Luxury Escapes Guide to Washington, DC

There’s only one place, where exclusive experiences are monumental.

Washington, DC may be where the nation’s past, present and future converge – the USA’s capital and the historic home to its presidents – but this city is much more than surface level.

Come for the immense number of monuments, museums and memorials – from the National Mall to the 17 Smithsonian Museums – and you’ll stay for the rich cultural scene. Immerse yourself in a historic Georgetown jazz joint, soak in a performance at a theatre that is also a living presidential memorial, and try award-winning, embassy-inspired cuisines.

From watching the Washington Wizards score basketball three-pointers to cruising along Washington, DC’s waterways, there’s only one Washington, DC and it’s full of unique experiences just waiting to surprise you.

Produced in partnership with Washington, DC & Brand USA.

Washington DC and BUSA

Escape to Washington DC

Things to see and do

Explore the historic National Mall

Stretching from the Lincoln Memorial to the U.S. Capitol, the National Mall is America’s most-visited national park – and for good reason. Nicknamed “America’s front yard,” the pristine grass surface is fringed by trees and lined with iconic attractions including the Washington Monument and National Gallery of Art (home to the only Da Vinci in the Americas). More than 100 statues and monuments make up the National Mall, as well as most of the city’s 17 Smithsonian Institution museums. Visitors to the National Mall may also tour the iconic grounds via an array of public or private options. Opportunities abound to elevate visits to museums, the National Archives, U.S. Capitol building, and the Library of Congress, among others.

National Museum of Natural History

For the perfect family day out, supplement your itinerary with one of DC’s vast collection of free activities. Your visit can be packed with memories of bucket-list only in DC moments while allowing room for personal highlights. Beyond the Smithsonian museums located on the National Mall, admire the natural wonders of one of the nation’s most beloved attractions, right in the heart of DC. The National Zoo is home to more than 1,500 animals from 300 species, including endangered wildlife. Stop off at the U.S. Botanic Garden, Planet Word, U.S. Capitol Visitor Centre, and the National Arboretum to dig even deeper in the city’s history.

Take a tour around some of DC's most vivid streetscapes

Take on the colourful streets of DC with a guided, or self-guided, tour around the city’s paint soaked alleys and lanes. Wander your way through the neighbourhoods of NoMa and Union Market, home to ever changing murals on some of the city’s most iconic buildings. Learn first hand about some of the most prolific DC street artists and the burgeoning creative scene they contribute to. From Blagden Alley to U Street, take your admiration of art outside with a exciting mural tour.

Wander The Wharf, the mile-long waterfront precinct putting DC on the map

Solidifying the city as a premium waterfront destination, the iconic Wharf precinct hugs the Potomac River, dotting its edges with restaurants, retailers, local business and even the acclaimed Anthem concert hall. Slurp fresh seafood at Rappahannock Oyster Bar, wander through the oldest continuously operating fish market on the East Coast of the U.S., find the perfect souvenir at Shop Made in DC, or enjoy views from the water aboard a private boat tour.

Top places to eat and drink

Moonraker, Pendry, The Wharf

Experience Moonraker, a rooftop diner promising Japanese cuisine and handcrafted cocktails, all with waterfront views. By day, enjoy laid-back lounge vibes before evenings see Moonraker bring out live music and DJs. Perfect for a sightseeing pitstop to refuel and refresh.

Supra, Mount Vernon Square

Supra offers a taste of the Republic of Georgia right in DC. The restaurant, named after a traditional Georgian tablecloth, dishes up traditional tastes and original recipes such as chicken mtsvadi skewers, fresh eggplant nigvzit and tender beef rib eye steak. Take a seat to experience a true Georgian feast with abundant food, wine maybe even a soulful tune. As the first Georgian-style restaurant to open in DC, Supra adds another layer to DC’s rich multicultural culinary scene.

VUE Rooftop, Downtown DC

Elevate your DC experience at VUE Rooftop, located above Hotel Washington. Enjoy stunning views of the White House and Washington Monument alongside seasonal cocktails and elegant cuisine, from the crunchy prawn croquettes paired with a refreshing autumn harvest margarita to the succulent masala lamb rack coupled with a rich chocolate city negroni.

Masseria, Union Market

Situated next door to Union Market - a food haven in its own right, Michelin-starred restaurant Masseria specialises in harmonious Italian flavours and heartfelt energy. Led by passionate Chef Nicholas Stefanelli, this award-winning fine dining destination pays tribute to the bountiful Puglia region serving the likes of fresh focaccia, grilled squid and creamy risottos. Just adjacent and also within the Union Market district enjoy a lively Latin American marketplace experience at La Cosecha from streetfood favourites like chopped sandwiches to Mexican specialities including fresh tacos.

Ben’s Chili Bowl, U Street

Ben’s Chili Bowl, a DC institution for more than 62 years, is a hot spot favourited by locals, tourists and celebrities alike. Family-owned and operated, its original U Street location is beloved for its authentic Washington street food and rich history. With additional locations at Washington Reagan National Airport, Capitol Hill, Nationals Park and the Convention Center, Ben’s offers its famous half smoke: a chili-covered hot dog native to Washington and other favourites, ensuring a taste of DC for all visitors.

Ethiopic, H Street

Celebrate the city’s thriving Ethopian community with a taste of this wholesome native cuisine widely appreciated by the wider city and its tourists. Focused on delivering traditional Ethiopian ingredients to embrace the true taste of the country its from, Ethiopic is the DC spot for incredible injera (Ethiopian pancake-style bread) coupled with fragrant bubbling stews, fermented vegetables and tender meats.

Zaytinya by José Andrés, Penn Quarter

This award-winning, Michelin Guide restaurant is renowned as one of Washington, DC’s best spots to get. Helmed by acclaimed chef José Andrés, Zaytinya serves up wholesome mezze-style culinary delights inspired by Turkish, Greek and Lebanese flavours and styles of cooking. From cheesy spanakopita, fresh seafood mezze and classic Turkish flatbreads with a variety of fixings to ouzo fuelled cocktails and delicious wine imported from the motherland, this space is a pure celebration of Mediterranean culture, produce and traditions.

Top neighbourhoods

Penn Quarter

From cultural gems like the National Portrait Gallery to top-tier eateries helmed by celebrity chefs, Penn Quarter and Chinatown are brimming with creative flair. By day, visit museums and monuments like the United States Navy Memorial, and once the sun goes down, enjoy hopping between theatres and restaurants or catching a ball game at the exciting Capital One Arena. Historic sites like Ford’s Theatre and Chinatown’s Friendship Archway are a hive of activity from day to night.

Adams Morgan

Loved for its bustling nightlife, Adams Morgan is more than just late night fun. Admire the historic row houses that line 18th Street, alongside independent shops like Mercedes Bien Vintage and Urban Dwell for unique finds and one-off gifts. Art lovers will adore a visit to the DC Arts Center for emerging artists’ exhibitions and performances. For something a little different, pay a visit to The LINE DC, a hotel in a converted church, hosting dining options like No Goodbyes and a trendy rooftop bar. If you’re lucky and in the neighbourhood come September, enjoy all the festivities of Adams Morgan Day featuring music, food, and cultural activities.


Wander tree-lined avenues, dine by the waterfront or stay in some of the city’s most luxurious sought out hotels; Georgetown has it all. Explore the creative scene along M Street for fine art galleries and boutique shopping, walk historic cobblestoned streets past heritage mansions, and wine and dine with a jazz show at Blues Alley or an incredible meal at Fiola Mare.

Southwest & The Wharf

The lively waterfront community of Southwest & The Wharf is a not only a vibrant one, steeped in history but is also home to the nation’s oldest open-air fish market. The Wharf, a bustling waterfront destination, boasts an eclectic collection of dining hot spots like the Salamander Grille inside the namesake hotel, cultural monuments, interesting architecture and live music events.

U Street

Where the city’s music and nightlife are at their most exciting; U Street is a neighbourhood with modern energy and rich history. The birthplace of jazz legend Duke Ellington, the vibrant musical scene lives on in full force through trendy jazz bars, theatres and record stores. Join an exciting food tour for a blend of culture and cuisine or explore Little Ethiopia to finish with a taste test of Ice Cream Jubilee’s most unique ice cream flavours from red bean almond cookie to cuppa joe.

Dupont Circle

Discover the sophisticated charm of Dupont Circle, where boutique shopping and bookstore browsing await. Explore its vibrant atmosphere, boasting bistros, bars, and museums, on 17th Street where pride runs deep. Find a tranquil spot by the Dupont Circle fountain for a moment of relaxation, or wander down Connecticut Avenue offering a plethora of shops and eateries. Art enthusiasts can enjoy First Friday Dupont or The Phillips Collection, foodies can revel in the thriving international cuisine scene, and shoppers shouldn’t miss the famous Dupont Circle farmers’ market on Sundays.

Washington, DC — Events

See a thousand flowers bloom at the National Cherry Blossom Festival

Throughout spring, the city transforms into a flurry of colour and sweet floral perfume as the National Cherry Blossom Festival comes into full bloom. Featuring a diverse program celebrating arts, culture, and, of course, the cherry blossom, the festival honours the friendship between the US and Japan. The festival takes place over a series of spectacular weekends and daily events, and visitors can take in decorated porches, experience bloom-centric art exhibitions, enjoy a cherry blossom-themed afternoon tea and attend the blossom block party.

Uncover the city’s rich multicultural history at Passport DC

Take part in a month-long celebration of diversity and international cultures throughout May as part of Passport DC. Stroll through Embassy Row and pay a visit to some of more than 170 embassies located in Washington, DC, learning about the heritage of each nation. Taste-test international delicacies, sip on imported coffees and spirits, admire incredible cultural dancing performances and enjoy family-friendly interactive fun.

Swing dance ‘till your hearts content at DC JazzFest

Kick off autumn with mesmerising music melodies when you snap up a ticket to the DC JazzFest® (DCJF). Dedicated to showcasing this music genre, the festival features a series of acoustic performances by acclaimed and emerging artists, and exciting programs for the entire family – all aimed to get you grooving.

Relish DC’s diverse food and creative scenes at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival

Celebrating cultures from across the world and the country’s own Indigenous way of life, DC’s Smithsonian Folklife Festival is a the city’s summer festival packed full of family-friendly activities. Each year, the free festival welcomes a variety of food demonstrations and delicious pop-ups, a lineup of talented performers focused on developing cultural awareness, and interactive activities like traditional weaving perfect for attendees of all ages.

Capital Pride

Celebrate the thriving LGBTQ+ community in Washington, DC with an array of unmissable events for Capital Pride. As one of the country’s biggest pride events, this over a week-long collection of events includes the famous Pride Parade, block party, and variety of festivals and concerts. Get involved, dress up in rainbow colours and embrace diversity - the fun way - at Capital Pride.

Washington, DC — Lux Moments

Join an after dark adventure on the Monuments by Moonlight Night Tour

See DC in a whole new light on the Monuments by Moonlight Night Tour. Showing off the best of the capital after dark, visitors will be shown around the city aboard a comfortable touring trolley and guided by conductors passionate about all things DC. Explore landmarks like the Lincoln Memorial and US Marine Corps War Memorial and enjoy the opportunity to see architecture and famous streets lit only by moonlight.

Experience DC theatre at its finest at John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

From side-splitting standup comedy to classic symphonies, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts showcases the best of the best when it comes to DC performances. Catch Broadway productions like Mamma Mia! or Funny Girl, watch as ballerinas pirouette across the stage, or tap your feet to the sound of some of the country’s finest musical acts.

See the city from a new point of view with a luxurious water cruise

Cruise down the Georgetown Waterfront aboard an Embark DC private boat tour, tailored to your liking. Relax and sightsee as you cruise past some of DC’s most iconic sights and elevate your sail to include swimming, dining, and more onboard. Guided by a passionate USCG-licensed captain, enjoy live narration or peaceful silence as you desire. Tours cover the greater Washington, DC area along the Potomac River, Washington Channel, and Anacostia River, with flexibility to visit the destinations you most want to see.

See the capital your way with an Off the Mall Tour

For a tour around the capital sure to keep you on your toes, Off the Mall Tours offer unique ways to delve into DC’s history – beyond a trip to National Mall. Explore the city’s diverse neighbourhoods on foot while passionate tour guides fill you in on some of the city’s most incredible stories, including Civil War narratives and the beginnings of jazz and punk.

Score tickets for a Washington Wizards home game

While you’re in town, don’t miss a chance to shoot and score a seat at one of the Washington Wizards thrilling NBA games in their home area. Cheer on some familiar faces like ball legend Kyle Kuzma from the sidelines as the players dribble and swish their way to a win.

Savour DC's vibrant culinary scene with a tasty foodie tour

Embark on a delicious journey through DC’s historic neighborhoods with Blue Fern Travel’s Fork Tours. Indulge in a multi-course meal showcasing each district’s heritage and evolution. Led by professional guides, delve into the area’s art, architecture, and biggest culinary influences while savoring carefully selected tastings. Plus, with every ticket, you’re supporting those in need through our partnership with Bread for the City. Take your pick between exciting tours in U Street, Georgetown, or Old Town Alexandria, available Thursday through Sunday.

Become immersed in the city's live music scene

Whether you’re looking for a relaxed-meets-sophisticated jazz evening in Georgetown, or a hip-hop or DJ gig in the city, Washington, DC has a variety of iconic venues home to some of the country’s best live shows. See some of the world’s biggest names from Radiohead to Sophie Ellis-Bextor at the iconic 930 Club, or turn things up a notch at the 6,000 people venue The Anthem where famous rockers and up-and-coming rappers take the stage. Get cosy with a craft brew in Pearl Street Warehouse to watch some of the country’s best rock and country stars from the comfort of your seats.