The best things to do in Washington, DC include the country's historical archive, a free zoo and White House selfies.Less
Rock Creek Park is DC's favorite place for biking, skating, running and even horseback riding. Created by an act of Congress in 1890 to be used as a recreational resource, this lush landscape is a beckoning oasis that extends across over 1,800 acres.
Full disclosure: although the plaza and building remain temporarily closed, the Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden is currently open. This brutal beauty on Indepndence Avenue boasts a wealth of modern art. The spectacular cylindrical building by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill was completed in 1974 to house self-made Wall Street millionaire Joseph Hirshhorn’s collection of 20th-century painting and sculpture. Today it still operates as that, but it's open to all and new pieces continue to be added.
Although it’s been a bustling commercial district for centuries, today this area is one of the most popular places in the city to go out for a drink or a bite to eat. Also known as Barracks Row for its proximity to the Marine Barracks, Eighth Street SE in the Eastern Market neighborhood boasts plenty of restaurants.
Affordable outings that are fun for all the family don't get much better than Washington, D.C. National Zoological Park, a free zoo that is open all year round. Of course, that does mean that it’s often packed with crowds and strollers, but if you go off-season you can take in almost all the exhibits in one visit. These include 1,500 animals, ranging from rare pandas to giant salamanders, via elephant trails and lounging lions.
Head to Columbia Heights to find this 12-acre park positioned due north of the White House along the longitudinal meridian of D.C. The Park is filled with sculptures and memorials, including statues of Joan of Arc, Dante and James Buchanan, the 15th US President. Pack a picnic and hang out in front of the Cascading Waterfall in the formal garden, or visit the upper mall area, where concerts and events are often staged.
Now is a better time than ever to visit the National Gallery of Art, the gargantuan museum located smack-dab on the National Mall. Following an extensive renovation of the East Building, the museum showcases an impressive collection of modern art, including Katharina Fritsch’s playful “Hahn/Cock”—a gigantic royal-blue rooster perched on the roof.
Taking part in Perry's legendary Sunday Drag Brunch is a surefire way to spice up your weekend routine. The brunch is buffet-style and includes a drag variety show. Be prepared to tip the ladies—they don't work for free.
Union Market is an upscale food- and drink-focused “artisanal marketplace,” with shops that sell both local and imported goods. The space houses more than 30 artisans peddling everything from acai bowls to Korean tacos; you’ll also find coffee, home goods, flowers and spices.