08:00 – Morning rush
Breakfast at the Old Ebbitt Grill, one of the city’s oldest restaurants, usually packed with lobbyists and power players first thing in the morning before the tourist crowd sets in during the day.
09:00 – Famous figures
Across the Potomac River, Arlington Cemetery is best known for its stark and formal Changing of the Guard ceremonies at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, honouring America’s war dead, but the 600-acre cemetery is home also to the graves of many famous figures like John F. Kennedy – marked with an eternal flame – boxer Joe Lewis, and Pierre L’Enfant, the architect who designed Washington. Save your feet and jump on the Hop-On, Hop-Off trolley.
Noon – Fit for a First Lady
Lunch on the Georgetown waterfront at Fiola Mare, the glimmering Italian seafood restaurant of chef Fabio Trabocchi – a favourite of Michelle Obama.
13:30 – Remember them
Spend the afternoon wandering ‘America’s Front Lawn’ on the National Mall, starting at the Lincoln Memorial and the Vietnam Wall, then up to the sunken World War II memorial, where you can see the emotional visits of buses filled with veterans, and gaze up at the Washington Monument.
14:30 – A history lesson
Nearby, take in Washington’s hottest new attraction, the giant National Museum of African-American History and Culture, honouring the artistic contributions of African-Americans while also wrestling with the nation’s still-unfolding racial legacy of slavery and civil rights. Plan ahead – or wake up early – to score timed-entry tickets, but it’s well worth the effort.
17:00 – Treats and eats
Spend the evening wandering the environs of 14th Street NW, which has been the centre of Washington’s revitalization over the last decade. Window-shop at the boutique Salt and Sundry, Detroit-made watches and leather goods at the city’s flagship Shinola store, or vintage and antiques at Miss Pixie’s, a long-time 14th Street fixture.
Once you’re hungry, the area has something for every palate: for the city’s swankiest French bistro, try Le Diplomate, where the breadbasket alone is worth the visit. Prefer Latin American? Try Tico for its hibiscus margaritas, tacos, and a delicious shredded cabbage salad. Or, on nearby 17th Street NW, get in line for mouth-burning, authentic Thai food at Little Serow from one of Washington’s top chefs, Johnny Monis (if it’s a weeknight, be in line by 17:00 or 17:30 for dinner, if it’s a weekend, try even earlier). Once your name’s on the list, have a drink around the corner at Hank’s Oyster Bar while you wait.