Now that I live in London, I have to say one of the things I miss about living in the states is my annual trip to Washington D.C. It was the unofficial start of summer (and travel season) for me and going to D.C. always felt like a well-earned treat after months of never-ending deadlines and long work hours. For the first time in almost eight years, I am missing my annual pilgrimage to the capital of the nation. I am making up for it with my idea of the perfect three-day itinerary for Washington D.C. - Should you find yourself in need of a summer getaway - it does not get better than D.C. There is always something new to see and explore, and old favorites continue to raise the bar. If you have spent any time in the city, I will like to read about your favorite things to do in comments.
Getting around. The Capital has a metro system which I have not ventured to use but I hear is fairly reliable. I rely on cabs and ubers to get around, and when possible, a comfortable pair of shoes. Several areas around the Capital and Georgetown is walkable. If you can, taking walks around a neighborhood, like Georgetown or the area around the national mall is the best way to explore.
Where to stay. Over the years, these have been my favorite hotels. Some are cheaper than others, but they all provide excellent service and make for a great home away from home - Kimpton Rouge hotel; Intercontinental and the Hyatt Regency. I always use a discount booking site like Hotels.com or booking.com or apps like Hotel Tonight to make reservations. The rates tend to be more discounted than booking directly with the hotel.
Where to Explore. My favorite areas to explore are Dupont Circle and Georgetown. Treat yourself by going off the major streets and have a wander through the residential streets for beautiful 19th-century-row houses. Both neighborhoods offer the best combination of attractions - shopping; food and entertainment. Besides Georgetown and Dupont circle, the stroll along the National Mall is a personal favorite. This stroll can take up several hours if you decide to visit the museums on the National Mall.
What to see. There is quite a bit on to explore in the Capital, and a weekend in the Capital is not enough. Obviously, there is the usual suspect (which I recommend for a first-time visit) - the White House; Steps of Congress; the Supreme Court building; the Monuments. Add on the National Mall and all the museums and you have a full weekend itinerary. There are a lot of museums in D.C. I counted about fifteen on the national mall on one visit. I recommend making a list of three of four must-see museums instead of trying to fit in all into one visit. My personal favorites are the sculpture garden; National Museum of African American history; National Museum of American History; the Natural History Museum and the Air and Space Museum. A short walk off from the National Mall is the Newseum, one of my favorite museums in the Capital (and anywhere in the world).
The monuments. Conveniently, the monuments are located in the same area which makes it easy to visit all of them on the same day. The Roosevelt Island, the MLK Memorial and the Jefferson Memorial are a bit off from the other monuments, but still within walking distance. If you are short on time, I recommend, the MLK Memorial; Lincoln Memorial and reflecting pool, and WW II memorial.
Georgetown and other recommendations. I love everything about Georgetown. I spend my time in D.C. wandering the streets in Georgetown and dreaming about living in one its pastel-colored row houses. The best way to explore Georgetown is to have a walk around. I also recommend Dupont Circle; National Zoological Park; the Washington Cathedral especially if you make it in early spring - the cherry blossoms framing the facade of the cathedral is a bucket list item. Of course, the cherry blossoms in Spring is a must. If you have more time to spare then visit China town; Dumbarton Estate in Georgetown; the U.S. Botanical Gardens and the Museum of African American history.
Where to eat. Georgetown has a lot of great (must visit) eateries on offer. I have written a post about my favorite places to eat in Georgetown here. Some all-time favorites in Georgetown are Baked & Wired which has the best cupcakes I have ever had - the Vanilla Satin is a personal favorite); You will find incredible Italian food (and desserts) at Filomena's (call ahead for reservations); Dolcessa gelato has one of my favorite gelato menus - the lavender thyme gelato is seriously the best. Ever ! and the burgers and milkshake at Good Stuff eatery ended my aversion to burgers and the toasted marshmallow milkshake deserves a special mention. I also recommend the famous Georgetown bakery. Away from Georgetown, there is also Ben's Chilli (Cash only, so be prepared); Nando's - this South African chicken import is is great on the wallet and an appetite pleaser; The Diner serves up upscale diner brunch that you won't be able to stop talking about long after your visit. Old Ebbitt Grill - this restaurant is just as historic as the capital. It opened in 1856 and serves the best crab cakes. Make sure to call ahead to limit your wait time. A few other favorites include Tryst coffee (next door to The Diner) and Compass coffee; Larry's Ice cream; Paul's bakery; and Momofuku milk bar.