Series: Planning for 36 Hours in Washington, D.C.

Planner’s Travel Series

About the series: Welcome to our ongoing travel series. These are all posts written by planning students and professionals about what to do in a given city when looking for Brunch, a Brew, or a good idea on a Budget. To cap it all off, we include a fun planning fact!

About the visit:  Anyone who has spent much time in D.C. knows that there is a lot more to the city than federal office buildings and free museums. It was during my time living in Capitol Hill as a recent college graduate that I came to really know and love the different neighborhoods and charm of our nation’s capital. A few stints in the food and beverage industry also gave me an appreciation for the amazing dining scene. Here are some of my favorite haunts and top recommendations:


Le Diplomate. Photo Credit: Maria Dewees.

Treat yourself to a tasty brunch at Le Diplomate, a French brasserie in the Logan Circle neighborhood. This former laundromat building was converted into a bustling restaurant that has quickly become a D.C. mainstay. I recommend making a reservation if you can and requesting to sit in the sunroom pictured here. Try a classic eggs benny or go for their butter-poached shrimp salad. After brunch, take a walk through the Logan Circle Historic District to see some beautiful Late Victorian and Richardsonian Romanesque architecture.


It can be challenging to find inexpensive drinks in D.C., but Glen’s Garden Market in Dupont Circle always delivers. Glen’s has a rotating selection of local craft beers for only $4! If you’re not in the mood for beer, their kombucha selection is also excellent. Enjoy a drink on the outdoor patio and pick up a snack or prepared dish from their deli. Glen’s sources their products from small local and sustainable producers in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.


The Migration Series at The Philips Gallery. Photo Credit: Maria Dewees.

If it’s your first visit to D.C., head to The Mall to check out the National Museum of African American History and Culture. It’s the Smithsonian’s newest museum and you could easily spend a whole day there – be sure to give yourself plenty of time to process and reflect. You could spend all of your time at the Smithsonian to be sure – and the museums are free!

There are also many lesser-known museums outside of the Smithsonian that are worth a visit too such as The Phillips Collection in Dupont Circle. The main gallery is free on weekdays and features exhibits like The Migration Series by Jacob Lawrence, a narrative collection of paintings depicting the migration of African Americans from the rural South to the urban North between World Wars I and II.  After an afternoon of art, pop by the coffee shop on the first floor for a cappuccino.

Fun Planning Fact 

Boundary Stone in Northwest D.C. Photo Credit: Maria Dewees.

This map shows the original boundary stones that demarcated the District of Columbia’s border in 1790. The stones are each about one mile apart and most are still in their original positions today. These boundary stones are considered the oldest federally placed monuments in the United States. See if you can spot one on your visit!

Featured Image: Rowhomes of Bloomingdale. Photo Credit: Maria Dewees.

About the Author: Maria Dewees is a master’s student at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in the Department of City and Regional Planning. Her academic interests include social and spatial inequality, housing policy and community development. Prior to grad school, she worked for The National Fair Housing Alliance, a nonprofit dedicated to ending housing discrimination, and Cohen Milstein, a plaintiffs’ class action law firm.