I feel like that would be record time in Houston, but it does seem like we got in and out of a lot of DC spots pretty quickly.
I thought the food here was pretty good. Their french fries and sandwich bread were both delicious and definitely stood out to me.
I got a roast turkey sandwich and while it was good, I would likely order something else if we went back.
Founding Farmers was a pretty neat spot and was highly recommended by lots of DC locals. I didn’t think it was much different than most of the farm-to-table concepts that I have been to in Houston or Austin, but it was certainly a good spot to grab dinner and was very casual!
Other Highly Reviewed DC Restaurants
Things to do in Washington DC
Obviously, there is a ton to do in this city and so much history because it is our Nation’s Capital. If you are only going to be in town for a few days, you are going to have to make some cuts to your complete list of activities.
Like I mentioned before, we weren’t able to see any of the Smithsonian Museums because fo the government shut down, so I would look at those and pick a few of those museums to see.
If you happen to be there during a day when the government is closed, there are still lots of museums that you can see – and even if the government is open, I would still recommend these!
Several people recommended that we tour the Newseum and before we went, my husband was a little skeptical and thought it was going to be a bunch of exhibits on the printing press and newspaper distribution.
Our skeptic minds were completely cleared when we walked in and the first exhibit was all about how the media played a role in distributing information between East and West Berlin during a very difficult time. There was even a piece of the Berlin Wall in the exhibit which added even more gravity to the exhibit.
We walked through other exhibits that focused on different topics from different mediums of new distribution (word of mouth all the way to social media), memories recorded by reporters from the Vietnam War, and displays of the biggest newspaper headlines from every year since 1850.
My husband and I both agreed that our favorite exhibit was about the relationship that the media and the FBI have. It chronicled some major stories that the media helped the FBI to solve as well as some cases where the media royally screwed up and almost caused the bad guys to get away.
It was really interesting and we could have spent much longer in that museum than the 2 hours we had.
The Museum of the Bible
This is a pretty new museum, having opened at the end of 2017, so if you have been to DC before, this museum would likely be a new stop for you.
I could understand if you weren’t a Christian, thinking that The Museum of the Bible doesn’t sound all that appealing, but there was a really great joining of history and religion in the museum that I think anyone could enjoy.
We came by this museum in the afternoon and thought we would have plenty of time to see everything on the 6 floors of the building, but we completely lost track of time in one of the exhibits and had to rush through a few floors.
We spent the most time in the History of the Bible exhibit, which walked you through how the Bible was moved from Hebrew scrolls to Greek to the King James Version to the many different languages the Bible is now translated in.
Most impactful for me was the end of the exhibit that took you to a library with copies of all the different languages that the Bible is currently translated in as well as empty copies of Bibles that represent all of the languages that still have no Biblical translation.
I also really enjoyed the exhibit that walked you through how the Bible has impacted the culture. From music to fashion, to politics and family life. There are a lot of ways that the Bible has come into our society that we don’t even realize, and it was neat to be reminded of that.
THE NATIONAL MALL
If you are going to go to DC, you better bring your walking shoes and plan to walk the 2+ miles of the National Mall to look at all of those monuments.
You can start at The Capitol Building and get a picture on the steps. If the government is open, you can even walk around inside, so have fun with that!
Walk down about a mile and you can walk around the Washington Monument. I couldn’t decide if the Washington Monument as bigger or smaller than I expected it to be.
Cap it all of with a stop at the Lincoln Memorial. The text written on the inside of the memorial was really moving to me. It very clearly captured the struggle that President Lincoln faced, knowing that his move to abolish slavery was the right thing to do, but that it was also going to cause massive pain in a country he loved. May we all be strong enough to choose to do what is right even when it is hard.
You can also stop by the Korean War Memorial and the Vietnam War Memorial. They are both a few steps from the Lincoln Memorial.
The Jefferson Memorial is not far from the Lincoln Memorial, but you have to cross a bridge to get there and I think that leads to a lot of people forgetting about it. Which we did. But it looks really pretty when you drive past it on the way to Regan National Airport!
Other things to do in DC:
- Monuments of DC Moonlight Tour – We would have done this but we went to DC in January during a Polar Vortex so it was too dang cold.
- Tour of Mount Vernon
- Arlington National Cemetary
If you are planning a trip to DC, go ahead and save this post to Pinterest for easy reference! Just use the pin button on the photo below!