Start your day with the quintessential downtown DC activity: museum hopping. The National Air and Space Museum, which was closed to the public from March to October 2022, is back with eight exciting new galleries. One of them is Exploring the Planets, which lets you imagine what it might be like to stand on a different planet. It’s all part of a major renovation that has a goal of making the museum more sustainable and accessible.
Then, walk a block to the Hirshhorn Museum’s popular Yayoi Kusama exhibit One with Eternity for dazzling, immersive visuals. The exhibit’s run has been extended through July 16. (Tip: Don’t forget to reserve timed-entry passes for the museums, a practice that’s become more widespread recently.)
After a stroll down the Mall — and perhaps some photos of iconic landmarks you haven’t seen up close in a while — it’s time for lunch. Head to Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken, where you can grab a sandwich like the Old Bay All Day: fried chicken on an Old Bay doughnut with bacon, pickles, and Sriracha mayo.
From there, it’s a quick walk to Planet Word, located in the historic Franklin School building. It’s one of DC’s newest museums, where you can learn about language and linguistics. Think of it as more of an interactive playground than a museum.
For dinner, head to Dauphine’s, opened in May 2021, a Michelin Guide restaurant that’s not only a treasure trove of Cajun and Creole cuisines but also, with three levels and two patios, one of the best new places in the city for either a quiet conversation or a big family affair. Afterward, take in a show at the Warner Theatre. Upcoming offerings include Margaret Cho, Regina Spektor, Hits! The Musical, and tributes to Queen and The Beatles.
Wind down from your day with an unexpected cocktail from Allegory at the Eaton DC hotel, a speakeasy hidden behind a wall of books that reopened in August 2021. With a 23-page menu and a mural that reimagines the story of Ruby Bridges, the first Black child to desegregate an elementary school in the South, as an Alice in Wonderland–inspired journey, it’s an artistic gem that will spark conversation long beyond your visit.
Feature image courtesy Ota Fine Arts and Victoria Miro, London/Venice. © YAYOI KUSAMA. Photo by Matailong Du
This story originally ran in Northern Virginia Magazine’s March issue. For more stories like this, subscribe to our monthly magazine.