If you only had a day to explore a city, what would you do? How would you narrow things down to the best of the best in a mere 24 hours?! Well, you may remember when The Luxury Collection* invited us to Washington, D.C. a few months back. Bianca had the pleasure of dropping in our nation’s capital with one of our blog crushes, Kate from Wit and Delight and Andrea from One Kings Lane, to experience “The Perfect Day in DC.” They set out to expereince 24 hours of travel bliss and I’m pretty sure they were successful! But I’ll let Bianca tell you the full story {I must admit, I was pretty dang jealous about this one!}. — Erin


When you head to Washington, D.C. your expectations are kind of set, right? Certainly you’re going to visit The White House, The Capitol and other major landmarks. And it would make my year, no, my life, if maybe, just maybe Obama decided to take a stroll in the park and we’d meet the president of the United States {crossed all toes and fingers on the plane ride there!.}. But in fact, that was not what was in store for me at all! The obvious tourist destinations weren’t on our itinerary. When I found out we were going to experience a side of DC that I never even knew existed: charming mansions {oxymoron?}, covetable design shops, lively jazz bars and popular local D.C. institutions- like Ben’s Chili Bowl on U Street- I was super excited!

We were put up in The Fairfax on Embassy Row, thusly named for all of the gorgeous embassies that line the street. The area was a great location for exploring- just walking distance from popular 14th and U Street Corridor, Dupont Circle and the cutest parts of town that tourists stuck on the National Mall don’t often see. With time ticking and beautiful weather on our side, we set out for our full morning!


First up was the Woodrow Wilson house {fun fact: he was the only president to stay in DC after his term!}. Deceivingly huge, the house is still home to the President Wilson’s furniture, art, country gifts and the original kitchen stove- a fun way to experience the political side of DC without experiencing the political side of DC! Perfection indeed. Afterwards, we made our way to Hank’s Oyster Bar, a great spot to enjoy cold oysters and a refreshing glass of rose. The bar is Instagram worthy for sure, and we had a great time enjoying the warm day with a side of lobster roll and clams- who wouldn’t?!


For shopping, we hit design stores that you can only find in DC. I regret not buying anything at Brass Knob- a store packed with every piece of antique hardware that ever existed. And Darryl Carter is a design haven. With no online shop {you can order over the phone}, you better buy whatever you can pack in your suitcase at this store. It’s ah-mazing and was the highlight of the trip.


DC is full of great nightlife {make sense: work hard, play harder!} and 14th Street is the place to be. It’s lined with cool bars and the area is packed with people until the wee hours of the morning. We headed there to an underground jazz club. Literally, underground, the dark cave was moody and clearly a DC favorite. A couple of blocks away is Ben’s Chili Bowl where we had a blast. Kate learned to make their deliciously good shake and we laughed the whole time- the perfect way to the end the day!


The Perfect Day Full Itinerary:
> Woodrow Wilson House Tour {experience politics + design in one!}
> Spanish Steps {experience the history of the city in this picturesque neighborhood!}
> Hank’s Oyster Bar {oysters outside + juicy lobster rolls + rose = perfect!}
> Bohemian Caves {jazz lovers, stroll down U Street- it’s happenin’ at night!}
> Ben’s Chili Bowl {D.C.’s famous chili house- where you might see Bill Cosby or The President!}
> Brass Knob {grab a unique, one of a kind souvenir from this antique shop!}
> Darryl Carter Design Store {4 levels of amazing- a must visit!}

Kate and I were lucky enough to have a little extra time after our “perfect day” to explore the city even more. DC is a great place to just walk around- everywhere you look there’s something pretty to be seen. I think my favorite thing was simply strolling down random streets and house lusting. And there definitely isn’t a shortage of great restaurants. Here are some places we stumbled upon that you’ll want to add to your next trip if you have time:

> Barcelona {great restaurant with amazing service and outdoor patio}
> Dolcezza {famous gelato + churros- try to go to their new headquarters for a tour!}
> La Colombe {the best coffee in DC!}
> Rose’s Luxury {a gorgeous restaurant for dinner- don’t miss it!}
> Le Diplomate {popular brunch spot- order the poached eggs + polenta, yum!}
> Georgetown {for some good shopping}
> Wydown Coffee Bar {great design + coffee}

Do you have any DC hot spots that are your favorites?? Do add to our list because we most certainly will go back. And if you only had 24 hours in any city in the world, where would you spend it- come on dish!


images c/o The Luxury Collection // photography by Sarah Culver // some snaps by Bianca Sotelo

*This experience was sponsored by The Luxury Collection.

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  1. So glad you had such a blast in my hometown! Another great spot is Georgetown (yes, the whole neighborhood). There are great restaurants, even better shopping destinations, and a beautiful waterfront. Definitely give it a visit next time you’re in DC!

  2. What a beautiful wrap up! I feel like I was there.

  3. These pics are all so gorgeous! I just want to pin everything and come back everyday! ha! This is great!!

  4. So happy you visited my city. DC isn’t exactly known as trendy city (ill fitting suits, sneakers with pencil skirts, and ugly flats tend to dominate) but the architecture is beautiful, the people are nice and smart, and the food is delicious. Thanks for giving us a shout out 🙂

  5. Beautiful photos and great itinerary! I’m now officially dying to take a trip to the capital!

  6. I recommend you check out Majorie Merriweather Post’s estate–Hillwood Museum. It’s tagline is “where fabulous lives”–and it is oh so true; gorgeous home and magnificent gardens, and astounding collections of both French and Russian art.

  7. You may also want to check out Union Market over in NE, DC and H Street (also in NE, DC).

    I would also recommend checking out Frederick Douglas’ estate, Cedar Hill, which is in SE, DC. The National Park Service gives an excellent tour and you will see an incredible view of the city (the Capitol, Library of Congress, Washington Monument and the National Cathedral) that very few tourists and natives of DC NEVER see due to their trepidation to venture to Anacostia.

    There is a burgeoning arts scene in Anacostia on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue called the Anacostia Arts Center–check out the French-inspired menu at Nurish restaurant inside the center. The Anacostia Playhouse is also close by and offers thought provoking entertainment.

    1. So many great recommendations! I”m excited to get back to DC one of these days!