Day 3: Penn Quarter and Georgetown
The Penn Quarter location of this local teahouse-restaurant hybrid opens at 7:30 AM during the week and 9:30 on weekends, and serves up interesting twists on standard breakfast fare. Think sourdough waffles, cilantro scrambled eggs, tea-cured salmon, and a solid beverage selection—or Irish oatmeal for the less adventurous.
Starting out in Penn Quarter will put you in the neighborhood of the two art museums not located on the Mall. The Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture houses both: the American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery, which are separated by a glass-roofed courtyard.
The American Art Museum concentrates on domestic art between the Civil War and the present, while that National Portrait Gallery looks at the art of portraiture and at portraits of a range of notable people from Pocahontas to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Fred Astaire, and Rosa Parks.
If You Have Time: The International Spy Museum
The International Spy Museum—founded by a Korean War codebreaker to provide some insight into the spy trade—includes an hour-long interactive experience called “Operation Spy,” during which visitors become US spies searching for a device that triggers a nuclear bomb. Tickets to the Spy Museum are available at spymuseum.org and are $19.95 for adults and $14.95 for kids (though children six and under are admitted for free).
Penn Quarter is home to an ever-expanding list of restaurants among Washington’s 100 Very Best, which tend toward small plates great for lunch. Try Jaleo for Spanish tapas and sangria, and Proof for meatballs with goat cheese agnolotti.
PM: Take the Metro to Foggy Bottom and shop in Georgetown
There’s something for everyone in Georgetown, and our neighborhood guide offers the full rundown. Some standouts you can’t find just anywhere: British import AllSaints Spitalfields, vintage spot Annie Creamcheese, and boutiques such as Relish, Wink, and Charm. Other popular clothing chains include Anthropologie, J.Crew, and Madewell, in addition to home decor and art shops.
Next Stop: Walk, Bike, or Kayak Up the C&O Canal
Between M Street and the river, you’ll find a stretch of the C&O Canal, which operated for nearly 100 years helping merchants deliver goods to towns along the Potomac. Thompson Boat Center at the eastern end of Georgetown rents kayaks and bikes by the hour or the day, and both provide a great way to see the canal. Or if you prefer a slower pace and a lower price tag, you can always walk.
Happy Hour: Georgetown Waterfront or the Kennedy Center
Alternatively, head over to the Kennedy Center for a drink on the roof terrace and a free 6 PM performance on the Millennium Stage.
Dinner: Pizzeria Paradiso
This Neapolitan-style pizzeria on Georgetown’s main drag (M Street) opens Monday through Saturday at 11:30 AM and Sunday at noon, and it’s informal and relatively inexpensive. Adult-friendly highlights of the lengthy menu include the spicy Atomica with salami and red pepper, the Genovese with pesto and potatoes, the standard Margherita, and the Bottarga with egg and mullet roe.