The Only Guide To Washington, DC You’ll Ever Need

When you think of Washington, DC, the first things that often come to mind are history and politics—and while this is certainly true, our nation’s capital is surprisingly (dare I say?) trendy. Yes, really: Visitors can take their pick of luxury stays, acclaimed eats, one-of-a-kind boutiques, and (so much) more. Keep scrolling to check out our full Washington, DC guide—we have a hunch you’ll want to plan your next trip here, STAT.

Where To Stay In Washington, DC 

Pendry Washington DC – The Wharf

With over 50 shops and restaurants dotted along the waterfront, the Wharf is easily one of DC’s trendiest neighbs. Here, you’ll also find the uber-hip, recently opened Pendry Washington DC – The Wharf. This luxe hotel—which boasts sleek rooms and suites plus a slew of buzzy bars and restaurants—is  *the* place to see and be seen (read: prime people-watching opps await). Pro tip: Don’t leave here without checking out the stunning Spa Pendry, where you can book bougie AF treatments like diamond face masks. 

Conrad Washington, DC

The sprawling, 360-room Conrad Washington, DC is nestled in the vibrant CityCenterDC neighborhood, just steps away from designer boutiques like Hermes, Jo Malone, Dior, and Gucci, to name a few. The property’s futuristic-esque interiors are flooded with natural light and contemporary decor, which only adds to the ritzy ambiance. Rooms and suites are just as stylish, complete with floor-to-ceiling windows and marble bathrooms that are perfect for mirror selfies. (You know you want to.) 

Four Seasons Hotel Washington, DC

Splurge on a stay at the Four Seasons Hotel Washington, DC, and you won’t regret it. The property, which—spoiler alert—is located in the heart of Georgetown, exudes elegance with its soft neutral color palette and timeless decor. The ‘gram-worthy C&O Canal views are a bonus, as is the hotel’s curated art collection, which features more than 1,600-plus works (including a rare Warhol!): Srsly it feels like your own private gallery.

Viceroy Washington DC

Ideally situated in Logan Circle—where you’ll find some of DC’s best bars, restaurants, and shops—this hip hotel is best known for its seasonal rooftop pool and bar, which serves up refreshing cocktails with a side of stunning city views. Expect handsome decor, spacious rooms and suites, and a funky, design-forward vibe anyone will appreciate: especially your ~artsy~ friend. 

Where To Eat & Drink In Washington, DC

Le Diplomate

Le Diplomateor “Le Dip,” as the locals TikTok girlies call it—may be, ahem, basic, but it def lives up to the hype. The tres-chic French bistro is a popular pick amongst locals and travelers (including celebs and politicians; it is DC, after all). Upon stepping inside the restaurant, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to Paris. Snag a brunch res and take your pick of eats like steak frites and escargot: Just remember, #phoneeatsfirst.

Zaytinya by José Andrés

This swanky eateryhelmed by James Beard Award-winning chef José Andres — dishes out mouthwatering Mediterranean-inspired small plates that are perfect for sharing with your squad. Not sure what to order? You can’t go wrong with staples like hummus, falafel, seared halloumi, or grilled octopus. Feeling extra-adventurous? Spring on the multi-course tasting menu for $72 and thank me later.

Cafe Riggs

Located within the Riggs Washington DC hotel, this all-day eatery is almost always bustling, and for good reason. The restaurant, which features posh interiors that look like they’ve been picked out of an Architectural Digest spread—utilizes locally sourced and sustainable ingredients to create delicious dishes ranging from French onion soup to filet mignon. We recommend coming for weekend brunch to feast on elevated comfort classics like buttermilk pancakes with lavender honey butter and insane seafood platters. The champagne cart adds an extra-fun touch.

What To See & Do in Washington, DC

RMW/Hot Girl Walk Along The National Mall

Obvi, no trip to our nation’s capital is complete without a visit to the National Mall. Spend the afternoon listening to your fav podcast as you stroll the two-mile-long, tree-lined path, stopping at all the monuments and memorials along the way. Just be sure to bring along your beloved AirPods and a comfy pair of sneakers—and, while you’re at it, post an IG story of Honest Abe for good measure. 

Give Your Credit Card A Workout In Georgetown

Georgetown’s cobblestone streets are dotted with dozens — if not hundreds — of shops, and you can easily spend hours strolling around the picturesque neighborhood. While you’ll certainly find your fair share of big-name brands (think: Aritzia, Intermix, Anthropologie, Veronica Beard, and Free People, to name a few), don’t skip out on smaller boutiques such as Billy Reid, atmos, and Buck Mason. Tip: When it comes time to refuel, head to nearby Baked & Wired for some coffee and fresh-baked pastries. 

Go Museum-Hopping

Channel your inner history buff and go museum-hopping around DC. What’s more, the city is home to over 70 (!) fascinating museums, a handful of which are entirely free to enter. Must-visits include the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the National Archives Museum, the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. 

Lauren Ellman
Lauren Ellman
Lauren Dana Ellman is a New York-based writer and editor specializing in all things travel, beauty, shopping, and wellness. Among her most toxic traits are making online shopping, watching Ted Lasso, and being a dog mom her entire personality (sorry, not sorry). Follow her on IG (@laurenvellman), where she's way cooler compared to IRL.