Travel Guide: Washington, DC

Washington, DC is known most for the White House but there’s actually a lot of cool places to explore here– like famous cupcake places that have been on TV! There’s also great restaurants, shopping and museums. So, if you’re planning a trip to the East Coast, check out DC which is conveniently close to NY, Philadelphia, Delaware and Virginia. So, what do you need to know to get the best of DC?

Quick Travel Guide: Washington, District of Columbia

Airport Code: DCA (closest) or IAD    Get Around: Uber/Lyft, Metrorail

City Known for: The White House, American History and FREE museums


  1. Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History- Free!
    • (National Mall) 10th St. & Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20560
      • Explore huge dinosaur fossils, see and read about gorgeous diamonds and view special exhibits all for free! Visit the other museums that are conveniently located near this one– including an Aerospace museum, Art museum, Gallery of Art Sculptures, and more!
  2. National Gallery of Art- Free!
  3. Lincoln Memorial– Free!
    • 2 Lincoln Memorial Cir NW, Washington, DC 20037
      • As seen in The Night at the Museum and many more movies, visit this ginormous monument of Honest Abe to get a sweet ass picture for your Instagram. If you already have a hipster beard, don’t forget your top hat! Although busy during the day, the monument is equally cool at night (open till 11PM)
  4. Newseum– ~$25
  5. International Spy Museum– $30
    • 800 F St NW, Washington, DC 20004
      • Get interactive with a complete spy experience and take a look at all the evolution of spy gears over the years. The Spy Museum may be a bit more fun for kids, but I went when I was 22 and had a great time remembering my identity and testing my spy skills in their Spy Experience combo pack!
  6. United States Botanic Garden
    • 245 1st St SW Washington, DC 20024
      • If you’re looking for nature, the US Botanic Garden is for you! Free admission, this garden offers breathtaking views that will take your to your tranquil place. Seating is located throughout the garden and this garden has a small area where you can find popular monuments in DC made out of plant fiber!
  7. Eastern Market
    • 225 7th St SE Washington, DC 20003
      • Much more than a farmer’s market, this is a community! The Market opens early and stays open pretty late as well. It offers your traditional produce in addition to items from local artisans. Be on the watch for food stands which serve crepes, doughnuts, lunch and more!


  1. Rasika
    • 633 D St. NW, Washington, DC 20004
      • Perfect for date night or girls night out, Rasika is a beautiful, fancy Indian restaurant with delicious food! Great vegetarian options, a full bar and valet parking nearby. Located in Penn Quarter with another branch in the West End.
  2. Rose’s Luxury Restaurant
    • 717 8th St SE Washington DC 20003
      • Rose’s Luxury is a top-rated restaurant located in Capitol Hill. It can have quite the wait on peak days/hours, but the food is presented beautifully and delicious. It has a full bar and great vegetarian options! Street parking can be tough here during peak hours!
  3. &pizza
    • 1005 E St NW Washington, DC 20004
      • Craving some pizza? This place is conveniently located close to the International Spy Museum and serves pizza loaded with toppings! It also offers some interesting additions- including a strawberry vinaigrette if you’re feeling adventurous. Enjoy with a glass of wine or a beer!
  4. La Colombe Coffee
    • 924 Rear N St NW Washington, DC 20001
      • While visiting DC, try this coffee place that’s actually based in Philadelphia! This place offers beautiful latte art, nitro lattes on tap and great pastries! You’ll surely want to grab a few bags of coffee for your friends back home.
  5. ChurchKey
    • 1337 14th St NW 2nd Fl Washington, DC 20005
      • Conveniently located in Logan Circle, Churchkey offers 50 beers on tap and a lot of bottled beer! More of a lounge, this is a great place for a nightcap (or two). With a rotating selection, this place is truly key for beer-heads! Sample several local brews in one convenient spot.
  6. Cupcakes and more cupcakes
    • Several spots
      • Georgetown is known for their several cupcake places including several hot bakeries that were on TV shows like Sprinkles and Georgetown cupcakes! Follow along this trail for shopping, bars and of course-  cupcakes. When you find your favorite cupcake spot please share below!


  1. Georgetown
    • Several shops
      • All of your favorite national brands can be found here– Urban Outfitters, Lululemon, Sephora, etc.! While walking along these streets, you’ll also run into local bakeries, bars and more. You can also head towards the waterfront and get a beautiful picture of the Kennedy center!
  2. Violet Boutique (great for trendy women)
    • 3289 M St NW Washington, DC 20007
      • Mentioned in Best of D.C., this boutique shop is known for unique clothing items and accessories. All at an affordable price, you can find new outfits for work and play! Their employees are also really helpful!
  3. City Gifts & Souvenirs 
    • 1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Unit 175, Washington, DC 20004
      • Located close to the Smithsonian museums, although a smaller shop, this place offers a nice mix of Historical souvenirs, clothing and glassware. They have their items reasonably priced, so if you don’t find anything at the museums or the vendors that sit outside of the museums, this place might be a great spot for your to compete your souvenir shopping!
  4. Urban Dwell
    • 1837 Columbia Road NW Washington, DC 20009
      • If you’d like to look for some home decor or more unique items, this is the place to go! This huge shop is a favorite among the DC community and sells all sorts of items including kitchenware, shower ware, bathroom accessories, candles, local souvenirs.  Located in Adam’s Morgan, Urban Dwell is a short drive/subway from Dupont Circle.

Which places are close to each other? Pair it with walkable/short rides:

  • International Spy Museum + &pizza
  • Smithsonian Museums (all are close to each other) + National Gallery of Art + Rasika
  • Georgetown shops +Violet Boutique + local cupcake, food, bars + Urban Dwell
  • Lincoln Memorial + US Holocaust Memorial Museum or see a show at The Kennedy Center + Churchkey
  • US Botanic Garden + Eastern Market +  Rose’s Luxury Restaurant (romantic!)

Check out this historical city for a trip full of walking, learning and eating!

Share your favorite places in Washington, DC below!


Creator and writer for Short Girl Brown Girl. See my "About Me" section to learn more!

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