When the temperatures rise in Washington, DC, spring fever is always in full effect. If you’re anything like me, once the weather gets nice, all I want to do is flee my apartment and play outside all day. It’s honestly the best time to enjoy the DC area: blue skies, no jackets needed, and all the locals are in a great mood. When school spring breaks are over, there are less tourists to contend with. It’s our city now! This all means that it’s time for one of my favorite ways to recharge: a staycation.
Whether you’re looking to just luxuriate in a swank hotel room, explore a new area of the city, hide out in the suburbs, work on your fitness, or grow an impressive food baby, we’ve got you totally covered. No matter what you’re going for, life is always better when you end the day in fresh, fancy, hotel sheets.
The Hot Spot Hideout
Can’t afford that gorgeous Logan Circle apartment you keep eyeing on Zillow, but want to test drive living it up in one of DC’s hottest neighborhoods? Check into The Washington Hilton, located right in the heart of all the amazing food and culture of the area. Even with all the great restaurants in the area, guests may find it hard to even leave the hotel.
One of the best staycation activities is window shopping and snacking and Logan Circle has some of the best of both. Make sure to check out Miss Pixie’s for quirky, fun housewares to soften the blow of having to return to your own apartment at weekend’s end. Salt and Sundry is another great stop for cute home accessories and artisanal pantry items. Basically, two places where you can attempt to make your abode as cool as your hotel. For some more aspirational inspiration, pop over to Shinola, where you can drool over their gorgeous leather goods. For the walk back to the hotel, ice cream is a must. Pop into Jeni’s Ice Cream where you can try their new spring flavors, including their refreshing frosé sorbet. This is their only scoop shop in the whole DMV area, so lucky you that you’re staying so near by! Staycations are all about indulgence, so why not make a second stop for ice cream at the nearby Ice Cream Jubilee. This locally-grown place has the coolest flavors, like gin & tonic and matcha green tea.
One of the best things about being in Logan Circle is that your hotel is neighbors with one of the best theatres in the DC area for contemporary plays: Studio Theatre. This month they have two plays running: the world premiere of The Remains and Vietgone.
A Fitness Retreat
Georgetown, in my opinion, is highly underrated when it comes to being a workout spot. True, it doesn’t have the woodsy vibe of hiking in Rock Creek, but it does boast breezes off the Potomac River. The paved path that runs along the water can take you all the way to the stunning Great Falls and back, if you have the stamina.
After jogging up a major sweat, you deserve a great retreat to shower and kick back and relax. The Graham, a boutique Georgetown hotel, is lux and is just up the street from the riverside walkway. If you want to keep your workout going, you can feel the burn in their 24/7 fully stocked gym. Head upstairs to your room and create your own private spa experience with their provided L’Occitane toiletries and some of the bathrooms even have giant soaking tubs. Continue your pampering by making your way up to the hotel’s rooftop bar, have their bartender make you a chilled drink, and take in the city views.
If just looking at the water isn’t doing it for you, get in there! Don’t worry, I’m not suggesting you swim in the Potomac. One of the best ways to take in the river and get a great workout is by boat. The company Boating in DC provides classes, tours, and rentals of kayaks, canoes, paddleboards, and more. They have a ton of locations in the area, but there’s one conveniently located at the Key Bridge Boathouse.
If you want to take advantage of all Georgetown has to offer in terms of fitness, definitely sign up for FitReserve, which is an awesome way to try out a bunch of different area classes and save some cash for dinner. Hit up the Barre 3 class and make a stop at the nearby Balance Gym in Glover Park (which also has fantastic massages—because you’ve earned it!), which are both partners of Fitreserve.
After all that calorie burn, treat yourself to an amazing seafood feast by the water at Fiola Mare. If you get there early Tuesday-Sunday 5-6:30, you can take advantage of their 3-course $45 special. Crack a crab claw for a workout weekend well done.
A Sporty Stay
This month, on May 19th, is the DC Bike Ride presented by Events DC, where DC streets are closed off and cyclists take over. It starts 8:00 a.m. at West Potomac Park (100 W. Basin Dr. SW) and ends with a party on the National Mall. Don’t worry if you’re more french fries than Tour de France, the ride is for all skill levels.
Even if you don’t have your own wheels, if you’re staying at the Canopy by Hilton on The Wharf you can borrow one of their bikes. Just one of their many perks for their guests.
On your way back from the party, stop by Due South’s, the super yummy southern restaurant, Dockside outpost. While their Navy Yard location is a hit, this location is all about taking in the water views with a frosty drink and some of the best biscuits in town.
The restaurant is in the shadow of Nationals Park, so why not check out some baseball, while you’re in the area. Post game, if you haven’t had enough sportsball in your day, keep walking along the SW waterfront towards D.C. United’s new stadium Audi Field. While the stadium won’t officially open until July 14th, it’s still really fun to check out soccer’s new digs, one of so many spaces livening up the SW Waterfront.
The Wharf area of DC seemed to pop up almost overnight and what better staycation then to scope out all the changes in your home city. Don’t miss a chance to catch a concert at The Anthem or a reading at Politics and Prose Bookstore’s new Wharf location.
End your busy day of waterside activity by chilling out at Canopy’s awesome firepit at the rooftop bar Whiskey Charlie. It’s a great place to take in a new view of a city you thought you knew so well.
Rocking the Suburbs
Sometimes getting out of the city is necessary for a staycation, but you also must be Metro accessible. The answer is on the Pike, Rockville Pike to be exact. It may not be the great outdoors, but there’s an oasis at the newly developed Pike & Rose complex that will certainly be a fun change of pace from your normal routine. Check into the Canopy in North Bethesda for a really nice alternative to most basic, boring suburban hotels. This spot is as stylish as the new neighborhood, with a complimentary evening wine tasting, free tasty breakfasts, and a chic rooftop terrace to catch some sun. There’s also an Elizabeth Arden Red Door Salon & Spa in the hotel so treat yourself to some lux self care. Everything in this development is walkable, but if you want to get there faster or get a little exercise, the hotel has gratis bikes for guests.
Things are popping up in the Pike & Rose development almost daily, but it’s pretty much a suburban paradise for shopping, dining, and entertainment. There’s stores for everyone—from REI and a L.L. Bean for outdoorsy types to Sephora and Blue Mercury for the beauty buff. Whether you’re having a ladies weekend, a romantic getaway, or have the family in tow, a visit to Pinstripes is a must. Bowling and bocce in an upscale environment, you can’t go wrong. For some truly delicious pizza, check out Stella Bara nearby. You can’t miss their baked goods right in the front. Get one of the giant cookies (apple oatmeal is a personal favorite), you’ll thank me. There’s also an iPic location in the complex, which is a great way to catch the latest films in style—think super comfy seats and a gourmet menu.
A Historical Hideaway
If you have history lovers in the family and want a little local getaway, head to The Embassy Suites in Old Town Alexandria. It’s incredibly well located right on the water—you can take the quaint free trolley around town or if you want a fun way to get across the river to DC and the National Harbor, you’re right near the water taxi. The hotel offers a delicious free breakfast, which is great for families fueling up for a day of checking out local historical sites.
There are so many sites to see in the area, like the nearby Mount Vernon and the George Washington Masonic Memorial. Before heading to these spots, check out the Visit Alexandria website, which offers really great deals on these historical hot spots and also a great calendar for local events.
After a day of going back in time, if you’re in the mood for something a bit more modern, take in some new art at The Torpedo Factory, a very cool art studio space for local artisans to work and sell their wares.
For a little taste of Nashville in the neighborhood, head to the The Birchmere, which is the best spot in the DMV area to hear country and folk music.
One of the most satisfying parts of a staycation is knowing you got some quality R&R without spending a lot of $$$ and the best way to do that is to check out Hilton’s packages which can help you save with great deals. That ice cream will definitely taste sweeter when you know you spent less.
Brightest Young Things is a legitimately cool and useful editorial presence in DC offering the go-to tool for audiences seeking to live their best life in Washington, online and offline. Throughout 2018, we’ve partnered with them on local area guides, recommendations, and insider tips to help both locals and tourists get the best out of the DMV from the people who know the city best!