2 Day Itinerary: Washington DC in a Weekend

Marvel at the History and Iconic Monuments of the USA’s Capitol City During This Quick Weekend Tour

As the nation’s capitol, Washington D.C. is home to magnificent monuments, current government facilities, and a boat-load of history. While it is fairly easy to get lost in Washington D.C. for a week or more, this 2 day Washington DC itinerary will help you get to some of the must-see landmarks that this vibrant city has to offer.

Pack some walking shoes and a trusty camera to capture the memorable moments and places you will encounter in this whirlwind 48 hour weekend in Washington DC!

Your First Day in Washington DC

Make sure to grab some breakfast and wear your walking shoes. You’re in for a long day of walking and sight-seeing as you kick off your weekend in Washinton DC!

Take the subway (or the Metro as it is known in Washington D.C.) into the heart of the city. Relying on train travel or public transportation is a great choice for a weekend trip.

Washington DC Metro
Subway Platform in Washington DC’s Metro System

Washington DC is an extremely popular tourist destination. If you rent a car you will not be the only one on the hunt for those sacred and expensive parking spots.

The subway is a fast, convenient way to get in, out and around the city. For the first day, look to get off at one of the following stations: 

The Capitol Building

Begin your tour of Washington D.C. at one of the city’s most important buildings, the U.S. Capitol.

US Capitol Building - The First Stop on your 2 Day Washington DC Itinerary

A stunning display of architectural genius located at one end of the National Mall, this building houses the United States’ political offices, as well as paintings and sculptures from American history.

If the architecture and artwork weren’t enough to encourage a visit, visitors can also tour the Senate and House of Representative galleries. You’ll need permission from your respective representative’s offices. See American politics in action right before your eyes at the Capitol! 

Tours of the Capitol are free-of-charge but will require advance booking, especially during peak visitation seasons. You will want to get to the Capitol earlier in the day to reserve your spot. This is why we made this the first stop on your 2 day Washington DC itinerary.

Tour the National Mall

Washington Monument on the National Mall

The National Mall is the beating heart of Washington D.C. This almost 2-mile promenade stretches from the front steps of the Capitol Building to the Lincoln Memorial.

Spend the morning meandering through the gardens, historical memorials, and elaborate plazas. Along the way, you will come across the Washington Memorial, the White House, and the World War II, Vietnam and Korean War Memorials.

Take your time to soak in the true meaning of these places. Learn some history. And, of course, snap a few photos to document this part of your 2 day Washington DC itinerary!

End your tour at the Lincoln Memorial. 

Walking the National Mall is a free and convenient way to see all that this area has to offer on your own time. However, if walking the length of the mall is not something you are able to do, consider buying a ticket for a hop-on, hop-off bus. These buses run every day and make stops at all of these monuments … it’s a convenient and affordable way to give your feet and legs a break while touring the National Mall in Washington DC!

Lunch at the Lincoln Memorial

Become one with the locals and grab a bite to eat at the Lincoln Memorial.

Grab Lunch at the Lincoln Memorial During Your Weekend Washington DC Itinerary

There are plenty of food carts and trucks situated around the area near the Memorial, so choose something you want to eat and enjoy it on the steps of this one-of-a-kind landmark like a true Washingtonian. This is also an excellent time to get in some people watching!

Hit up a Smithsonian Museum (or two!)

End your day by choosing a Smithsonian Museum! There are eleven located along the National Mall, with the most popular ones being the National Air and Space Museum and the Natural History Museum.

Smithsonian Museum, Washington DC
The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC

These museums are world-renowned as being some of the largest museums with vast educational opportunities for the whole family. While museums may not sound entertaining for some people, the Smithsonian Museums are a whole different story, offering very interactive and engaging exhibits. Choose one or two that fit your family and your interests and take off on a whole new adventure!

Day 1 Dinner in DC

Tourists flock to the Old Ebbitt Grill, D.C.’s oldest restaurant originally founded in 1856.

This family-friendly establishment offers an assortment of food served in a traditional Victorian atmosphere, and we consider it a must on any Washington DC weekend itinerary.

Enjoy this one-of-a-kind dining experience after a long day of walking the National Mall. You have earned it!

Address: 675 15th Street NW, Washington, DC 20005

Day 2 in Washington DC

Grab some breakfast from a local cafe and hit the Metro again for the start of day 2 in Washington D.C. Your first destination will be heading for McPherson Square or Farragut West Station, where you will start the morning at one of the most recognizable landmarks in all of the United States. 

The White House Tour

No visit to Washington D.C. would be complete without a visit to the White House, probably the most famous house in the world.

The White House in Washington DC

Tours will take visitors through many of the complex’s rooms, such as the library, the Red Room, the Green Room, the Blue room, and the famous Oval Office. This approximately hour-long tour will give you insight as to where the United States’ President lives and conducts a lot of regular business. 

In order to be included in a tour of the White House, requests must be made to one’s Member of Congress at least 21 days in advance. Check with your Congressman as to what tour times are available during your visit.

While this activity will take some advance planning, and probably can’t be worked into a last-minute Washington DC weekend itinerary, it’s a destination we simply must include on our 2 day Washington DC itinerary if you have time to plan it at least one month in advance.

Regardless of your politics or feelings about the administration serving in the White House at the time, you’ll never forget this tour.

Arlington National Cemetery

Visit Arlington National Cemetery on Your 2 Day Washington DC Itinerary

Hop back on the Metro and head towards your next destination. Look to get off at the Arlington Cemetery station.

Visiting Arlington Cemetery is an incredibly humbling experience for most people. It is the final resting place of more than 400,000 active duty service members. These are veterans that served in many of the nation’s wars.

The rolling green hills are dotted with white marble gravestones that encapsulate much of America’s history. Take a tour of the grounds, see JFK’s burial site. Experience the changing of the guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. This ritual happens every hour, on the hour.

Spend the Evening Exploring Georgetown

Finally, head over to Georgetown, a historic neighborhood that is located right on the water.

This area is not as easily accessible by the Metro, but it is still worth the trip. It is a very short Uber or taxi ride from Arlington National Cemetery or from downtown D.C. 

Georgetown in Washington DC, at Night

Take the evening to stroll through the bustling streets of the oldest district in D.C. It is a vibrant community that is busting at the seams with upscale shopping, dining, and nightlife.

Work your way over to the waterfront to catch a glimpse of the famed Potomac River. Consider eating dinner at a restaurant that overlooks the water before catching your evening flight home. We recommend Sequoia, but Fiola Mare, and Fiolomena Ristorante are great choices too.

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