Every inch of Washington, DC fills up with tourists every spring because of its iconic cherry blossom season… and there’s no doubt why. The pink blooms, beautiful weather and seasonal events are a treat after a cold winder in the north east. But I truly believe a visit to Washington, DC in the fall is a real delight! The area isn’t packed with travelers and visitors, and the quaint and historic quarters of the city feel colorful and alive.
As an American citizen who’s traveled far and wide, making the trip to our nation’s capitol feels like an important chapter to honoring my home country. Today, I’m excited to share with you all my seasonal discoveries I experienced this fall in DC. Here is my insider’s guide to autumn in Washington!
What To Do
Washington, DC is filled with many, many historic sights and relics, so it’s important to do your research before you hit the city! American history buffs will revel in all of Washington’s monuments, statues and museums. As a culture-seeking traveler myself, I’m always on the hunt for a healthy balance of historical places with local, authentic neighborhoods (and, of course, some delicious eateries in between)!
One of my favorite nooks of Washington was the residential neighborhood of DuPont Circle. Filled with eclectic eateries, warm coffee shops, shops and bookstores (always one of my favorite pit stops no matter where I am!), mansions and historic homes… DuPont Circle had my heart within minutes of exploring it. It’s the perfect blend of local/residential and urban liveliness!
A classic historical sight that had me speechless! The Lincoln Memorial is at the very top of every Washington bucket list you’ll find, but it’s for a good reason. Sit beside the Reflection Pool, especially at sunset and soak in the powerful message of Lincoln – “In this temple, as in the hearts of the people for whom he saved the Union, the memory of Abraham Lincoln is enshrined forever.”
Train stations feel so nostalgic to me, and as an old soul, I feel like I’m constantly drawn to them. Union Station’s towering architecture is almost like the gateway into America’s capitol… and I loved photographing its beauty.
The historic Capitol Hill neighborhood of the city is scattered with some of the most important political meeting places in the country (the United States Capitol, Senate, Houses of Representatives and Supreme Court buildings)… just to name a few! It’s a bustling part of the city that’s also home to many 19th century row homes and markets too.
After exploring the iconic political buildings, get a taste of local life underneath the changing fall leaves! While exploring, I stopped at Peregrine Espresso for a warm cup of coffee while walking through the brisk autumn weather and loved it! I’d also highly recommend exploring Capitol Hill Books and the neighborhood’s Eastern Market too.
Library Of Congress
In between crunching the newly fallen fall leaves of the Capitol Hill neighborhood, be sure to take a stop into the Library Of Congress’s hallowed halls. Simply, utterly stunning – aren’t they? This research library serving the US Congress is the national library of the US and is the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States… making a must-do in my eyes!
The iconic, long stretch of the National Mall is flanked by some of the most important monuments and memorials in Washington… making it one of the most-visited sight in the city. You’ll find school groups, military groups, local workers, international tourists and people from all walks of life here. It’s a buzzing section of the city that cannot be missed!
I always like to explore smaller, immigrant-historic neighborhoods when possible… so I had to add Washington’s Chinatown to my autumn visit. The area is filled with such amazing markets and restaurants! The giant arch was also one of the largest in the world when it was built back in 1986!
In Adams Morgan, neighborhood charm meets monumental grandeur. Adams Morgan is DC’s only 24-hour neighborhood with live music seven nights a week, all night diners, early morning coffee shops and midday shopping at local bookstores, shops and vintage boutiques. Area restaurants showcase DC’s diverse cultural population with a focus on Ethiopian, Salvadorian, Barbecue, Vietnamese, West African, Middle Eastern, Japanese and Peruvian fare. We recommend having coffee at Tryst and dinner at Afghani restaurant, Lapis.
Where To Stay
Washington is the perfect getaway during those cozy, chilly fall months… especially if you choose a hotel that feels like a home away from home. As a last minute planner, I’m a huge fan of Hotel Tonight for finding the perfect place to rest your head, especially for last minute trips. I’m always completely inspired by the carefully curated properties they offer (and the Daily Drop prices that show a special deal every day).
The Line DC
Chic, un-stuffy and perfectly situated in the Adams Morgan neighborhood (a lively area of the city any season of the year) – The Line DC is an eclectic hotel I simply adored staying in. The hotel pays homage to its building’s 110 year history with every detail, from its full service radio broadcast hosted live from the lobby, its restaurant’s diverse American inspired-international menu and many seasonal, cultural events hosted on sight. The Line DC really felt like a place to rest and recuperate and meet up with friends and locals.
The Adams Morgan neighborhood (where The Line is located) was the perfect walking distance from everything I had on my list to see and experience!
If you’re looking for a cozy weekend in the Northeast, I couldn’t recommend Washington, DC more! It’s filled with historic relics and lovely restaurants, museums, and quaint neighborhood gems.
Stay sponsored by Hotel Tonight.
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