In my opinion, the best way to experience a city is by walking, so a lot of my suggestions involve, you guessed it, walking. But, because I couldn’t help myself, the list includes a few special places to eat and two bookstores.

  1. Walk or bike along Beach Drive (closed to traffic on weekends & holiday) through the beauty of Rock Creek Park. For the more adventurous, there are tons of trails in the neighboring woods, many of which are marked with USPS trail signs.
  2. FDR Memorial. A lot of people miss this monument because it’s hidden away behind the Tidal Basin.
  3. U.S Botanic Gardens. So peaceful and beautiful. Located in the shadow of the Capitol dome.
  4. The Phillips Collection. My favorite art museum in DC. Admission to its permanent collection, including Renoir’s iconic ‘Boating Party’ and a fabulous room full of Rothko’s is free during the week.
  5. National Building Museum. The space is beautiful, and they have a lot of interesting exhibits.
  6. Gravelly Point Park (Arlington, VA) is a great place to watch planes land/take off from National Airport. The planes fly right over your head.
  7. Wander through the Kalorama neighborhood and stroll along embassy row. The houses are big and beautiful, and a few famous people have homes here, including the Obama’s, Ivanka and Jared and Jeff Bezos.
  8. Nibble on yummy food at Union Market. While you’re here, check out the campus of Gallaudet University (a university dedicated to educating the deaf and hard of hearing).
  9. Stroll 14th Street (Between P street and U Street). A hive of activity with lots of shops and restaurants. While you’re here, check out the Barbie Pond.
  10. Rent paddle boards and kayaks at either the Key Bridge Boathouse or Fletcher’s Boathouse
  11. Have a beer at DC’s own Right Proper Brewery.
  12. Explore the sculpture garden at the Hirshhorn Museum. A great spot to sit and have lunch or read a book.
  13. Walk through Oak Hill Cemetery and Dumbarton Oaks Park on the edge of Georgetown.
  14. See if you can find the Capitol Stones, a huge pile of historic stones torn off the Capitol during a 1958 renovation, most dating from the building’s original construction, and dumped behind a maintenance shed in Rock Creek Park.
  15. Dupont Circle Farmer’s Market (Sundays, year-round)
  16. Bike the C&O Canal path (it goes all the way to the Pennsylvania border if you’re up for a long ride!), the Fort Dupont Trail and the Anacostia River Trail or ride out to Mount Vernon via the Mount Vernon Trail.
  17. International Spy Museum. I love this place, although it is one of the few museums in DC you need to pay to see.
  18. Visit the National Arboretum. Fun to explore any time of year and you can bring your dog. Two highlights: 1: The old sandstone columns from the U.S. Capitol. Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln stood beneath them when they were inaugurated. They now sit in an open field. 2: The collection of about 150 miniature trees and the National Bonsai Museum.
  19. A few special (casual) places to eat: Ben’s Chili Bowl, Murry & Paul’s Restaurant, Pizza Paradiso (woman owned), Luke’s Lobster, Grilled Cheese DC.
  20. Wander the shelves of two awesome independent bookstores: Politics and Prose and Kramerbooks.
  21. If you’re thirsty at the end of the day, pop into A League of Her Own, a bar for queer women in the Adam’s Morgan neighborhood.

Published by Cade Haddock Strong

Author. Romance. Suspense. Women Who Love Women.

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