A College Student's Guide to a Weekend in Washington D.C.

Friday Late Afternoon

Arrive in Washington D.C via car, bus, train, or plane, and meet your friend at a designated location. I would suggest either the airport, bus station, or train station where they are scheduled to arrive or a metro hub like Gallery Place/Chinatown, L'Enfant Plaza, or Metro Center. Remind them to download a transit app such as Citymapper or Transit for easy navigation around D.C's public transportation system

Friday Night

After you or your guest has settled into your dorm room, take them to dinner at &pizza, a D.C. staple. I would suggest the pesto sauce with fresh mozzarella and your favorite toppings. If you're looking for dessert, try Milk Bar near Chinatown for some unique shakes and cookies or Captain Cookie in Foggy Bottom. Once you are finished indulging in some yummy D.C. eats, head down to the monuments for a chance to see them at their best. Make sure to take lots of pictures so you can post them later!

Image from Flickr

Saturday Morning

After a good night's rest, it's time for some breakfast. Head on over to Corner Bakery Cafe. With some delicious breakfast items and convenient locations such as Chinatown, Union Station, and Federal Triangle, it is the best way to start a busy weekend. Once you're finished with breakfast, head on down to the mall and visit one of the many FREE museums. I love all of the museums, but I would especially recommend the American History museum. Also, make sure to check out the Hirshhorn which is constantly changing their exhibits and always has something fun to experience.

Image from Flikr

Saturday Lunch

After you've had your museum fix, you have two options. You can either stop by Union Market for lunch and try some local D.C. favorites such as Takorean, or find the food trucks on the mall such as Chix N Stix (they are usually located around the sculpture garden and at the intersection of Maryland and 6th St SW). Both choices offer amazing food with a variety of choices and you can't go wrong.

Saturday Afternoon

Once you are finished indulging in some lunchtime bites, head over to the Tidal Basin to see my favorite D.C. attraction, the FDR memorial. During the warmer months, the fountains are running and provide some cool opportunities for pictures. If it's good weather, take a stroll to the Jefferson Memorial and even further to the boathouse to rent a swan paddle boat.

Image credit of the author

Saturday Late Afternoon

No D.C. visit would be complete without a visit to the Zoo! Since it is a Smithsonian Institution, it is free to visit so you don't have to worry about getting the biggest bang for your buck. If you're short on time, go straight to the pandas, which are on loan from China. If it is a warm day, you can find them outside in their grassy enclosures, but on colder days they are usually in the panda house. 

Saturday Dinner

After a long day of exploring the city, it is time to rally and refuel. Change into something nice and get ready for a night on the town. Make your way to one of the many nighttime hotspots for dinner such as Georgetown, Chinatown, or Adams Morgan. There, you can find some delicious food including Amsterdam Falafelshop (Adams Morgan), El Centro D.F. (Georgetown), and Clyde's of Gallery Place (Chinatown).

Saturday Late Night

After you've had a good meal, head over to one of D.C.'s many clubs including UltraBar which is 18+, so there's no need to worry about being over 21. If clubs aren't your style, try walking around U Street or Dupont Circle to look for desert. My late night snack of choice is a hot glazed doughnut from Krispy Kreme in Dupont which is open all weekend. If fried dough isn't your style, try Kramerbooks and Afterwards Café also in Dupont Circle, or Jenni's Splendid Ice Cream on 14th Street NW, both excellent choices for a quick pit stop. Once you've danced the night away and eaten your share of sweets, it's time to retire back to the room for a good night's sleep.

Image from Flikr

Sunday Morning

After a long night, make sure to sleep in. Don't worry about what time you finally emerge from your room because D.C. is the ultimate city for BRUNCH! End your weekend on a high note with a delicious crossover meal at one of the best spots in D.C., Farmers, Fishers, Bakers. Make sure to make a reservation or prepare yourself for an hour and a half wait. Indulge in a buffet full of breakfast delights such as cinnamon buns and thick cut bacon, or nosh on some lunch bites like honey pot chicken and sushi. Once you are stuffed, take a stroll along the Georgetown Waterfront, another great spot for pictures.

Sunday Afternoon

By now you've explored museums, tried some of D.C.'s best eateries, and taken pictures of the adorable pandas at the zoo. It's time to travel back to the train station, bus station, or airport because all good things must come to an end. Don't forget to grab a snack for the road and share your photos (pick your faves to edit for social media on the way back home or to campus). Leaving is always the worst part, but hug them goodbye and tell them to text you as soon as they get home. 


Special thanks to my friend Halle who gave me the inspiration for this article, I hope you can come visit me soon!