3 Days in Washington D.C. This Fall

October 4, 2021

A fun, educational, and inspiring weekend featuring U.S. Monuments by Moonlight and fall colors, one could expect no less from the nation's capital at the National Arboretum. 

Locally renowned restaurants, entertaining educational tours, haunting stories of "The Hill," and the best spots to relax and enjoy the season make this guide the perfect mix of activities for a fun-filled weekend in D.C.

Serene or Spooky?

Need some time to relax in nature and step away from the computer? Or are you craving a heart-throbbing spooky weekend?

Whether you want a Leisurely Weekend Getaway, Moderately-Paced Itinerary, or an Action-Packed Adventure, we've got your three-day Washington D.C. fall trip covered!

Leisurely Getaway Weekend

Where to Sleep: Capitol Hill Hotel

Capitol Hill Hotel is 2.5 miles from the White House, a trendy hotel with Wi-Fi, TVs, complimentary breakfast, kitchens, 24/7 gym, and coffee makers. In-room massages are an additional bonus for weary travelers. 

exterior of The United States Capitol Building with sun behind dome

Day One

Where to Go: Old Town Trolley Tour

Get a feel for DC with a 90-minute Old Town Trolley Tour that includes one stop at the Abraham Lincoln Memorial. You’ll also have 30 minutes to explore the Korean War Veterans Memorial and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall.

Then, the tour will continue with live narration and fascinating historical facts as you see the White House, Washington Monument, United States Capitol Building, Thomas Jefferson Memorial, Union Station, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, and the Smithsonian Museums.

Where to Eat: GCDC Grilled Cheese Bar

Grilled cheese, tomato soup, tater tots, beer, lemonade are served at the GCDC Grilled Cheese Bar. One of the few menus that can equally excite both young and old-ish taste buds.

Related Post: When is the Best Time of Year to Visit Washington DC?

Day Two

Where to Go for Autumn Trees: U.S. National Arboretum

What better place to see American trees change color than at the US National Arboretum? Tons of beautiful leaves, even on tiny bonsais, create a stunning display of colors. This hidden gem is the perfect place to let the kids safely expend their energy while you snap unique family photos. Free admission.

Where to Eat: Ivy City Smokehouse

Just outside the arboretum, the Ivy City Smokehouse restaurant serves seafood, steak, chicken, vegetables, and more. Try the smoked fish and the brisket. Rooftop and patio seating is available! 

Day Three

Where to Go: National Children's Museum

Be sure to check out the Dream Machine at the National Children's Museum. It's a three-level jungle gym, climbing areas, slides, LED lights, fire trucks, and more exciting interactive exhibits that will delight all kids aged 1-12.

Related Post: Washington DC on a Budget: How to Make the Most of Your Trip

Where to Eat: &pizza

No that's not a typo. &pizza is a top-rated D.C. pizza chain for a fast, satiating meal the whole family will love!

Where to Spend a Relaxing Afternoon: The Ellipse

The Ellipse is a 52-acre park south of the White House is a great spot to have a picnic, throw a frisbee, and get a few last good photos of the White House.

Moderately-Paced Itinerary

Day One

Where to Go: The Smithsonian National Museum of American History

Fun and interactive exhibits, including popular artifacts like the original Star-Spangled Banner, the ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz, the original Kermit the Frog puppet, and more, are housed at The Smithsonian National Museum of American History.  

Related Post: 13 Absolute Must-See Washington DC Landmarks

Where to Eat: &pizza

No that's not a typo. &pizza is a top-rated D.C. pizza chain for a fast, satiating meal the whole family will love!

Couple with a Baby at the Lincoln Memorial with the Washington Memorial in the Background at Sunrise in Washington DC Capital of the USA

Where to Go for Education by Moonlight: Monuments by Moonlight Tour

See Washington D.C.’s memorials, museums, and government buildings lit up by moonlight and bereft of crowds on this exciting 2.5-hour Monuments by Moonlight Tour. Fascinating historical facts and ghost stories keep the family entertained while you zip from one site to the next, including: 

  • The Lincoln Memorial
  • Vietnam Veterans Memorial
  • Korean War Memorial
  • Iwo Jima Marine Corps Memorial
  • FDR Memorial
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial
  • Capitol Building
  • White House

Day 2

Where to Go: Georgetown University

Explore the beautiful campus of Georgetown University and the surrounding historic neighborhood. Go shopping, visit the Old Stone House, one of the only intact pre-Revolutionary War buildings in the area.  It’s also a good opportunity for ambitious parents to plant a seed for a future Georgetown student!

Related Post: How to Spend a Weekend in Washington DC

Where to Eat Lunch: Bandoola Bowl

Just a few minutes from campus is Bandoola Bowl. Highly-rated, healthy Southeast Asian restaurant with salads, and rice and noodle bowls.

Where to Spend a Relaxing Afternoon: The Ellipse

The Ellipse is a 52-acre park south of the White House is a great spot to have a picnic, throw a frisbee, and get a few last good photos of the White House.

Day Three

Where to Go: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Start the day with a sobering reminder to be thankful for the liberties and privileges of life in the U.S. A walk through the United States Holocaust Memorial is a profoundly educational opportunity for students and a critical reminder from the capital that preserving democracy requires historical knowledge, constant awareness, and education.

Where to Eat: Ivy City Smokehouse

Ivy City Smokehouse is located just outside the arboretum. This restaurant serves seafood, steak, chicken, vegetables, and more. Try the smoked fish and the brisket. Rooftop and patio seating is available!

Related Post: 29 Totally Free Things to Do in Washington D.C.

Where to Go For Autumn Trees: US National Arboretum

What better place to see American trees change color than at the US National Arboretum? Tons of beautiful leaves, even on tiny bonsais, create a stunning display of colors. This hidden gem is the perfect place to let the kids safely expend their energy while you snap unique family photos. Free admission.

close up of the Lincoln Memorial statue in Washington D.C., USA

Action-Packed Adventure

Day One

Where to Go: The Smithsonian National Museum of American History

Fun and interactive exhibits including popular artifacts like the original Star-Spangled Banner, the ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz, the original Kermit the Frog puppet, and more at The Smithsonian National Museum of American History.

Related Post: Current Events and Festivals in Washington D.C.

Where to Eat: Residents Café and Bar

Residents Café and Bar is a beautifully decorated restaurant with a global and diverse menu and photo-worthy plates.

Where to Go for Education by Moonlight: Monuments by Moonlight Tour

See Washington D.C.’s memorials, museums, and government buildings lit up by moonlight and bereft of crowds on this exciting 2.5-hour Monuments by Moonlight Tour. Fascinating historical facts and ghost stories keep the family entertained while you zip from one site to the next, including: 

  • The Lincoln Memorial
  • Vietnam Veterans Memorial
  • Korean War Memorial
  • Iwo Jima Marine Corps Memorial
  • FDR Memorial
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial
  • Capitol Building
  • White House

Day Two

Where to Go: Georgetown University

Explore the beautiful campus of Georgetown University and the surrounding historic neighborhood. Go shopping, visit the Old Stone House, one of the only intact pre-Revolutionary War buildings in the area.  It’s also a good opportunity for ambitious parents to plant a seed for a future Georgetown student!

Where to Eat Lunch: Bandoola Bowl

Just a few minutes from campus is Bandoola Bowl. Highly-rated, healthy Southeast Asian restaurant with salads, and rice and noodle bowls.

Where to Get Spooked: Horror on the Hill

Horror on the Hill. The demon cat, the drunken phantasm, the singing specter, the miserly ghost, the sleeping spirit, the vengeful wraith, the scholarly spook, judgmental visitant, and the presidential phantom await you on this spooky night-time Horror on the Hill tour.

Day Three

Where to Go: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Start the day with a sobering reminder to be thankful for the liberties and privileges of life in the U.S. A walk through the United States Holocaust Memorial is a profoundly educational opportunity for students and a critical reminder from the capital that preserving democracy requires historical knowledge, constant awareness, and education.

Where to Eat: Ivy City Smokehouse

Ivy City Smokehouse is located just outside the arboretum, this restaurant serves seafood, steak, chicken, vegetables, and more. Try the smoked fish and the brisket. Rooftop and patio seating is available!

Related Post: Top Attractions in Washington D.C.

Where to Go for Autumn Trees: U.S. National Arboretum

What better place to see American trees change color than at the US National Arboretum? Tons of beautiful leaves, even on tiny bonsais, create a stunning display of colors. This hidden gem is the perfect place to let the kids safely expend their energy while you snap unique family photos. Free admission.

Have something to add? Post it here:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Subscribe to our Newsletter