48 Hours in Washington D.C.

Reading Time: 5 minutes

With Generator set to open an exciting new property in Washington D.C., there’s never been a better time to explore America’s capital city. Of course, there’s way more to DC than the White House and you’ll definitely need more than 24 hours to do the place justice but, just in case you’re limited to a flying visit, we’ve put together a fun schedule that packs in some of DCs top attractions and a taste of the wider city.
 

Day 1

 

Morning


Breakfast at Lincoln’s Waffle Shop

Where better to start than DC’s best-known breakfast spot. Lincoln’s Waffle Shop is something of a DC institution. Expect hearty all-American breakfast fare, decent coffee and a warm atmosphere.
 
504 10th St NW, Washington, DC 20004
 
 

National Mall

It’s a 10-minute walk from Lincoln’s Waffle Shop to the National Mall, where you’ll find a host of Washington’s most famous monuments. The Mall is a pleasant landscaped park that stretches between the Lincoln Memorial to the west and the grounds of the U.S. Capitol building to the east. There’s plenty to see – in addition to the monuments, your tour of the Mall could take in one of the excellent museums that flank it. There are plenty to choose from, including the National Museum of American History, The Hirschhorn Museum and the National Museum of Natural History.
 
900 Ohio Drive SW, Washington, DC; 202-426-6841
 
 

Afternoon

 

Ben’s Chili Bowl

From the National Mall walk to L’Enfant Plaza Metro Station and take the Green Line to the U Street/African-American Civil War Memorial/Cardozo stop, which should take about 9 minutes. Ben’s Chili Bowl is just across the road. Ostensibly a humble looking diner, Ben’s is probably DCs most celebrated eatery, having played host to a glittering roll call of celebrities over the decades, including the odd President. Ben’s is famous for its Chili Half-Smoke, essentially a smoky hot dog with a generous slathering of Ben’s eponymous chili.
 
1213 U St NW, Washington, DC 20009
 
 

Meridian Hill Park

From Ben’s, walk west down U Street towards 13th Street NW, then take a right turn up 15th Street NW and walk to Meridian Hill Park. This should take about 10 minutes. This lovely 12-acre urban park is better known locally as Malcolm X Park, a moniker that dates back to its history as a popular political rallying spot in the 60s. It’s a lovely spot to while away a couple of hours. If you’re passing through on a Sunday afternoon, you’re likely to encounter the Sunday drum circle, which has been a weekly fixture in the park since the 60s.
 
16th St NW &, W St NW, Washington, DC 20009
 
 
 

Stop for coffee at Busboys & Poets

It’s a short 5-minute stroll from Meridian Hill Park to Busboys and Poets, a cool restaurant and bookshop with an authentic bohemian vibe. Consciously paying tribute to U Street’s history as DC’s black hub (the area was known as ‘Black Broadway’), the name refers to the poet Langston Hughes, who worked as a busboy at the Wardman Park Hotel in the 30s.
 
2021 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009
 
 

Evening

 

Marvin

It’s been a long day but relax, your dinner destination is pretty much next door! Marvin serves up an intriguing Belgian accented take on soul food (menu staples include moules mariniere and baby back ribs) in its downstairs dining room, while a spacious upstairs bar and rooftop terrace offers an appealing spot to hang out and explore the cocktail menu. Who’s Marvin? None other than DC soul legend Marvin Gaye of course!  
 
2007 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009
 
 

9:30 Club

Your final port of call is a 10-minute walk away (walk east along U Street then a couple of hundred yards up 9th Street NW). The 9:30 Club is probably DCs most important live music venue and a fine place to end the night. Check out the club’s listings to see if any worthwhile gigs coincide with your visit.
 
815 V St NW, Washington, DC 20001
 
 
 

Day 2


Morning

 

Breakfast at Bullfrog Bagels

Widely hailed as the purveyor of DC’s best bagels, Bullfrog’s reputation has blown up in the space of a few years, enabling the establishment of two further branches. Head to the Eastern Market branch on 7th Street SE and judge for yourself.
 
317 7th St SE, Washington, DC 20003
 

 

United States Capitol

It’s a straightforward 15-20-minute walk from Bullfrog Bagels to the US Capitol building. Head up Pennsylvania Avenue SE then Independence Avenue before taking a right up First Street SE followed by a left onto East Capitol Street NE. Enter US Capitol via the underground visitor centre below the East Front Plaza. The Capitol Building is home to Congress and thus the home of American law-making. It’s a vast, labyrinthine building connected by a multitude of halls and tunnels. Happily, you can join an official tour for free. If you want to avoid a long wait for tickets (our whistle-stop itinerary demands that you do!) it’s wise to book ahead online.
 
First St SE, Washington, DC 20004
 
 

Afternoon

 

CHIKO

Specialising in ambitiously cheffy dishes dispensed via a casual counter service, CHIKO’s experimental fusion of Chinese and Korean cuisine has quietly established this expanding brand (it recently opened a branch in San Diego) as one of DC’s biggest gastronomic success stories. Stop by for a fast but flavour-packed lunch.
 
423 8th St SE, Washington, DC 20004
 

 

Explore Navy yard

From CHIKO walk south to the Navy Yard neighbourhood. This should take no more than 15 minutes - take 8th Street SE and you’ll get there in no time. The Navy Yard neighbourhood wasn’t much of a draw until a relatively recent surge of development (sparked by the appearance of the Nationals Park baseball stadium in 2008) began to create one of the city’s most exciting neighbourhoods. While recent lists declaring it to be one of the hippest neighbourhoods on the planet should be taken with a generous pinch of salt – it’s a bit too contrived to be truly cool – there’s plenty to recommend this up-and-coming stretch of waterfront, so have a wander and enjoy the riverside views. If you think you’ve got time you could even take to the water in a kayak or canoe at the Ballpark Boatyard. But, let’s be straight, you haven’t.
 


Evening

 

Rose’s Luxury

A short stroll from Navy Yard, Rose’s Luxury has been one of DC’s hottest restaurants for a few years now and it continues to live up to the hype. The welcome is warm, the space is fun and inviting and the food is adventurous in all the right ways, epitomised by the brand defining Lychee and Pork Salad. The no reservations policy means waiting for a table can be a bore but head upstairs to the bar and you’ll find that the wait becomes far more tolerable with a cocktail at hand.
 
717 8th St SE, Washington, DC 20003
 
 

Bluejacket

If you can muster the energy for a nightcap or two head back into Navy Yard and seek out this vast microbrewery/restaurant/bar. Set in a former boilermaker factory, this industrial scale three-floor beer emporium is packed to the rafters with Nationals fans on game day and pretty buzzy throughout the rest of the week.
 
300 Tingey St SE, Washington, DC 20003