I also learned how to get the better tours (in my opinion) for many of the big sites because I actually scheduled them for my boss' constituents. I also gave private tours of the Capitol which is the best way to see it. So if you're heading to DC anytime soon, definitely don't miss this!
If you're not visiting DC anytime soon, there are some old photos here you might get a kick out of!
The Capitol Building
|Yikes, old picture! This is in the crypt below the Capitol dome. The star I'm standing on is the center of DC!|
The White House
These tours are tough to get, but if you plan in advance and don't have anything on your record, you should be able to get in. You can schedule these through your Congressman or Senator but they will need your social security number for the background check. Give them a bunch of days as options to increase your chances of getting approved. They used to request tours up to 6 months in advance but you wouldn't find out until a month or two before if you got in, I'm assuming that is still the policy but check with your local lawmaker's office. Personally I thought the White House tour was so-so until we went during Christmastime and all the decor was beautiful!
Another tour to look out for, which is better than you would think, is the White House Garden tour that happens in both the Fall and Spring. You get to walk around the gardens that face the Washington Monument, take photos (you can't take them on the inside tour) and see the Rose Garden.
The Washington Monument
This was shut down after the earthquake but it's open now so make sure you order tickets online. It will save you time and I really enjoyed seeing DC from the top! My husband was planning to propose next to the Washington Monument but I complained I was too cold and wanted to go home... ha!
One of my favorite stops in DC, especially during the Cherry Blossom Festival! If you come in the Spring, bring your patience because its packed by the Cherry Blossoms but so worth it! Walk around the entire tidal basin if you can and take a paddle boat ride. So fun!
|Whoa short hair!|
I'm clumping these together because they are all right next to each other and they are all a must see. The Lincoln is especially beautiful at night! Don't expect to walk from the Lincoln to the Capitol unless you don't mind walking 2 miles, it looks closer than it actually is!
If you have time, it's definitely worth stopping at Arlington Cemetery. We saw the change of the guard and walked around the grounds before snapping this picture with a view.
The Library of Congress
If you're not that into books its okay, I would just go to the LOC for the architecture. It's such a beautiful building on the inside. I wish I had gone to the main areas more often, but working on "the Hill" meant sometimes I was doing research in the lower, ugly levels of the LOC. Not as cool, let me tell you.
I won't go into detail but some of my favorites were the American History Museum (to see Dorothy's ruby slippers), Smithsonian Museum of Natural History (to see the Hope diamond), the Air and Space Museum, and the Portrait Gallery.
Old Ebbit Grille
One of my favorite restaurants in the city, just a block from the White House. It's historic and has delicious food, I've never been disappointed with a meal there. My favorites were the crabcakes! Fun fact: We had dinner there the night my husband proposed!
This is also near the White House and has really great prices (for DC) and delicious food. They have great happy hour specials and even have them on the weekends.
Baked and Wired
Farmers and Fishers
This is also in Georgetown, right down by the waterfront. It's casual, has decent prices and a fun menu, and good food. I've never been for brunch but I hear its great!
La Bettola Italiano
This isn't actually in DC, its in Arlington but just across the river. It's one of my absolute favorite restaurants of all time and I miss it! It's rarely busy which we never understood because its so good, kind of one of those hole-in-the-wall tiny Italian places. Baked pasta + house wine = perfect night.
Happy hour is big in DC, it basically the only time I went out for drinks if I got off work early enough. Everything is expensive so if you can grab a cocktail during happy hour your wallet will thank you! I loved going to the Georgetown Waterfront for drinks but there are so many places to choose from. I also loved La Tasca for their sangria (Blanca is my fave) and tapas.
If you want to get out of the city, head out about an hour from downtown to the wineries. It's beautiful, especially in the Fall, and the wine is so delish! My favorites are Barrel Oak Winery and Aspen Dale Winery. You can bring your fur child to both!
If you don't mind the high taxes, head to Georgetown or the Downtown/Chinatown area for shopping in DC.
You can see more pictures from my last trip to DC here! Spoiler alert: I went to a lot of the restaurants and wineries then!
Anyone else have any favorites in the DC area? If anyone is visiting DC, feel free to ask me if you have any questions and hopefully I can answer them!