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You’ve arrived, checked in, and dropped your bags at the hotel. Now what? It’s time to party!
5 PM: Happy Hour at Cork Wine Bar
Your first stop is one of DC’s newest hotspots, Cork Wine Bar (1720 14th St., NW; 202-265-2675), for predinner wine and appetizers. Cork stocks 35 wines by the glass and more than 130 by the bottle, but don’t be intimidated; the knowledgeable waitstaff can help you select the perfect drink. The menu emphasizes food and wine pairings by offering cold and hot small plates to share—such as rosemary chicken liver bruschetta and caramelized sunchokes—and a handful of desserts.
7 PM: Something Fishy for Dinner
On the way to Dupont Circle, where you’ll dance the night away, enjoy a laid-back dinner at Hank’s Oyster Bar (1624 Q St., NW; 202-462-4265). Meals here always start with a cute touch: a bowl of gratis goldfish crackers. The bright and bustling spot offers a changing roster of well-shucked oysters, fresh fish dishes, and a buttery, generously stuffed lobster roll. The cocktails are fun and seasonal, and though there’s no dessert menu, you get another free treat to end the meal: hunks of tasty dark chocolate.
8:30 PM: Dancing at Five Club
Head over to Five Club (1214 18th St., NW; 202-331-7123) for a night of dancing done right. This multilevel club stocks three bars and features a large dance floor, a rooftop deck, couches for lounging, and a wraparound balcony upstairs that’s great for people watching. Twentysomethings wanting to see and be seen pack in on the weekends. On Fridays, expect to hear a mix of hip-hop, house, reggae, and dancehall music.
SATURDAY: THE PAMPERED TOURIST
Relax at a spa before heading out to see the sights.
9 AM: Breakfast
For breakfast, head to Teaism (800 Connecticut Ave., NW; 202-835-2233), an Asian-inspired teahouse near the White House, for cilantro scrambled eggs (or tofu) and hearty Irish oatmeal with fruit. Be sure to grab one of the hefty salty oat cookies for the road—they have something of a cult following among Washingtonians.
10:15 AM: Get a Treatment at Nusta Spa
Pronounced “noo-stuh,” ecofriendly Nusta Spa (1129 20th St., NW; 202-530-5700) gets its name from the Quechuan word for “royalty”; Washingtonian staffers who’ve tried the place say they felt like nothing less. Built with nontoxic, recycled materials, the space is sleek and modern, but the white treatment rooms can be color-customized to your taste depending on your mood, thanks to LED lighting. Other ecofriendly elements run throughout, from the product lines and packaging to the paper and ink at the front desk. The treatments are on the pricey side—$95 for a 50-minute facial and $50 for a 45-minute pedicure—but the service is top-notch, so it’s worth the splurge.
For other great spas in the area, check out our Find a Spa tool.
Noon: Munch on Lunch
Continue your healthful spa day with lunch at Java Green (1020 19th St., NW; 202 775-8899), an organic, vegetarian cafe. The fresh and tasty grilled panini, salads, and rice bowls (topped with tofu, soy chicken or beef, or just veggies) can win over even skeptical carnivores. The tofu-and-mushroom panini and Korean bul goki rice bowl are favorites. The refreshing smoothies, in flavors including kiwi berry and piña colada, are a perfect postspa treat.
1 PM: Art Meets Girl Power
Take the girls to the National Museum of Women in the Arts (1250 New York Ave., NW; 202-783-5000), the only museum in the world dedicated exclusively to female artists. With art from 28 countries, this museum houses more than 3,000 works by women from the 16th century to the present and includes a range of media such as painting, photography, sculpture, silver, and more. Guided tours are available but must be arranged in advance by calling 202-783-7996. Tickets cost $10 for adults and $8 for students and seniors over age 60; under age 19 free.
2:30 PM: Afternoon Tea
Treat yourself to a midday indulgence at the Willard Intercontinental (1401 Pennsylvania Ave., NW; 202-628-9100). The hotel’s afternoon tea includes a selection of loose-leaf teas, fruit, scones, jams, pastries, and finger sandwiches, such as lobster salad with asparagus and caviar on brioche. You’ll snack and sip in the hotel’s Peacock Alley, a long, richly decorated hallway great for people watching. Afternoon tea costs $35 per person, but for an extra $10 a head you can add a glass of Nicolas Feuillate Brut Champagne. Cheers!
3:30 PM: City Views at the Old Post Office Pavilion and Clock Tower
Skip the lines at the Washington Monument and take in a view of the city from downtown DC’s second-highest point: the clock tower at the Old Post Office Pavilion (1100 Pennsylvania Ave., NW; 202-289-4224). This free tour is one of DC’s best-kept secrets. The observation deck provides 360-degree views of the city. The tower is home to the Congressional Bells, a gift from Great Britain for our country’s 200th birthday; they ring on Thursday evenings and special occasions.