My Travel Diary: How To Spend a Weekend in D.C.

I cannot tell you how much I love to travel; and I really wish that I would have spent more of my money in the past few years on traveling than I did. I have a huge list of places that I want to travel with family, friends, and solo (!!) My perfect destination is one with a rich historical culture, great food, and stunning views. Washington, D.C. nails literally every one of those points and I’m not at all surprised that this is the first travel post I’ll be writing because it is one of my all time favorite places. It’s super hard for me to explain why that is, but I think after seeing the photos and visiting for yourself, you’ll be able to see why I love it so much!

Three day weekends are perfect for planning a high quality road trip with your favorite travel buddy! You can see little parts of the city, stay under budget, and get a practical break from any of your other real life responsibilities. I can’t wait to start having travel posts and recaps, as well as vlogs, as regular content here on the blog; so here’s my first weekend guide! If you like this style of post and want to see more; leave me a comment and maybe where you want to jet off to next! I’ll be in California all summer, so expect a ton of posts from my travels there!


Where to Stay

Soooooo, I think finding a quality place to stay is where you will lose your hard earned cash first. During peak seasons, hotels in the city can get pretty pricey especially in the more convenient places in the city. I high key recommend staying outside the city and taking the metro in [more on this later]. We stayed in the Hilton at Tyson’s Corner which was such a great decision. It’s about a 15 minute walk to the metro station [easy for college kids from a large campus like Carolina] and a quick drive to not one, but two shopping malls. I used to stay in Tyson’s when I was a kid and traveling with the fam, and I am so excited to see this mini city grow in the next few years. The rooms are spacious and the lobby is modern and super clean! I am a pretty bad travel blogger and didn’t get any great snaps in the hotel.. oops!

Transportation

Obviously, DC is an international hub which is great for any of my friends who will be flying in. There are two large airports to choose from; I’m from Virginia and drove from Chapel Hill, so I have no experience with flying into the city, but from flying from and into other major cities: I’d check and see if your hotel has shuttles than run from the airport to the hotel and vice versa. After that, I love relying on the metro and/or Uber. Sam and I were all over DC and spent significantly less time and gas money than we would have trying to find decently priced parking.

The Metro

The DC Metro is relatively low stress which I love! It’s easy enough to navigate and Google Maps will show you the closes metro stops to your destination which was super helpful when we wanted to try a new trendy eatery. If you are only going to be in the city for a day, and are going to spend other time shopping in Tyson’s or taking a quick ride over to National Harbor in Baltimore, I’d recommend opting for a Day Pass. Since we were going to be in the city over the course of three days, we opted to get reusable SmartTrip cards which also made for some nice souvenir to bring back home as well.

Our most used stop was McPherson Square on the Silver, Orange, and Green lines. It’ll drop you off at a central location that’s close to the White House and is a quick walk to Logan Circle as well! The only time we Uber-ed was trying to get from Union Market to Georgetown and from Georgetown back to the Lincoln Memorial. I think from a few metro stops-like DuPont Circle- Georgetown is walkable, but when it gets super hot, I’d probably just opt for the quick air conditioned uber ride. Use the code: gabbyw100 to get your first ride free!

Things to See & Do

Museums

D.C. has so many things to do and is a history nerd and culture fanatics’ dream vacation. On this trip we spent Saturday morning exploring the Library of Congress and the American Art Museum. We also got a few shots in front of the Capitol building. I am always in awe when I’m in this area of the city because as beautiful as the scenery is, this is where real practical everyday business occurs. Your senators and representative walk the same very steps you do and travel down the same streets to run the country. That is WILD.

We had a lot of ideas of things to do around the city that those were the only museums we got to on the trip but if you are looking for more suggestions, I’d recommend:

  • The National Air and Space Museum
  • The Newseum
  • The International Spy Museum
  • Any and All of the Smithsonian Museums especially the National Museum of Natural History

The Smithsonian Museums are all free and have changing exhibits every couple of months which is why I always tell people I can go back to DC once a year [I don’t actually do this, but I could] and still have so many new things to see.

Memorials and Monuments at Sunset {Sam’s Pick!}

The National Mall is such a beautiful place anytime of the day but especially at golden hour when it’s clear&sunny and 73 degrees! We were able to get a ton of walking done and a lot of neat pictures at sunset at the Lincoln Memorial, the Reflecting Pool, and the WWII Monument. The history that sits in this part of town is so rich and there’s something about it that is so special. I hadn’t ever been to the Lincoln Memorial [honestly shocking] and this was such a great first time for it. It was quite literally the perfect temperature and the sunset in the background was spectacular. This is also a nice time to check out the Washington Monument, the Vietnam War Memorial, and the White House.

Georgetown

Georgetown is one of my favorite areas of the city. There’s great shopping, good food, and beautiful homes to take photos in front of, like seriously a blogger’s dream background. If you’re into shopping there is a long strip along M Street of familiar brands like Forever 21, H&M, and Madewell mixed in with some local boutiques and pop up shops.

You can also take a break from the heat and grab some ice cream or cupcake from Georgetown Cupcakes, which I didn’t actually do, but would consider waiting in line for next time! We took a break in the Georgetown Waterfront Park and watched kayakers and boaters. If you’re not into the crowds, I’d definitely still stumble over into this part of town and grab an iced coffee and explore!

Places to Eat

So, this will arguable by my favorite section because like I said before the food is one of the best parts of vacation for me! Here are some places I got to try out while I was there!

True Food Kitchen – Fairfax, VA


The mosaic district has a ton of different eating and shopping options. It also had a Target with a parking garage underneath which was a very odd setup for me to witness. I had never seen one made that way before so it was radical. The True Food Kitchen was such a refreshing place to try. It was a bit pricey for lunch, but treat yo’ self, am I right? I had the Margherita pizza, and it was the best pizza I have had in awhile. The vibes in the restaurant were cool because they had the kitchen open so that customers could see, and such a cute set up! This is a great place if you are staying anywhere in NOVA. It’s a quick 15 minute drive from Tyson’s.

Compass Coffee – Verizon Center


Honestly, I knew that I would get my coffee at some point during the day because I am obsessed! Compass Coffee is a popular DC chain and the vibes were everything I needed on Saturday morning as a pick me up after waking up early to get to the Library of Congress! The location that was right across from the Verizon Center was a quick walk from our next destination. I also got the chance to take about 100 pictures of my latte and was not outwardly judged for it which means I was likely among understanding creatives.

Cucina Al Volo & Trickling Springs – Union Market


Doesn’t Ice cream and fresh pesto pasta sound absolutely amazing to you? Well, it was for us! I high key recommend driving [there’s plenty of parking] or metro-ing to Union Market especially if the weather is nice! There are several food options here as well as some shops and the opportunity to purchase hand crafted and specialty items. It was honestly a super cool place to visit and made for the perfect lunch spot. You can sit outside and people watch if that’s your thing.

Logan Tavern & The Commissary D.C.


Logan Circle is a super cool and trendy area and I’d recommend traveling over here to check out the scene of restaurants, bakeries, and gelato shops. There’s also a super cool looking Belgian restaurant that I’d probably hit up in my next trip to the city for brunch. We tried two restaurants that were apparently owned by the same people! Their salmon and asparagus was absolutely to die for and the pancakes at The Commissary were everything I needed for breakfast on Easter Sunday! I also like that you can make reservations for all of their restaurants on Open Table because no one likes long waits, ya know!

El Centro D.F.

This was a quick decision when we were walking around Georgetown on Saturday evening. It was a super chill restaurant with a small patio, good Hispanic music, and a nice bar area. Naturally, I had to get Chicken Enchiladas Divorciadas because they were having an Enchilada Festival. Sam also said that her Chicken BBQ salad was delicious as well. So, if you’re feeling Mexican food while in Gtown, I’d definitely recommend trying this trendy place out!

My Picks!

I’m still in awe that we were able to jam pack all that we did into 2 days in the city. I know that it can be quite intimidating to try and pick and choose where you should go in such a large and busy city. What would I do if I had to choose maybe 2 things out of everything that we did? I’d definitely say you have to pick at least 1 Smithsonian museum to visit; they’re free after all and you have to eat lunch over at Union Market!! It is such a cool spot and if you are into trendy eateries, you’ll love it!

I would definitely recommend D.C. as an amazing option for any long weekends that pop up during the semester especially in the spring when the weather is great and the flowers are starting to bloom. It’s also not as crowded as during the summer which is also a plus to cut down on long line and crowded museums!

Where are you off to next? Did you like this travel post, should I keep documenting my travels across the country!? I’ll be traveling to California this summer for an internship, do y’all have any suggestions of cities to visit and places to go? Let me know in the comments below.

xoxo,

  • Now I feel like I could totally pull off a nice road trip on a 3 or 4 day weekend! I never thought it could be done, but you proved me wrong! I’ve wanted to got to DC for such a long time, so I’ll be saving this for the future! Also, Georgetown sounds like my kind of place!

    • Georgetown is stunning, hopefully obvious from the photos, but D.C. is definitely doable in 4 days for sure! We were only in the city for around 2 days in total, so definitely can pack a lot in, it just may take some stamina!!
      Thanks for reading babe 🙂
      xo, G

  • mckenna bleu

    I would love to go to a smithsonian museum!

  • I’ve always wanted to visit Washington! I had no idea how Instagram-worthy it was haha – I love all your photos!

    • Thanks babe!! It is so Instagram worthy no lie and is one of my favorite places, you should definitely visit!
      xo, G

  • I’d love to get there one day. My mom has a conference there this fall…I may just tag along and take in all the sights.

    • Yes, you totally should!! There are a lot of things that would be fun to do solo which is also what makes it so great!! Definitely would recommend 🙂
      xo, G

  • It looks like you had a great trip! I love DC. I grew up just outside and went to UMD for undergrad. Georgetown is one of my favorite places – I just love all of the cute houses and stores.

    • That’s awesome!! I love how the store fronts match the aesthetic of the area, it was definitely one of my favorite places to just walk around in 🙂
      xo, G

  • Greta Hollar

    My sister-in-law lives in DC and there’s always so much to see and do! Such a great city.

    Greta | http://www.gretahollar.com