A little bit ago, a bunch of my friends from the Bay Area flew in to join the inauguration festivities in Washington, D.C. We woke up at 5 am to stand in 20 degree weather WITH wind chill for 7 hours to watch the inauguration which was an amaaaaaazing experience that everyone should do once!

Anyhow, we packed in a TON of activities for the 3 days they were here and I thought it was a great itinerary for any visiting tourist who wants to see the DC sights.


(images by Sang L.)

1. Day One:  Washington Memorial,  Georgetown, Adams Morgan

  • Washington Memorial: If you get there early enough, you can get a ticket to visit the top of the memorial and see the entire National Mall. Tickets are available starting at 8am and run out pretty quickly, but it goes on til 4:30pm.
  • Georgetown: Since we didn’t want to fight the crowds in the metro after the inauguration, we walked very far (very very far) to Georgetown. I wouldn’t recommend this if you aren’t much of a walker. There, grab a quiche at La Madeline’s French Bakery and Restaurant. Afterwards, head 1 block over to see the 185 year old  C & O Canal and 2 blocks over to the Potomac River. From there you can snap pictures of the Kennedy Center, the Rossyln Bridge, and Watergate Hotel. Afterward, shop at one of many shops and boutiques in the area. If you’re lucky, you’ll see George Stephanopoulos, who’s a resident of the area.
  • Adams Morgan: After dinner, head over on the Red Line to Adams Morgan where there’s a lot of great bars and nightlife. Grab a caipirinha at Bossa Bistro & Lounge where there’s live music and lively dancing.

Day Two: DC’s Cheap Eats, National Portrait Gallery, Newseum, National Archives Museum, Night Walks

  • Potbelly is a great DC chain that serves sandwiches, soups, and milkshakes. It’s a quick and cheap option for people who, like my friends, were anxious to get to the museusm.
  • National Portrait Gallery: It sounds like it’s filled with pictures of stuffy dead men, it actually does a great job of exhibiting photographs and contemporary artists,  along with pictures of… well, stuffy dead men. It recently purchased Shepard Fairey’s Obama Hope portrait as well as the newly added G.W. Bush’s presidential portrait in the Presidential exhibit.
  • National Archives & Newseum: After, we headed down to the National Mall, where the group split up to see the museum of their choice. Half went to Newseum, DC’s newest museum dedicated to news and media ($20 admission fee) and the other half headed to the National Archives Museum (free). Take your pick of all the museums in DC. It’s impossible to do them all in 3 days!
  • Night Stroll down the National Mall: Afterwards, we regrouped at the National Sculpture Garden Cafe and headed out to into the National Mall. The sun was sinking slowly into the horizon and made for AMAZING pictures. It is absolutely breath taking and highly recommended!
  • Five Guys: After we were thoroughly frozen, we tried to get a table at one of my favorite DC spot, Matchbox, but the hour wait turned us to Five Guys. Five Guys, another beloved DC chain, looks amazingly similar to Cali’s In and Out burger. And while I have my loyalties to In and Out, I have to admit that 5 Guys is pretty tasty!

Day 3 (half day): Air and Space Museum, Capitol Building, and Ben’s Chili Bowl

  • Air & Space: By day three, it was a mad rush to see anything else on their must-see-museum list. So, we headed to the National Air and Space Museum where my space junkie friends ooh-ed and awww-ed about rockets and spaceships.
  • Capitol Building: Afterwards, we took a walk down the Mall to check out the Capitol Building. HEYYYYYY CONGRESS!
  • Ben’s Chili Bowl: After, we headed to U-Street to grab a half-smoke, at a DC landmark, Ben’s Chili Bowl. Unfortunately, the line was REALLY long and they had a plane to catch, so we opted for another restaurant.

Additional Reading and Resources:
Solemn Dignity: Nighttime on the National Mall

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