Welcome to Washington, DC, the nation’s capital and the center of an exciting region that encompasses Baltimore, Northern Virginia, and a gorgeous waterfront. No matter where you live in the area, you’ll have access to some of the best food, entertainment, and outdoor activities around. Here are a few local favorites to make your own.
Washington is full of monuments and government buildings worth a visit, but consider making the Capitol building your first stop. Look around the visitor center to take in rotating exhibits about U.S. history and government, then take a tour to get an inside look at the building itself. While not all areas of the Capitol are accessible to visitors, you will at least be able to see the crypt, rotunda, and National Statuary hall. Advance reservations are recommended.
Great Falls National Park
Located in Virginia, Great Falls National Park is a beautiful, 800-acre park on the banks of the Potomac River. You can hike the clifftops, explore the falls, bike trails, bird watch, boat, climb, and fish, among other outdoor activities. The park hosts special events for children, and visitors are always welcome to pack a picnic and find the perfect spot to relax. At just 15 minutes away from DC, Great Falls makes an excellent day trip.
Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
Part of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is located in Chantilly, VA. Visitors can take in exhibitions on human space flight, World War II aviation, and vertical flight, among other topics, or watch live science demonstrations. The Center offers several hands-on activities that let kids and curious adults learn how a space suit works or how ancient astronomers studied the stars. State-of-the-art simulators and a world-class IMAX theater provide an immersive experience to top it all off.
For a sweet treat, there is nothing like a Georgetown Cupcake. The famous bakery serves up creative recipes and classics alike. Seasonal favorites, like lemon blueberry, lavender earl grey, and cherry blossom are available for a limited time, while traditional favorites like red velvet and vanilla are always on the counter. The shop offers vegan and gluten-free variations as well.
Capital One Arena
Capital One Arena is home to DC’s arena football, NBA, NHL, and WNBA teams in addition to Georgetown’s men’s basketball squad. It also happens to be the site of year-round concerts and other events, as well. With an average of 220 spectacles per year, you can always find the perfect show or event, and the surrounding neighborhood provides plenty of restaurants and shopping destinations to enjoy before or after your event.
Getting hungry? Daikaya is DC’s go-to spot for delicious Japanese food. Walk in to the ramen shop on the first floor for classic ramen that you can customize with extra toppings, or visit the top floor’s izakaya-style restaurant for inventive small plates. Ramen is served until midnight on the weekends, making Daikaya great for late-night cravings.
Fans of Korean barbecue will find their new happy place at Honey Pig, which operates several locations throughout the DC area and offers an all-you-can-eat special in Rockville and Germantown. Choose from a wide selection of appetizers, rice, noodles, soups, and of course, meats that you can cook yourself at your tableside grill.
Room Escape Fairfax
Room Escape Fairfax is a thrilling escape room adventure. You and your team will have just one hour to save the White House, escape from Venus, or survive a horror movie — and those are just a handful of the experiences offered. Each room contains high-quality props to help immerse you in the story and tricky puzzles that will push the limits of your problem-solving skills. Not to be missed!
Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum
A medical museum might not sound extraordinary, but the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum is worth a visit. The space houses a collection of botanicals, hand blown glass, medical equipment, journals, formula books, and more, offering a peek into a fascinating era of medicine.
If you’ve ever wanted to fly, IFly is the place for you. This indoor skydiving venue helps dreams come true in its state of the art flight tunnels. You’ll go through a quick orientation to get basic safety information, then suit up and take flight. With an experienced staff, groups of all ages can keep coming back to learn more techniques and tricks.
DC’s District Wharf area has been recently renovated to create an all-season destination for residents and visitors alike. You can find one of a kind views, fantastic food, and entertainment any time of day, along with parks and piers for a casual stroll or daily jog. The area is also home to live music, fitness classes, and activities for family-friendly fun, as well. Over the summer, consider renting a kayak or stand up paddleboard to take on the water. In the winter, enjoy the outdoor ice rink for a fun family outing or date night.