Things to Do in D.C.: One Day

How to tour the District in a day

Are you bored in D.C.? Don't be.  From morning until night, there is plenty to do.  If you had just 24 hours to see the city, here is what we'd suggest:

You're going to have to concentrate your efforts in and around the National Mall. Because, well, that's where the action is, and it's where you can cram a lot in without a lot of travel time.

Step 1:  A Good Breakfast

We're guessing you're taking the Metro in the city.  It's the smart way to do it, really.  But instead of getting off at the Smithsonian stop to start your day, hop off at the Archives-Navy Memorial stop instead on the Green-Yellow line.

Why?  Because you can find a gem of a breakfast just a few feet away from the Navy Memorial.  Teaism is an Asian-inspired tea house that can provide good food fast. 

After getting your fill of food, you can start walking toward the Mall. 

Step 2:  To The National Mall

Once on the Mall, you can pick whichever Smithsonian Museum you want to visit.  Our current choice is the Natural History Museum.  Can't beat the combination of dinosaur bones, taxidermy animals and the Hope Diamond.

When the American History Museum reopens after construction, that's another solid choice.

Depending on how fast you want to go, you may be able to take a few hours and glance over two museums.  That's up to you.  Go at your own pace.

Step 3:  Lunch

Since you're already at the National Mall, might as well stay there for lunch.  You can eat astronaut style at the Air & Space Museum and go for the freeze-dried ice cream, but for just a few bucks more you can have a great lunch at the American Indian Museum.

Yeah, we know it sounds crazy, but you're not going to find much better in the way of food on the Mall.  Go for the buffalo chili and a tamale.  We wouldn't steer you wrong...

Once you get your food, head down into the seating area and grab a spot at the window looking out at the water.  It's quite serene.

Step 4:  Hit The Monuments

After lunch, digest your food while you stroll the length of the National Mall.  Check out the Washington Monument.  Once past that, look to the right.  Hey, it's the White House!  Everybody wave!

Ahem, that didn't look like a wave...

Anyway, let's continue.  Keep walking straight ahead and check out the World War II Memorial.  It's much better in warmer temperatures when the fountains are running.

If you've still got time, walk down the reflecting pool and say hello to the Lincoln Memorial.  And don't just look at the grand statue of the president.  Read his words on the left and right walls.  You may think you know it all, but read it again anyway.  It's well worth it.

By this time, you're probably exhausted.  But before you head back to the Metro to find dinner, stop by the Korean War Memorial.  It's a surreal display that's worth seeing.

As for the Metro, you could walk all the way back to the Smithsonian entrance.  But then again, why not head up the hill to the Blue-Orange line's Foggy Bottom stop?  If you're near the Lincoln Memorial, go around the circle and head up 23rd Street.  You'll walk past the State Department and George Washington University.  You'll see the Kennedy Center on your left, as well.  At least you start to lose that touristy feeling and build up a hunger for ...

Step 5:  Dinner

This one is up to you.  If you want to stay around GW, there are plenty of choices.  If you want to head to Georgetown, we wouldn't disagree.  And if you want to hop on the Metro and go back toward Metro Center or Chinatown, go for it.

Got a week to spend tooling around D.C.? Click here.

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If you have any thoughts or ideas on things to do, feel free to post them below.

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