Washington, D.C. – Our nations capital, where so much history has taken place… where laws have been passed and demonstrations of historical significance have taken place, this city is filled with so much to see and do that you couldn’t possibly capture it all in just one visit. So below I am sharing the itinerary from my recent long weekend trip to help show you that you can still squeeze in a lot in a short time.
My flight arrived at Dulles International airport at 5:00am. For those of you not familiar with the airports in the DC area, please note that Regan International airport is the closest airport to DC and is about a 18 minute taxi ride (also options to use the metro) while Dulles takes about 45 minutes for a taxi ride into downtown DC. With that being said, there is a silver line metro being built to connect Dulles International airport directly to DC city center, however at press time, it is still under construction. From Dulles airport I was able to take a 15 minute shuttle bus from Dulles airport for $5.00 to the silver line metro stop Wiehle Reston East which then took me to the metro center stop in downtown DC. Metro center is where all of the metro lines connect. I transferred to the red line and took that to Dupont Circle When you get off at the Dupont circle stop, you take a long escalator to the street level.
I was meeting my mom and stepdad who had arrived the day previous, and they met me at the Dupont Circle metro stopped and walked me about half a mile to where we were staying, which was a beautiful Bed & Breakfast called the Swann House
I had never stayed at a B&B before, and I have to say it was a wonderful experience and I would do so again immediately. Each morning when you wake up, you can take a seat in the victorian dinning room anywhere you like and the staff will make you anything you want, crepe…sure! Eggs Benedict – why not? While you are eating beautiful Mozart and Beethoven play in the background as other travels converse and discuss the days plans.
We all sat down and filled our bellies as we planned our first day in DC together.
We decided to take the metro from Dupont Circle to the Metro Center and change lines to take us to Union Station, which was just a short walk to the Capital Building which we had reserved a tour for a few months prior.
As a tip, you need to make reservations in advance, and you can do so here
I highly recommend touring our nations capital. I was so impressed by the gorgeous detail in the ceiling and the statues and paintings throughout the building. This tour is completely free and takes about 2 hours in total time, as they like you to get there about 30 minutes prior to your tour time. The tour guides are awesome! Very knowledgeable and will answer any questions you have. You are given a headset so that you can hear the tour guide even if you are far back in line behind. The capital building also echoes, and because there are so many tours going on the headsets came in handy.
After our tour we found out that the capital building connects to the Library of Congress so we decided to take a quick self guided tour. The building itself is just amazing to walk through and a work of art itself.
After touring the capital building and library of congress we decided it would be fun to spend the second half of the day in Old Town Alexandria. We took an Uber for the first time to Georgetown and from there took a water taxi from Georgetown’s waterfront to Old Town Alexandria.
The water taxi was an enjoyable way to get to Old Town Alexandria as you can get another perspective of DC from the water. You can also take the metro from downtown DC to Old Town and it will take about 20-25 minutes. The water taxi took about 40 minutes.
When you get off the water taxi you are greeted with a vibrant waterfront filled with restaurants and street musicians. From the harbor we walked up picturesque King Street which is filled with boutiques and restaurants. We decided to eat at The Warehouse
Our food was top notch. Seafood – crab cakes, fish, lobster…it was delightful. Since it happened to be my birthday we all decided to go for dessert after dinner. We got various cakes and had also ordered coffees and tea, however our waiter completely forgot to bring the beverages. It was very busy that night, and overall I still give this restaurant experience a thumbs up.
After our delicious morning breakfast at the Swann House we are ready to take on the day!
We walk to the Dupont Circle metro stop and head to the Metro Center to transfer metro lines toward Union Station once again.
I must say that I was so impressed with how clean all of the metro stops in DC were. I found out that there is a rule against bringing food and drink on the metro in DC and this plays a vital role in it’s cleanliness.
Union station is one of the two places where you can purchase tickets in person for one of the many hop on hop off trolly tours in town. Union station also has a vast amount of fast casual dinning options along, coffee shops and retail shopping. It’s not a bad place to grab an affordable bite to eat before an afternoon of site seeing.
We decided to purchase a full day of the hop on hop off Old Town Trolley tour $39.00. This is such a good way to see a lot of the major sites in DC. We also loved the fact that it took you to Arlington Cemetery, which was a place we absolutely wanted to see.
Tip – If you are thinking of touring the White House, you need to make reservations at least 6 months in advance. Unfortunately for us, we had planned our trip only 3 months in advance so we were unable to tour the white house, but we still got to see it as it was one of the stops on our trolley tour.
Along with the white house we also visited the Washington Monument and Arlington Cemetery.
The time goes by so fast at Arlington Cemetery. When you arrive you are reminded that you are at a cemetery and asked to please keep quiet voices as a respect to the fallen soldiers. We were also told that there were 30 scheduled funerals that day, and that if a precession occurred during our tour that we were to remain quiet and not to take photos.
A highlight for me was seeing JFK’s grave site which had an eternal flame burning in his memory and also some flowers that someone had put there prior to us arriving. His site is atop a hill that overlooks DC. It was very moving.
For lunch we ate at the Hard Rock Cafe
After a full day on the hop on hop off Old Town Trolley tour we made our way back to the Swann House. My stepdad decided to get some rest early and my mom and I went out to eat close to our B&B and we found Rosemary’s Thyme Bistro
The restaurant was about a 6 minute walk from the Swann House. I got ravioli and a margarita and my mom got salon and mashed potatoes with a glass of white wine. It was such a nice warm night for the end of September, so we chose to eat outside.
For our last full day in DC we tried to make the most out of it so my mom and I decided to split up from my step dad and we went back to Old Town Alexandria for the morning, this time we took the metro and not the water taxi while my stepdad took the morning to to go to the Air and Space museum as well as the National Museum of American History.
We all met up in the late afternoon and went to a late lunch/early dinner at Old Ebbitt Grill, dubbed the oldest Saloon in DC.
This restaurant is situated right across the street from the White House. It was packed with tourists. We had to wait about 20 minutes for our table but it was worth the wait. The service and food was the best we had all trip.
After eating we decided we had just enough time to make it the Zoo if left right away. We hopped on the metro and headed north. The zoo is also free in DC which is an amazing offering. We really had our hearts set on seeing the panda bears and so happy we got to see them.
After the zoo we took the metro back to Dupont Circle and decided to walk around an browse some of the shops. The area is very vibrant with restaurants, shops and bars. Before heading home we stopped at Bareburger for milkshakes and an appetizer of fried pickles! It was the perfect night cap.
I awoke early on the last day of the trip as my mom and stepdad had an earlier flight. I helped them get arranged with an Uber to the airport. My plan did not leave util the early afternoon so I took my time getting ready and I enjoyed one last awesome breakfast in the Swann House, reading the morning news, sipping my coffee, wishing I could just start the entire trip over once again. At last it was time to check out and head to the airport.
DC has so much to offer and you most certainly can’t see everything in one long weekend, but you can pack in a tremendous amount of activities. The trick is knowing what you really want to see and do ahead of time to make the most of your time. I hope you have a chance to visit this wonderful historic city!