Weekend Trip to Washington, D.C. - Skillful Cook
Our recipes, your inbox. Sign up

Weekend Trip to Washington, D.C.

Washington D.C. weekend trip collage of images.

Washington, D.C.! What a place. I spent last weekend bebopping around this richly historical city with my mom and my sisters. G to the irls' trip!

So there's kind of a story to this trip. A while back I told you about this book I read that really moved and inspired me: The Storyteller by Jodi Piccoult. It tells the story of a young girl living through the Holocaust, and it really made me want to learn more and pay respect in some way. At the time my sister was also reading a book about the Holocaust, and although we both wanted to hop a plane and fly over to Germany to really experience more firsthand, we decided that maybe Washington, D.C. and the Holocaust Museum there would be a little more realistic.

So we did it! And it was amazing and I'm so glad we took the time to make it happen. Here's a quick recap of what we did and saw and ate. I hope you'll chime in with your Washington, D.C. faves too, because I am going to need them for my next one hundred trips back.

View from airplane.

Places We Ate:

  • Old Ebbitt Grill - very classic and White-House-ish. I mean, it's like two feet away. I'm sure Prez Obama eats here all the time. Things we ate and liked were the clam chowder, the quiche, the fish and chips, and the veggie sandwich served on fried eggplant instead of bread. YES.
  • PJ Clarke's - chosen less because of the restaurant itself and more because of the location within blocks of both our hotel and the White House, but that being said, the lobster mac and cheese + a side of roasted brussels sprouts were divine after a long day of walking.
  • Founding Farmer's - we arrived to find that 90 million people were also hoping to eat dinner here, so we didn't brave the long wait. But it comes highly recommended by D.C. peeps and the vegan-friendly menu looked so creative and incredibly fresh. It will be my first restaurant stop next time I'm in D.C.!
  • Baked and Wired - too cute, you guys. Just too cute. A really small local bakery and coffee shop full of good smells and addicting baked treats in a corner of town that looks like the East Coast version of Europe.
  • Ceiba - seafood galore with a Latin flair. Favorites were the shrimp with pineapple salsa and guacamole and the huuuge crab cakes with a sweet potato plantain mash and caramelized brussels sprouts. And whatever spicy red spread they were serving with the crackers: yum.
  • ShopHouse - this was the only restaurant on my MUST TRY list when we left for D.C. because it is the newest Chipotle concept restaurant, but southeast Asian fresh street food style. Right now the only locations are in California, Maryland, and D.C. so we made it a priority to check this place out. I created a noodle bowl with cabbage and kale, ginger tamarind tofu and pork meatballs (totally makes sense, right?), spicy green beans and broccoli, and drenched in a green curry sauce. Topped with green papaya slaw and crispy garlic. And at less than $8, it's reeeally hard to beat that one.

Things We Saw

  • U.S. Capitol
  • White House
  • Washington Monument
  • Smithsonian Museum of American History
  • Holocaust Museum
  • Lincoln Memorial at night
  • World War II Memorial at night
  • Korean War Memorial at night
  • Vietnam War Memorial at night
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial at night

Where We Stayed

Only one place to list here! The Jefferson Hotel. They hosted us during our stay, and I think the pictures speak for themselves.

The Jefferson Hotel collage of images.

It was incredible, you guys. I was expecting it to be big and completely over the top. But instead it was small (maybe even boutiquey, if I may use that word), classic, and subtle.

The location was PRIMO - just a few blocks from the White House and walking distance to lots of monuments and museums. The staff was knowledgeable and patient, and they helped us figure out answers to the constant question —> where to eat. And the details of the room were just so lovely. For example, glass decanters of water on the bedside table that were refilled every time we would leave the room, plush slippers that I did not want to take off ever, big beautiful windows, high ceilings, really unique themed decor (our room was the architectural design, so the curtains and pillows had these really creative soft blueprints on them, which maybe sounds weird but it was so subtle that I didn't even notice them until someone told me), and individual furniture pieces like a classic desk and a regal, antiqued-looking entertainment cabinet. It was such a pleasure to be so graciously hosted by such a unique place.

Hotel interior.

In the hotel itself, which was build in the 20's as an apartment building, there were tons of original building details like the classically small elevators, old brickwork, and beautiful chandeliers. WHAT FUN. We loved it all.

Women being silly.

After all this ramble-shenaniganing, I have a takeaway for myself: I need to take more trips. One of my goals for 2014 is peace and rest, which we already talked about, and another part of that is spending time with and truly appreciating people that I love, and this was such an awesome way to make that all happen.

To take advantage of those 72 weekend hours and really max them out took a little more work and required me to wear something other than sweatpants and old t-shirts, but it was so worth it. We had such a good time, saw so many things, and spent valuable time together. Yes, yes, yes. More of that please.

In light of that goal, pretty please share your best places for weekend trips! Email, comment, whatever so that I can start spending all my free time scouring the internet for deals. Which coincidentally happens to be my favorite time-wasting guilty pleasure. Win-win.

Filed Under: Life

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    Lindsay, it looks like you had so much fun! I am glad you were able to get away with the girls and relax. That Hotel though? Ohmygosh gorgeous! It’s crazy how just a little weekend change of scenery can just give you that boost of energy to keep truckin’ on.
    As far as weekend trips, me and the hubs are taking a weekend cruise to the Bahamas in February so that would be my pick. However, we live in Florida, so that mayyyyy be a little difficult from Minnesota! New Orleans is also really fun…and the food is fantastic!
    P.s Love Jodi Piccoult!

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    Sounds like y’all had a blast!

    Next time you go to DC, check out the Pentagon (ok I know it isn’t technically in DC but it is a short metro ride away). If you book ahead of time (like two months ahead) you can go on a tour of the inside which is led by a member of the honor guard who walks backwards the entire tour! And their is a tear inducing 9-11 memorial outside which is just amazing, for some reason I can’t think of it without thinking of the name Dana, who was a child on the plane with her mom, dad and younger sibling…. Powerful

    My favorite place to visit for the weekend is Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta Canada, it borders Glacier National Park in Montana, where I imagine you can have a similar experience…. The mountains there are just amazing and there are lots of outdoorish things to do, but you don’t have to backwoods camp or anything as there are lots of great places to stay.

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    Too funny, we stayed at the same hotel as you, saw pretty much the same things as you and ate at many of the same places! The only thing I would add to your list is a tour of the pentagon – you have to book quite far in advance and there are lots of scary rules but it was really, really good and we had an absolutely amazing tour guide. It’s one of my fave cities and I can’t wait to go back!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      How cool! Thanks for the comment – sounds like we missed out with the Pentagon this time! And didn’t you love the Jefferson Hotel? Wow.

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    What a fun post and looks like an amazing trip!!!

    My favorite spot to visit is always Denver Colorado, more specifically Boulder, CO. With the Mountains always in view and the fresh (but thin) air, it always calms me down from my crazy job (R&D food scientist). Being one of the healthiest cities in the country, the food is always fresh, local and delicious! From my experience, many healthy food trends start in Boulder. They were one of the first areas to really take to Organic food, All Natural, and gluten free has been a very prevalent trend the past few years. If something is going to happen in the food industry, it’s most likely starting in Boulder.

    I’m glad you had a nice trip and our crazy east coast weather didn’t impact you too much. =)

    Have a great 72hrs!

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    If you want to know more you must either go to Poland or come to Israel. There’s a place called Yad veShem which means literally Hand and Name.
    You’ll learn everything you want to know and even, maybe, meet survivors.
    Contact me if you are able to come.

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    I love love love weekend trips!! They make the weekend feel so much more special. My favs so far have been Nashville, Columbus, and Kansas City! All cities that aren’t maybe at the top of the ‘must travel’ list, but they all have awesome downtown areas/art districts, shopping and FOOD(obvi). Have a great weekend Lindsay!

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    Wow! Sounds like an awesome weekend. Sisters are the best! We are going into DC tonight and I want to check out Shophouse. Sounds amazing!!! Thanks for sharing.

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    what a fun trip. I went to DC back in 2011 for a conference and it was amazing. We went to this dim sum place (dont know the name) and visited museums including the Holocaust – so much to learn. The hotel looks soooo nice as well.

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    My husband and I live in DC and look forward to trying out your recommended eats!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Next tim before you leave for DC, check out the Washingtonian Magazine website. It has the best reviews of restaurants in the Metro DC area, old or new ones. They have different reviewers for DC, Maryland and Virginia, unlike the W. Post has only one reviewer for the 3 areas. Though DC has never been considered a go to place for dining, you’ll be surprised by the diverse cuisine we have here, due to the embassies, World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

      Also don’t miss, visiting Luray Caverns in Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, about 2 hours from DC. Check out their website.

      Glad you were not caught in flight cancellations that started in the afternoon of Sunday, Jan 19.

      1. Skillful Cook Logo


        I’m sorry this note was meant for Lindsay but I was planning to leave you a short note about the Washingtonian Magazine restaurant reviews. Check it out the next time you’re planning to dine out.—jean

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    I just finished The Storyteller about a month ago and find myself thinking about it all the time. Maybe a trip to DC is in store for me, too. I love that you were so inspired to take the trip and actually made it happen. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    I put the book on my wish list – thanks! Looks like a fun vacation! My husband and I visited DC last summer and rented bikes. We rode up and down the National Mall and had a great time.

  12. Skillful Cook Logo

    Your trip sounds like it was amazing! We’re planning a family trip to DC and NYC next summer and hearing about your trip has me really excited for our trip. I also appreciate your list of restaurants, we’ll have to check some of them out!!

  13. Skillful Cook Logo

    I love going away especially abroad mainly because of the food buIt all depends where I go of course.
    I can’t do organised tours anymore so if I do go abroad it’ll only be to England.
    I’ve never been to America and of
    course I’d love to.
    I have family there somewhere. My great uncle went through Ellis Island in the early 1900’s from the Ukraine.
    Oh well.

  14. Skillful Cook Logo

    What exactly is the Story Teller about and who wrote it? Also the book your sister was reading.
    Did you know you were both reading about the same thing?
    My sister in England once read the same book at the same time”

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      I don’t remember what my sister read. Maybe Sarah’s Key? The Storyteller is about a young girl’s experience with the Holocaust and how it affected her family many years later. It’s really powerful.

  15. Skillful Cook Logo

    I’m loving your recap and I’m so happy you enjoyed my city so much! It really has so much history, living here my whole life I tend to forget about it 🙂 I’ve resolved to take more trips to new cities each year as well. Up on my list is San Francisco in April and New Orleans in October. You should consider those, amazing food cities rich with history, right up our food-blogging alleys!

  16. Skillful Cook Logo

    Glad you enjoyed your trip! Next time I suggest making a reservation with Open Table ahead of time for Founding Farmers. It is my favorite restaurant! They just came out with a cookbook though so you could try some of the foods in the meantime 🙂 If you do return I suggest checking out Eastern Market, it is a public market that has great food and art but mostly is just super fun to walk around. I also suggest the National Gallery of Art. Amazing works here and a beautiful conservatory to sit down and relax after all that walking around. Plus the cafe has a gelato bar 😉

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      I ditto this! DC is my old stomping ground. I used to work right down the street from Founding Farmers and it really is delicious. Brunch, lunch, dinner, cocktails…you cannot go wrong! And you have to check out the food trucks. So much tasty cuisine. Tasty Kabob was my favorite and had GF options! Eastern Market is a treat, too. Also ice skating in the sculpture garden. 🙂

    2. Skillful Cook Logo

      A COOKBOOK! incredible! also, we really wanted to get to the Eastern Market but I think it’s closed on Mondays, which is when we were going to go. Bummer!

  17. Skillful Cook Logo

    Lindsay – Looks like an amazing trip and for an even more amazing group of ladies!

  18. Skillful Cook Logo

    Woo hoo DC!

    Some suggestions for next time you come:
    – Eastern Market! It’s tons of fun on the weekend – flea market meets farmers market. Super awesome

    – National Gallery of Art – tons of fabulous artwork in a really pretty building

    – The FDR memorial – it’s not a good one for night (which is why I’m assuming you skipped it since you were right next to it at the MLK) but it’s one of my favorite memorials. The spacing is really nice and it’s one of the few that was deliberately designed to be handicapped accessible.

    – The Spy Museum – not free, but really fun. Where else are you going to learn about the history of spycraft? It’s worth the admission price (in my eyes at least)

    – White House/West Wing tour – If you can find a current staffer or know someone with connections to a staffer, you can often swing a tour of the West Wing, which isn’t included in the standard White House tour. It’s pretty cool to see the Oval office, the Decision Room, and the Press Room

    Places to Eat
    – National Indian Museum – the museum itself is pretty cool, but the cafeteria is AMAZING. Seriously fantastic food there!

    – Rasika – some of the city’s best Indian food

    – Ben’s Chili Bowl – a D.C. institution! Half-smoke – yum!

    – Amsterdam Falafel – really good and really cheap falafel with a toppings bar. Their peanut sauce is amazing. Plus it’s right next to Tryst – a pretty awesome coffee/wine bar in Adams Morgan.

    – Etete/Dukem/Ethiopic (any Ethiopian restaurant in the city really) – DC has a pretty thriving Ethiopian community and has some amazing food

    – Brunch at Bourbon – the French toast is amazing and it’s just a cool place to have a long meal

    – Using Foodtruckfiesta to find one of the hundreds of awesome foodtrucks that park downtown for lunch and chowing down.

    – 2 Amy’s for awesome pizza

    – Mintwood Place – two words: escargot hushpuppies

  19. Skillful Cook Logo

    Our family stayed in Georgetown this summer. I loved Baked and Wired! Their bee stings were yummy! So many restaurants to choose from. Once we figured out the Metro…we went all around. I really loved the Eastern Market area.

  20. Skillful Cook Logo

    Loved reading this post! I’ve never been to DC, but I know I need to go, so this just gave me that extra push to get on it! That hotel looks amazingggg.

    As far as trip suggestions, I know it would probably be too far to consider it a “weekender” but you guys need to come out to the Bay Area in California! I know everyone does the San Francisco thing, but living in the East Bay has made me completely fall in love with Oakland and Berkeley. SO MANY amazing farm to table restaurants, not to mention all of the amazing wineries just a hop/skip away in the Livermore Valley!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Yes yes yes! We have friends in Livermore, and I just want to go to SF and EAT FOREVER. It seems like such a great spot for foodies. 🙂