Washington D.C. Local Life

The Best D.C. Neighborhoods for a Staycation

Washington D.C. is a city that never stops. The political giant is fast-paced and full of energy, but sometimes its residents need to take a step back and experience the glories of their own city.

As the days become longer and the air becomes warmer D.C. becomes the perfect place for an adventure. With its monuments, museums, national history, restaurants, and bars, it is a melting pot of cultures just waiting to be discovered. Each neighborhood that makes up D.C. offers its own story to be experienced, making it the perfect spot for not only a vacation but also a staycation.

Every neighborhood brings something to experience, but these are the top neighborhoods for a staycation in Washington D.C.

Adams Morgan

Adams Morgan Washington DC
Adams Morgan, Washington DC

With its restaurants, bars, shopping, and culture, Adams Morgan can keep you busy for hours on end. Start your day at Tryst, an eclectic coffee shop that turns into an energetic bar at night. After grabbing your caffeine for the day, head down 18th Street and visit the local retail shops. This stretch of pavement has plenty of offerings, whether you’re looking for home decor, clothing, or kitchen and bath products.

If you’re feeling a little touristy head over to the National Zoo. Always free of charge and open 365 days a year, the zoo houses an extensive collection of animals from pandas and cheetahs to lizards and monkeys.

If you still have energy left, check out Jack Rose Dining Saloon and experience the over 2,600 bottles of whiskey, bourbon, and scotches that line its walls. It also has an impressive food menu, a selection of wines from around the world, and over 20 beers on draft.

Georgetown

Georgetown, Washinton DC
Georgetown, Washinton DC

Nestled on the Virginia border, Georgetown offers visitors parks, shopping, and dining. More than just the well-traveled sidewalks of M Street and Wisconsin Avenue NW, the cobblestoned side streets lead to historical gems like Dumbarton Oaks. Open Tuesday through Sunday, this historic 1920s home is a Harvard University research institute, library, museum, and garden. Get lost in its historic garden or in the museum’s collection of Byzantine art.

If you’re up for a bit more of an adventure, head down to the Georgetown waterfront and rent a kayak or stand-up paddleboard from the Key Bridge Boathouse and take in the city skyline views. If you work up an appetite, visit Washington Harbour, home to a variety of restaurants offering patio seating and views of the river.

End your day with a little tourist flair by stopping in to pick up dessert at Georgetown Cupcake. The shop made famous by the TLC reality show serves some of the most decadent cupcakes in the city. But if you want to skip the lines and head to the spot locals love, visit the tiny Baked & Wired, which offers creative cupcake flavors in a hip setting.

Penn Quarter

Chinatown in Penn Quarter
Chinatown in Penn Quarter / Photo by LnP images / Shutterstock.com

If you are looking for something a bit different, catch the Red Line to Penn Quarter. Located in D.C.'s downtown area, this museum and shopping mecca is also the premier sports and entertainment destination in D.C. The area is home to the National Portrait Gallery, Madame Tussaud’s, and the National Law Enforcement Museum if you want to be a tourist in your town.

After taking in the museums head over to CityCenterDC. This outdoor destination is 10 acres of walkways lined with high-end boutiques. From Dior to Gucci, you can shop your heart out or just window shop and take in the sights.

Now that you have worked up an appetite, it's time to grab some food. This area is home to D.C.'s Chinatown and some of the best dim sum and duck can be found here along H and I streets.

Head towards the Friendship Arch and try one of the many restaurants serving up traditional Asian dishes. End the day at the Capital One Arena. Home to the NHL’s Washington Capitals and the NBA’s Washington Wizards. You can catch a game or one of the many concerts the arena hosts throughout the year.

Capitol Hill

Capital Hill, Washington DC
Capital Hill, Washington DC

If you are ready to be a true tourist on your staycation, the Capitol Hill neighborhood is a great place to start. From historic government buildings to pizzerias, this neighborhood has the tourist attractions that make D.C. famous mixed in with spots locals love.

Start your day with a tour of the largest library in the world, the Library of Congress. The library houses more than 164 million items across three Italian-Renaissance style buildings. The Thomas Jefferson building serves as the library’s museum and is free to enter.

After visiting the library walk over to the Eastern Market. Established in 1873, the market offers fresh produce, seafood, flowers, handmade crafts, and more. On the weekends, the vendors spill outside setting up open-air stands along the streets that surround the market. The tents are full of painters, jewelers, and photographers selling their art.

After taking in the Eastern Market, it's time to discover the United States Botanic Garden. This free-to-enter living plant museum centers around educating visitors on the importance of the earth’s ecosystems. Established in 1850, it is the oldest operating botanic garden in the United States. End your day at one of the many restaurants that line Barracks Row.  

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