I recently had the opportunity to take a quick solo trip to Washington DC, and I ended up only spending about 30 hours in the city. Even though my trip was super short, I still got to see some incredible sights and do some top DC activities. Here’s exactly how I spent my 30 hours in Washington DC! P.S. make sure to also check out my vlog from the trip right here!
8am – land in DC and hop on the metro 9am – get off at Capitol South station and walk over to the Capitol 9:20am – head over to the National Mall and walk over to Museum of Natural History 10-11am – explore the museum
I recently took a spontaneous solo trip to Washington DC and one of the things I was looking forward to the most was enjoying some delicious food! From previous trips to DC I remembered the city has some excellent food options and I wanted to try a variety of restaurants I’d never been to before. Here’s everything I ate during my 30 hours in Washington DC!
Lunch: Old Ebbitt Grill
For my first meal in DC, I arranged a lunch reservation at Old Ebbitt Grill. As I was researching lunch options near the National Mall, where I planned to be most of the day, Old Ebbitt Grill kept popping up as one of the highest-rated restaurants in the area. The restaurant is just a block or so away from the White House and holds the title of oldest bar in Washington DC, having been in operation since 1856. I definitely suggest making a reservation if possible because lunchtime on a Saturday was incredibly popular. I started off with their Queen Bee cocktail, a gin and soda concoction with lemon juice and hibiscus syrup which was super light and refreshing. I also got a cup of New England clam chowder soup which wasn’t super creamy but had great flavor. For my entree, I tried the jumbo lump crab cake sandwich with a side caesar salad. The crab cake had a very mild flavor which was especially delicious with a squeeze of lemon on top. I almost wish the crab cake had more of a fritter vibe, as it was a bit one-note with the crab, but overall I really enjoyed it. The caesar salad and side of coleslaw were tasty as well, and I definitely left satisfied.
After exploring a few more museums, I headed to Oyamel for dinner. I was super excited to see they had an entire station dedicated to making fresh guacamole, and I was definitely not disappointed. I tried their spicy guacamole which was some of the best restaurant-made guacamole I’ve ever had. It was incredibly fresh and all the flavors were perfectly balanced, from the bite of the jalapeno to the fresh-squeezed lime. Don’t worry, I didn’t eat that entire bowl – though I was defintely a bit tempted! I also ordered their classic margarita which was equally fresh and delicious. For my main course I tried a dish I had never heard of: cabacitas con frijoles. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but it ended up being a very light stew of white beans, squash, corn, and spices. I absolutely loved this dish and am eager to try and recreate it at home.
Of course, I had to save room for dessert. I ended up swinging by Dolcezza to pick up some gelato, and this ended up being one of the highlights of all the food I tried in DC. I grabbed a pint of their black and white cookie batter gelato without sampling it or reading the description first, because I’m a sucker for anything cookie batter! The flavor ended up being amazing, with stripes of icing and chocolate ganache and chunks of cake. It wasn’t overly sweet, but definitely hit the spot after a long of day of walking in the DC heat.
Breakfast: Farmers Fishers Bakers
To kick off day 2 in DC I made my way over to Georgetown to enjoy breakfast at Farmers Fishers Bakers. I heard Farmers Fishers Bakers offers some of the best brunch in town, and I was excited to try for myself. To start, I ordered a bellini which was very light and refreshing – the perfect way to kick off Sunday brunch in my opinion! My first round through the buffet I grabbed some fresh green beans, parmesan grits, sourdough bread, yogurt with granola, hummus, and a sweet corn pancake. The highlights from this round were definitely the sourdough and hummus as well as the corn pancake. My second time through the buffet I opted for broiled grapefruit, fresh pineapple, hashbrowns, a buttermilk pancake, and a french toast stick. My favorites by far ended up being the broiled grapefruit and french toast stick. My main complaint with Farmers Fishers Bakers is the buffet itself was a bit disorganized, with there being no defined line or sense of which direction to go. People were wandering all over the place, hopping in and out of line, and there also happened to be a large group of children running around which made things a bit stressful (though that obviously wasn’t the restaurant’s fault). While the dining experience was a bit chaotic, I did enjoy all of the food I tried and would definitely love to return to try more.
After breakfast I set out on a mission to find some fall-inspired coffee, and I settled on the local chain Compass Coffee. The space itself was very cool with tons of seating, and it was obviously a very popular work/study location for locals. I tried the pumpkin spice cold brew which was super delicious, with just the right amount of sweet and spice while still maintaining a smooth cold brew flavor.
My final meal in DC was lunch, which I actually ended up eating at the airport. I didn’t have high hopes for airport food options, but was pleasantly surprised to see Cava, which I consider the Mediterranean version of Chipotle. I had eaten at Cava on a previous trip to DC, and remembered it was super quick, fresh, and delicious. I got a greens and grains bowl with their super green lettuce mix, brown rice, lentils, falafel, roasted vegetables, tzatziki, hummus, pickled red onion, cucumber, feta, and harissa vinaigrette. My bowl was super delicious and filling and ended up being the perfect airport lunch option.
All in all, I was super impressed with all the food I tried during my time in Washington DC. DC has some amazing food options and I always thoroughly enjoy trying new restaurants and dishes during my visits. What are some of your favorite restaurants in the DC area?
I’ve always considered myself fairly independent, and traveling solo is a huge extension of that. While I obviously love traveling with my husband, there are a lot of times that work or other outside circumstances make it easier for me to take trips alone. I honestly love traveling alone because you have complete flexibility and freedom as you plan and embark on your trip. I’ve undertaken a number of solo road trips (my most recent was to New Mexico – check out the vlog and blog), camping trips, and cross-country flights, and I’ve learned something new on each adventure. These are my 5 tips for taking your first solo trip!
Consider your destination – do you want to stay fairly close to home, or venture to an entirely different state (or country)? Doing a “staycation” somewhat close to home, or to a city you’ve visited before, is a great way to ease into solo travel. Having a sense of familiarity with your destination makes the whole process a lot less intimidating. If you have your heart set on solo-traveling to a completely new area, do some research into how “solo traveler-friendly” the destination is. A great way to do this is by joining social media groups related to solo travel!
Identify your intentions – maybe you want to solo travel to spend some time with yourself in solitude, or maybe you’re super social and plan to make friends along the way. Having an idea of your expectations and intentions when solo-traveling can help as you plan what to do and see on your trip. Some activites and areas are known for being great places to connect with others, while some destinations are perfect for those who want to keep to themselves. Thinking of what kind of solo-traveler you are makes a world of difference as you plan your trip.
Travel safe and smart – I could do a whole separate blog post on how to stay safe when traveling solo (let me know if you’d like to see that!) but a lot of it comes down to common sense. Some of the biggest ways to travel safe and smart are: tell one or two trusted contacts your itinerary before leaving on your trip, don’t tell strangers you’re traveling alone, and do research on unsafe areas at your destination to avoid. Also make sure to “fake it til you make it”, aka try to project confidence as much as possible, because if you’re looking really confused or lost, you could come across as an easy target. At the end of the day, solo travel should be a fun and rewarding experience, so set yourself up for success by taking the necessary precautions to stay safe so you can truly enjoy your trip.
Don’t feel awkward to do things alone – sure, some activities might be more geared towards couples, but you should never let anyone or anything make you feel awkward or inferior for doing things alone. Some of my favorite solo activities to do on my trips are going out to eat at a restaurant or cafe, going to the movies or a museum, browsing through some shops or local markets, and exploring a public park or hiking area. For some of these activities, I recommend bringing along a book or popping in your headphones to listen to a podcast/audiobook/music to keep you occupied. Besides, most people will be too focused on themselves to even notice you’re there alone, let alone waste time and energy on judging you for it!
Be open to new experiences – obviously, you want to keep your wits about you and not put yourself in a dangerous situation, but go into solo travel with an open mind and a willingness to try new things. Sometimes, the most unexpected adventures end up being the most memorable! Don’t be afraid to try new things, especially if it’s something that will help you learn more about and/or experience the local culture of your destination. This could be anything from trying a new food or activity to spending a whole day with a local guide or tour group doing something you wouldn’t have planned otherwise.
I hope you find these tips helpful as you plan your first solo trip! I’d love to talk more about this topic so please let me know if there’s anything specific you’re curious about or would like me to cover. Thanks for reading, and happy travels!