Though Washington D.C. is technically only 68 square miles, it has all the attributes of a major metropolitan city and the political power of a nation. Known for being the capital of the United States, Washington has more to offer than just politics, though the federal government is the largest single employer in the area and provides 54% of the jobs in the District. It is truly an international city. It is the headquarters of 176 embassies and many international organizations. Washington is also a sum of its parts. The district can swell to 1 million people when commuters from Maryland and Virginia engulf the city for work. Plus, Washington, D.C. attracts a lot of tourists who are interested in its cultural landmarks beyond the White House, such as its many national historic landmarks, museums, and parks.
Explore 14th Street NW.
Logan Circle is one of the most sought-after neighborhoods in D.C. It is home to grand row houses and mansions and a trendy strip of cocktail bars, Michelin-starred restaurants, music venues, coffee shops, and shopping along 14th Street NW and U Street corridor. Stop by the 14th & U Farmers Market in front of the Reeves Center on Saturdays to find local cheeses, fruits, eggs, vegetables, flowers, and more. If you are looking for a food adventure, try the Carpe DC Food Tour.
See the monuments at night.
This isn’t your average tour. After the sunset, hop on the trolley and see the major monuments illuminated on the Monuments by Moonlight Tour. The tour includes the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, the Tidal Basin, the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, the National World War I and World War II memorials, the Lincoln Memorial, the Korean War Veterans Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the White House, Capitol Hill, the United States Supreme Court, and the Library of Congress. Hear some fascinating stories about U.S. history and see the city in off-peak hours.
Take a trip to the museums.
The Smithsonian Institute, including the National Zoo, is world renowned and the largest museum, education and research institute in the world. The Smithonian is a collection of 19 museums, galleries, gardens, and a zoo. It welcomes more than 23 million visitors a year and continues to preserve cultural, history and promote education and understanding throughout its programming. Many of its services are free, but reservations are required.
Stroll through Dupont Circle.
Art lovers should visit The Phillips Collection, America’s first museum of modern art. Architecture and history lovers should see the Dupont Circle fountain which was conceived by Beaux-Arts architect Henry Bacon, who also designed the Lincoln Memorial, and sculptor Daniel Chester French. It’s the perfect space to grab a snack and enjoy some social distancing with a friend. Dupont Circle has a wide array of trendy restaurants and many established gay bars.
Have a picnic in the National Mall.
The National Mall is technically a park but has also been used as grounds for protest. The Women’s Suffrage Parade, The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, Vietnam War Moratorium Rally, March for Women’s Lives, and the Women’s March have all used the National Mall as a gathering place to express ideas and demand more from the government. With over 1,000 acres of greenspace that stretches to the United States Capitol to the Potomac River, there is plenty of space to enjoy a picnic with friends while debating today’s politics.
BONUS: Go roller skating at Anacostia Outdoor Skating Pavilion.
Southern Washington, DC, is bordered by two rivers: the Potomac and the Anacostia. The Anacostia River at just 8.4 miles long runs through Maryland and Washington, DC, region and is often overshadowed by the Potomac River that runs a total of 405 miles through West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, DC. The Anacostia waterfront is not nearly as established as its adjacent waterway but does boast a feature unlike any other on the national park system: a skating rink. Skates are provided free of charge with valid ID. However, the skating pavilion is only open in the summer months.