48 hours in Washington DC

It’s hard to get away from US politics these days, so why not embrace your inner politico and go check out the iconic sights of Washington DC. We have four flights a week from Dublin to Washington Dulles, increasing to daily flights throughout the summer from 01 April.

Washington DC Skyline Sunrise

Friday

Our mid-January two-night break began on a Friday afternoon, departing Dublin at 12:45pm and landing in a sunny Dulles International Airport at 3:45pm local time. There are plenty of taxis and Ubers on hand to transfer you into the city. The journey time will be around one hour at that time of day.

We stayed at the Melrose Georgetown Hotel, a stylish setting on the edge of Georgetown, right on Pennsylvania Avenue. The property scores 8.8 on Aer Lingus Hotels and we were really pleased with the deal we got for a two-night weekend stay.

Georgetown
Georgetown

Friday evening was spent exploring on foot what the gorgeous neighbourhood of Georgetown had to offer. A five-minute stroll from the hotel lobby takes you into the heart of Georgetown, where you’ll find a mix of boutiques, big brand fashion outlets, coffee shops and restaurants. It’s a young and lively place, fueled by the nearby campus of Georgetown University – one of DC’s two big college campuses. We had a light dinner in Bodega, an authentic Spanish tapas bar on M Street. If you’re not too tired, there are plenty of cool places for drinks and live music along M Street or Wisconsin Avenue.

Saturday

First thing on the agenda – breakfast. A lot of people recommended Founding Farmers (just a four-minute walk down Pennsylvania Avenue from the Melrose), and it didn’t disappoint. The interesting menu is complemented by an equally interesting backstory to the restaurant. It’s owned by the 47,000+ family farmers of the North Dakota Farmer’s Union and the menu is supplied by hundreds of family farms. Take your pick from classic breakfast options like oatmeal, pancakes, eggs or hash, but keep some room for a sharing portion of Uncle Buck’s beignets, with caramel, chocolate and raspberry sauces. These are New Orleans-style fritters made from deep-fried choux pastry. (We didn’t ask how many calories. Truth is, we didn’t want to know.)

Pennsylvania Avenue
The United States Capitol visible in the distance from Pennsylvania Avenue.

A great way to burn off those beignets is with a cycling tour of DC. We walked the few blocks over to City Segway Tours of Washington DC and arrived in time for our 10am slot.

Washington is a compact city, and cycling seems like the perfect way to take in the huge numbers of federal buildings, museums and monuments. Our three-hour tour took us on a route that included George Washington University, the White House, Treasury Department, FBI headquarters, US Navy Memorial, DC Newseum, the Capitol, the National Mall and Smithsonian museums, Washington Monument, World War II Memorial, Martin Luther King Memorial, and Lincoln Memorial. We covered 12km at a very leisurely pace. Greg, our guide (and a student at Georgetown), was knowledgeable and entertaining in equal measure.

Smithsonian Castle
Smithsonian Institution Building (The Castle).

After the tour came to an end we walked back over to the National Mall for quick visits to the National Museum of Natural History and the National Air and Space Museum. All of the Smithsonian museums are free for entry, so it’s a shame not to look in, even briefly. You could spend your entire visit to DC wandering museums but on this occasion, we were a little time-poor.

On Saturday evening, we enjoyed an excellent pre-theatre dinner at La Perla close to the hotel, then walked over to the Kennedy Center to catch a show. The impressive Opera House regularly hosts touring Broadway productions.

Washington DC during spring cherry blossom
Washington DC during spring cherry blossom

Sunday

They say it’s the most important meal of the day, so again we went all-in on breakfast – this time at Farmers Fishers Bakers. Saturdays and Sundays see this waterfront property open up their weekend buffet brunch. At $32 per person it’s not cheap (kids 6 and under are free, ages 7–12 for $16), but the food is excellent, and you can eat as much as you like. A reservation is advisable, otherwise, there’s free seating at the bar. Check out the menu here.

The remainder of our morning and early afternoon was spent shopping in Georgetown. There’s a huge variety of stores to suit every budget, and even if you don’t have room for purchases in your cabin bag, there are enough interesting shops to keep you going right through to the afternoon. At that point, it’s going to be time to start heading back to Dulles for the 5:30pm departure to Dublin.

Book now – at www.aerlingus.com.

Planning your next holiday? Check out Where to fly: 18 incredible trip ideas for 2018 or read our guide to Philadelphia.