DC-area travel pros reveal their local favorites
Choosing your best-loved Washington, D.C., place or experience is a tall order. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of options among the city’s A-list museums, brilliant greenspaces, sumptuous restaurants, hidden gems, and waterfront spots. Courier asked travel professionals who live in the D.C. area to offer their favorites, and here are the responses:
Chris Babb | The Group Tour Company
One of my favorite places to visit off the National Mall is Rock Creek Cemetery, located next to the Old Soldiers Home and Lincoln Cottage. My favorite sculpture in Washington—“Grief”—is at the gravesite of Marian Hooper Adams of the political Adams family. It is a cast bronze statue by Augustus Saint-Gaudens found on a plot designed by Stanford White; a space that offers a beautiful, peaceful place for quiet contemplation.
Ashley Birdsell | The National Theatre
One of my favorite DC things is the Kogod Courtyard at the National Portrait Gallery. It’s the perfect place to sit with a book and be inside—yet outside—at the same time! The courtyard provides a welcome, quiet respite from the downtown crowds and weather.
Lindsay Hill | Destination DC
Washington, D.C., is my soul city. One neighborhood that brings me joy is Eastern Market. It is a great place to walk to after visiting the U.S. Capitol and Library of Congress (another hidden treasure). The area is filled with beautiful historical row houses and the iconic market that gives it its name. On the weekend the market area is brimming with city artisans and farmers selling their wares. Don’t forget a stop at Ted’s Bulletin for homemade pop-tarts or at District Donut for a gourmet treat!
Chase Poffenburger | Academic Travel Abroad
This is a simple one, as one of the greatest bike rides is from downtown Washington, D.C., to Mount Vernon along an 18-mile bike trail. Stopping at Gravelly Point, adjacent to National Airport, is a great thrill, as the planes’ landing path is directly overhead, and you have an incredible view of takeoffs and landings.
Lori Scott | International Spy Museum
My favorite DC day starts with renting a kayak and enjoying a morning paddle down the Anacostia River, followed by a stroll along the DC Wharf, being certain to grab a few fresh-steamed Maryland blue crabs from the fish market. To cap the day, I’d be hitting the ballpark early and catching batting practice before settling in for a game, rooting on our 2019 World Champion Nationals, and having a hot dog and adult beverage.
Gordon Stearns | Tour Designs
Along with the iconic monuments and free museums, Washington boasts a wonderful set of gardens. I’ve enjoyed visiting the National Arboretum (northeast DC) and Botanical Garden (on the Mall). I’ve also loved visits to the National Cathedral gardens and the adjoining Rock Creek Park at Dunbarton Oaks. Finally, in the spring the Japanese cherry blossoms beautify several locations around the city, many of which aren’t nearly as crowded as the Tidal Basin.
To read more about Washington, D.C., see this story on the city’s neighborhoods and this article on 5 popular museums in the DC area.
Top photo: A favorite stop of Destination DC's Lindsay Hill is the Eastern Market.
Photo by Eastern Market