It is hard to weed out what is a tourist trap and what is worth seeing in DC. Well, have no fear because we’ve got you covered. Between the two of us we have around 20 years of living in the DMV and know a thing or two about what is worth your time.
We compiled this list of noteworthy and very instagram-pretty places for our readers. Some of these places are tourist-centric while others are hidden gems. Each place gorgeous in their own right and worth the visit.
Bex’s Top Four
City Center: Envision glamorous meets every day. I love that City Center consists of high-end stores with affordable coffee shops next door. One of the special things about City Center has to be the rotation seasonal decorations. Currently it is decked out as a winter wonderland. Our photos below which inspired the creation of this post were taken here.
Dumbarton Oaks: I have so many great memories here with friends and family. I love spending the afternoon with cheese and wine on a blanket while enjoying the nature around me. Located above Georgetown this secret garden is something out of a movie. Blooming with cherry blossoms in the spring with an impeccably curated flower garden, it is an escape without hoards of tourists.
ARTECHOUSE: Described as an intersection between art, science, and technology this innovative gallery is as immersive as it is breathtaking. The space is smaller and more intimate than photos let on. You must purchase a ticket before hand. I was annoyed by this at first, but it is to ensure the space does not become too crowded. Cocktails are served in congruence with the current installation. You must also download an app before attending to interact with the exhibits. Imaginative, beautiful, and oddly calming.
Eastern Market: Another DC establishment filled with too many memories to count. My now husband lived walking distance from here after college. I loved strolling down the streets of Capitol Hill with a coffee in hand and taking in the unique beauty of the neighborhood. Colorful 1920’s era homes line the streets, and lead to this partial indoor/ open air market. I love grabbing a quick brunch with a Farmer’s Omelet and mimosa from Tunnicliffs then shopping the flea market/ arts portion of the market. I usually close out my trip with picking up flowers, farm fresh produce, and an empanada or two from inside.
Other notable mentions include: The Bonsai Garden at The US National Arboretum, Blind Whino, the architecture of Embassy Row, NoMa Murals, and Union Station.
Mila’s Top Four
Union Market: Come for the iconic heart graffiti wall, stay for the food. The Market houses an eclectic assortment of eats ranging from dosas to açai bowls to empanadas to oysters so there really is something for everyone. I’m partial to anything from South Block Co, but love trying out different popup vendors. On my last trip to Union Market, I ran into an old restaurant friend who was selling the most delicious ensaymadas (a sweet Filipino style pastry) – so random, yet so tasty! Plus, with all the coffee and cocktail options, Union Market really is the perfect place to spend a Sunday afternoon.
Blagden Alley:Need to cross off another classic DC art piece from your mural bucket list? Then you have to swing by the DC Alley Museum tucked away in Blagden Alley. Part of a larger effort by theD.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, the murals here – including the rainbow-effect LOVE installation – are painted directly onto garage doors. The LOVE wall has definitely been photographed every way possible, but don’t discount this gem as a place to enjoy historic and cultural art. And once you’re done capturing a few blogger shots, you’re only a few steps away from cocktails at The Columbia Room or pop around the corner for Mexican food at Espita Mezcaleria.
National Gallery of Art – East Building: Home to an impressive collection of modern and contemporary art, it’s easy to be inspired by the surroundings of East Building. With its soaring stone facades and tons of light pouring in thanks to the floor to ceiling windows, the East Building is a gorgeous place for photos. And if you really want to show off your camera skills, try shooting the light show on the underground moving walkway that takes you between the East and West Buildings.
District Wharf and The Yards Park: These vibrant and bustling waterfront destinations have a lot in common, including tons of great restaurants and shopping. The District Wharf (located in SW) is home to The Anthem, one of DC’s hottest new concert venues. Show up super early for a show and snap a few photos along the pier then grab a cocktail at Del Mar. The Yards Park (located near Nationals Park in SE) has cool water features, including jets and a wading pool, that are great for kids. It’s also home to the best place to spend a summer afternoon – The Rosé Garden at Whaley’s DC!
The photos featured here were the inspiration for a post about the most instagrammable places in Washington DC. This shoot was so fun! We worked with Rachel from Rachel Gordon Photography (@rgordphoto) and had a blast.
Per her guidance, our location was one of the places on our list – City Center. She had a vision for our collaboration that included playing with light and reflections with the various shops and windows. She is such a pro while working that a few times we forgot we were in a photo shoot.
Another aspect we love from this day is our outfits. We coordinated a few winter staples that we both have worn all season. A lot of there are on sale now – bonus! Here are a few of our favorite pieces.
What Bex Wore
What Mila Wore
Whether you’re a long-time DC resident, new to the area, or just passing through, we hope you get a chance to check out a few of our favorite spots. And if you’re on social, tag us in your pix – we’d love to see these places through your eyes!