Planning for Your Visit
Dear IAA Council and Committee Meeting Attendee,
On behalf of the American Academy of Actuaries and the U.S. actuarial profession, I extend a warm welcome to you to our nation’s capital and a thank-you for your dedication and your efforts during this important week of IAA meetings. Springtime is considered by many to be the most delightful season in Washington, with many sunshine-bathed days and pleasantly cool evenings that invite visitors to stroll, wander, and enjoy the city’s many sights and sounds. This brochure is intended to help you spend whatever free time you may have to enjoy the city during your stay.
The city is of course best known as the seat of the U.S. national government. Indeed, in 1791 Major Pierre L’Enfant specifically laid out for President Washington an urban design supporting the vision of a federal district. From its beginning, the District of Columbia has been defined with a special nature and stature that is reflected in accessible monuments, federal buildings, and fascinating national and private museums—highlights of many are noted in the following pages. But it offers even more, including delightful natural beauty and scenes and the cosmopolitan delights that serve the millions of people who live in the region. Whether you’re looking to learn more about the intriguing backstories of this city’s and our nation’s history, or to simply enjoy the taste of our varied award-winning culinary scene, this guide will provide you with good places to start your wanderings. The highlights were compiled from suggestions of the Academy staff, who know the city well.
Springtime is meant to be enjoyed and appreciated, and I hope this brochure helps you do that during your visit.
President, American Academy of Actuaries
Washington, D.C., was created to serve as the national capital. President George Washington chose the site and dimensions, a square whose sides were 10 miles (16 km) in length and whose corners were directly north, east, south, and west of its center. The land was ceded to the new city by Maryland and Virginia, but the Virginia section was returned in 1847, so what remains of the modern District was all once part of the state of Maryland.
As a planned city, Washington was designed in the Baroque style and incorporates avenues radiating out from rectangles, providing room for open space and landscaping. The design also included a garden-lined “grand avenue” approximately 1 mile (1.6 km) in length and 400 feet (120 m) wide in the area that is now the National Mall.
Washington, D.C., is divided into four quadrants: Northwest (NW), Northeast (NE), Southeast (SE), and Southwest (SW), with the Capitol (parliament) at the center. These letters indicate which quadrant the address you are looking for is in and are important for cab drivers and walkers alike. What might appear to be right around the corner in NW, might in fact be several miles away in SE.
Streets follow a distinctive layout and addressing scheme. The vertical streets are numbered and the horizontal ones are lettered and then ascend in alphabetical two-, three-, and four-syllable series. In the Upper Northwest, a fifth series is named after a botanical series (also alphabetical). The diagonal avenues are generally named after states.
This is where you are. The Mayflower Hotel and the American Academy of Actuaries are located in the Federal Triangle neighborhood, which is often identified as the financial center of D.C. If you venture just a few steps outside your door you’ll find multiple museums, shops, restaurants, and parks where you can enjoy the sights, sounds, and tastes of D.C. Closest Metro: Farragut North (Red Line), Farragut West (Blue/Orange/Silver Lines).
Federal Triangle Attractions:
Renwick Gallery 1661 Pennsylvania Ave. NW The Renwick Gallery is a small offshoot of the Smithsonian American Art Museum located just steps from the White House. With a rotating cast of excellent exhibits, this museum is a great way to beat the heat and escape the crowds. Open daily 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
Federal Triangle Restaurants:
1102 17th St. NW
This small café is located right in back of the Mayflower and serves every manner of breakfast food.
1101 17th St. NW
Also in back of the Mayflower, this café is a family-owned locals-only spot.
1701 K St. NW, Washington, DC 20006
If you’re sick of Starbucks, give Pret a try. Their coffee is delicious.
1015 18th St. NW
Simple buffet-style food for a good price.
800 17th St. NW
The Farragut location is a short walk from the Mayflower Hotel.
Tea at the Willard InterContinental Weekends only
1401 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Treat yourself to tea, finger sandwiches and pastries at one of D.C.’s classic hotels
DID YOU KNOW?
While the OED begs to differ, Americans have been told that the word “lobbying” originated at the Williard where it was supposedly used by President Ulysses S. Grant to describe the political advocates who frequented the hotel’s lobby to access Grant—who was often there in the evenings to enjoy a cigar and brandy—and would then try to buy the president drinks in an attempt to influence his political decisions.
1815 M St. NW
As seen on TV’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.” Stop in for a mouthwatering sandwich. Local tip: bring cash.
1220 19th St. NW
Hidden in an alley next to Teddy and the Bully Bar, this authentic spot is a favorite among Academy staff.
1200 19th St. NW
An upscale option, Teddy has delicious small plates for lunch.
1606 K St. NW
Farragut Square food trucks
Head to Farragut Square to browse options for seriously good food bought from a fleet of mobile restaurants.
1000 Connecticut Ave. NW
Enjoy French sandwiches on baguettes or indulge in some pastries.
1734 N St. NW
This elegant Mediterranean restaurant often requires a reservation but is well worth the wait.
1739 N St. NW
A fresh, delicious meal hidden within the Inn that channels “The Canterbury Tales.”
1738 Connecticut Ave. NW
Enjoy mussels by the bucket and a fine selection of Belgian ales at this casual, bustling spot.
1141 Connecticut Ave. NW
Vodka cocktails and traditional Russian fare.
1700 K St. NW
“Enter as strangers, leave as friends” is this local Greek restaurant’s motto.
800 Connecticut Ave. NW
Refined dining close to the White House.
818 Connecticut Ave. NW
Enjoy locally sourced American fare at this upscale eatery.
1200 16th St NW
Located in the Jefferson Hotel, this elegant restaurant serves dishes inspired by Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello estate.
1220 19th St. NW
This longtime small Italian restaurant serves delicate pasta dishes and exclusively Italian wines.
Federal Triangle After Dinner Drinks:
815 Connecticut Ave. NW
ACADEMY STAFF FAVORITE:
This is a favorite spot of Academy staff for a well-crafted cocktail in a cozy setting.
1725 Desales St. NW
Contemporary French cooking in a refined setting, steps from The Mayflower.
Chinatown is a (very small) historic neighborhood found in the heart of downtown D.C. and features dozens of ethnic Chinese and Asian restaurants and small businesses. Home to Capital One Arena—where three professional D.C. sports teams (the Capitals, the Wizards, and the Mystics) hold home games—this vibrant neighborhood welcomes visitors to eat, drink, and explore the many flavors of D.C. Don’t miss the National Portrait Gallery, open until 7 p.m.
Penn Quarter is the center of much action surrounding the Arena. The Penn Quarter neighborhood is sandwiched between Chinatown to the north and the National Mall to the south. Filled with one-of-a-kind restaurants and multiple museums, you’re sure to pass through here during your travels. Closest metro: Gallery Place/Chinatown (Red, Yellow, Green Lines)
Chinatown/Penn Quarter Attractions:
8th Street NW & F Street NW
Monday-Friday at 12 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 11:45 a.m., 1:30, 3:15, and 4:30 p.m. The National Portrait Gallery is part of the Smithsonian Institute and features multiple exhibits, the most famous being the Presidential Portrait exhibit on the second floor. Open daily from 11:30 a.m.to 7 p.m., free admission, docent tours available.
1001 F St. NW
Open Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Similar to those in many world-class cities, you can come see some of the world’s most famous people immortalized in wax. $17.60 adult online ticket or $22 adult walkup ticket.
511 10th St. NW
9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., admission to the museum, theatre, and Peterson House vary depending on date and time of day, buy online in advance. The site of President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, Ford’s Theatre is both a memorial site to the dead president and a still-working theatre where shows are performed. Head across the street to Peterson House where the president died in the early hours of April 15, 1865.
Chinatown/Penn Quarter Shopping:
CityCenterDC is the premier downtown shopping center housing fashion powerhouses like Burberry and Hermes alongside some of the chicest new restaurants in D.C.
Chinatown/Penn Quarter Restaurants:
974 Palmer Alley NW
Sleek Italian with homemade pastas.
1015 7th St. NW
Chef Eric Ziebold’s take on a modern American tasting menu.
1090 I St. NW
Hip celebrity chef-run restaurant with unique menu.
124 Blagden Alley NW
Voted Best Bar in the city for several years running.
427 11th St. NW
Just-opened upscale Indian cuisine.
480 7th St. NW
Affordable Spanish fare from an iconic American chef.
1001 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Local tip: try the cheese puffs and fried chicken.
Centered around the circle from which it gets its name, the Dupont Circle neighborhood is one of the main arteries that runs through D.C. Home to many businesses, restaurants, and bars, this neighborhood is extremely walkable and close to the Mayflower. Closest Metro: Dupont Circle (Red Line).
Dupont Circle Attractions:
2020 O St NW
Secret Door Tour runs 11 a.m.-3 p.m. daily, $25 reserve online (add $5 for door admission)—Hundreds of rooms are connected by secret passageways and stuffed full of fascinating memorabilia.
1307 New Hampshire Ave NW
Hourlong guided tours on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m., and 2:30 p.m. Reservations are suggested, $10 donation suggested. The home of Washington’s first brewer, many of the original furnishings are intact and transport visitors into Gilded Age Washington.
1600 21st St. NW
Tuesday through Saturday open 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday noon-6:30 p.m., closed Mondays; admission is free Tuesday-Friday, $10 Saturday and Sunday—A must-see at the Phillips Collection is Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s “Luncheon of the Boating Party.”
1145 17th St. NW
Open every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., admission $15 for adults—Located just blocks from the Mayflower Hotel, the National Geographic Museum plays host to several traveling exhibits. Come tour the “Queens of Egypt” exhibit, which showcases artifacts associated with Egyptian queenship and take a 3-D virtual tour of the best-preserved tomb in the Valley of the Queens.
2118 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Tuesday through Saturday open 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sunday open noon-4 p.m., free admission, hourlong tours start on each hour—This early-20th-century mansion now serves as the headquarters of the Society of the Cincinnati, a hereditary group originating from officers in the U.S. and France who served in the American Revolutionary War. Notable members included George Washington and Alexander Hamilton. Come tour this beautiful historic mansion and learn about this fascinating fraternity.
Dupont Circle Shopping:
1517 Connecticut Ave. NW
This local, independently owned bookstore is your one-stop shop for a late-afternoon coffee break and a leisurely perusal of the many book titles.
2000 P St. NW
This secondhand bookstore is far cheaper than Kramerbooks and has a vast array of book genres to shuffle through.
1350 Connecticut Ave. NW
Peruse the many gift options at this boutique selling whimsical knickknacks.
Dupont Circle Farmers Market Sundays only; 8:30 am to 1:30 PM
1500 20th St. NW
Dupont Circle Restaurants:
1503 17th St. NW
High-end sushi with a long line, get there early.
1500 New Hampshire Ave. NW
Classic cocktail setting with views of Dupont Circle.
1606 20th St. NW
Hip and relaxed setting for Mexican fare right off the Circle.
2029 P St. NW
Relaxed setting offering a fixed-price menu of delicious Italian fare and wine pairings in its second-floor location.
The Foggy Bottom neighborhood is in northwest Washington and home to George Washington University. Closest Metro: Foggy Bottom (Blue/Orange/Silver Lines).
Foggy Bottom Attractions:
701 21st St. NW
Monday: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday: Closed, Wednesday-Thursday: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday: 1 to 5 p.m., $8 suggested donation for nonmembers, —Located south of the Foggy Bottom-GWU Metro stop, this museum focuses on textiles from all over the world and our relationships with them.
2700 F St. NW
Whether it be an opera, dance show, or the ballet, the Kennedy Center is a beautiful venue to see a show in D.C. Enjoy dinner with sweeping views from the Roof Terrace Restaurant (reservations strongly suggested) and then enjoy the show. After taking a stroll around the halls of The Kennedy Center take in a free show at the Millennium Stage. Free performances are offered every night at 6pm. Performances range from chamber ensembles, dance troupes, choirs, and more.
2650 Virginia Ave. NW
Known as a scandal so brazen it’s right out of a movie, the Watergate Hotel is now home to several classic restaurants and elegant bars, including Kingbird Restaurant. A local favorite is Top of the Gate, a rooftop bar with sweeping views of the Potomac and the city skyline. Another fun activity is Afternoon Tea every Saturday and Sunday from 2 to 3:30 p.m.
Foggy Bottom Restaurants:
1924 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
An American-style eatery where brunch is taken seriously.
1190 New Hampshire Ave. NW
This restaurant takes a fresh new look at traditional Indian recipes. One of several restaurants by a locally acclaimed chef.
M Street is Georgetown’s main thoroughfare and offers seemingly endless opportunities to shop till you drop. Enjoy locally made chocolates, meats, and cheeses at Dean and Deluca and then stroll to area boutiques including Rag & Bone, Lululemon, and Barbour. To get away from the crowds, head to the historic C&O canal, one of Washington’s main shipping lanes in the 18th century. You’ll find hidden restaurants and shops along its peaceful banks. Closest Metro: Foggy Bottom (Blue/Orange/Silver Lines).
DID YOU KNOW?
Built in 1765, the Old Stone House located on M Street is the oldest standing stone structure from pre-Revolutionary War Washington.
1703 32nd St. NW
Open Tuesday-Sunday, 11:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., museum is free; garden admission is $10. Dumbarton Oaks is host to a vast array of interesting collections, such as an impressive number of Byzantine coins and a unique array of pre-Columbian artifacts. The historic garden is another must-see.
2715 Q St. NW
Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (last museum entry is 2:45 p.m.); general admission is $10. As the national headquarters of The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America (NSCDA), Dumbarton House educates the public about the early history of America with over 1,000 pieces of furniture, ceramics, and textiles. Special exhibit on STEM on the preservation of history’s treasures.
1644 31st St. NW
Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sunday noon-4 p.m., closed Mondays, adult admission $10,—This Federalist-style mansion was the family home of Martha Parke Custis Peter, a granddaughter of Martha Washington. Several of the furnishings at the home are originals from Mount Vernon.
Just past M Street NW and 35th Street NW
A local favorite for those who like to exercise by running up and down them.
DID YOU KNOW?
These steps, located at the corner of Prospect and 36th streets NW, were featured in the 1973 hit horror film The Exorcist. The stairs were padded with half-inch-thick rubber to film the death of the character Father Karras, with the stuntman tumbling down the steps twice.
1063 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Handmade pastas, sauces, and generous pours of Italian wines all make this restaurant highly recommended, and very popular. Call ahead for reservations.
3139 M St. NW
The brain child of local chef legend Jose Andres, America Eats Tavern provides a surprise twist on classic comfort foods from across the U.S.
1264 Wisconsin Ave. NW
This quaint restaurant is the oldest bar in Georgetown. Enjoy their cozy décor, hand-crafted cocktails, and delicious seafood options. A favorite of JFK, who was said to have proposed to his wife, Jacqueline, in a very small booth there.
3301 M St. NW
Georgetown Cupcake is one of the most famous dessert destinations in D.C. Often a line out the door.
1064 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Bowling, bocce, and a bar await you at Pinstripes Bowling. Strap on your bowling shoes and play a couple games before stopping at the restaurant for a light lunch.
Often associated with the halls of power and the people who govern there, this neighborhood is home to the Library of Congress, The Supreme Court, the Folger Shakespeare Library, and Eastern Market. Closest Metro: Capitol South or Eastern Market (Blue/Orange/Silver Lines).
Capitol Hill Attractions:
First Street SE
The home of the U.S. Legislative Branch, this neoclassical masterpiece is on many tourists’ must-see list. Crowned with the Statue of Freedom and wreathed with majestic columns, the Capitol Building offers much to see inside and out. If you have time, take the free tour, which runs daily. You can purchase advance tickets online or head to the information desk for day-of tickets. After your tour, head through the underground tunnel to the Library of Congress.
1 First St. NE
The seat of the U.S. Judiciary Branch, the Supreme Court is the highest court in the land. Visitors are welcome to take self-guided tours through the public portions of the court building.
DID YOU KNOW?
Court sessions are always open to the public and are on a first-come, first-serve basis
101 Independence Ave. SE
Nestled between the Capitol Building and the Supreme Court, the stunning Library of Congress rivals any great city library in grandeur. It is also a working library, offering research capabilities for the U.S. Congress. Admire its Beaux-Arts-style interior and don’t forget to take a peek into the main reading room that was featured in the “National Treasure” movies.
225 7th St. SE
The last surviving historic market in D.C., Eastern Market is a favored destination for Washingtonians to buy fresh produce, meats, and homemade products. Best seen on Saturday morning, this historic district offers a taste of a small town in the big city.
Capitol Hill Restaurants:
717 8th St. SE
Michelin-star restaurant, eclectic menu in opulent setting.
715 8th St. SE
212 7th St. SE
Started in Florence, this cozy eatery churns out mouth-watering Italian specials.
921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE
$45 eight-course prix-fixe tasting menu.
Adams Morgan/Woodley Park.
The Adams Morgan neighborhood is located around 1.5 miles northeast of the White House and is well known for its lively nightlife and diverse inhabitants. Often thought of as a gateway community for immigrants to the area, Adams Morgan offers dozens of restaurants featuring food from all over the world. Head south from the Metro station and take the Duke Ellington Memorial Bridge over to reach the many restaurants centered on 18th Street NW. Woodley Park is a quieter neighborhood located adjacent to Adams Morgan. The highlight of this neighborhood is the National Zoo. Closest Metro: Woodley Park/Adams Morgan (Red Line).
Adams Morgan/Woodley Park Attractions:
3001 Connecticut Ave NW
Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., free—Wear walking shoes. The National Zoo is like a walk through several diverse ecosystems.
The pandas have access to their outdoor enclosure from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Adams Morgan/Woodley Park Restaurants:
2420 18th St. NW
A casual Ethiopian restaurant.
1827 Adams Mill Road NW
This popular restaurant serves Mediterranean food with Caribbean inspired drinks.
(A Rake’s Progress, Brothers and Sisters, A Rake’s Bar, Spoken English) The bars and restaurants curated by the Line Hotel are some of the city’s most innovative. Enjoy fine dining pared with exciting new culinary ideas from DC’s rising celebrity chefs.
1813 Columbia Road NW
This French inspired restaurant serves fresh, authentic fare.
2007 18th St. NW
Whiskeys lead the way at this high-end bar with an American menu, cigar bar, and an open-air terrace.
2459 18th St. NW
No one loves brunch more than Washingtonians, especially at this hip coffee house.
1654 Columbia Road NW
Amazing barbeque, they close when they run out of food — get in early.
2000 18th St. NW
Trendy burger joint with extensive toppings choices.
Cleveland Park is a neighborhood about 3 miles northwest of the Mayflower Hotel. The Washington National (Episcopal) Cathedral covers 5 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds, including “The Bishop’s Garden” and “The Olmstead Woods.” It is the sixth largest cathedral in the world and the second largest in the U.S. It is set on Mount Saint Alban and has served as a place for state funerals and commemorations of many American leaders, regardless of their religious affiliations. Closest Metro: Cleveland Park (Red Line).
Cleveland Park Attractions:
3101 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Monday-Friday open 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sunday 12:45 p.m.-5 p.m.; adult admission $12. Highlights tours are included with Cathedral admission and offered (when available) Monday-Saturday at 10:15 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m., and 3 p.m.; Sundays as available—Be sure not to miss the fragment of lunar rock brought back from the Apollo 11 mission. It’s embedded in the stained-glass window depicting the moon. If you need some refreshments, head next door to the Cathedral café, where delicious teas and sandwiches await.
DID YOU KNOW?
One of the gargoyles toward the top of the Cathedral is in the shape of Darth Vader from Star Wars.
4155 Linnean Ave. NW
Tuesday-Sunday open 10 a.m.-5 p.m., closed Mondays, adult admission $18—A less well-known gem, Hillwood Estate was the home of Marjorie Merriweather Post, the heiress and philanthropist. While living in Russia she amassed a gorgeous collection of Russian imperial artifacts, such as the Russian wedding crown and Fabergé eggs given by the last emperor, Nicholas II, to his wife.
Cleveland Park Walk:
This vast open woodland was saved from development in the 20th century. Countless walking and hiking trails flow over the various hills in the park. Make sure to bring a map as it is easy to get lost. Access the park by Metro at the Woodley Park or Cleveland Park stations on the Red Line.
Cleveland Park Restaurants:
3715 Macomb St. NW
2Amys is a favorite of locals (and out-of-towners who know about it). This is one block off Wisconsin Ave to the west. They do not take reservations so if you go at busy hours, you may have to wait, but the turnover is usually not more than 20-30 minutes.
3300 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Tex-Mex food and good margaritas on the corner of Macomb and Wisconsin. Cactus has a great outdoor seating area that is very popular in good weather and an ability to handle fairly large groups without reservations.
3714 Macomb St. NW
A French bistro across the street from 2Amys on Macomb Street.
The U Street Corridor in Shaw is the historical cultural and social hub of Washington’s jazz community. This up-and-coming neighborhood is right on the edge of the latest fashion trends with local boutiques dotted along U Street between hip bars and restaurants. Closest Metro: Shaw-Howard University (Green/Yellow Lines), U Street/African-American Civil War Memorial/Cardoza (Green/Yellow Lines)
Shaw/14th Street/U Street Attractions:
1925 Vermont Ave. NW
Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.,—This museum is dedicated to preserving the history and stories of African-American communities’ participation in the Civil War. Right now, a special Michelle Obama exhibit is visiting, titled “From Slavery to the White House: the USCT Ancestors of First Lady Michelle Obama.”
620 T St. NW
One of the two historic concert venues off U Street, this venue hosts live music every night of the week.
815 V St. NW
This historic venue hosts major music events and small-town performers alike.
1215 U St. NW
This historic theatre has hosted jazz’s greats including native Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, and Louis Armstrong.
Shaw/14th Street/U Street Restaurants:
1317 14th St. NW
A drinks-only elegantly appointed speakeasy awaits you at The Crown and Crow.
1213 U St. NW
A classic for first-time visitors, Ben’s Chili Bowl has a storied past as a local dive for delicious chili and people-watching. Make sure to try the Half Smoke.
1906 14th St. NW
Chef Ryan Ratino just won a Michelin star for this innovative, fun new restaurant.
1818 14th St. NW
Great place for brunch and comfort food from morning to night, plus homemade pop tarts and liquor-infused milkshakes served in hip, airy surrounds.
1320 14th St. NW
Barn wood on the walls matches the hearty cuisine at this pork-centric New American eatery.
The Navy Yard.
The Navy Yard in southeast D.C. is historically the center of the Navy’s presence in the city but has recently seen development at the Yards Park and the Nationals baseball stadium. This area offers some relaxing riverfront views, outdoor dining, and an active atmosphere. Closest Metro: Navy Yard-Ballpark (Green Line).
Navy Yard Attractions:
355 Water St. SE
This open-air park boasts a riverfront boardwalk that follows the Anacostia River Trail, multiple one-of-a-kind restaurants, a beautiful waterfall and bridge, and large grassy areas perfect for people (or dog) watching.
1500 S. Capitol St. SE
The Nationals vs. the New York Mets, May 14-16, and Chicago Cubs, May 17-19. Come enjoy a hot dog and a beer at Nationals Park, home to the Washington Nationals. Don’t miss the President’s Race held during the seventh inning stretch.
Navy Yard Restaurants:
301 Water St. SE
This trendy Italian spot is situated right at the Yards Park and offers delicate bites and fresh tastes.
1331 4th St. SE
This modern restaurant offers innovative, chef-driven food in a casual dining setting.
00 Tingey St. SE
Located in D.C.’s Navy Yard, open for tours and tastings and dining in their attached restaurant.
The newest redeveloped area on the D.C. waterfront, the Wharf is a sprawling boardwalk lined with exciting restaurants and refreshing cocktail bars to kick back and enjoy the waterfront views. Local tip: Check out Captain White’s Seafood, a seafood market. The Wharf is in southwest D.C. and next to the Washington Marina and has been developed with many restaurants to enjoy riverfront dining. Closest Metro: Waterfront (Green Line).
1150 Maine Ave. SW
Located on the Wharf, Rappahannock has distinguished itself for its fantastic oysters paired with interesting wines.
1130 Maine Ave. SW
This cool waterfront Hawaiian restaurant distills their own rum.
“NoMa” is an abbreviation for North of Massachusetts Avenue, the main thoroughfare that cuts through this neighborhood in northeast Washington. Beginning north of Union Station, this area of the city is home to Gallaudet University and the H Street Corridor. H Street is a vibrant, eclectic neighborhood known for its free trolley that runs along H St. Closest Metro: NoMa-Gallaudet (Red Line).
1309 5th St. NE
Union Market has become a magnet for trendy restaurants, local farm products, and seriously good food. Browse the aisles of seemingly endless culinary delights before choosing where to eat. Highlights are the Michelin-starred Masseria, and the new kid on the block, St. Anselm. Reservations recommended.
H Street Corridor
H Street offers an endless array of bars, restaurants, and boutique shops to browse. Even better, you can easily cruise down the street in the free trolley car.
1250 5th St. NE
This restaurant is right next to Union Market.
100 Florida Ave. NE
Designed to be a casual bowling alley and diner, and a great place to spend a rainy day.
209 M St. NE
Located steps from the NoMa metro station, this new brewery brews all its own beer. Post up at one of the comfortable tables and play a classic board game on a rainy afternoon.
7011, 501 Morse St. NE
Owned by former NFL player Tobias Dorzon, this oyster bar offers a late-night happy hour from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Brookland is a residential neighborhood with lots of attractions a four-mile ride from downtown. Brookland is sometimes known as “Little Rome” due to the concentration of Catholic churches and monasteries. It is home to the largest Catholic church in the U.S., the Basilica of the National Shrine, and the beautiful Franciscan Monastery. This 42-acre site has replicas of several shrines in the Holy Land and cloister walks. Closest Metro: Brookland-CUA (Red Line).
400 Michigan Ave NE
Regular tours are available.
625 Monroe St. NE
30 artists’ studios line an alley, with art and specialized handmade objects on sale.
3126 12th St. NE
A regular candidate for the best brunch in DC.
3000 12th St. NE
A little piece of Paris in this French bistro.
920 Girard St. NE
A brewery with a tasting room.
716 Monroe St. NE
A bar with an excellent beer list.
1351 H St. NE
This restaurant/café/store gives you the retail therapy fix you need while you enjoy lunch.
1110 H St. NE
Hip cocktail bar with Chinese menu.
Located across the Potomac River in Virginia, Alexandria is one of the oldest settled parts of the region. The historic Old Town Alexandria boasts several original cobblestone streets and a small-town charm that offers a relaxed day of window-shopping. Old Town is the perfect place to stop after visiting Mount Vernon. Closest Metro: King Street (Blue/Yellow Lines).
3200 Mount Vernon Highway, Mt Vernon, Va.
Open daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m., adult admission $20 or $18 online—Several miles south of Old Town Alexandria and most easily visited by car, Mount Vernon was the plantation and beloved home of America’s first president, George Washington. Learn about 18th-century American homes, politics, and ideas through the numerous interactive exhibits found at Mount Vernon. Don’t miss the mansion tour, which requires a timed ticket, and gaze out over the peaceful Potomac River, which looks much like it did in Washington’s time. Make sure to eat lunch at the Inn Restaurant, connected to the Visitor Center. The lunch menu includes historic meals such as hoecakes, which were eaten during the 18th century.
May 17th through 19th Mount Vernon will host its annual Spring Wine Festival and Sunset Tour. Sample wines from local wineries or explore the mansion cellars and learn about George Washington’s relationship to wine. Friday, May 17: $48; Saturday, May 18: $52; Sunday, May 19: $42, 6-9 p.m.
201 King St #3, Alexandria, Va.
Learn about Old Town Alexandria’s spooky past on this guided tour. Operating at 7:30 and 9 p.m. daily.
Stroll the picturesque historic streets of Old Town Alexandria through unique art galleries, hip boutiques, and iconic fashion brands.
105 N. Union St., Alexandria, Va.
Housing the nation’s largest number of artist’s studios, this eclectic venue lets you browse working artist’s shops where you can snag your very own piece of art.
Take the KING STREET TROLLEY from the Metro to the riverfront (walking takes about 20-30 minutes; it’s one mile).
105 King St., Old Town Alexandria, Va.
This trendy spot used to be an actual fish market but has been turned into a restaurant that doesn’t skimp on the seafood selection.
112 King St., Alexandria, Va.
We’re all Irish at heart. Here you can join in singing circles (or just watch). All the staff is from Ireland, and they love talking about it. Also try walking around the restaurant to check out their cool décor.
5 Cameron St., Alexandria, Va.
Huge nautical-themed spot with American seafood, three outdoor patios, fire pits, and an oyster counter with a river view.
109/110 King St., Alexandria, Va.
Homemade ice cream parlors across the street from each other and huge rivals; try them both and decide who is your favorite.
219 King St., Alexandria, Va.
New Orleans vibe with jazz and blues music nightly starting at 9 p.m. and the most haunted restaurant in the DMV. Locals will tell you to be careful.
116 S Royal St., Alexandria, Va.
Among the best cupcakes you will ever have. Try the flourless chocolate with sea salt and caramel.
The National Mall.
The National Mall is a large, rectangular, grassy promenade in the heart of Washington, D.C. It was created as “America’s backyard”—a place where people could walk, run, play games, picnic, and enjoy the fresh air and trees. On the east end of the Mall is the Capitol Building and on the west end is the Lincoln Memorial. The Washington Monument stands at the center of the Mall. This grassy area is surrounded by the many museums of the Smithsonian Institute and several other private museums.
Operating hours—10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. for all Smithsonian affiliates if not otherwise stated in this brochure
Advice—No water or outside food allowed in most museums, metal detectors at the entrance to several, if you have a bag it will be checked, all Smithsonians discourage the use of large backpacks
Metro stations—Archives/Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter (Yellow/Green Lines) Gallery Place/Chinatown or Judiciary Square (Red Line) Smithsonian (Blue/Orange/Silver Lines)
The third-most-visited museum in the world and the most-visited museum in the United States, the Air and Space Museum is grand in scale and vision. Housing thousands of planes, rockets, and other artifacts from man’s experiments with flight, this museum could keep you occupied for days.
Designed to reflect the flowing lines in nature, this museum is home to thousands of anthropological artifacts from Indian tribes across the entire Western Hemisphere. The newest exhibit is called “Section 14: The Other Palm Springs, California.”
The most popular natural history museum in the U.S., this museum walks you through all of earth’s history from the dawn of the dinosaurs through the evolution of modern man. Say hello to Henry the Elephant as you pass through the entrance hall toward the Ocean Hall. Don’t miss the Hope Diamond upstairs in the Gem and Mineral Collection.
From Dorothy’s ruby slippers to George Washington’s uniform, this museum has it all. The Batmobile is downstairs, while the “Star Spangled Banner” can be viewed on the first floor. Don’t miss the “First Ladies” exhibit upstairs, which features First Lady fashion from Martha Washington onward.
One of the newest museums on the Mall, this museum chronicles the rich history of African-Americans in America. Highlights include Harriet Tubman’s hymnal, Nat Turner’s Bible, a plantation cabin from South Carolina, guard tower from Angola prison, and Michael Jackson’s fedora.
The Hirschhorn Museum houses modern sculpture and contemporary art in a fascinatingly designed cylindrical building that is a piece of art in itself. Several interactive exhibits make this museum a more hands-on experience that is sure to wow you. Check out the outdoor sculpture garden across the street for more visual stimulation.
The Freer Gallery of art is the first of two Asian art collections the city of Washington is home to. The famous “Peacock Room” invites you to engage in the dialogue between East and West.
The Sackler Gallery is the other Asian art collection in D.C. Don’t miss “Encountering the Buddha: Art and Practice Across Asia.” This visually stunning exhibit immerses you in the world of Buddhism.
The National Museum of African Art is the only national museum in the United States dedicated to the collection, exhibition, conservation, and study of the arts of Africa. On exhibit are the finest examples of traditional and contemporary art from the entire continent of Africa.
A stamp collector’s dream. Located next to Union Station, the Postal Museum is housed in the historic D.C. City Post Office and hosts the world’s largest stamp and post office memorabilia collections.
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.—George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison all advocated for a national botanical garden to be included in the plans for the creation of Washington, D.C. The current building housing the nation’s collection was finished in 1933. The collection houses thousands of plant species from all over the world, including some of the most rare and endangered species.
Constitution Ave. NW, between 3rd and 9th Streets
Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.—Though it is also free, the National Gallery of Art is actually not a part of the Smithsonian Institute but was privately donated by Andrew W. Mellon, a wealthy American philanthropist. The Gallery is divided into the West Building, which houses the older, classical artworks, and the East Building, which houses the Gallery’s modern art collection. To the west of the West Building is the Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden, which houses many pieces of sculptural art surrounding a large fountain.
555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Adults, 19 to 64: $24.95 + tax, Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.—Enjoy this one-of-a-kind museum while you can. Unfortunately, the Newseum will be moving locations soon, so now is the time to visit this museum celebrating the First Amendment. The Newseum is located one block north of the National Gallery of Art.
100 Raoul Wallenberg Place SW
10 a.m. to 5:20 p.m. Monday through Friday, free tickets but must be reserved in advance— One of the most poignant museums on the Mall, the Holocaust Memorial Museum is dedicated to education not only about the brutal Holocaust during World War II but other genocides and human rights abuses throughout history. There are three ways to get tickets: advanced tickets online, same day tickets online, or same day tickets in person starting at 9:45 a.m. Advanced tickets are recommended and are a $1 reservation online. The Museum is located south of the Mall at the Washington Memorial.
400 4th St. SW
Daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., adults $19.99 online only, $24.99 walkup—Another new museum on the Mall, this museum explores the history and narrative of the Bible. The collection includes several exhibits relating to the history of the Bible and its impact upon the world. Find this museum two blocks south of the Mall from the National Museum of the American Indian.
between East and West buildings of the National Gallery of Art
This is one of the better food courts at a public museum and can be accessed through either gallery. Enjoy the waterfall feature and don’t miss the light show walkway.
National Sculpture Garden Café
Take in some art while you enjoy your lunch. This café is situated within the grounds of the Sculpture Garden and is a haven for lunch eaters and wildlife alike.
Built to honor our nation’s first president, the Washington Monument is in the shape of an Egyptian obelisk. It is currently closed for elevator repairs and is inaccessible to pedestrians.
This monument is to the west of the Washington Monument and is very low-lying on the horizon so as not to obstruct sightlines to and from the Lincoln Memorial. Fifty-six pillars represent the 50 states and several territories that fought for the United States during that conflict. Two large arches represent the Atlantic and Pacific theatres of war. Each of the 4,048 gold stars located on the Freedom Wall represent 100 Americans killed during WWII.
This small, circular Doric Greek temple is dedicated to the 499 residents of Washington, D.C. who died during WWI. It was fundraised and paid for by the citizens of D.C. in their honor.
This little-known memorial is hard to find even for native Washingtonians. Located in the middle of the Constitution Gardens Pond (north of the WWII Memorial), this memorial can only be accessed by a bridge. It is dedicated to the original 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence. Stones bearing each signer’s signature and which state they came from are etched into the ground. This is a wonderful place to see some waterfowl.
Controversial when it was first built, this memorial is one of the most reverent places on the Mall. Relatives and friends of the soldiers who lost their lives in the Vietnam War come to leave mementos and flowers for their loved ones. Park officials carefully collect, chronicle, and store these items in a warehouse. The names of the deceased are arranged chronologically.
Perhaps the most iconic memorial on the Mall, the Lincoln Memorial is modeled on the Parthenon on the ancient Acropolis in Greece. In this temple is housed a seated statue of Abraham Lincoln, who gazes out to the Capitol Building and the Union that he fought to save during the American Civil War.
DID YOU KNOW?
The 36 Doric Greek columns surrounding the building each represent one of the states in the Union at the time of Lincoln’s death.
Almost as a reflection of the Vietnam War Memorial, the Korea War Memorial has faces instead of names carved into its memorial wall. A patrol of American soldiers creeps out of the dark woods in a scene reminiscent of the kind of warfare the men experienced during the Korean conflict.
Looking out over the Tidal Basin, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial immortalizes the words of one of America’s greatest orators and champions of civil rights.
This memorial can be harder to access, as it is found on the other side of the Tidal Basin. It can be an enjoyable walk, however, to circle the Basin under the shade of the Japanese Cherry Blossom trees (gifted to the United States by the Mayor of Tokyo in 1912) and to arrive at the Jefferson Memorial. A 19-foot-tall statue of Jefferson gazes out toward the White House; the trees in between the two structures are trimmed so that he can always be seen from the South porch of the White House.
If you continue to walk around the Tidal Basin you will come to the massive Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) Memorial. The memorial has four outdoor “rooms” that each represent one of FDR’s terms as president. The entire complex is wheelchair-accessible, as FDR himself was the only President in American history to be disabled, though most of the world and America did not know he was at the time.
DID YOU KNOW?
FDR is the only president to have served four terms. All others have served two at most, and an amendment was ratified in 1947 limiting all future presidents to two terms.
This little-known memorial is found on the north side of the Mall on the lawn of the National Academy of Sciences. You can sit on Einstein’s lap and rub his nose for good luck. The constellations represented on the floor of the memorial were charted exactly as they appeared on the day of the memorial’s dedication.
The White House is not only a private residence, but also the working hub for the U.S. President. The house contains 132 rooms, 35 bathrooms, and six floors. You can see the White House from the North or South sides, but you can get closer to the house from the north near Lafayette Park.
The National Mall Restaurants:
515 15th St. NW
W Hotel rooftop bar for pre-dinner drinks overlooking the White House.
675 15th St. NW
Check out happy hour at this famous DC staple and enjoy the oyster bar and people spotting.
going on the Week of May 12-18
Kennedy Center: May 16-17 National Symphony Orchestra
John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts: May 14,17,19 Washington National Opera—Tosca
Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center (free evening performances): TBA
Shakespeare Theatre: May 16-19 The Oresteia
Arena Stage: April 26- June 2 Jubilee
Studio Theatre: May 14-19 The Children
Ford’s Theatre: May 14-18 Into the Woods
Signature Theatre: April 30-June 23 Spunk
The Anthem: May 15 Evanescence, May 19 Pod Tours America
The Hamilton: May 16 Abbarama, May 17 Chris Smither, May 19 Red Molly
930 Club: May 14 The Architects, May 15 LANY, May 16 LANY, May 17 Jim James, May 19 Lizzo
U Street Music Hall: May 15 L’Imperatrice, May 16 DJ Mitchell
Washingtonian Magazine .
Top 20 Restaurants
- The Dabney
- The Inn at Little Washington
- Sushi Nakazawa
- Tail Up Goat
- Pineapples and Pearls
- Little Serow
- Inferno Pizzeria Napoletana
- Spoken English
- Del Mar
- Bad Saint
- Blue Duck Tavern
- Sushi Taro
- Car Rental—Enterprise, Budget
- Bike/scooter rentals and apps Bird, Lime, Lyft, Jump, Capital Bikeshare, Lime Bike
- The Circulator Bus – free for everyone, several routes
- Pedal Boating at the Tidal Basin – Take in the view of the monuments from the water.
Local Tour Companies:.
City Segway Tours–See the city from a motorized scooter. Not for the faint of heart or risk avers. (multiple vendors)
DC Insider Tours–For those who would like to see the city by foot, bike or car.
Hop-on, hop-off tours—This type of tour allows you to buy one ticket to get on and off the bus at various stops throughout the day for a one-time fee. Some of the most popular tours are with BigBus and Old Town Trolley.
Urban Adventures—Smaller tour company offering personalized tours of the monuments or more local oriented tours like the “Politics and Pubs” tour or a food/drink tour of H Street. Use discount code “UAWAS22” for 10% off.