48 hours in Washington, D.C.

Where to stay

Built as an apartment building in the 1920s, The Jefferson Hotel combines old-world charm with modern amenities. Located in between Downtown, Logan Circle, and bustling Dupont Circle, the Beaux-Arts property has 99 rooms including two opulent suites named after Martha and Thomas Jefferson.

The Hay-Adams is another historic hotel in the heart of Downtown. The rooms balance toile accents with luxurious linens and the impressive Lafayette Park View Suites include living and dining areas. For a classic cocktail, head to the onsite bar, Off the Record, which features red plush chairs and walls and an atmospheric vibe.

Day 1

Start your day at one of the two locations of Slipstream, an artisan coffee shop where the menu changes weekly to reflect the best local fare. Order poached eggs, a hearty breakfast bowl, or the homemade granola and yogurt.

Choose your adventure:

Slide 1 of 2
  • Option 1: Culture

    The Smithsonian Institution is a bastion of culture and science in D.C., with 17 museums in the city. Opened in 2016, the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture houses Nat Turner's bible and a plantation cabin from South Carolina. Walk around the National Mall to visit other nearby museums, including the Hirschorn, which showcases contemporary art from artists like Henry Moore, Yoko Ono, and Auguste Rodin.

  • Option 2: Fitness

    Combine sightseeing with exercise with a stand up paddle board monument tour. Leaving from Key Bridge Boathouse in Georgetown, the 90-minute tour includes a trip around Theodore Roosevelt Island and views of the Lincoln and Washington Memorials.

For lunch, check out Centrolina, in CityCenter. Three-time James Beard Award finalist Amy Brandwein celebrates Italian fare with a seasonally-inspired lineup. Expect antipasti like burrata with fresh berries and basil and chilled carrot soup followed by house-made pastas and entrées that include wood-roasted vegetables with white bean crema and a sunny side egg and branzino with tomato and basil.

Return to the hotel for a breather before embarking on a dinner adventure. Book a same day reservation or walk in at Rose's Luxury, which has remained one of the hottest restaurants on the scene since it opened in 2013. The menu changes frequently and takes inspiration from a wealth of cuisines from Italian to Indian to Vietnamese.

Day 2

Stroll the streets of Georgetown before having breakfast at the off-the-beaten-path Kafe Leopold. Pick from offerings like yogurt and muesli along with soft-boiled eggs and a Belgian waffle.

Choose your adventure

Slide 1 of 2
  • Option 1: Culture

    Stop to smell the flowers at the U.S. National Arboretum, which was founded in 1927 by an Act of Congress. Located within city limits, it boasts 446 acres and features the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum. The gardens are organized by species, with each plant given its own individual displays. Stop at the gazebo, where you can take in the Conifer Collection.

  • Option 2: Fitness

    Head 30 minutes outside the city to run, bike, or hike the 11-mile Capital Crescent Trail, which begins in Silver Spring, Maryland. It traverses the former route of the Georgetown Branch rail line and includes a portion through Rock Creek Park. If you choose to cycle, grab some wheels at one of the many locations of Capital Bikeshare.

For dinner, make a reservation at Rasika in Penn Quarter. The upscale Indian restaurant is a local favorite showcasing food cooked on a traditional griddle (known as a tawa) and the tandoor, a ceramic oven. Start with the crab pepper masala or barbecued paneer before trying the biryani or Kerala shrimp curry. Round out the evening with a glass of dessert or fortified wine.

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