A Perfect 24 Hours in Washington DC – Local’s Guide

As a local living in DC for the past 4 years, I have been to almost every key part of the city. The following is a full itinerary of a PERFECT 24 hours in DC for a first time visit to the nation’s capital with detailed itineraries for every step of the way. You could spend weeks upon weeks exploring DC, but I had so much fun pulling together this 24 hour DC itinerary to hit every key spot you need to see during your next trip.

At a glance itinerary:

  • Morning: {Boozy} Brunch
  • Afternoon: Explore the Monuments
  • Late Afternoon: Explore a Museum + White House/Capitol Hill
  • Evening: Dinner on the Waterfront + Cocktails



Start your day in DC with a boozy, brunch. DC is known for the best brunches, so this is a great way to kick off the day. Here are a few of my personal favorites:

  • Founding Farmer’s (TOP PICK)
    • 1924 Pennsylvania Ave. NW Washington, D.C. 20006 (opens 8:30 AM on weekends + 6 min Uber to Lincoln Memorial)
    • Classic American Restaurant located in Foggy Bottom. Try the Goat Cheese & Beet Poached Egg Hash (personal fave) or the Breakfast Chicken & Waffles for a heartier option.
  • Le Diplomate
    • 1601 14th St. NW Washington, DC 20009 (13 min Uber to Lincoln Memorial)
    • French Cuisine located on 14th st. by Logan’s Circle. Try the Lobster Omelette or Eggs Benedict!
  • Boqueria – Dupont
    • 1837 M St NW, Washington, DC 20036 (8 min Uber to Lincoln Memorial)
    • Spanish Tapas with $42 bottomless every Sat/Sun. Try the Sangria, Tortilla Española, Papas Bravas, and Revuelto de Calabaza!
  • Tico
    • 1926 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009 (15 min Uber to Lincoln Memorial)
    • Mexican & Spanish $40 Bottomless (food + drinks) every Sat/Sun. Try the breakfast nachos & smoky papas bravas!


DC Monuments

As you likely know at this point, there are a LOT of monuments in DC. The most iconic, MUST SEE monuments are the following:

Guided Tour: You can choose to explore these either on your own, or for a more touristy route, you can sign up for a guided tour. I would recommend a Segway Tour for the most efficient route while getting historical context to what you are seeing. THIS Capital Segway Tour starts at 10:30am (show up 30 min earlier) & covers every single key monument to see in the city. The tour lasts about 2 hours and costs $65. I have done a Segway Tour in DC and found the guide to be very comprehensive if you are interested in learning about the history of the memorials & sights.

Explore Solo: Google Maps can be a lifesaver if you decide that you would rather walk around the monuments on your own. To save time if you choose this path, I would recommend taking an Uber to base points to save time such as the Lincoln Memorial OR finding Bird Scooters (think Uber for scooters – download the Bird app and it will tell you where the closest scooter to you is).

  • Lincoln Memorial: Uber or walk over (if close enough) to the Lincoln Memorial. Walk up the steps to the Abraham Lincoln statue and enjoy the views of the Reflecting Pool and Washington Monument.
  • Vietnam Veterans & Korean War Veteran Memorial (Skip these two Memorials if pressed for time):
    • When facing the Washington Monument, walk in a front-left diagonal to explore the Vietnam Veterans Memoriala long wall featuring over 58,000 names of dead & missing soldiers from the Vietnam War and the Vietnam Women’s Memorialhonors the women who served in the Vietnam War and includes nearly 60k names of dead & missing soldiers.
    • Return back to the Lincoln and when facing the Washington Monument, walk in a front-right diagonal towards the Korean War Veterans Memorial statues honors soldiers who fought in the Korean war.
  • World War II Memorial: Return back to the Lincoln Memorial and walk along the tree lined paths on the Reflecting Pool towards the Washington Monument and World War II Memorial. Snap a pic once you reach the World War II Memorial with your home state (for US visitors)! Catch a breath and hang out by the water during hot summer days.
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial: When facing the Washington Monument, turn right and cross the street. Start to walk towards the right along a path towards the MLK Memorial. There is a large rock that you walk under to see the Tidal Basin.
  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) Memorial: When facing the water, begin to walk to the right alongside the Tidal Basin towards the FDR Memorial. If you stay directly on the path closest to the water – YOU WILL MISS THIS. This is a really neat memorial with a lot of statues and iconic quotes to look at.
  • Jefferson Memorial: Continue to walk along the Tidal Basin towards the Jefferson Memorial. This is a LONG walk so feel free to skip this memorial if pressed for time as the views are still beautiful along the Tidal Basin. OR you can find a Bird/Capital One Bike nearby to get you there quicker.


Let your feet relax for a bit with a casual lunch at one of my favorite spots a short uber ride away from the monuments (sharing walk times to your next destination):

  • Jetties (15 min walk to POV)
    • 701 8th St NW, Washington, DC 20001
    • fast-casual sandwich & salad shop.
  • Buredo (7 min walk to POV)
    • 825 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20005
    • Iconic SUSHI BURRITOS + poke bowls
  • GCDC (5 min walk to White House)
    • 1730 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20006
    • grilled cheese bar (offer vegan options). try the pesto turkey melt!
  • District Taco (4 min walk to POV)
    • 656 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Washington, DC 20003
    • DC taco chain – offers vegan, soy free, GMO free, and gluten free taco options
    • *If you are willing to travel a bit further – I would recommend Taco Bamba for another delish taco option!*
  • Cava (15 min walk to POV)
    • 707 H St NW, Washington, DC 20001
    • fast casual mediterranean bowls. try the SuperGreens mix, half & half chicken + veggie mix, and lemon herb tahini!

Late Afternoon

White House/Capitol + Museums

POV Rooftop Bar:

515 15th St NW, Washington, DC 20004

All of the lunch options listed above are a 5-15 minute walk to POV Rooftop Bar (except for GCDC which I recommend going to white house FIRST and THEN POV Rooftop). If you do not lunch at GCDC, walk over to POV Rooftop Bar which is a MUST SEE in DC.

This Rooftop Bar has some of the best panoramic views of the White House and Monuments. This is my best local tip that I can offer to you, everyone I take up here absolutely LOVES the views!

To get to the rooftop, just enter the W Hotel & take the elevator up to the roof (free entry). You can head into the bar and snap some pics free of charge, or lounge for a bit and enjoy a cocktail (note these are a bit pricier than your typical bar).

White House

1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20500

The White House is just a short walk away from POV and a must-see during your time in DC. Note that to go inside you have to request a tour through your Member of Congress way in advance of your visit.

However, you can walk to the front of the White House and snap some pics! *There are a lot of performers around the strip as well that put on some shows sometimes (try not to get sucked into these for too long – a few min is cool to watch but they are very good at sucking you in to keep watching for a veryyy long time).*


One of the best things about DC is the quantity of free museums and attractions to explore. After the White House you can walk over to the National Mall and begin to explore a few museums that catch your eye. Depending on how quick you take to explore, you will likely have time to explore 1-2 museums. As you can see from the list below, there a LOT of options with limited time. I would recommend looking through your options and planning out the 2 you would like to explore prior to your visit.

*My personal favorites are the National Gallery of Art (beautiful garden like interior), Holocaust Museum, and the National Museum of American History.*

FREE Museums:

Other Museums:

The Capital

The United States Capitol is just a short walk from the National Mall. If you want to do a tour inside, plan around this as the Capitol closes at 4:30. You can walk over and get some great pics from the outside with a shorter time frame for your visit!


Freshen up at your hotel & head over to the Georgetown waterfront for a beautiful dinner with some amazing views.

If you are a dessert enthusiast, definitely make a pitstop at Baked & Wired in the heart of Georgetown before dinner to take some cupcakes or treats to go! This is a local favorite and arguably where you can get the best cupcakes in DC (even better than the more iconic Georgetown Cupcakes). Try the VEGAN oreo, red velvet, or pretty bitchin‘. FYI they close at either 8-9pm depending on the night so plan accordingly.

Stroll around the main strip of Georgetown for a bit, and then head over to dinner at one of my favorite spots:

  • Fiola Mare
    • 3100 K St NW, Washington, DC 20007
    • High-end seafood restaurant on the Georgetown Waterfront. Only stop here if you are on a higher budget or using that corporate card 😉
  • Pizzeria Paradiso
    • 3282 M St NW, Washington, DC 20007
    • Great spot for pizza & wine in a cozy restaurant along the main street of Georgetown. Most affordable option with ~$20 pizzas.
  • Chez Billy Sud
    • 1039 31st St NW, Washington, DC 20007
    • Cute French restaurant with a cozy ambiance. $26-$38 entrees.
  • Filomena
    • 1063 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC 20007
    • Italian Restaurant on the waterfront. $31-$60 entrees.
  • Ristorante Piccolo
    • 1068 31st St NW, Washington, DC 20007
    • Romantic Italian restaurant perfect for a nice evening with outdoor seating on the second floor. ~$15-40 entrees.

*Make sure to stroll down to the waterfront to walk around for a bit after dinner. The views are absolutely beautiful!*

**I would recommend making reservations AHEAD of time for both breakfast/dinner to ensure you have no issues getting a table**

Hope you enjoyed my Perfect 24 Hours in DC Guide & always feel free to shoot me a DM @thefitdelish or an email if you have any questions for your next trip!



hi, I'm Katya -- former D1 tennis player, certified CorePower Yoga Sculpt teacher, & soon to be IIN Certified Health Coach. Welcome to my page where I share all things wellness, real food recipes, and fitness. Thanks for stopping by and be sure to explore all things recipes, travel, yoga sculpt, wellness hacks, & shop all of my faves!


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