Wife to my high school sweetheart, boy mama to sweet baby boy Macrae, and two fur babies Shiloh and Milo, a full time high school history teacher, and overall enthusiast for life. Avid podcast listener, iced coffee drinker, and organized chaos manager. My passion is to encourage and inspire. To cultivate an intentional life, a life full of joy and an abundance of grace.
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A few weekends ago, J and I had the absolute BEST weekend, walking around (lots of walking) and exploring Washington, DC, our fine country’s capital! As a history teacher myself, you could imagine I was in historical heaven as I spent President’s Day weekend in the most presidential place. This weekend was most definitely a weekend that was WORTH IT, and I am so excited to be sharing it all with this Washington, DC Travel Guide with you here on Gracefulandfree!
The city at the center of a historical, dinner table compromise, negotiated between Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton in regards to assumption of state debts and the location of the new capital… all found in chapter four of lecture United States history (remember… history teacher here)
Washington, DC has it ALL. All the absolute necessary qualities to create your most perfect, worth it weekend. Few things to keep in mind, March through May is most definitely your prime time to weekend away. Just in time for all the fountains throughout the National Monument Mall to be on and ready, the cherry blossoms to be in full bloom and the best shade of pink. However, this is NOT to say that Washington, DC cannot be enjoyed year round, rather fall, winter, summer or spring, there is something that you and yours will most definitely enjoy!
We stayed at the Mayflower ~ the perfect combination of luxury, class & retreat. A member of the Marriott Autograph Collection and nestled off of Connecticut Avenue, minutes away from a quick walk to the White House, a perfect place to enjoy your DC weekend worth it.
On the list of National Register of Historic Places, the Mayflower has been in optimal location in the heart of DC since 1925. With the comfy bed and perfect wall decor and all, the Mayflower definitely brought over the original colonists to the New World, and will most definitely provide you with the optimal R&R throughout your #weekendsworthit Washington, DC stay.
Did you even go to Washington, DC if you don’t take a stop in front of the White House. Well, then probably not! So most definitely take a trip to the front lawn and bring your camera so you can document it all!
Despite the fact that it was a warm thirty degrees and windy on our Saturday morning trekking over eleven miles, the National Monument Mall was one of my favorite parts of our trip to DC. Just walking around all the history, knowing that so many significant humans also took these very similar steps. Knowing that some of the most powerful marches and speeches in the course of our history as a nation, fighting for equality and liberty and freedom for all!
Walk on the Washington Monument, observe the World War II memorials, the Vietnam Memorial and Korean War Memorial. Look up at Lincoln and read the Gettysburg Address and the Emancipation Proclamation. Make the walk to Jefferson Memorial and just take it all in.
If you happen to be visiting in the spring, then enjoy the beauty of Monument Mall by taking in the gorgeous cherry blossoms.
I think one of my favorite things was just all the green space everywhere in DC. Green space defined the area and so many different recreational groups were out playing all the sports, despite the crisp chill of the morning.
You don’t have to be the world’s biggest history lover OR sightseers to not fully appreciate and love the museums in Washington, DC. First off, there are SO many. You can most definitely spend an entire day wandering through all the museums that your heart desires. The best part is entry to all museums are completely FREE and most are open every day of the week!
If you only have time for one museum, definitely make a visit to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Definitely expect to wait up to twenty minutes prior to entry, especially if going in the afternoon. But the wait is absolutely worth it. You can begin the tour by selecting an identification card, before entering the elevator to take you to the fourth floor where you begin your journey down.
As a history teacher, I have used a teacher’s virtual tour that this museum has created as part of their educator modules, and I have used it in my own classroom for assisting to teach the Holocaust over the last several years, so I was so very eager to be there in person and to see it myself.
The museum does an incredible job and is so very powerful. Don’t expect a dry eye by the time that you leave!
Another great museum, I strongly recommend making time for, especially if you have kids is the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. This museum is super fun, highly organized and takes you through a tour of the history of the United States. Enjoy seeing how the inventions, trains, automobiles and currency has changed throughout the course of American history, as well as find your own favorite corners of the museum. There is SO much to see here.
Brunch. I am creating a new hobby – a new hobby called Brunch. By far the best meal of the day, and I am convinced that the absolute best restaurants all have figured out how to absolutely ace the brunch game.
Holy moly this place is good!! The menu is incredible both for brunch AND lunch! This place is SO good that despite getting there at 2:30, completely convinced that we avoided all the different type of meal crowds, there WAS STILL a crazy ridiculous wait, so fortunately we discovered two TINY spots at the bar just in time to place our Mimosa order AND to enjoy the most amazing meal I have ever eaten.
Martin’s Tavern is another historical treasure. Home to the booths graced by the bosoms of most major American presidents and the booth were the decision of Brown v. Board of Education was discussed in 1954. This place is quaint and SO good.
I love asking the waitress for their favorite recommendations no matter where we go and this place and recommendation was most definitely on point. I ordered the Chesapeake Benedict which was not just any benedict, but one with crab cakes AND fried green tomatoes! Let’s talk about a historical heaven!
Now, for the best meal of our entire weekend trip. This meal and all the calories were MOST DEFINITELY WORTH IT!!! This place is busy! We got to the door right at 5 on a Sunday and there already was a line out the door. Fortunately, we got seated right away and this Italian restaurant most definitely wins the award of my heart!
For an appetizer, you absolutely MUST order the Fried Risotto Balls (I mean doesn’t that just sound incredible!) For an entree, whichever one that you choose, you can’t go wrong. I personally thought the Malfade with wild mushrooms and leeks was completely divine! Justin had the Mezzi Rigatoni, which also was really good. And for dessert, gelato!
You know when we travel we absolutely enjoy getting to know a place by its local brews. And while, Washington, DC most definitely has an up and coming beer scene, we found our favorite and enjoyed spending a few hours in the Navy Yard tasting some of DC’s finest New England style IPAs. Full of all the mosaic and citra hops, the Bluejacket most definitely knows what is doing and is making an impressive climb as Washington’s DC latest micro-brewery.
It really did not matter that it was 30 degrees and windy, SO many people were everyone on two wheels. Whether it was through renting bikes (which is one of my favorite ways to explore any city and we try and make sure we do just that anytime we travel anywhere OR through the bird (Yes, people who probably shouldn’t be operating an electric scooter, were driving them ALL over town)!
Probably one of my absolute favorite moments of our trip was Sunday afternoon, when we had a few extra minutes to spare until we wanted to get to dinner in time for the restaurant to open we decided, why not bike there and sure enough we enjoyed taking in more sights of the city all on our bikes, racing across town trying to beat the time on Google Maps. oh the memories!
Just a few stops away along the Metro and a quick stroll through downtown Alexandria and you have arrived at Old Town. This place is a dream! A place full of all the cobblestone sidewalks and streets and sweet, historic charm.. all that your heart could want and more! Nestled right along the waterfront, full of life and people, and the most twinkly lights you will ever did see adorning the streets at night!
We stopped in for a wine tasting at The Tasting Room, before sitting along the water. We stopped in at a highly-rated and reviewed pizza place for a quick bite of dinner, before heading back on the Metro to DC.
Such a fun little excursion, that we will most definitely re-visit again!
One of my favorite neighborhoods to explore. Probably, my favorite thing about our weekend trip to DC was the constant walking around we did! We simply walked and took in so much and everything was absolutely beautiful! So many different sights, from the morning farmer’s market at Dupont Circle to the row of embassies along Massachusetts Avenue. The neighborhood leading up to Georgetown is the most adorable residential neighborhood, talk about so much charm.
Georgetown is a fun area to experience, also full of so many fun sweet shops, coffee rooms and fun restaurants, and neat shops! Also, so many cool urban projects are also hitting the square, so definitely lots to see! Absolutely worth taking a visit while exploring in Washington, DC.
Well, that is all for this weekend friends! Thanks for hanging around here for this Washington, DC Travel Guide. Stay tuned for another adventure coming your way oh so soon! Feel free to check out over travel guides for Chattanooga, Denver, or Napa here!
DC is full of history and museums which we enjoy visiting. The different food is a bonus. Haven’t been back in awhile will have to change that.
So fun! I just spent one day in DC back in December with my husband. I can’t wait to get back out there for a long weekend. Founding Farmers sounds delish 🙂
We don’t live too far from DC, and have been there a bunch of times, but some of your finds were totally new to me! I’m hoping to make a weekend trip down with my family this summer, so I’ll have to save some of your suggestions for that trip. Thanks for sharing!
I have never been. So many places to see. Washington sure is on my list. Thank you for your information
The last time I went to Washington D.C. was when I was too little to appreciate it. I’m also a history buff so looking at all your wonderful pictures gets me so excited and wanting to visit there again. Thank you for sharing all the must see spots and where to go for food. Really enjoyed your post!
I havent ever been to DC but this makes me wanna go!