OUR FAVORITE SPOTS
The District is an incredible city to explore, and each neighborhood has its own personality. Here are a few of our favorite places to eat, places to see, and things to do:
There are plenty of great restaurants and spots to grab a quick bite to eat within walking distance of the hotels. But here are our top recommendations, especially if you take a walk or ride to the Georgetown area before the wedding or on Sunday:
Burgers, Sandwiches | 1226 36th St. NW
The Georgetown classic! No trip to campus is complete without a stop at The Tombs. This is the inspiration for the movie St. Elmo’s Fire, and it just oozes Hoya heritage.
Seafood, Burgers | 3218 M St. NW
Perfect for a lunch break as you’re shopping or walking on M Street, J. Paul’s is a classic Potomac-style restaurant featuring casual, delicious seafood and sandwiches.
Deli | 1236 36th St. NW
Around the corner from the Georgetown front gates, this is the perfect deli for a “to-go” meal if you’re exploring on Friday or Saturday, or on the way out of town Sunday. Marissa’s favorite sandwich is the California Chicken Sandwich (pro tip: it’s on a croissant!!); Dave’s is the Chicken Madness.
Mexican | 1564 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Our favorite place for pitchers of margaritas and chicken quesadillas -- especially during our annual trip back for Fourth of July weekend!
Artisan Pizza | 3282 M St. NW (Georgetown) & 2003 P St. NW (Dupont Circle)
Really delicious pizza, a great wine list, and an even better craft beer list. With a location just around the circle from The Dupont Circle Hotel and just down the street from Georgetown campus, it couldn’t get more convenient.
Blue Duck Tavern
Contemporary American | 1201 24th St NW
If you want to treat yourself during your stay, look no further than Blue Duck Tavern. Michelin released its D.C. guide right after we got engaged, and this delicious creative American eatery was on the very short list to receive a coveted Michelin star. While in D.C. looking for our reception venue, we stopped in for one of the best brunches we’ve ever had, and took home their famous apple pie! Advanced reservations are probably a good idea here.
Arguably the main attraction in DC, The Mall is a massive public park that houses everything from the Lincoln Memorial to the Washington Monument, the WWII Memorial to the Tidal Basin (home of the famous cherry blossom trees -- though we will be out of season for those, unfortunately!). The thing to keep in mind is that it's a really large and spread out area, so definitely wear comfortable shoes. Another amazing way to see the sights is via a segway tour! Brother of the Bride and Groomsman Philip recently took one at sunset, and he reports back that it's the best way to tour these famous sights.
The neighborhood of Dupont Circle is truly unique in that you can visit dozens of countries just by taking a stroll down the street! The stretch of Massachusetts Avenue near Dupont Circle (in the direction of the Naval Observatory, the home of the Vice President) is aptly nicknamed "Embassy Row," as it is home to dozens of foreign embassies and consulates. Since the property of each embassy is technically not the United States, poke your toe onto each of the lawns and you'll have taken a trip around the world in just a 15 minute walk through one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in DC.
The Library of Congress
While the museums are all fantastic, a hidden gem of the downtown touristy area is the Library of Congress. It is the nation's oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world. Pretty incredible sight to see. The library offers free brochures for self-guided tours of this stunningly beautiful building, but if you can only pop in and out, the Main Reading Room is truly breathtaking.
If you've seen National Treasure with Nic Cage, you know what we're talking about. This is where you can see the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights. Those are the main attractions, so there's usually a line. But most people just walk past the Articles of Confederation, Emancipation Proclamation, and countless other important documents in our country's history. Don't be one of those people.
Arlington National Cemetery
This is technically not in Washington, but it's right across the Potomac River in Virginia. The rolling hills of white gravestones and crosses are breathtaking, as you're reminded of how many Americans made the ultimate sacrifice. There's also the eternal flame on John F. Kennedy's resting place and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. You'll need to drive or take a cab/Uber, but it's worth the trip. There are also a number of tour buses that take you there, but as with all organized tours, you'll be at the mercy of someone else's pace.
Other great sights to hit during your stay...
African American Museum - requires advance reservations (1.7 miles from Dupont Circle)
American Art Museum (1.7 miles from Dupont Circle)
International Spy Museum (1.7 miles from Dupont Circle)
Ford’s Theatre - where Lincoln was shot (1.7 miles from Dupont Circle)
American History Museum - Star-Spangled Banner flag, Washington’s uniform, Dorothy’s ruby slippers (1.9 miles from Dupont Circle)
National Cathedral (2.4 miles from Dupont Circle)
Air & Space Museum - Wright Brothers plane, Spirit of St. Louis (2.7 miles from Dupont Circle)
US Capitol Building (2.8 miles from Dupont Circle)
The National Zoo
One Metro stop away from Dupont Circle on the Shady Grove-bound Red Line, the DC zoo is one of Marissa's favorite places in the city. It's objectively a fantastic zoo, really well organized and fun. Sure, there's the pandas on loan from China, which is a major attraction for visitors, but there is so much more! And, like all Smithsonian sites, it is free!
While Marissa's on the elliptical, be like Dave and use (an attempt at) fitness as an excuse to explore the surrounding area. From Dupont Circle to the National Mall and back is a very manageable route, as is to Georgetown and back.
Shop on M Street
Another favorite activity of Marissa's... shopping! While Dupont Circle has a number of really amazing independent boutiques, if you are looking for a bit more heavy lifting take a walk down M Street, the main drag in Georgetown. With top designers within just a few blocks of each other, you could really do some damage here.
Canoe or Kayak on the Potomac
There are at least a couple of places to do this -- either right under the Key Bridge or near Nationals Park -- and it's really fun. If we're lucky enough to get good, fall weather in DC, the opportunity to see all the foliage, plus the glimpses you'll get at a lot of the monuments, is worth it.
See a Performance at the Kennedy Center
The Kennedy Center is a beautiful place, first of all, but it also attracts Broadway-level shows and musical performances. There are multiple theaters inside and the schedule is always evolving (see it here). The Watergate Hotel is also right down the block if you want to do your own Nixon tour. No guarantee you'll have the time over the course of your stay in DC for our wedding, but if you do, consider a trip to the Kennedy Center. It looks like "Book of Mormon" is on tap for our weekend...
Other things to do...
Drive along the George Washington Parkway and Rock Creek Parkway See how close you can get to the White House
Visit Mt. Vernon (if you’re up for a little drive)
DC is an incredibly accessible city, and our location in Dupont Circle puts us right in the center of it all! The Dupont Circle Metro stop (Red Line) is just steps away, with service every 6 minutes during the day and every 12 minutes in the evening. The Red Line connects Dupont Circle with Union Station, if you are taking Amtrak in and out of DC. Dupont Circle is just five stops away on the Shady Grove-bound Red Line.
Like the NYC Subway, PATH and many other mass transit rail systems, you have to buy and fund a card to ride the Washington Metro. It requires you to “swipe” the card as you enter the system, but the trick is you’ll also have to “swipe” it on your way out, which is what determines your fare -- the system charges based on where you go, rather than trips or a standard fare.
Or, make it even easier on yourself and take an Uber! If you’ve never used Uber before, download the app and use invite code “GJ7Q7” for your first ride free! There is also a taxi stand directly across the street from the Dupont Circle Hotel, or no matter where you’re staying, the front desk will be able to hail you a cab.