As a girl that came from a small city in the Midwest, I love venturing out and exploring all of the big cities here on the East Coast! Since I moved to Virginia about 7 months ago, I have loved being able to drive to all of these new places I’ve never been to before. Over Valentine’s weekend, we decided to do a mini getaway and drive up to D.C. From Charlottesville, it is only about a 2 hour drive, so our 24 hour trip was perfect!
D.C. is a super fun city, especially to spend with your significant other. We definitely ate a lot, drank, and explored! Check out all of the best spots we went in Washington, D.C.!
For this trip to D.C., we stayed at the Intercontinental Hotel right on the Wharf. If you are someone that loves being near the water and gorgeous views, this is a great spot to check out! They have a variety of room options, some including spacious patios overlooking the marina. We really enjoyed the service, staff, cleanliness and location. We knew that a few of the activities we wanted to do were near the wharf, so this place was perfect for the night!
This hotel also has a great rooftop with a pool, however it is only seasonal, so for us visiting in February it wasn’t open. A feature I really enjoyed was the additional of breakfast in the morning. We added on breakfast for an additional charge, but it was totally worth it with some great options!
Another place I would highly recommend is the Water Gate hotel. This is another hotel right on the water, but also has more city views and a great rooftop bar.
Located right next the Intercontinental Hotel is the restaurant Del Mar which serves Spanish inspired cuisine. This was our first stop in D.C. and we walked right over from our hotel. The nautical decor was very fitting for being located right on the wharf! Everything here is served Tapas style and very authentic so the menu needed a little explaining. We started off with a salad and split the seafood Paella which was more than enough food for the two of us! It had tons of fresh seafood so I was super happy. They also make a beautiful and tasty sangria with a Bordeaux blend red wine, brandy, fresh fruit ice cubs, and topped with Cava. This was probably the best sangria I’ve ever had, but it was strong!!
Of course I couldn’t visit a new city without going to a winery! District Winery is the first ever commercial winery operating in Washington, DC. They are not considered a vineyard, because they do not grow any grapes. Instead, they source all of their grapes from boutique vineyards across the country, ranging from California, to Washington State, to the Finger Lakes in NY.
Once their grapes have shipped, it takes about 3-4 days to make it to the winery. Since the grapes have to travel quite a distance, they ensure that once the grapes arrive at the winery, they are immediately de-stemmed, crushed, and ready to start fermentation. All of their wines are fermented in stainless steel, however they age their wines in stainless steel, French, and American oak.
ALL of their wines are dry, so they do not contain any residual sugar. I typically prefer my wines dry, so this was a big plus in my book! We did a wonderful tour and tasting of their winery. It was very informative and we were able to sit and try seven of their wines. I loved their Blanc de Blancs (made using Chardonnay grapes from the Finger Lakes, NY) and their Cabernet Sauvignon (made using grapes from Sonoma Valley, CA).
They have a rotating selection of wines used in their tastings. You can do a walk-in tasting at their bar or you can reserve a tour which is $35 a person. They also offer Wine 101 classes for those interested in learning the basics of wine! For all of their experiences you can check out their website here.
On Valentine’s night, we took a dinner cruise along the Potomac River. They served us a three course meal, live music, drinks, and beautiful views of the city and monuments at night! They have different levels of packages you can buy. We took the Odyssey Cruise, but they have other options available as well. If you are planning on going during a holiday, make sure to book well in advance!
If you feel like doing some shopping and seeing more of the city, check out Washington D.C. City Center. They have luxury brand stores like Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Dior, etc. In City Center they also have a separate mall and other retail stores such as Zara and H&M. City Center is also a great place to hang out and have lunch. We stopped in FIG & OLIVE for a mimosa 🙂
Another thing I love about D.C. is just driving around and looking at the monuments. Finding a parking spot and walking through Lincoln Memorial to the National Monument is also breathtaking. You can’t go to D.C. without soaking in all of the beautiful buildings and history!
Do you have a favorite spot in D.C.? Share your favorite places in the comments below!