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 Dupont Circle fountain

Capital Culture, Old + New


Locals’ tips for your Washington DC itinerary

Many to-do lists top every DC visitor’s bucket list; others may seem less obvious, but we promise they’ll prove equally memorable. Of course, every Washington DC adventure should delve into the city’s trove of monuments, memorials, and magnificent museums (many of them free!). Fascinating history abounds here, as do cultural finds that are modern and new.

To spice things up a bit, we’ve also come up with dozens of ideas that allow you to temporarily slip into local culture, as you dine among neighborhood folks at friendly cafes and peruse seasonal markets frequented by politicos and their staffers. We suggest you mix and match from our list — ultimately creating an itinerary tailored perfectly for you and your particular interests.

East of the hotel

  • Just steps from our hotel, find the uber-cool 14th Street corridor — a culinary, retail, arts, and nightlife mecca that’s evolving and expanding by the week.
  • Enjoy a people-watching picnic in Logan Circle; grab a take-away snack and coffee en route from Dolcezza or Slipstream.
  • Find gems near the Convention Center like Longview Gallery (the largest contemporary art gallery in the city) and Blagden Alley, an historic zone that’s been revitalized and made home to popular dining destinations like The Dabney. Other neighborhood culinary draws include Buttercream Bakeshop , Smoked and Stacked (a fast-casual sandwich joint), and Southern Mexican-inspired restaurant Espita Mezcaleria.

West of the hotel

  • Activities range from shopping the stores that line Connecticut Avenue such as Brooks Brothers, Ann Taylor, and H&M, to getting a dose of comic relief at DC Improv , a venue that spotlights acts from ComedySportz to nationally touring standups.
  • Just west of Dupont Circle, visit several countries in one day by wandering past the mansions and monuments of Embassy Row. (Test out your global flag IQ along the way!)
  • Between Dupont Circle and Farragut Square, sate your cravings at Shake Shack , artisan deli DGS , Little Sesame (a fast-casual restaurant that celebrates hummus), Mari Vanna (which serves homestyle Russian delicacies), Bub and Pop’s (a charming, family-run spot loved for its hoagies), and Honeysuckle , known for its modern and Nordic riffs on Southern dishes.
  • Get your culture on at the nearby National Geographic museum (which also hosts talks and film screenings) or take a tour of Dupont Circle’s Heurich House , a Gilded Age mansion that’s also known as the Brewmaster's Castle.

South of the hotel

  • Less than a mile from our front door, find the White House at its famous 1600 Penn address. Grab a bench in Lafayette Square to watch protestors and tourists from around the globe. Since 2009, a FRESHFARM By the White House Market has filled a nearby street every Thursday; stop by between April 6 and November 16 (from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.) to find seasonal snacks like handmade tamales, seafood and veggie po'boys, BBQ sandwiches, Chinese dumplings, handcrafted empanadas, kettle corn, cold-pressed juices, and more.
  • Located steps from the White House, the Renwick Gallery is a branch of the Smithsonian American Art Museum that focuses on American craft and decorative arts from the 19th to the 21st centuries.
  • Also near the White House, Farragut Square hosts a bevy of food trucks at lunchtime as well as community events like barre and yoga classes plus Farragut Fridays.
Chair in front of art reading

Meet the Concierge

Mason & Rook’s concierge, Dannyboy, offers up recommendations on DC’s finest sites, restaurants, and nightlife, along with a few local favorites.

What's the scoop