washington dc washington monument

Explore the nation’s capital, Washington D.C., on a long weekend getaway. (Photo: Getty Images)

Weekend Getaways

Rest and Reset on a Long Weekend Break in and Around Washington, D.C.

Filled with parks, monuments and lively neighborhoods, Washington, D.C., offers travelers an experience they won’t easily forget. Bring your most comfortable shoes to explore the captivating monuments and museums and your appetite to try some of the country’s best restaurants during your weekend in the nation’s capital.

As always, check for travel restrictions and closures before planning your trip.


The National Mall offers a great introduction to D.C., though don’t let the name fool you. The attraction isn’t a shopping mall but rather a verdant, landscaped, two-mile park that stretches from the Lincoln Memorial to the U.S. Capitol.

Start your journey in the middle, at the Washington Monument, where an elevator takes you more than 500 feet above ground to enjoy panoramic views of the city, including a bird’s-eye view of the White House, Arlington National Cemetery and the 11 Smithsonian museums that line the mall.

Once you’ve seen them from above, it’s time to pay the sights a visit. Art and history lovers are spoiled for choice — from The National Museum of African American History & Culture to the National Museum of the American Indian, which highlights Native

cultures from the Northern and Southern hemispheres.

lincoln memorial
Pay your respects at the Lincoln Memorial. (Photo: Getty Images)

Make your way next to the glistening reflecting pool that stretches before the majestic Lincoln Memorial, whose Doric columns were modeled on those of the Parthenon in Greece.

All of that walking will work up an appetite. Renowned D.C. humanitarian and restaurant owner José Andrés owns several eateries within a few blocks of the National Mall in the Penn Quarter neighborhood.

Choose from Mediterranean small plates at Zaytinya, creative Mexican cuisine at Oyamel Cocina Mexicana or Spanish tapas at Jaleo. Cap off your night at the JW Marriott Washington, DC, just steps from the White House, where the bartender at 1331 Bar & Lounge will prepare D.C.’s official cocktail, the gin rickey.


georgetown washington dc
Soak in Georgetown’s charms. (Photo: Getty Images)

D.C.’s neighborhoods offer diverse cuisines and eye-catching architecture. Start your morning strolling the cobblestone streets of Georgetown. Grab breakfast at Foxtrot, an upscale corner bodega that sells smoothies and breakfast tacos, or at Levain Bakery, which sells banana-chocolate-chip and other loaf cakes along with their famous gooey cookies.

Walk along the scenic C&O Canal towpath, a popular spot with joggers and cyclists, where you’ll stroll past the famous stone steps featured in “The Exorcist” at 36th and Prospect Streets.

As you wind through the neighborhood, stop at other famous landmarks, including Julia Child’s former residence, a white townhome with green shutters at 27th and Olive streets, and several Kennedy residences, including John F. Kennedy’s former home at 33rd and N. streets. Consider returning in the evening to catch a live performance at the legendary Blues Alley.

Head to the U Street neighborhood in the afternoon to roam the 12-acre Meridian Hill Park with its Italianate gardens and multitiered cascading fountain — one of the longest cascading fountains in North America. Once the heart of D.C.’s Black culture, the neighborhood contains several worthwhile live music and performance venues, including the Howard Theatre, Lincoln Theatre and the 9:30 Club.

D.C. offers some of the best Ethiopian restaurants in the country, and U Street offers several good options to get your injera and doro wat fix, including Dukem Restaurant and Ghion Ethiopian Restaurant. Or stop by the legendary Ben’s Chili Bowl, which has been serving D.C.’s iconic half-smoke sausage topped with chili since 1958.


couple eating brunch
Brunch it up before leaving D.C. (Photo: Getty Images)

D.C. dwellers take brunch pretty seriously, and visitors have endless possibilities. Indulge in monkey bread and steak paired with a bloody mary at the hunting-lodge-like St. Anselm at the popular food hall Union Market.

For lighter fare, diners can order vegetarian Israeli street food at Shouk paired with a cocktail from Cotton & Reed. If the weather is favorable, enjoy your meal on a picnic bench at the food hall’s new rooftop dining space. More dining options are available two blocks west at the Latin American drinking and dining hall, La Cosecha, where stalls serve empanadas, tacos and more.

Spend the afternoon in the burgeoning waterfront district The Yards, a green oasis filled with enticing restaurants, cafés and bakeries. Walk along the Anacostia River and enjoy the dancing fountains — water jets that bounce up and down and are illuminated at night. Sign up to see an urban winemaking operation or taste some whites and reds at District Winery, or grab a scoop at Jeni’s Ice Creams.

End your evening with a splash by crossing the Potomac and dining in Alexandria, Virginia, at the buzzy waterfront tapas restaurant Barca Pier & Wine Bar — an innovative space created from a repurposed shipping container.