Every day, buses of middle-school children descend on Washington, D.C., with their social-studies classes, but that’s not the sort of D.C. trip we’re talking about here. Spas and beaches are always good choices for girlfriend getaways, but why not our nation’s capital? The mix of civics and culture, posh neighborhoods and big-city treats puts it at the top of our list.
If you and your favorite gals are up for a weekend getaway to Washington, D.C., here’s your three-day itinerary to make the most of your time there.
Girlfriends’ Getaway to Washington, D.C.
For a relaxing take on this go-go-go metropolis, we chose the quieter side of our capital city with a stay at the Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City, just across the Potomac River, with views of Arlington Cemetery, the Washington Monument and, of course, the Pentagon itself. (Guest bedrooms start at around $200 a night, but by all means splurge on the Club Level if possible, with its round-the-clock meals, snacks, beverages and upscale sitting areas.)
After arriving at Reagan International Airport, a $12 Uber ride to the hotel gets us started on the day. Stashing our bags, we headed to Arlington National Cemetery to take in just a sampling of the 624 acres at this national cemetery. Some of the 14,000 gravesites even date back to the Civil War, and while there’s no way to cover them all, it’s a pleasant place to walk and soak up history. A shuttle offers a convenient way to get around. Don’t miss: Changing of the Guard (every hour on the hour) at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and the JFK gravesite.
Head back to the Ritz-Carlton for afternoon tea at their posh Fyve restaurant (ask for the special seating area by the fireplace), where an attentive hostess will set you up with the perfect tea and a dazzling selection of pastries and sandwiches.
Fortified with a snack, it’s time to head over to Georgetown and explore this picturesque area of D.C., home to Georgetown University as well as tree-lined neighborhoods and shopping galore. M Street is full of familiar business names, but it’s more fun to walk the residential streets to see the manner in which (rich) Washingtonians live. When you’re ready for a light dinner and drinks, stop in at Eno Wine Bar, a charming brick-walled establishment next to a small local bookstore. Wines can be bought by the glass or as a tasting flight; small bites include muffaletta flatbread, avocado and burrata bruschetta and artisanal chocolate. A little wine, carbs and chocolate … now that’s a fine trio.
Monuments and museums. One day can’t cover it all, but with some comfortable walking shoes, The National Mall (trivia: it’s America’s most visited national park) is made up of two miles of history and culture that’s easy to sample. The Lincoln Memorial (a good place to start) anchors one end, with the Capitol at the other. In between are other memorials as well as the overwhelming selection of museums (most in D.C. are free): the newest, the African American History Museum, as well as old favorites such as the National Museum of American History, National Museum of the American Indian and the National Gallery of Art. The latter has two scenic lunch choices: the Garden Café inside and the Pavilion Café in the sculpture garden.
For dinner, Zaytinya in the Chinatown district is getting good buzz for its Mediterranean cuisine. If the weather permits, grab outside seating to take in the city scene.
Take the train to the culturally diverse Adams-Morgan neighborhood, known for its nightlife but a pleasant place to stroll by day, also. Brunch at Tryst will please any hipster. Their coffee menu is extensive, but a bloody Mary or mimosa might catch your eye. When it’s time to walk, there’s no prettier place than the well-heeled residential streets of Adams-Morgan that merge into Kalorama neighborhood (follow Wyoming and Kalomara Roads on your Maps app to show you all the many embassies along the way.) And you did NOT hear it from us, but if you do a little searching on the Web, you might find out where former president Barack Obama lives (although of course police have the area under tight security) as well as Ivanka Trump and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos as two other prominent Kalorama residents.
If you’ve stashed your suitcase for a late check-out at the Ritz-Carlton, allow some extra time to shop the adjacent Pentagon City shopping area through the secret door in the hotel. Sure, some of these stores may be available back home, but when are they right next to your hotel? Nordstrom, Kate Spade and Cole Haan are a few temptations.
If there’s still time before your flight, check out one of these rooftop bars for a last view of this magical place for one last picture.
Starting point: Head to the convention and visitors’ bureau page to start planning your trip … it’s a wealth of information.
Want more great girlfriend getaways? Check out our travel section!