Washington D.C. in 24 Hours

Smithsonian Institution

One of the most popular places to visit along the East Coast (in the States) is Washington D.C., and for good reason. Step into the capital of the United States and be immersed by historical landmarks and preexisting settlements that boast impressive architectural structures reminiscent of the civil war. We spent 24 hours in Washington D.C. – the political heart of America to bring you attractions and restaurants worth your time of day.

The Metro


The transport system in Washington D.C. is widely accessible, conveniently eliminating the need for a car. However, if you decide to drive, parking will set you back between USD18 to USD20 per day. Tip: If you’re planning on staying out late, be sure to check what time the parking lot closes—most of them close between 11pm to midnight. Parking facilities at law firms and medical centers generally open late (if not 24/7), such as One Medical Group (1001 G Street NW, DC 20001) located in the heart of the city—a mere five-minute walk to Metro Center metro station.

The best way to take in the sights and the sounds of Washington D.C. is on foot. Having said that, to make the most of 24 hours in the city, traveling solely on foot might not be the best option.

A great way to save time (and cut back on cash) is via the Metro. Rides cost an estimated USD3 per ride however far you may travel (slightly less if it’s a single stop). Prevent yourself from getting lost and download DC Metro Map—a free mobile app available on iOS and Android that maps out the entire Washington D.C. Metro system.

We, The Pizza


First things first: satisfy hunger pangs. Stop and grab a slice of pizza at one of the best joints in D.C.: We, The Pizza by runner-up of the fourth season of Top Chef Spike Mendelsohn. Quality really does make a difference, as this Italian-American pizza concept has clearly shown—emphasizing on quality ingredients and a “secret” cooking technique, in addition to offering gigantic pies.

Popular favorites include cast iron pie The Sicilian (USD4 per slice)—house-made tomato sauce, roasted tomatoes, mozzarella and fresh basil that boasts fresh sweetness of tomatoes, as well as forest shroomin’ pie (USD4 per slice) that’s bursting with fragrant truffle, wild forest mushrooms and fresh thyme.

Our personal favorite was lip-smackingly delicious Colletti’s notorious BBQ pie (USD4 per slice) of slow roasted pulled pork with Colletti’s award-winning barbecue sauce, cheddar and crispy onions—there’s a reason it’s notorious. If you’re feeling like burgers instead, pop over next door to sister restaurant, Good Stuff Eatery, for handcrafted burgers, hand-cut fries, hand-spun shakes.

How to get here: Hop onto the Metro and board the orange or blue line down to Capitol South metro station—five stations down from where we recommended parking—a ten-minute walk to We, The Pizza.

We, The Pizza
305 Pennsylvania Ave. SE
Washington, DC 20003
Tel: +1 (202) 544-4008
Mon to Sat: 11am – 11pm
Nearest Station: Capitol South

National Museum of Natural History


The highlight of Washington D.C. is The Smithsonian Institution—world’s largest museum and research complex that houses 19 museums and nine research centers with more than 140 affiliate museums around the world. There’s no way you’ll have time to visit all of them so here’s the top two on our list: National Museum of Natural History and National Air and Space Museum.

Fans of action-adventure movie Night at the Museum (2006) will not want to miss where it all came alive: National Museum of Natural History. Apart from exhibitions and interactive videos on the earliest human origins, bones structures of giant mammals and dinosaurs dominate the museum, bringing light and excitement into ancient history.

National Museum of Natural History
The Smithsonian Institution
10th St. and Constitution Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20530
Tel: +1 (202) 633-1000
Mon to Sun: 10am – 5:30pm
Nearest Station: Smithsonian

National Air and Space Museum

Another interesting museum is the National Air and Space Museum that showcases 23 galleries exhibiting hundreds of aircraft, spacecraft, missiles, rockets, and other flight-related artifacts. Here, you can walk through preserved aircrafts and spacecrafts to learn the functions of various flight models, and watch old black-and-white movies on the takeoff of the first experimental aircraft. Taking center stage is the 1903 Wright Flyer—first powered airplane by The Wright Company, established by aviation pioneers the Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur.

National Air and Space Museum
The Smithsonian Institution
Independence Ave. at 6th St., SW
Washington, DC 20597
Tel: +1 (202) 633-1000
Mon to Sun: 10am – 5:30pm
Nearest Station: L’Enfant Plaza

Graffiato - Budino


Runner-up on Top Chef All-Stars, owner-chef Mike Isabella helms the kitchen at Graffiato, dishing out comforting dishes from seasonal produce and locally cured hams. Opt for a table on level one if you enjoy a constant buzz of excitement—that’s where the bar is—hence the vibe. Traipse up to the second level where funky cartoon graphics (of masked vegetables) grace the walls, and another type of bar is showcased—an open ham bar. Don’t expect traditional Italian dishes here—creativity is what this spot’s about.

Shining on the menu is the wood-fired hanger steak (USD15) that’s perfectly cooked—medium rare; juicy w a woody and smoky flavor. Served alongside crispy onion ring bits, this dish converts even meat-haters like us. To fill bigger appetites, order Porky’s Revenge pizza (SGD17) with a mix of sopressata, pepperoni, sausage, tomato and mozzarella—this sure is one meaty piece of pie!

End your day on a sweet note with this off-the-menu dessert that we can’t stop raving about. Insanely rich is the dark chocolate budino (SGD8) topped w a scoop of olive oil gelato, crunchy pine nuts and dark cherries—its sour flavors cut through the rich and thick dark chocolate beautifully.

How to get here: From L’Enfant Plaza, hop onto the green or yellow line and alight two stops later at Gallery Place (Chinatown).

707 6th St. NW
Washington, DC 20001
Tel: +1 (202) 289-3600
Sun to Wed: 11:30am – 10pm
Thu to Sat: 11:30am – 11pm
Nearest Station: Gallery Place (Chinatown)

About the writer
Mandy Lynn is a former I-S Magazine nightlife writer and current editor of Nookmag; her dining and nightlife features have been published in Appetite Asia and Catalog Magazine. For on-the-go food recommendations, follow her on Instagram and Facebook, or join her on a Gourmet Adventure.