The Washington, D.C. area is filled with history, architecture and fun things to do. If you ever feel yourself getting bored, remember that in a city like DC, there’s always something new or old for you to discover. When life doesn’t give you enough time to take a full vacation, a staycation is a perfect alternative. They are perfect if you’re on a budget and can make coming up with things to do with your friends and family more enjoyable. We know how nice it is to get away for a little while, so we’ve come up with some tips and suggestions for a fun-filled Washington DC staycation.
Things to Do In Washington, DC
Old Town Alexandria
This is a wonderful neighborhood filled with history and fabulous architecture. Spend an afternoon strolling down King Street admiring the adorable row houses and thinking about all of the things that these streets have seen. If you need a break from walking, this area offers an enormous selection of shops, bars and restaurants. No matter where you choose to dine, you can’t go wrong in this quaint part of town.
If you’re living in D.C., we can only imagine how it must feel when you see the Smithsonian on a list of things-to-do. It may sound like a tourist trap, but with Rock Creek National Park, the National Zoo, and 19 museums and galleries, we’re certain that there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
The National Building Museum
If you’re looking for a fun, anything goes kind of activity for you and your little ones, The National Building Museum is a great place to play! Their Building Zone is the perfect place to let your kids explore their creative sides. They can imagine being a construction worker and dress up in a hard hat, tool belt, and goggles while building towers and knocking down brick walls. Then let them drive around on bulldozers and other construction play trucks in the Construction Zone. (FYI this gallery is designed for children ages 2 to 6.)
Six Flags America
Treat yourself and your family to a day of good ol’ fashioned family fun. Head over to Six Flags America for a thrilling day riding roller coasters at one of America’s first theme parks. If you’re feeling brave, test your nerve with The Apocalypse- this stand up roller coaster will take you flying with shooting flames and amazing special effects. One of the best things about this park is that since it’s a little on the smaller side, there are no ridiculously long lines. So pack a picnic and enjoy a fun-filled amusement park day with your loved ones.
United States Botanic Garden
The U.S. Botanic Garden is one museum that really stands out. Their artifacts are truly the living treasures of the world. More than 200 years ago George Washington had a vision that building a botanic garden would demonstrate and promote the importance of plants to the young nation. We thank him for this each year as the spring blooms appear. From orchids to roses, the rain forest to the Mid-Atlantic, rare and endangered plants to ones you would find in your home garden, you will discover a world of plants you’ve never seen before. Since there are indoor and outdoor gardens, this is even a great place to go on a rainy day.
Where to Eat in Washington, DC
Hank’s Oyster Bar
There’s sometime so special about a night out with your kids, and Hank’s Oyster Bar has that fantastic family atmosphere that will make your night even more enjoyable. They are famous for serving some of the freshest oysters on D.C. and have won numerous RAMMY awards for everything from “Best Neighborhood Restaurant” to “Best Casual Restaurant.” The Truffle Roll, The Popcorn Shrimp and Calamari, and the Crab and Grits with Poached Eggs are just a few of the fan favorites.
Harold Black Le Diplomate
Looking for a swanky place to get some post-dinner cocktails? Harold Black is known as a high-end Capitol Hill “speakeasy” with amazing, old‑school cocktails and delicious nibbles. Accessed by a secret sliding wall, this snug, dimly lit space has intimate digs with a very cool circa‑1920s vibe. Let the bartender know what kind of cocktail you usually like, and they will surprise you with their unmatched creativity of your libations.
Enjoy a glass of wine on their terrace with tranquil views of Rock Creek National Park or embark on a culinary adventure in their opulent dining room. Executive Chef Dan Elinan and his culinary team invite you to enjoy a unique dining experience with dishes prepared from local ingredients procured from regional farms. If you’re staying at the Omni Shoreham Hotel, their breakfast buffet will be a culinary experience that tempts your palate and challenges your traditional view of breakfast fare.
Where to Shop in DC
This historic train station is a great place to kill some time while waiting on your afternoon commute. There are cute boutiques, restaurants and a food court whose biggest highlight is an infamous Shake Shack. For those of you who have never tried this delicious burger joint who specialized in taking a gourmet spin on fast-food classics, you need to as soon as possible! Spend the rest of your afternoon people watching and admiring the beautiful architecture.
Penn Quarter is the revitalized, historic neighborhood in the East End of Downtown that has become the an arts and entertainment hot spot. There are tons of restaurants, art galleries, nightclubs, theaters and trendy stores for you and your friends to explore. The Verizon Center hosts around 220 events each year, ranging from NHL and NBA games, family entertainment, and concerts, so there’s bound to be an event you’d be interested in.
This small historic neighborhood is close to the Penn Quarter, and is separated by The Friendship Arch. There are approximately 20 Asian restaurants and a handful of small businesses that are just waiting to be explored. Since the 2004 renovation, this area has been transformed into a bustling neighborhood for shopping, entertainment, dining and nightlife.
Washington DC’s most historic district, Georgetown, is filled with charm. Walk down the cobblestone streets admiring the 18th and 19th century architecture. It’s easy to lose yourself in all the history here. You can take a sightseeing tour of all the historic homes and gardens, explore the Georgetown waterfront, or even go kayaking on the Potomac River. Whatever you choose to do, just know there’s lots of great restaurants to wine and dine and recap your day with friends.
Located in the heart of the historic Capitol Hill neighborhood, Eastern Market is a local hot spot for fresh food and fun community events. Take a stroll down Farmers’ Line, the open-air food market where you can buy some of the freshest farm-produced food anywhere in DC. On the weekend, hundreds of local artists and craftworkers ranging from sculptors and painters to woodworkers and jewelers set up tents around the plaza and show off their creations. This is a great place to find unique treasures and meet new people in the community.
Where to Stay in Washington, DC
Omni Shoreham Hotel
If you’re looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of downtown, the Omni Shoreham Hotel is the perfect destination. Situated on 11 lush acres in one of the District’s premier residential neighborhoods, this Washington landmark perfectly fuses modern comforts with unique and distinguished service. It’s no wonder that The Beatles stayed at the Shoreham when they played on American soil for the first time on February 11, 1964. Phil Hollywood, the general manager of the Shoreham at that time remembers the guards lining their room, which is now the Presidential Suite, and having to sneak them out of the hotel using the freight elevator to avoid them getting mobbed by screaming fans. Decades have passed and this historical oasis has accommodated a large number of presidents and celebrities who have enjoyed the spacious grounds and fantastic service. Come and spend a relaxing afternoon admiring the gardens, or lounging by the pool, then head to the Splash! Pool Bar for some small plates and refreshing cocktails.