January 26, 2024

A weekend in WASHINGTON D.C.

body of water near trees during daytime
body of water near trees during daytime

I subscribe to the idea that weekend trips can be every bit as amazing as more extended travel, and I love planning multiple small trips throughout the year for us to look forward to. It makes me feel like I take more trips in total throughout the year and the mini-trips are so much easier to plan into busy work or family schedules. We just spent a long weekend in Washington D.C., and I’d love to share a few reasons why I adore this city and why it is absolutely worth a visit!


Everyone knows about the museums in D.C., especially the big three - Air & Space, American History, and Natural History. These three are well known for a reason - THEY ARE AMAZING! - and if you’ve never been to D.C. before, all three should definitely be on your must-do list. But if you stop there, you’d be missing out on other really great museums. On this trip we visited two lesser-known museums, the Postal Museum and The Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument, and found them to be every bit as interesting and engaging as their more famous counterparts. The crowds were much thinner too and it made viewing the exhibits much easier.

At the Postal Museum, we saw some of the rarest stamps in the world, watched a video detailing the path a piece of mail takes from sender to receiver, learned when zip codes were introduced (the 1960s!!), and saw life-size replicas of the many ways in which mail has been delivered over the years. It was fascinating and really gave us an appreciation for a daily function we often take for granted.

At The Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument, we learned the tactics used by the earliest suffragettes, read about the Senator who cast the deciding vote in ratifying the 19th amendment (he did it because his mother told him to be a good boy and vote in favor!), and dressed up as a Suffragette marching on the Capital might. It was a small museum that packed a mighty punch and shed some light on just how different women in early America lived.

These two are new favorites, but I don’t think you can go wrong with any of the Smithsonian Institute Museums. They all have something fascinating to discover within their walls and the fact that they are free to enter makes it easy to choose to visit them all (even if you are unsure if that particular museum will be your kind of place). You just might find something that surprises you, delights you, or makes you laugh and if not, at least it didn’t cost you anything!


D.C. is this amazing melting pot of any and every culture you could imagine… and that means you can find food from almost every corner of the world here. We are adventurous eaters so I love this fact, but even if you are a more traditional eater the choices are astounding.

On this trip, we tried Ethiopian food for the first time and now I wish we had an Ethiopian joint in tiny little Carlisle. It was SO GOOD! It was an eating experience unlike any I’ve had. Your table was given a communal plate with the dishes ordered spaced around it. There was no silverware, only a large fermented pancake-like bread. This bread was used as the vehicle to get the main dishes to your mouth, making it imperative that you only dine with those you know well and don’t mind finger-eating with! The whole experience was so interesting and the flavors were divine.

We also dined at a well-known and well-loved restaurant called Compass Rose. This establishment is known for its “Around the World” multi-course dinner. We sampled dishes from Mexico, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. Our final dish was khachapuri, a cheese bread from Georgia (the country), that I will dream of. It was so fun to try a multitude of dishes and sample such a wide variety of cuisines. I’d recommend this restaurant to anyone curious about foods of the world, as it is a great way to sample things you might not otherwise try.

For more traditional eaters, previous favorites have included the most delicious homemade pop tart-style pastries, delicious smokey BBQ, traditional pub fare, sizzling burgers, and famous chili. The bottom line is that the food scene in D.C. has options, and amazing ones at that, for every kind of eater. To me, that makes a place a real winner!


There are so many sites in D.C. - The White House, the Capital Building, the Botanical Gardens (the cactus exhibit is really neat!), the Arboretum (with the original pillars from the Capital Building) - and all of them are worth seeing, especially on a first-time visit. But there is one that qualifies as my favorite. This might be cheating because we did not do this on our most recent visit, but I wanted to share it with you nonetheless.

Just as the museums are a mainstay of any trip to D.C., so too are the monuments that dot the National Mall area. On any given day, the monuments will have tons of visitors walking the well-worn sidewalks between them. They are amazing tributes to people and times that have been impactful to our country and are deserving of a visit. Until recently, I had only visited the National Mall during the daylight hours, but a passing comment on a travel blog suggested visiting the monuments at night for a whole different experience. What a tip! The crowds were much reduced and to see the monuments all lit up made them even more awe-inspiring. It was a highlight of the trip and I’d recommend any traveler to D.C. tour the monuments at night.


In each of my trips to D.C. I have been surprised and impressed with the people of D.C. Overall, I have found them to be friendly and helpful… not always the top two things you think of when considering the citizens of large cities. As a person who talks to strangers a lot, I love it when strangers will talk back to me! In D.C. asking for directions or recommendations is not met with icy stares or frustration, but real recommendations and helpful information. I truly appreciate this and it makes a place much nicer to visit when its citizens are ready and willing to be helpful!

Is D.C. a place you have visited or would like to visit? Or is there another destination you are dreaming of traveling to? Whether it is a weekend trip or a multi-week adventure, feel free to reach out for help planning, booking hotels, or finding off-the-beaten-path activities. I’d love to dream with you to plan a trip you’ll love!

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Delightful Washington D.C.

Join me as I share reasons I love this great city and why you should visit!