Visitors to the nation’s capital, take note — this isn’t the same town you once saw on a school field trip. Whether you’re a political junkie, a culture craver or a food fanatic, Washington’s 68.3 square miles have more than enough gems for a two-day exploration. Since we know you can’t pack everything into 48 short hours, we offer the following suggestions for the best way to cut a swath across the city.
Begin Day One with a well-balanced breakfast at Seasons in the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Four Seasons Hotel Washington D.C., the city’s best spot for a see-and-be-seen start. You’re bound to spy a senator, sheik or high-powered staffer talking politics. Spend your morning strolling the streets of Georgetown(walk up M Street and Wisconsin Avenue) and stop by Hu’s Wear for the gals and Lost Boys for the guys.
Don’t dawdle; there’s more to come. Grab lunch from a food truck (we love José Andrés’ Pepe and the globally inspired Sauca) and head to the National Mall for a picnic. This open-air park houses most of D.C.’s museums, so take your pick from the Smithsonian’s Big Three: Air and Space, Natural History or American History. A word of advice: budget about two hours to really explore any museum in depth.
Your feet will hurt at this point, so head up 15th Street to the W Washington DC hotel, where you can kick back and enjoy a rooftop sunset cocktail overlooking the White House lawn. Plan dinner at Logan Circle’s trendy Pearl Dive Oyster Palace or Dupont Circle’s Thai gem, Little Serow, and then get some rest at one of our favorite Washington D.C. hotels for the day ahead.
If you’re visiting on a weekend, start Day Two with a cab ride to Eastern Market, where you can browse local vendors (don’t miss Market Lunch’s famous pancakes) and Capitol Hill’s historic homes. On a weekday, head right to “The Hill” via a cab or metro ride to Union Station.
You can go back to visit more museums (today, we’d suggest the National Gallery of Art or the moving Holocaust Memorial Museum) or take in a matinee performance at the Kennedy Center. Grab a cocktail at the Four-Star Hay-Adams’ Off the Record, the city’s most famous politically inclined bar, before setting off on an evening tour of the monuments via bike or car, bringing a memorable end to your 48 hours in Washington.
Photos Courtesy of Scott Severson and iStock-Drnadig