Save the heavily scheduled D.C. trip for a long weekend when you can Smithsonian to your heart’s delight. This time, take it easy, and leave a little room to wander off the beaten path.
The Travel Time
1.5 hours on Acela Express (first-class, of course, complete with at-seat meal service and hot towels) beats granola bars and bickering in Beltway traffic.
The immaculate Jefferson Hotel—which was redone in 2009—is one of D.C.’s finest, as Travel + Leisure and Conde Nast Traveler have recently declared. Plus, it’s close to everything. $$
Most romantic in D.C.? The hotel’s Plume. When was the last time you had rolling cheese-cart service? Before dinner, sip classic cocktails at the Jefferson’s Quill, a less snooty Franklin Mortgage that’s still sufficiently see-and-be-seen. For lunch, Ethiopian is huge in these parts: Cab over to Zenebech Injera (no website; find it at 608 T Street NW, 202-667-4700), where real Ethiopians go, and eat spicy food with your hands.
The Sights and Diversions
Walk out the hotel’s front door. Turn right and walk a couple blocks. Wave to President Obama: The White House makes for a perfect twilight stroll. At the nearby (and frequently overlooked) Building Museum, you’ll find the impressive LEGO Architecture exhibit—that’s Fallingwater! Made out of plastic blocks!—but be careful or you’ll find yourself toting home a $220 LEGO Frank Lloyd Wright house from the gift shop. If you do drive—and this is the only good reason to do so—stop at the incredible Air & Space Museum at Dulles Airport. They’ve got a B-29 bomber, just to give you some idea of the grandeur. And come April, they’ll have Discovery. As in the space shuttle.
The Insider’s Tip
Think Philly cabs suck? D.C.’s are even worse. Know what direction you’re supposed to be going, or your driver will, um, take you for a ride. Meanwhile, the Metro is clean and easy to navigate.