Written By: Sara LaChapelle
If you are traveling to Washington, D.C. and are overwhelmed with the amount of attractions, museums, and parks... you’re not alone.
Since I’ve moved in D.C. 45 days ago, I have treated this city like any other tourist- making a list of all of the most famous museums and go-to attractions. Out of everything I have done so far, this is a list of my top 10 daytime activities. All of my choices are a healthy alternative to that boozy bottomless mimosa brunch. You know, the one that leads to an afternoon nap?
Comment below with other "must see" attractions and I will add them to my list of places to visit over the summer.
Let’s get started!
1. Listen to music at the Wharf
735 Waster Street, SW Washington, DC 20024
Eat, drink, and dance with a view. The Wharf is a great brunch location, but also has plenty of energy at night. Find the Wharf's music calendar here! Check out the Politics and Prose bookstore and Harper Macaw Chocolates while you are there.
2. Wander through the Botanical Gardens
100 Maryland Ave SW, Washington, DC 20001
On a budget? No worries, It’s free to enter the Gardens. What an extremely beautiful and a peaceful way to spend a weekend morning. The conservatory is broken into different geographic regions and plant categories; The Tropics, World Desserts, Medicinal Plants, The Mediterranean, etc. For someone who doesn't know anything about Botany (really, I can’t keep a basil plant alive), I found it enjoyable to browse over the thousands of different plants and enter each unique ecosystem. I suggest dressing in cool clothes- strolling through the Tropics and Desert is hot.
3. Take a picture at the Chinatown Arch
H St NW & &th Street NW, Washington, DC 20001
Do it for the gram. For a brief history lesson; designated Chinatown’s were built in various cities across America to create a safe haven for new immigrants to find jobs and security. The Chinatown Arch was built in 1986 to symbolize Chinese identity in D.C. Chinatown is located close to the city center. You can hit up some shops (Sephora, H&M, Zara) before or after you snag some sushi and a shot in front of the arch!
4. Make "monumental" memories by paddling around the Title Basin.
1501 Maine Ave SW Washington, DC 20024
Highly recommend! Only $18 per hour for a 2 passenger boat & $30 per hour for a 4 passenger boat! This was one of my favorite ways to spend the afternoon. Pack some bottles of water or you can purchase refreshments at the park- including beer. If you have some time to kill before happy hour, AND want to see the Thomas Jefferson memorial, this is the perfect activity- the views are spectacular. Now ladies, if you’re going to drink, I suggest bringing your own beverages with you to avoid the up-charged concessions price.
5. See "Dark Universe" at the National Air and Space Museum
600 Independent Ave SW Washington, DC 20562
It is free to enter the Space Museum, but $9 dollars for an adult ticket to "Dark Universe." Whether you are a super space nerd or not, you will love sitting back in comfortable reclining seats to watch a 3D representation and history of the Universe narrated by Neil deGrasse Tyson. Real trippy experience. Link for tickets.
6. Go shopping in Georgetown
3030 M Street NW, Washington, DC 20007
For the fashionista, Georgetown is the place to go to find trendy boutiques. My personal favorite is Cusp. There are less pricey boutiques available (Madewell, Free People, J.Crew).
7. Get some cardio in at Rock Creek Park
5200 Glover Road, NW, Washington, D.C.
Great for bikers, runners, hikers, rollerbladers, pogo-stickers. Anyway,
this park makes me feel like I have completely left the city within seconds because the trail is so lush and green. You can visit the Zoo or Rock Creek Park Horse Center while you're there—if you fancy.
8. Take in the Architecture of the Library of Congress
10 First Street SE Washington, DC 20540
The Library of Congress occupies 3 buildings. If you are interested in seeing the most famous reading room and breathtaking architecture, you will want to visit the Jefferson Building!
Want to actually peruse the collection in the main reading room? Sign up for your library card in seconds; (Pre-register for your own Library Card here!)
9. Have a picnic at Meridian Hill Park
16th Street NW & W Street NW Washington, DC 20009
This park feels like you have stepped into another century. It is by far the most romantic in my opinion. It was built in 1912 to serve as the official meridian to the White House. I fight the urge to pretend I am a character on Downton Abbey by speaking in an English accent and saying "Would you like to walk the grounds?" I plan to visit again on a Sunday to hear the famous drum circles and hopefully later this year to see the fountain filled with water.
10. Sit on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial overlooking the Reflection Pool
2 Lincoln Memorial Cir NW, Washington DC 200024
This is one of the most breathtaking views in the city. There is no explanation needed for the 24 million visitors that flock to this site every year. I suggest going early in the morning to beat the crowds and large tourist groups. Get up and get moving with a cup of coffee to go and a walk around the National Mall.