By Bill Malcolm
Washington, D.C. is perfect for a long spring weekend. The cherry blossoms are in bloom, the museums have tons of new exhibits, and the weather is perfect in the most walkable (and queerest) U.S. city.
WHAT TO DO
Image Credit: Destination DC
The new Planet Word Museum is interesting. Located in the historic Franklin School, there are two floors of interactive exhibits, including my favorite which features karaoke and singers (the Supremes!). You will find it at K Street at 13th Avenue NW.
The DC History Center in the Old Carnegie Library is fun. Did you know part of DC was given back to Virginia? An Apple Store sits on the first floor. You will find it at 9th Street NW/Mass. Avenue.
All the Smithsonian Museums are free:
The Portrait Gallery includes the portraits of every U.S. President and is in the same building as the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The atrium has a café and orchid display.
The Building Museum has an exhibit on gun violence as well as one on affordable housing. The building itself is worth a visit.
The National Museum of the American Indian features the Mitsitam Native Foods Café. Try the tacos or the bison burger.
Across the street is the U.S. Botanical Garden with a beautiful outdoor display of mid-Atlantic region native plants and an indoor conservatory.
Take a walk or a run with the Frontrunners, the LGBTQ+ walking and running group. The walkers meet at 9:30 a.m. every Saturday at 23rd/P Street NW for a walk (or run) up Rock Creek Park to the Zoo.
Afrofuturism: A History of Black Futures is a new exhibit at the National Museum of African American History and Culture that investigates Afrofuturist expression through art, music, activism and more.
Passport DC runs 1-31 May and pays tribute to the city’s international culture, including open houses on the weekend for all the embassies. Free food and drinks are a highlight. Sample the local culture in countries around the world by visiting their embassy. I have done it twice and it is always a highlight.
Here are some helpful links:
- Can’t-Miss Spring Events, Exhibits, Festivals & Shows in Washington, DC
- Free Things to Do: Spring in Washington, DC
- 3 Days of Spring Adventures in Washington, DC
Image Credit: Unsplash - Nicholas Wright
The Number Nine is my go-to bar. Located on P Street, it is a must and features two floors, with events often held on the second floor. There is something going on every night including a viewing of Ru Paul’s Drag Race.
Trade is my other favorite nearby on 14th Street NW. Check out the outdoor patio in the back. There is always a crowd and special events. The rugby club was there the night I stopped by.
Two new bars will open soon, including My Little Gay Pub at 1110 P Street N.W.
WHERE TO STAY
I always stay at the Comfort Inn Downtown DC/Convention Center, 1201 13th Street N.W. in the historic Logan Circle neighborhood. It is handy to the nightlife on P Street/14th Street N.W. and walkable to the museums and attractions. It is also a bargain in this overpriced hotel market.
The new Conrad is your upscale choice. You will find them off Mass Avenue near 9th Street in the City Center complex (an outdoor mall with high-end shops and restaurants).
The Renaissance at 999 9th Street N.W. is another possibility. It will soon be a Westin.
WHERE TO EAT
Image Credit: Destination DC
Grab lunch with local ingredients at the Union Kitchen on 9th Street N.W. Try the Brussels sprouts and meatball salad.
The Double Eagle Steak House in City Center is excellent for steaks and burgers.
Enjoy the fish taco salad at Sweetgreen, including the location on 14th Street N.W. The iconic healthy salad chain started in D.C.
GETTING THERE/GETTING AROUND
Reagan (aka DCA) is one of the best airports in the country (it’s an American hub). The architecture is stunning and the convenience to the city cannot be beat.
Image Credit: Unsplash - Chris Grafton
You are in the “DMV” (DC-Maryland-Virginia). It is local slang for the area.
You can walk everywhere or take Metro. Rental car not needed.
Reagan National Airport (DCA) is a 20-minute trip into D.C. and is the most convenient. However, Metro now goes to Dulles Airport (known for international flights). Baltimore (BWI) is not too far either and you can take Amtrak or MARC trains into the city. Speaking of Amtrak, that’s another good option for travelling to D.C. or for continuing to New York City on the Acela high speed train after your D.C. trip. The Amtrak Cardinal runs three times a week from Chicago through the mountains and gorges of West Virginia.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Pick up a copy or read The Washington Blade (washingtonblade.com) online. Metro Weekly is the other publication and is only online. Both have upcoming events and nightlife ideas. The Blade has run my column and also has great political coverage. Washington.org is the official visitor’s site with tons of ideas on what to do; Destination DC is a Global Partner of IGLTA.
I go to DC 4 times a year. There is always something new I discover. Spring is my favorite time of year in the city, and it begins soon. Book your trip today.
Bill Malcolm’s syndicated LGBTQ+ travel column has appeared in publications around the country. Special thanks to Julie Mitchell of Washington.org for her helpful travel ideas.Featured Image Credit: Destination DC