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Three Splendid Spring Days in Washington, DC

Long weekends are precious. Don’t waste a minute fretting over fitting everything into a tight timeframe. All you have to do is travel two and a half hours by car to Washington, DC, and follow this itinerary for the best of the city. Monuments, museums, performances, restaurants — with this lineup, you can sample everything the capital city has to offer.

Day 1: Cherry Blossoms and a Star Chef

Traveling to DC in the spring is an automatic success with more than 3,000 cherry blossom trees in bloom. The Tidal Basin area is one of the prime spots for seeing the city covered in pink. Take a paddleboat ride and enjoy the view from the water. Then stroll over to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, which has 182 of the newest cherry blossom trees, planted for the monument’s opening in 2011. The National Cherry Blossom Festival (March 20 to April 12) brings special performances and exhibitions. Visit Sylvan Theater by the Washington Monument, which has free daily entertainment throughout the festival. The talent includes singers, dancers, marching bands, and martial artists. For dinner, make reservations at The Source by Wolfgang Puck for a modern take on Asian dishes.

Day 2: An International Journey

Fill up for a full day with brunch at Ping Pong Dim Sum in Chinatown. The sleek, cosmopolitan restaurant honors the ancient traditions of Chinese teahouses. Explore the surrounding Penn Quarter neighborhood, home to the International Spy Museum, Ford’s Theatre, and Madame Tussauds Washington D.C. The Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Harman Center for the Arts offers midday productions and lectures. That afternoon, take the Metro green line to Nationals Park for a baseball game. Indulge in a snack from local DC vendors, such as Ben’s Chili Bowl. Spend the evening exploring your choice of more than 50 of the city’s embassies and consulates with Cultural Tourism DC’s Passport DC. The annual event invites people to experience the cultures of numerous countries found right here in Washington, DC.

Day 3: National Treasures

Start your third day by exploring the National Arboretum. Springtime brings out the gardens’ best qualities, including cherry blossom trees. The 446 acres are considered a living museum. Highlights include Asian Gardens, the National Bonsai collection, and the original columns from the Capitol. Head over to The Kennedy Center for a matinee. Here you can catch ballet superstar Misty Copeland in Swan Lake from April 8-12. Spend your final evening in Washington, DC, at the National Mall for a romantic nighttime tour of the monuments. Impressive anytime of day, the structures seem almost magical in the moonlight.

For more details about this itinerary and other ideas for planning your three days in Washington, DC, click here.