From a captivating morning paddle on the Potomac River to roaming the halls of Smithsonian museums, there’s no shortage of things to do in DC.
The nation’s capital is defined by imposing neoclassical monuments and buildings. During the 20th century, the District lost many jobs to suburban Maryland and Virginia, and its population dropped.
A visionary city planner, Pierre Charles L’Enfant, influenced by 18th-century Baroque landscape architecture and familiarity with the grounds of Versailles, designed the city to link principal buildings by a series of paths. He adapted the formal plan to the area’s natural topography, placing the Capitol building on a high ridge and symbolically linking it with the presidential palace (the White House) on a lower one.
Washington’s earliest days were marred by war and enemy attacks. In the War of 1812, British forces burned the newly completed White House, Library of Congress and US Capitol buildings. Following the Civil War, and with the passage of the Emancipation Proclamation, the city saw significant growth in its African American population.
The city today is rich with international culture and African American heritage. It is also one of the most gay-friendly cities in the country and was among the first to recognize same-sex marriage. The city has a mayor and council but lacks full self-governance; representation in Congress is limited to non-voting delegates and shadow senators.
As the nation’s capital, the government’s buildings set a tone for the city. Pierre Charles L’Enfant, a French army engineer who fought in the Revolution, planned the capital city before it was built, and he carefully adapted his formal plan to the area’s natural topography. L’Enfant placed the Capitol on a high ridge and linked it to the presidential palace—the White House—on a lower one. He also arranged diagonal avenues named after states across a grid street system.
The resulting broad, symmetrical structures reflect the style of neoclassical architecture, which draws inspiration from ancient Greek and Roman design. For example, the symmetrical columns and triangular pediments used on many of the buildings on Capitol Hill echo the Parthenon and other temples.
During the 19th century, apartment buildings were erected for federal workers and grand apartments-hotels were constructed for ambassadors and other high-ranking officials. In 1901, the McMillan Commission revised L’Enfant’s plan, establishing a green center and expanding the National Mall by reclaiming land dredged from the river.
Food & Drink
When it comes to food and drink, DC has something for everyone. Whether you are craving some classic ice cream at Thomas Sweet (a must-visit for any Washingtonian), or looking to try Ethiopian cuisine in the Adams Morgan neighborhood, there is no shortage of delicious dining options.
For a sophisticated cocktail experience, head to Barmini for drinks made with blowtorches and liquid nitrogen. If you are on the hunt for a casual bite, the American spot Rose’s Luxury in Capitol Hill offers vegetable-heavy small plates and creative pastas.
During the day, take in the waterfront scenery on a lunch or dinner cruise with a view of illuminated landmarks like the Washington Monument. Or, if you are a beer lover, tour a local brewery with a guide and sample a wide variety of award-winning beverages. The Wharf also features a variety of restaurants for both family-friendly and fine dining experiences. For a more relaxed evening, grab some cocktails and munch on tacos at bartaco or smoked brisket at Hill Country.
Whether you are interested in a quick stroll through free museums or a more leisurely exploration of neighborhoods and local street art, DC has many things to do. And if you want to catch a show, this city is home to everything from juggernauts like the Merriweather Post Pavilion and Wolf Trap to more relaxing classical and folk concerts.
A city built on politics is a great place to see political life in action and the National Mall provides plenty of opportunities for walking and people watching. You can also learn about the politics of DC through a tour or at the International Spy Museum.
The city is also a popular spot for business and client entertainment. There are several options for you to explore with your clients including painting pottery at All Fired Up, bowling at The Eleanor or having a drink at TAKODA rooftop beer garden. You can also try out a unique client appreciation experience like exploring the Mansion on O Street with its mysterious doors.