10 Reasons to Visit Washington, D.C. This Summer
Are you considering a getaway to Washington, D.C.? Here are 10 reasons to visit D.C. highlighting the best ways to boost your enjoyment and ensure a stellar trip. Whether you’re keen on arts and culture, nightlife, cuisine, sports or shopping, D.C. is a savvy traveler’s paradise.
1. Make Fairmont Washington, D.C., Georgetown Your Home in the City
Choose Fairmont Washington, D.C., Georgetown as the base for your exciting D.C. discoveries. First order of business: Meet Georgie the adorable yellow Labrador and the hotel’s Canine Ambassador. The four-legged focus doesn’t stop with her, Georgie recommends Fairmont’s Pet Program that assures pets arriving with owners get healthy handmade treats, bottled water, and a custom “Do Not Disturb” sign.
Make plans to visit Fairmont’s Juniper Restaurant, where you can savor authentic American fare like luscious Maryland crab cakes and corn bread made with rooftop honey jalapeno butter. Before dinner, bask in the hotel’s sunlit courtyard or, when evening falls, gather around one of the fire pits with a craft cocktail. When it’s time to turn in, luxuriate in amenity-filled guestrooms.
You can take your trip to the next level with the perks of Fairmont Gold. With Fairmont Gold, you have access to a dedicated Fairmont Gold Manager, a chic private lounge with an honor bar and full American breakfast, cocktail canapes, private check in and check out, and stylish accommodations on the Fairmont Gold floor.
2. Explore Georgetown
You’d be hard pressed to find a more charming historic neighborhood on the East Coast than Georgetown. Luckily, when you stay at the Fairmont, you’re on the cusp of this colorful, buzzing neighborhood. Georgetown is home to leafy streets lined with elegant 18th and 19th century townhomes, specialty boutiques, cozy cafés, exciting restaurants and nightclubs, which might be why it has been home to such luminaries as John F. and Jackie Kennedy, Elizabeth Taylor, Francis Scott Key and Julia Child.
Stroll the gorgeous campus of Georgetown University, the lush grounds of Dumbarton Oaks Park or the quiet footpath along the historic Chesapeake & Ohio Canal. Stop for lunch at one of Georgetown’s classic cafés, bistros or international eateries, and for dinner, treat yourself to a show at the legendary Blues Alley jazz supper club.
3. Discover D.C.’s Marvelous Museums
Heaven for museum lovers, D.C. offers nearly 100 museums, 17 of which are part of the impressive Smithsonian Institution Museums. From the Air and Space Museum and the Natural History Museum to lesser-known but equally fascinating museums like the Folger Shakespeare Library and Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens, there’s a museum for every interest. Most of D.C.’s museums are free and easily accessed via the Metro.
4. Head for District Wharf
On D.C.’s Southwest waterfront, District Wharf presents a lively destination packed with restaurants, shops, nightclubs and performance venues, including one on a floating barge. Take in a show, or simply enjoy the buskers and street performers. Shops sell everything from luxurious home goods and designer jewelry to athletic gear and locally crafted rum. You’ll find a glorious global gamut of cuisines, from Southeast Asian and Spanish to Irish and Caribbean.
5. Splurge On a Shopping Spree
From the high-end designer boutiques of CityCenterDC to the down-to-earth, locally owned shops like Kramerbooks & Afterwords Café, this city is shopping central. You can scout Georgetown for name-brand shops like Nike and Anthropologie, delve into downtown department stores like Nordstrom Rack and Macy’s or prowl the U Street area for hip fashions, gifts and antiques. If you venture just outside of D.C. proper, you can stroll the smart shopping centers of Northern Virginia, including Fashion Centre at Pentagon City, Tysons Corner Center and Tysons Galleria.
6. Take in a Game
Whether it’s baseball, basketball, football, tennis or soccer, D.C. has a team for almost every top sport and leagues ranging from collegiate to professional. Thousands of enthusiastic fans regularly fill the city’s state-of-the-art stadiums, including RFK Stadium, Nationals Park, Capital One Arena, and Kastles Stadium at the Smith Center.
7. Enjoy the Nightlife
Visitors to Washington D.C. delight in discovering the city’s vibrant nightlife. Make your way to the multicultural enclaves of Adams Morgan and U Street/Shaw to listen to live music ranging from jazz-funk to country.
Or put on your dancing shoes and hit the dance floor in one of the city’s multi-level nightclubs where top DJs spin. If you’d rather sit back and sip specialty cocktails in themed lounges, you have an assortment of creative options too. Whatever type of venue you choose, you’ll find D.C.’s nightlife is full of enticing surprises.
8. Go Gallery Hopping
The capital city offers a rich trove of art in a diverse range of styles and settings. If you favor traditional galleries, you can easily spend a week visiting the National Gallery of Art and the National Museum of Women in the Arts. If your prefer smaller, more eclectic venues where you might discover the next Georgia O’Keeffe, Jean-Michel Basquiat or Jackson Pollack, you can find exciting pieces by emerging artists at galleries including U Street’s Hamiltonian Gallery and The Fridge in Capitol Hill.
9. Relax and Enjoy the Sights on a Cruise
Sail the capital waters on a boat cruise and enjoy views of the Lincoln Memorial and historic attractions including Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens. You can choose from moonlight and brunch excursions to dinner cruises offering dancing, entertainment and games.
10. Thrill to a World-Class Show or Performance
Flush with superb venues, D.C.’s cultural scene attracts world-class talent. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts draws devotees for critically acclaimed ballet, musical theater, symphony, popular music and much more. On a more intimate scale, the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company presents award-winning, boundary-pushing productions.
Eva Leonard is a New York City-based journalist and editor who writes about travel, architecture and design for digital and print media.