I just moved to DC, but since I tend to fall into ruts—running the same two-mile loop near my apartment, going to the same bagel shop every weekend, visiting the same happy hours—I put together a DC bucket list! I included twelve activities, so I’ll do about one item every month. I’ve done some of these before and would love to do them again, and some are new to me. Let me know if there’s anything I missed!
- Walk to the top of the Washington Monument.
Although this is my first time living near DC, I’ve visited all the classic tourist attractions, like the presidential memorials and Smithsonian museums, and some unexpected favorites, like the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Because everyone else has already been and claims it’s overrated, however, I haven’t ever visited the Washington Monument.
Why the Capitols and not the Redskins, Nationals, or Wizards, you ask? I love watching the Nationals play, so it’s not something I need to designate as a bucket list item. I’m not a Redskins or Wizards fan since I grew up closer to Charlotte than DC, so I wouldn’t cheer them on in good faith. A pro hockey game will be a fun activity this winter or spring to introduce me to the rest of the DC sports scene.
- Take the bike path to Mount Vernon from Alexandria.
Although I’ve visited Mount Vernon before, I didn’t successfully ride a bike until April 2017, so I haven’t had the opportunity to bike there until now. Watch out, pedestrians! The grounds around Mount Vernon, which I look forward to exploring, will be prettiest in early fall or spring.
Taking a paddleboard or kayak out on the Potomac River will be a great way to explore my new city. I haven’t paddleboarded before, so I may stick to a kayak (although I’ve flipped plenty of kayaks) or do a test paddleboard around Lake Barcroft. This will be a good activity May through September, although midsummer will be the best time for an impromptu swim in the Potomac if I fall off.
As a beginning wine drinker who hasn’t started enjoying reds yet, I haven’t been to many wineries. Recently, though, I found out that my cousin’s girlfriend works at Paradise Springs Winery in Clifton. With a fun winery so close I have to visit (and eventually I’ll stop making a face after I taste the reds). This will be a fun weekend activity for fall.
- Visit Georgetown Cupcakes!
The last time I ate a Georgetown Cupcake, someone else waited in line in the cold while I hung around the Air and Space Museum. While pretty much every DC area native, including my boyfriend H, says they’re totally overhyped, I’ll see if the hassle and choosing my own flavor makes the cupcake taste better. This will be a good winter activity to showcase my pastel outerwear and make getting a cupcake as inconvenient as possible.
I wanted to include at least one Smithsonian, and since I’m notorious for taking a long time in museums (I try to see every exhibit while pondering the state of humanity), I’d like to go back to one I’ve seen before. The Hirshhorn is my favorite art museum in DC because I can experience the art without as many preconceived notions of which pieces are the best since I don’t know which ones are the most famous or the most expensive.
This one is on the list even though I know it will be disappointing—the pandas will be hiding in the back of the enclosure like always, so I’ll just see a blur of black and white fur. I would go in the winter if the DC zoo had polar bears, which are the real stars of any zoo visit. Since they don’t, I’ll have to go after the zoo officials figure out if Mei Xiang will have a panda cub or not.
- Picnic at Gravelly Point Park.
I’ve run past Gravelly Point Park lots of times when I lived in Alexandria during the summer, but I haven’t spent any time in the park itself. This fall or spring I plan on packing a picnic (just wine and cheese counts as a picnic, right?) and watching the planes take off.
I haven’t ever been, but Eastern Market looks like a farmer’s and flea market combined—perfect for me since I go to farmer’s markets but end up just looking at everything and then buying flowers and soap. I’m always looking for antique or hilariously 80s furniture as well, and this looks like a good place to browse.
Despite our shared love of mansions, my parents visited Hillwood without me and I’m still upset. This mansion-turned-museum features 20th century art, furnishings, and gardens near Rock Creek Park. Mansion visits are best in the spring or summer since there are accompanying grounds, but this would also be a fun winter activity (depending on how long I want to spend looking at china patterns). Marjorie Merriweather Post funded a Boy Scout camp, so I might even convince H to join me.
As a Virginia native, I’ve been interested in Civil War history since I was little. I haven’t visited Harper’s Ferry yet, though, and the hiking and history there sounds like it would make a great day or weekend trip. Maryland Heights and Loudoun Heights are both supposed to be good hikes, so I’ll do this on a weekend with good weather when I’m looking to get out of the city.