Day 4: The National Zoo, the Phillips Collection, and dinner on Barracks Row
Breakfast at Firehook
Begin your day with coffee and baked treats at this Washington mini chain by Cleveland Park Metro. More than ten different kinds of bread are baked fresh daily, and the menu includes everything from flaky cinnamon bear claws to blueberry-studded muffins. There’s even a spacious patio out back for breakfast al fresco in fine weather.
AM: Explore the National Zoo
Just down Connecticut Avenue from Firehook is the Smithsonian National Zoological Park, home to 2,000 different animals from more than 400 species. The indisputable stars are the two giant pandas, Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, who are on loan from China through 2015. Other highlights include the Great Cats exhibit featuring Sumatran tigers and African lions, a Great Ape house, and Amazonia: a 15,000-square-foot rainforest exhibit with a 55,000-gallon aquarium.
Next: Take a Walk Through Rock Creek Park
The National Zoo sits inside Rock Creek Park, which, at 2,100 acres total, is more than twice the size of New York’s Central Park. While walking the trails outside of the zoo though, you might come across its public golf course, horse center, tennis courts, and boat center, as well. Mostly it’s the best spot in town for a long, shaded, relatively serene stroll.
Lunch: Tryst at the Phillips
The latest local restaurant to occupy a museum, Adams Morgan mainstay Tryst just opened inside the Phillips’ cafe space. Enjoy the art while snacking on small plates such as pesto orzo and tomato bruschetta, or enjoy full-size quesadillas and hearty sandwiches and salads.
PM: Visit the Phillips Collection
The Phillips Collection is a nearly 100-year-old modern art treasure trove located in a red-brick former residence. Renoir’s “Luncheon of the Boating Party” is considered the crown jewel of the collection, but you’ll also find works by Matisse, Monet, and others, hung in diverse groups so as to “converse” with one another.
Then: Grab Gelato or a Cupcake and Take a Break in Dupont Circle
After all that walking around, you deserve a break. Take a load off in picturesque Dupont Circle, but not before sampling the gelato at Dolcezza, where flavors range from avocado honey orange to cappuccino. If it’s too cold for frozen treats, stop by Hello Cupcake instead.
Dinner: Barracks Row
Didn’t quite get your fill during the game? We’re not judging, and you’re in luck. There’s a free shuttle from Nats Park to Barracks Row, where options are plentiful. Try Ted’s Bulletin for old-fashioned comfort food, Senart’s Oyster & Chop House for seafood and strong drinks, Montmartre for French bistro fare, or its sister joint, Seventh Hill for wood-fired pizzas.