Things to Do

The 6 Best Places Around DC to Get Some Peace and Quiet

One of our top picks: the peaceful orangery at Dumbarton Oaks. Photograph of Dumbarton Oaks by Pete Souza.


1. Dumbarton Oaks

Not pictured above: the cooling cross-breeze that passes through Dumbarton Oaks’ Orangery no matter how still the day.

2. Rock Creek Cemetery

Photograph by Evy Mages.
Photograph by Evy Mages

Stone benches at the grave of Clover Adams—society maven and muse to novelist Henry James—look upon a dramatic depiction of grief by sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens.

3. Barmini

Photograph by Scott Suchman.
Photograph by Scott Suchman

Ask for the swinging rattan basket seat in the corner. Not only can you survey the scene—including the wild bar concoctions—but a little push will have you twirling.

4. Basilica of the National Shrine

Photograph by Evy Mages.
Photograph by Evy Mages

Dozens of chapels line the Basilica, but Our Lady of Pompeii Chapel boasts a magnificent starry-night ceiling mosaic, with a bench for prayer or contemplation.

5. Plume

Photograph by Scot Suchman.
Photograph by Scot Suchman.

Pull the silk curtain and this book-lined half-moon table for two becomes the most intimate spot in the city. Now, this is an anniversary gift.

6. Iwo Jima Memorial

Photograph by Evy Mages.
Photograph by Evy Mages

Once you’ve taken in Arlington’s larger-than-life memorial, walk around to its back side and have a seat below its base for a panoramic view of DC’s marble monoliths.

For more of the best people, places, and things to do around DC, take a look at our annual Best of Washington list. 

This article appears in our June 2016 issue of Washingtonian.

Design & Style Editor

Hillary writes about interiors, real estate, arts, and culture. She is the former digital media editor of The New Republic, and her work has also been published in Glamour, The New York Times Book Review, and The Washington Post, among others. You can follow her on Instagram @hillarylouisekelly or on Pinterest @hlkelly.