Visiting our nation’s capital and soaking up the rich history and time-honored traditions can be the ultimate Proud American Traveler experience.
Walking and dining in the same places as those who have shaped our country is something everyone should experience at least once.
But let’s face it – D.C. can be an overwhelming city, especially if you’ve never been there before.
There are so many people. Everywhere.
And don’t even get me started on transportation – traffic is a nightmare (and good luck finding a place to park) and even if you take the underground Metro system, it’s hit or miss these days with constant closures.
But with all that said, I still recommend a trip to D.C., as it is a city that has a lot of incredible experiences to offer that you won’t find anywhere else in the country.
And as someone who’s lived and worked in our nation’s capital for ten years, I’ve learned a few things along the way that can help you plan the ultimate trip.
If you’re thinking about making a trip during the summer, the most important advice I can give you is to be prepared and know what you want to see.
There is so much to do, and if you want to see the best spots and not wait in line all day, it will take a little planning.
The truth is, it is incredibly rare to stroll into a restaurant (at least one that is any good) and find an available table – but fear not because we’ve figured out the best way to avoid waiting.
It’s why we’re here – to give you the insider tips on how to enjoy D.C. to the fullest.
So here are just a few places you should make a priority to visit – and some insider tips on how to do it right.
Don’t plan on just showing up to D.C. and expecting to tour the White House – it ain’t gonna happen!
Shouldn’t be a shocker – but Trump is not a fan of an “open borders” White House.
But the good news is, with Obama out of the Oval Office and Trump running the show, now is the perfect time for conservatives to take a tour.
It’s just a better feeling knowing you are visiting the home of Trump and not Obama, right?
The best way to reserve a tour is through your U.S. Senator or Congressman and work with their office directly.
Again, it’s best to plan ahead – and the sweet spot is requesting your tour no longer than 3 months in advance, but no shorter than 21 days. They’ll submit your request to the White House, who will then contact you to continue the process of uploading necessary personal information.
And don’t forget to bring your valid ID. Remember it’s Trump, and he wants to know who is entering his home!
If you aren’t interested in going inside the White House, you can still view it through the fence outside and snap some great photos of the exterior.
But brace yourselves… there are still liberal protestors holding signs like “Trump IS NOT my President” (even though we’re in year 3 since Trump has been in office) – so just smile and nod and keep on walkin…
…or tip your MAGA hat and wave – though that might not go over so well.
Old Ebbitt Grill
After your White House tour, be sure to make it a priority to visit Old Ebbitt Grill for lunch or dinner.
This iconic restaurant was founded in 1856 and is the oldest saloon in D.C.
Presidents have dined here and it’s estimated that over 2,000 people frequent this place a day.
Old Ebbitt is timeless and classic—you’ll feel like you are dining in a different era.
And when we mean classic, we’re talking a mahogany bar, gas chandeliers, and a marble staircase with an iron-spindled rail.
If that isn’t enough to take your breath away, the food is top-notch.
Their menu changes, but current selections include cornmeal-crusted Chesapeake Bay Blue Catfish, Jumbo Lump Crab Cake, Blackened Shrimp & Grits, and Bacon-Horseradish Glazed Meatloaf.
Our mouths are drooling – it’s tough to pick just one.
And if these selections aren’t enough to entice you, they’re also well-known for their oyster bar and cocktails.
Trust us – you won’t go hungry (or thirsty) at Old Ebbitt.
Pro-Tip: They’ll even let you bring your own wine for a $20 corkage fee!
But again, don’t plan on just strolling in and expecting to get a table – you’ll likely wait for hours.
Instead, book your reservation through OpenTable.com. Just select the restaurant and pick the date and time – you’ll see what slots are available.
The sooner you book ahead, the better, however OpenTable operates in real time and will show you any slots that open up due to cancelations.
And if you have a change in plans, it’s easy to switch your reservation online with just a few clicks.
If you are a history or art fan, you’ll love exploring the Smithsonian museums and galleries located all throughout D.C.
To make it even easier, eleven of the Smithsonian museums are right on the National Mall, including the American History Museum, National Air and Space Museum, and Natural History Museum – just to name a few.
Most of them open at 10am, so get there early to avoid long waits.
Since transportation in D.C. and dining at restaurants can get expensive, take advantage of the fact that it’s 100 percent free to visit the Smithsonian museums.
Pro Tip: While The Holocaust Museum is not one of the eleven Smithsonian museums, this somber museum is a must-visit and will move you beyond words.
D.C. is known for its monuments, each one telling a different story and freezing a moment of time to teach future generations about the battles and legacies that shaped America.
From the WWII Memorial to the Jefferson Memorial and everything in between, the monuments of D.C. are a must-see (and they’re free).
Since these monuments are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, you can visit them whenever you want!
Consider touring the monuments at night to avoid peak crowds during the day. And since D.C. is wicked hot and sticky in the summer, you will find relief from the scorching sun at night.
Visiting our nation’s capital is truly a once in a lifetime experience.
Yes, we know it’s a liberal city (check out our conservative’s guide to visiting D.C. here), but there are still plenty of things to do that don’t involve the crazy protests and sit-ins liberals love to organize. This article has not posted to PAT yet, but please link “The Conservative’s Guide to Visiting DC” after it is published.
The best part about visiting D.C. is there is so much to see and do – you can literally customize your trip however you want.
While there are new trendy galleries and shops popping up all over the district, the classics are always the best and have stood the test of time.
Nothing beats the time-honored traditions millions of Americans have come to know and love.
So consider booking a trip to D.C. this summer for the ultimate American vacation.
Have you ever had the chance to tour Washington D.C.? If so, what was your favorite part about D.C.?
And if you’ve never been to D.C., which activity are you looking forward to most?
Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!