On May 9McLean Robbins answered the question:Washington, D.C. is a culture-lovers paradise, boasting a wide array of ever-changing shows, music performances and limited run engagements straight from Broadway. Here are a few of our favorites currently in the city as of May 2013.
It’s always worth a visit to The Kennedy Center to see the city’s famed National Symphony Orchestra, which plays weekly engagements, but we’d also suggest that The Washington Ballet makes for a worthy trip. Hemmingway: The Sun Also Rises is the current show. Long-running yet extremely popular Shear Madness is also worth taking in. The Washington National Opera also currently operates out of the Kennedy Center space, and is currently performing Show Boat. If you’re in town on May 22, we’d suggest doing a virtual performance at Nationals Park, where they’ll broadcast the show live during Opera In the Outfield.
On May 9McLean Robbins answered the question:Art lovers, take note. It’s easy to plan an entire vacation around gallery hopping in Washington, D.C.. Venture beyond the expected – the impressive yet well-known National Gallery of Art and its associated Sculpture Garden – to the Smithsonian-operated Freer & Sackler Galleries, where you’ll see a wide variety of Eastern art. You’ll also want to escape the National Mall entirely for three art museums owned by the Smithsonian collection – the Renwick Gallery, which features American craft arts, and the two-in-one museums in Chinatown, the National Museum of American Art and the National Portrait Gallery. But we haven’t even begun to complete our artistic journey yet – you’ll also want to stop by the gorgeous downtown National Museum of Women in the Arts (bonus points if you can attend an evening gala or lecture) and the famed Corcoran Gallery of Art, which offers an ever-rotating selection of works by master painters, sculptors and photographers alike.
On May 9McLean Robbins answered the question:Any major city will have some sort of festival or cultural event at least a few times each month, but visitors to the Nation’s Capital are luckier than most – Washington, D.C. boasts some of the country’s most enticing annual events.
Summer visitors should consider planning a visit over 4th of July weekend. The city’s Independence Day celebration, "A Capitol Fourth," is one of the nation’s best, if not the best in the country, featuring a massive concert and orchestral performance, plus big name acts. Airing live on PBS each year, the Thursday-evening concert will celebrate America’s 236th birthday with the famed “1812 Overture” as well a number of celebrity performances.
But we have a secret – the best day to watch the concert isn’t even on Thursday, but at the open-to-the-public rehearsal the day before. Gates usually open mid-afternoon, and almost all of the performers and emcees taking place in the event will participate in this dress “practice round.”
On May 9McLean Robbins answered the question:Washington, D.C. is an ideal city for family travel – it’s easy to find activities that suit kids and kids at heart a like. Some of the city’s best cultural attractions have special activities suited just for little ones. One of our favorites is the Spy Museum downtown, which offers kids-friendly programming and a slew of interactive exhibits.
We’d also suggest a ride around the Tidal Basin on a paddleboat. As long as your children are old enough to reach the pedals, it’s a fun and relatively low-cost activity the whole family can enjoy. If your children are animal fans, a visit to the National Zoo is also always in order – the spacious and Metro-accessible Zoo is free and offers the standard lions, tigers and bears plus special reptile, elephant, bird and famed Panda exhibits that are fun for all ages.
Parental note: Most of Washington, D.C.’s luxury hotels (and all of the properties on our Forbes-rated list) offer some sort of concierge-suggested list of activities for parents traveling with VIK’s (Very Important Kids). The concierge at most any hotel can also arrange custom tours and special activities to suit a child’s age or special interests.
On May 1McLean Robbins answered the question:In a city once known for its meat-and-potatoes attitude towards food, Washington, D.C. has become a culinary capital to rival many of the United States’ most formidable food towns. While several restaurants open each week in Washington, none has generated more buzz in the past few weeks than the French Bistro inspired Le Diplomate – where Katy Perry recently caught a late night meal when she was in town for the White House Correspondents Dinner. Known for its traditional bistro atmosphere and dishes like Onion Soup Gratinee, Steak Frites and Escargots, the STARR restaurant group is fast becoming a must-visit. If you can get a reservation, that is.
On April 30McLean Robbins answered the question:Washington, D.C. has a number of dining experiences that will whet the whistle of even the most jaded palate.
Washington, D.C. is a city known for a wide variety of cultures and backgrounds. As a result, the town offers some of the world’s most unique and unusual dining experiences. Here are a few of our favorites:
• Thai X-Ing – Located in a tiny basement in Shaw, this tasting menu-style Thai restaurant is one of the city’s view BYOB destinations and offers some of the city’s best Thai food in a setting that reminds guests of being in a native home.
• Ethiopian Food – Washington boasts one of the country’s largest Thai populations. Be sure to try this African country’s native cuisine on your next visit to the city.
• Rogue 24 – This 24-course tasting menu offers a journey through the world of molecular gastronomy. Similar to the equally impressive Minibar by Jose Andres, this Blagden Alley restaurant is considered one of the city’s finest and most unusual dining experiences.
Of course, just about any cuisine, from fondue to French to Far Eastern, can be found in DC. We welcome you to try all that the city has to offer on your next visit.
On April 30McLean Robbins answered the question:The Washington, D.C. area is a hotbed for music acts both large and small. From country to rock and roll, rap to indie folk, you’ll find it all at our small nightclubs and large-scale arenas alike. Here are the top concerts headed to the Washington, D.C. area in the next few months. Start planning your summer music experiences now:
• Rush – May 7 – First Mariner Arena
• Taylor Swift – May 11 & 12 – Verizon Center
• Luke Bryan, Thompson Square, Florida Georgia Line – May 18 – Jiffy Lube Live
• Tim McGraw – June 1 – Jiffy Lube Live
• New Kids on the Block & Boyz II Men – June 14 – Verizon Center
• Bruno Mars – June 22 – Verizon Center
• One Direction – June 23 – Verizon Center
• Heart – June 25 – Jiffy Lube Live
• Kid Rrock – June 28 – Jiffy Lube Live
• Brad Paisley – June 29 – Jiffy Lube Live
• Train – July 12 – Jiffy Lube Live
• Lynyrd Skynyrd & Bad Company – July 14 – Jiffy Lube Live
• Blake Shelton – July 20 – Jiffy Lube Live
• Dave Matthews Band – July 27 – Jiffy Lube Live
• Miranda Lambert – July 28 – Jiffy Lube Live
• Jonas Brothers – July 29 – Jiffy Lube Live
• Beyonce – July 29 & 30 - Verizon Center
• Justin Bieber – August 3 – Verizon Center
• Jimmy Buffett – August 17 – Jiffy Lube Live
• Honda Civic Tour Featuring Maroon 5 – September 7 – Jiffy Lube Live
• Pink – November 24 – Verizon Center
On April 30McLean Robbins answered the question:
Washington, D.C. has a wealth of activities for all ages, cultures and interests. From the White House to the Washington Monument, the best part about visiting Washington is that most of the best things to do in the city are free and open to the public. But if you’re only visiting Washington for one day and have just a few hours free, we’d suggest a visit to the famed National Mall. The home of our esteemed President is lovely, but one can only get so close to 1600 Pennsylvania. Spend an afternoon touring the Air & Space museum, the Museum of Natural History and the National Gallery of Art. You’ll see some of the world’s most unique artifacts, from ancient Egyptian mummies to Monet paintings, all in just a few block radius. It’s quintessential Washington, D.C. – and best of all, it’s free.
On April 30McLean Robbins answered the question:Washington, D.C. is home to a large number of public parks, but a few are near and dear to our hearts. One of our favorites is Rock Creek Park, the city’s version of New York’s Central Park, with its wide running paths, beautiful forests, and striking water features. We also love Meridian Hill Park, located in Kalorama, where you can enjoy a spectacular waterfall, join an impromptu drum circle, or have a picnic in the sunshine. Another must-visit spot is Great Falls, a national park located on two sides of the city (Maryland and Virginia). We’d suggest a visit to the Maryland side for challenging yet fun hiking and beautiful water views.
On April 30McLean Robbins answered the question:Visitors to Washington are lucky – nearly all of the city’s museums are free and open to the public. The Smithsonian museums and the National Gallery of Art on the National Mall are popular tourist destinations and definitely among the area’s best free museum destinations. We’d also suggest the less-visited but no less impressive Portrait Gallery and Museum of American Art in Chinatown and the Renwick Gallery, also part of the Smithsonian collection, located just beside the White House. If you’re visiting Washington, D.C. for just a short while, don’t miss the “Big Three,” which includes the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, the Museum of American History and the Air and Space Museum.
On April 30McLean Robbins answered the question:Dining with the best views of the Washington, D.C. skyline must take place on one of the city’s famed rooftop restaurants and bars. Some of our favorites include the kitschy yet enjoyable Lauriol Plaza, a Mexican restaurant in Adams Morgan, the popular Latin fusion Masa 14 and its sister restaurant El Centro D.F. in Logan Circle, and the Asian-inspired Zentan at the Donovan House in Thomas Circle. All of these restaurants offer popular rooftop decks for dining and drinking that offer impressive views of some of the most iconic sites in Washington, D.C.
On April 25McLean Robbins answered the question:Washington is a haven for book lovers and offers several wonderful bookstores for pleasure reading and research alike. This comes as no surprise – the Washington, D.C. area boasts one of the most highly-educated populations in the United States.
Here are a few of our favorites:
Politics & Prose
Known for offering a heavy selection of locally-written titles, Politics and Prose is equally known as a bookstore and a destination to hear prominent local and national authors speak. Considered a Washington, D.C. staple, the store is located on Connecticut Avenue in Van Ness.
Kramerbooks & Afterwords Café
Located in Dupont Circle, this incredibly popular bookstore-café combination boasts late hours and a loyal following. The well-stacked selection of fiction and nonfiction is second only to the delicious food. Many a local romance has started over a cup of coffee here!
On April 25McLean Robbins answered the question:Washington, D.C. is a popular place to visit as a family, and as a result, many of the city’s best hotels cater to parents traveling with kids. Nearly all luxury hotels in the city offer connecting rooms and some sort of welcome amenity for younger travelers, but here are a few of our favorites – all of which also happen to be Forbes rated properties!
At the St. Regis Washington, D.C., children not only enjoy a welcome amenity, but access to the concierge who can organize special tours and events just for kids.
Visitors to the Four Seasons Washington, D.C. and the Ritz-Carlton (both the Downtown and the Georgetown) property also enjoy dedicated welcome amenities for children, as well as special kids friendly restaurant and in-room dining menus.
McLean Robbins is a Forbes Travel Guide correspondent who lives in Washington, D.C. The freelance luxury lifestyle writer specializes in travel, hotels, spas, weddings and social media for national magazines and websites. Her work has appeared in publications including Robb Report, AOL, The Washington Post, The Washingtonian, Destination Weddings & Honeymoons, DailyCandy and many more. She is also an experienced digital content and SEO strategist, working with businesses across the country to help develop engaging Web content. Robbins holds an undergraduate degree from Wake Forest University and a master’s degree from Georgetown University.