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Strolling through My Neighborhood- Washington D.C.

Updated: Oct 19, 2022

With Spring comes rebirth and it feels like D.C. is back in the swing of things. After two years of what could be described as a very long hibernation, the city is filled with life again. The famous Cherry Blossoms are in full bloom and the four week festival is underway. This year marks the 110th anniversary of the Mayor of Tokyo, gifting the trees to the Nation's Capitol, Washington, DC. The Tidal Basin is a great place to stroll around and take in the sites- like the Thomas Jefferson and Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, but more importantly to capture that Instagramable shot with these beautiful pink blossoms.

If you are feeling parched after a long day of site seeing and need something to quench your thirst, pop into most any hotel bar or restaurant to find a cheery blossom themed beverage, usually made with both sake and vodka and of course some kind of cherry juice. The Park Hyatt also serves a non-alcoholic Cherry Blossom Iced Tea, which is very refreshing. However, if you are wanting a different kind of pick me up, Sprinkles in Georgetown makes a signature cupcake for the season!

What to See..

There are many reasons why people come to visit D.C., but this time of year definitely kicks off the tourist season. Many Spring Breakers are able to time their visit perfectly with the festival, as well as explore the many famous museums along the National Mall. Currently out of the 19 National Smithsonian Museums only a few are open daily; including the Museum of Natural History and the Smithsonian Institution Building- known as the Castle.The Air and Space Museum is undergoing major renovations until the Fall of 2022, but you can still visit The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center to check out the Space Shuttle Discovery- just a 30 minute drive from the city. The American History and the African American History and Culture Museums are open five days a week- scheduled around the weekend, where as the Holocaust Memorial Museum is only closed on Wednesday.

Animal lovers be sure to explore the Smithsonian's National Zoo celebrating 50 years of their Giant Panada Program!

Please note many of the museums are requiring a timed entry ticket to control the number of visitors, however there is no charge- another great reason to visit D.C. our museums are free, but of course donations are always welcome.

Immerse yourself further in US history and visit the National Archives Museum, a treasure trove of founding documents and home to the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, Bill of Rights, and the Magna Carta.

Mount Vernon, another historical landmark and home to George Washington, is just outside the city in Virginia, where the former 1st president and his wife, Martha lived on the Potomac River. Tour the grounds and estate and learn how the plantation was run, as well as pay homage to his final resting place.

Want to learn more about our three branches of government? Arrange a private tour of the Supreme Court, the US Capitol and the White House. Take a peak inside a court room or visit the Hall of House of Representatives. (*tours closed during Covid, but scheduled to open this spring) Step inside the Library of Congress and explore the elaborately decorated Thomas Jefferson Building, where you can find a complete Gutenberg Bible printed on vellum, one of four in the world, as well as admire works of art and sculptures from nearly 50 different American artists.

Speaking of art, there are many wonderful art museums that change their installations regularly. Some of my favorites include; the National Portrait Gallery- which houses every previous president, The National Gallery of Art, Renwick Gallery, Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden, and the Artechouse DC. The last three are dedicated to contemporary craft and modern exhibits that are immersive and interactive. *One with Eternity: Yayoi Kusama in the Hirshhorn Collection is a tribute to the life and practice of this visionary artist, including two of the transcendent Infinity Mirror Rooms. The exhibition will run from April 1- Nov. 27, 2022. Reason enough to visit D.C.

Graffiti art, or better known as Street Art has also made a splash here and D.C. and there are several popular spots you might see on Instagram, especially around the Shaw and Columbia Heights neighborhoods. Make an afternoon of it and create your own scavenger hunt to explore these hidden murals or even better hire a private guide to learn the history behind this unique genre.

If you are wanting to enjoy the nice weather, there are many monuments and memorials you can explore from outside as well. The Washington Monument, WWII, Korean, Vietnam Wall and the The Lincoln Memorial are all a part of the National Parks Service and are near each other- making for an easy stroll. However, if you are looking for something to do at night, it is my favorite time of day to visit these sites, as they are lit with beautiful white light and the crowds are significantly less. Include The White House and the United States Capitol on your moonlit tour for those quintessential pictures.

Outdoor Enthusiast...

Sticking with the theme of enjoying the outdoors, D.C. was ranked #1 for best parks in the nation in a 2022 survey. With more than 112 trails for hiking, biking or running you're bound to find a perfect trail for you. Some of my favorites include Rock Creek Park, Theodore Roosevelt Island, National Arboretum, Mount Vernon Trail, and the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal Trail.

Venture out on a hiking and rock climbing tour through the Great Falls National Park and listen to the thundering waterfalls. Go a bit further out and explore the Shenandoah National Park, with over 516 miles of mountainous hiking, biking and riding trails. Plan a visit in late October and drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway and enjoy the most spectacular mountainous views and admire the gorgeous fall foliage.

If walking is more your speed then consider taking a stroll along one of the 18 Neighborhood Heritage Trails and explore the past and present. Walk in the footsteps of Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Walt Whitman, and many other great Americans.

Want to get out on the water? Kayaking, paddle boarding or boating on the Potomac are great options during the warmer weather months. Strolling down to the Georgetown Waterfront for rentals is my go to place.

My passion for triathlons is easy to cultivate here with so many places to train and making it even easier to participate, since D.C. even held their own Nations Triathlon- hopefully returning in the next season. Love to swim, bike and run- sign up and explore the beautiful city while burning some calories.

If it is just running that interests you, get your Asics ready because D.C. has many races to choose from. Participating in the Marine Corps Marathon, Army Ten Miler, Rock & Roll Half, or the up coming Cherry Blossom Ten Miler or 5k, are all great ways to see the city and have the "run of the place".

D.C. Sports...

Prefer watching sports? Whether it's baseball, hockey, football, basketball, or soccer we've got it all! Our football team has been in the press as of late with the announcement of our new team name- The Washington Commanders. Being a military brat, I would like to think it has something to do with being the home of the Commander in Chief, but there has been no mention of that. We also are proud to have two recent championship tiles- one from the Nationals World Series win in 2019 and the year prior the Capitals became Stanley Cup Champions in 2018. I even think our basketball team, the Wizards, are working hard to get in on the play-off action. Fun fact- Micheal Jordan played for our team when he decided to come out of retirement over 20 years ago. Lastly the DC United Major League Soccer team has a new stadium, Audi Field across from the Nationals park. This new state-of-the art facility even offers catering menus from the renowned chef and humanitarian José Andrés.

Where to Eat...

Speaking of great chefs...It's not just the political and sport scene that is all a buzz. The food scene has definitely stepped up in the last few years and D.C. now has 23 Michelin Star restaurants, making us a perfect destination for any epicurious travel. Obviously, there is too much to go into here, so click on Sip and Savor DC Hot Spots to find out more!

Wine Lovers...

With food comes wine. Right outside of DC are several note worthy wineries in Virginia. My favorites include RdV, Linden, and Glen Manor. They all produce a Bordeaux style wine- a combination of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cab Franc, or Petit Verdot and can be found on many wine menus in the area including; Blue Duck and Bourbon Steak.

Fun fact- While Virginia ranks 6 in wine production, right behind Texas and New York, D.C. ranks at the top for consumption of wine per capita. Not surprising with all the politicians and lawyers, but it would be remiss of me not to include myself on this list of wine enthusiasts.


After a great meal you might want to take in a show. For my music lovers the city offers several venues. The most notable being The Kennedy Center of Performing Arts, which houses three main stages: the Concert Hall, the Opera House, and the Eisenhower Theater as well as the Terrace Theater offering great performances including broadway tours of the latest hit musicals, the Washington Opera, the Washington Ballet, the National Symphony Orchestra, and wonderful Jazz performances. The National Theater and Fords Theater are two other venues with live stage productions. The Anthem is the newest concert venue featuring more contemporary artists and is part of the new waterfront at The Wharf. Keep in mind most performance are standing room, but there are seats in the balconies. Blues Alley in Georgetown, is another favorite and is considered the nation's oldest continuing jazz supper club, featuring artists like; Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Charlie Bird, Tony Bennet, and Jane Monheit.

College Bound...

The vast number of prestigious universities in D.C. is another great reason for families to visit. Between Georgetown, George Washington, Howard, American, Gallaudet, Catholic and the University of Maryland there are so many programs for students to choose from, including music! The city has wonderful opportunities for young people to learn and thrive. Many host renowned political science and public affairs programs attracting top graduates and international students. According to Forbes, Washington, DC is one of the best cities for new graduates in terms of jobs and mean income after college!

How to get around...

Washington DC has excellent public transportation, our metro is both safe and clean and the color coded map is easy to navigate. Bike shares and scooters are also two popular ways to explore the city, but if you aren't feeling adventurous Uber is always an option and a great alternative to cabs and other car services.

D.C. has a unique grid layout which was designed by Pierre Charles L’Enfant, a French-born engineer and designer. The streets running north and south are numbered, and the east-west streets are lettered beginning at the Capitol and extending in both directions, which sounds simple enough. However, it can be extremely frustrating for visitors driving with all the circles and the wide avenues-each named after the states, running diagonally through the city with the Capitol strategically positioned at the center of the grid.

The city is also laid out in quadrants centered around the Capitol, which is important to remember when booking an Uber or cab and typing in the address. * You want to make sure to verify NW as opposed to NE, which when typing is only one letter off; however worlds a part. Any address in the District has four possible locations, so make sure you specify which quadrant you are headed to since you can easily end up in a very different spot than you intended!


Spring and fall are definitely the best time to visit, while our summer heat can feel very steamy with high humidity making it feel like you are on a swamp. Speaking of which, D.C. is referred to as "The Swamp" referencing the political scene or the popular myth that it was actually built on one- both will never go away, but the sticky muggy thick air is true which easily breathes life into any rumor.

Hidden Gems...

Look up- On the roof terrace of the National Gallery of Art’s East Building, you will find Katharina Fritsch’s sculpture, “Hahn/Cock”. This giant electric blue rooster stands 14½ feet high and symbolizes regeneration, awakening, and strength. Besides the unique photo op. it's lofty placement reveals incredible views of the city.

Star Wars lovers stroll over to the Washington National Cathedral and gaze up at the north-west corner to spy a very different kind of gargoyle- Darth Vader. You can also see the unique stained- glass Space Window while you are there, which contains a piece of lunar rock.

Look down- Keeping with the theme of space, go check out the famous bronze statue of Albert Einstein on Constitution Ave, in front of the National Academy of Sciences. Be sure to look down at the granite base, or should I say map below where Einstein sits, since the 2,700 some odd metal studs mark the positions of the planets, stars, sun, and moon on the day the memorial was dedicated in 1979.

Go in- Famous house tours in NW-

Lincoln's Cottage- get a closer look at Abraham Lincoln's private and professional life during his presidency and tour this picturesque house where he lived during the Civil War, while he developed the Emancipation Proclamation. It is located on a beautiful hilltop in the Petworth neighborhood of Northwest, DC.

Tudor Place- This National Historic Landmark in the hills above Georgetown, is the house of Thomas and Martha Peter (George Washington’s step-granddaughter), and the six generations of descendants of Martha Washington from 1805 to 1983. It was eventually deeded over to the Tudor Place Foundation but still stands as one of America’s last urban estates from the Federal Era.

Go up- The 75- step staircase on M St NW, is a popular spot for film enthusiast to climb. This stone stairway is often referred to as the Exorcist steps in Georgetown, famous for being featured in the 1973 iconic horror classic.

Go over- The Memorial Bridge to the Arlington Nation Cemetery and see the eternal flame marking the 35th President John F Kennedy's grave, The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and the resting place of L'Enfant overlooking Washington, the beautiful city he helped create.

Where to Stay... My top 10

Four Seasons

Ritz Carlton (2 locations)

The Rosewood

Park Hyatt

The Jefferson

Hay Adams

St. Regis

The Dupont Circle

Pendry DC- The Wharf (newest addition)

*in no particular order

Plan to stay for three nights or more- since as you can see, there is so much to explore!

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