Washington D.C. is only about four hours from New York City driving, so it’s relatively easy to make a weekend out of. Until my friend moved there, I had an eighth grade perspective on the city, seeing as my last trip there with the middle school band, and all we did was see the monuments and buy FBI sweatshirts. So here is the adult perspective of the city and surrounding area, and the historical and gastronomical (OBVIOUSLY) things to do there:
Friday: A chill night out
Once you arrive that evening from your Amtrak or Vamoose bus, Uber to Alexandria for a pint and some live music. The downtown area is soooooo cute and Southern, with its cobblestone streets and brick storefronts. Murphy’s Grand Irish Pub has a good crowd and two floors of live music.
Saturday: One busy day
Time to wake up and head to the real air & space museum. Yep, the better version is in Virginia and it’s called the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. It’s basically a giant airport hangar where you walk around for hours and see the likes of the Space Shuttle Discovery, the Concorde, crazy-fast SR-71 Blackbird, and the Enola Gay which dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. To get the full effect of these historical gems, do the free tour.
Bring a picnic to Barrel Oak Winery (and your dog if you want). The expansive, dog-friendly winery has unlimited seating, indoors, upstairs, outdoors and you can bring your own food and buy a bottle of wine to share. Tastings are $7, but pours are heavy so bring a designated driver. SAFETY FIRST.
Next stop, Georgetown. Take a stroll through this gorgeous little area of D.C., go boutique-hopping, or just window shopping. Stop by Georgetown Cupcakes of course, but don’t wait in that stupid line – you can order online by 5:00 p.m. the night before, and just go pick it up the next day! #secretsofthetrade
Dinner at Ambar. On my last trip, I was invited to try the new Ambar location in Clarendon (there is also one in D.C.), which is a Balkan food restaurant with a ton of dynamite bites. For $35, you can get as many small plates as you want, my top faves being the hearty yet delicate rainbow trout, traditional stuffed cabbage (slow-cooked for seven hours surrounded by bacon), and brussel sprouts with bacon, saffron and yogurt. Our server, Emilia, is Serbian and introduced us to the hard liquor Rakia (try one before and after the meal), and told us wonderful personal stories of cooking with her family in her home country. It’s the kind of place with a casual, fun ambiance and extraordinary food that is right for a special night out.
Next up, bar hopping on U Street. Nellie’s Sports Bar is a multi-floor Gay bar with a rooftop and super fun dancing. About five minutes away, you will find Ben’s Chili Bowl, an iconic D.C. joint for a late night snack.
Sunday: Brunch and bye-byes
Piola on famous 14th street has an unlimited pizza and booze menu for brunch. Order all the individual pizzas you want, and save room for the Nutella pizza for dessert.
Make sure you drive, bike or walk the monuments before you leave. They’re pretty majestic, and most are on one long walkway called the mall. If you still have some time, definitely check out the free museums, and let me know if you go to the new National Museum of African American History and Culture which recently opened.
There’s so much to do in D.C. – anything out of the ordinary I should do next time?