Have 36 Hours In Washington, DC? Here’s What To Do

Picks for eating, drink, sightseeing and where to stay

Robin and I travel so much, I figured that I should start getting in the habit of posting some city guides that feature some of the places we’d recommend eating, drinking, seeing and staying. Nothing exhaustive, but let’s say you had 36 hours someplace and you were wondering what to do. Going to kick things off with a destination just down the road from our home in Baltimore–Washington, DC.

Over the years, we’ve made a handful of excursions to the nation’s capital, though not nearly as many as you’d think given its relative proximity to us. Nevertheless, we’ve accumulated a handful of favorite spots, which I’d say, in general, are a little off the beaten path. Or, at least, things that aren’t on your boilerplate DC travel guide–i.e. no monuments on our list.

This short Washington, DC travel guide is geared towards those who might find themselves passing through with little time to spend, but who want to have an experience that’s a little different (and maybe cooler–well, we’d like to think so…). Enjoy!

Stay: The Jefferson Hotel

things to do washington dc

Washington, DC is so close to us, when we go there, it feels like a staycation. And when we do two-day excursions like this, we like to live it up a little bit. Translation: we like to stay in a nice very nice hotel. It’s nice to be pampered and there’s an undeniable element of relaxation when you’re talking about a luxury experience. On our most recent trip, we stayed at the incredible five-star Jefferson Hotel. The Jefferson has an old-school elegance to it that I feel is apropos for a stay in DC. It’s fairly centrally located so you are within striking distance to anything you might want to do.

See: Union Station

things to do washington dc

If you’ve ever driven in DC or around the DC beltway, especially, you know that traffic can be a nightmare. We could certainly drive ourselves, but you know, if you’re planning on having a relaxing getaway, traffic is the last thing you want to deal with. As a result, we have gotten in the habit of taking the train–I’d much prefer to spend about $30 on Amtrak (yes, we could take the MARC, but why not live a little?) then potentially sit in a parking lot on 495. Not only is the train more relaxing, but you emerge at an absolutely gorgeous train station–Union Station. A must see.

Shop: Georgetown

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By far, our favorite place to stroll. There’s lots of shopping–everything from Billy Reid to Brooks Brothers to the venerable Georgetown Tobacco. There used to be a Barney’s but that’s gone now, unfortunately. Towards the easter end of M Street, you’ll find a block of some of the most wonderful antique shops you’ll ever see.

Dine: Iron Gate

things to do washington dc

Going to be honest here. We’ve eaten at a fair number of restaurants in DC. Robin might disagree with me here, but I’d say that the experiences have been generally meh. Which is why we typically find ourselves at the Iron Gate in Dupont Circle more often than not. Great cocktails. Amazing food. Our favorite time to go? Brunch.

Drink: The Rye Bar

things to do washington dc

The bar scene–like, the elegant bar scene–is something we need to explore more, but we’ve always had a wonderful time at the Rye Bar in Georgetown. They have delicious small plates, a wonderful classic cocktail list and offer a bunch of legit champagnes by the glass. Expect to spend a bit, but know that you will certainly be satisfied. And if it’s a nice night, you can take a romantic stroll along the C & O Canal.

Have any good Washington, DC suggestions? Leave ’em below in the comments.

Thanks for reading.

Stylishly Yours,

Brian Sacawa
He Spoke Style

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  • Matt bagnoli

    PX in old town alexandria. Reservations open two weeks out and you need to get on them as they definitely book up, but it’s an old school speakeasy with some of the best cocktails you’ll get in DC