One great weekend-how to spend 48 hours in washington dc – casual travelist american college education

With history around every corner, a vibrant cultural community and one of the most exciting culinary scenes in the country washington DC is a great city for a weekend trip. You could spend weeks exploring washington DC’s museums, monuments and neighborhoods and feel like you haven’t even scratched the surface but with a little planning you can definitely get a good taste of washington DC over a weekend. If this is your first trip to washington DC I recommend dividing your time along the national mall into two days, with the national mall being two miles long and over 19 smithsonian museums most people are surprised at how much there is to do! I’ve included a mix of monuments, history, art as well as a few of my favorite places to eat in DC. Without further ado let’s take a look at how to spend 48 hours in washington DC.

This post was produced in collaboration with trover, but as always all opinions remain my own. The casual travelist contains affiliate links, when you make a purchase or book a hotel through these links the casual travelist receives a small commission that helps support this site at no additional cost to you. Where to stay

For a weekend trip I usually stay in the dupont circle neighborhood. Home to boutique hotels, independent shops and some of the most creative restaurants in the city, dupont circle is within walking distance of the white house and well connected to the rest of the city through the metro and circulator buses. The fairmont washington DC offers up it’s signature brand of understated luxury, while the newly renovated st. Gregory hotel has boutique style and spacious suites. The kimpton palomar is dog-friendly with quirky design and a complimentary wine happy hour. Day one breakfast

Begin the day with a healthy start and a great cup of coffee at emissary DC near dupont circle. An independent coffee house featuring counter culture coffee the kitchen offers a concise menu of smoothies, avocado toasts and organic egg dishes to fuel your day of sight-seeing. Top 5 universities in canada arlington national cemetery

After breakfast take washington DC’s easy to navigate metro to arlington cemetery ( blue line, arlington national cemetery station). The final resting place of president john F. Kennedy, countless servicemen and women and home to the tomb of the unknown soldier; a visit to arlington national cemetery is a profoundly moving experience. The changing of the guard takes place every 30 minutes during the summer months (every hour in the winter), in a high precision ritual the guards of honor at the tomb of the unknown soldier honor all fallen american service members who are “known but to god.” lincoln memorial

One of the most popular sights in washington DC, it’s worth braving the crowds for the views of the washington monument and the reflecting pool, as well as to reflect upon the significance of the actions of president abraham lincoln and later dr. Martin luther king jr. The national museum of african-american history and culture

The national museum of african american history and culture,the newest addition to the national mall, has quickly become one of the most popular sites in DC. Learn more about the african-american experience from slavery to the ongoing fight for civil rights as well as how african-americans have shaped american culture through military service, music, sports and art. After you’re done exploring the museum sit down for lunch at sweet home cafe. Helmed by chef jerome grant and chef ambassador carla hall the cafe features regional african american classics like pan-fried louisiana catfish po’boy and duck, andouille & crawfish gumbo but be sure to save room for the praline bread pudding with bourbon caramel sauce. White house

The white house is a popular stop for visitors to the american capital and can be viewed from both pennsylvania avenue as well as from the back by the washington monument. If you want to take a tour of the white house during your visit to washington DC be sure to plan ahead, lead times can vary from 3 weeks to 6 months. White house tours can be arranged by contacting your congressional office, further details can be found at white house website. Renwick museum

Located steps from the white house the renwick museum is dedicated to modern interpretations on american craft and aims to show how handmade objects affect american culture. The renwick hosts a changing roster of artists but the current exhibition no spectators:the art of burning man, is thought-provoking, trippy and a whole lot of fun while volume, a light installation by leo villarreal uses computer code to create lighting sequences that will never repeat. Washington university school of medicine ranking dinner

In recent years washington DC has become a culinary destination in it’s own right and from casual to fine dining there is no shortage of great places to eat. Few things in life are as good as a wood-fired pizza and a great beer and luckily pizzeria paradiso has both covered. A well curated craft beer list compliments pizzeria paradiso’s concise menu of thin crust pizzas ( the macelliao with pepperoni, mozzarella, housemade sausage, and red onions is a personal favorite) baked to perfection in their 650 degree wood burning oven.

If you’re craving something a bit more refined zaytina by chef jose andres is one of the reservations you can get in washington DC. Choose the chef’s experience tasting menu for creative mediterranean flavors made with the season’s freshest ingredients. Monuments at night

The monuments along the national mall in washington DC are impressive during the day but when night falls they are absolutely stunning. The view from the WWII memorial looking towards the lincoln memorial is my personal favorite but the washington monument and the jefferson memorial are also beautiful at night. Day two breakfast

A few blocks from the navy barracks in capitol hill ted’s bulletin is the next level diner we all wish we had in our neighborhood. All day breakfast is what ted’s does best; complete with scrumptious offerings like blue crab benedict, monster cinnamon rolls, homemade poptarts and boozy milkshakes. Library of congress

Home to the world’s largest collection of books, the library of congress is also one of the most beautiful spaces in washington DC. The thomas jefferson room is a visually stunning beaux arts confection of frescoes and sculptures celebrating western civilization’s most influential thinkers. America’s temple to knowledge and learning, I find inspiration every time I step foot in the library of congress. Hirshorn museum

The smithsonian’s hishorn museum is a celebration of contemporary and modern art. The hirshorn features works from artistic visionaries like ai wei wei and yoko ono and plays host to a calendar full of engaging events and talks. The hirshorn’s current exhibit what absence is made of explores the myriad of ways we experience loss and silence, especially in the increasingly frenetic pace of modern life. The national gallery of art sculpture garden

At the national gallery of art’s sculpture garden creativity isn’t confined to four walls. Large scale sculptures provide a whimsical contrast to the monuments and classical architecture around the national mall. The sculpture garden features open air jazz concerts friday evenings throughout the summer, while the in winter months the fountain is converted into an outdoor skating rink. Top universities physics lunch

Good BBQ in the middle of downtown DC? You betcha. A few blocks from the national mall in penn quarter, hill country BBQ has brought a taste of texas to the capital. Slowly smoked brisket and jalapeno-cheddar sausage served on butcher paper will transport you to the barbecue pits of texas hill country; be sure to round out your meal with the homemade mac and cheese, skillet cornbread and a big ol’ glass of sweet tea. International spy museum

For dinner head down to the new wharf waterfront district for an elevated take on spanish food from acclaimed chef fabio trabocchi at del mar. Start your meal with irresistibly creamy croquettes wrapped in iberico ham topped with freshly shaved black truffle followed perfectly prepared seafood paella loaded prawns, mussels, calamari and maine lobster. The anthem