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Live Fairfax: Go across the river to experience the perfect DC day

Live Fairfax is a bi-weekly column exploring Fairfax County. This recurring column is sponsored and written by Sharmane Medaris of McEnearney Associates. Questions? Reach Sharmane at 813-504-4479.

If you’re like me, I’m sure you love to create experiences with your family and friends while they’re in town or even better have an amazing day with your kids while they are out of school on Thanksgiving break.

Whatever the case, creating the perfect D.C. day is a must! I mean, let’s be honest, I’m sure you know someone who is a local, but hasn’t yet experienced all that D.C. has to offer. I mean it is our nation’s capital and people travel from all over the world to experience it, so why aren’t you?

A little secret about me, I spent over 15 years selling D.C. as a destination for conventions at Destination DC, so I have a passion and love for our nation’s capital and all things travel. Also, an insider’s perspective on why D.C. is an amazing place to visit and create memories. If you are ready to venture over the bridge, then here we go! Two of my favorite itineraries!

Experience D.C. Day 1 — The National Mall

I know so many locals that just forget how beautiful our city is and have not been to the National Mall in so long! I took all 3 of my kids in for this exact fun day and let’s just say it inspired me to write this column!

  1. Washington Monument (Plenty of street parking just reach out to me and I can always give you some pointers.) My kids love playing tag on the green space or even just rolling down the hill.
  2. Head over to the Lincoln Memorial. While capturing all the beauty along the way, make sure to get a glimpse of the World War II MemorialDistrict of Columbia War Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and the NEW S. Park Police Horse Stables (my twins favorite).
  3. A day spent on the National Mall means packing lots of snacks and enjoying some of D.C.’s best known food trucks or museum eateries. The National Museum of The American Indian and US Holocaust Memorial Memorial Museum both have great food options that do not require museum entry tickets.

Experience D.C. Day 2 — Favorites with a Seasonal Flair

The itinerary for Day 2 shifts the focus away from the Mall while still offering unique D.C. experiences.

  1. Planet Word Museum (Time Entry Tickets available). Ideal for all ages, their tagline is “The museum where language comes to life.”
  2. Pick up gifts for family and friends at the DC Holiday Market in Penn Quarter/Chinatown.
  3. Compass Coffee (We all need coffee at this point.)
  4. The mission of the National Portrait Gallery is “to tell the story of America by portraying the people who shape the nation’s history, development and culture.”
  5. Grab an amazing Lunch or Dinner at Jaleo and Zaytinya (2 of my fav).
  6. Ice Skating in the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden (November 20, 2023 — March 3, 2024)
  7. I am a hotelier at heart so of course I am going to recommend 3 hotels to consider adding to your day or evening, all within walking distance of this day’s itinerary. Keep in mind I am referring to grabbing a beverage or an appetizer, or just walking through the lobby space to capture the holiday decor.
    • Riggs is a remarkable landmark hotel that has a unique speakeasy that is guaranteed to offer a unique experience.
    • Waldorf Astoria is a breathtaking hotel that has a style and elegance you will not regret checking out.
    • The iconic Willard Hotel is definitely a hotel that cannot be duplicated with the amount of history and elegance. They are known for their High Tea; I can tell you from personal experience it is phenomenal.

If you love this and would like more insight, please reach out to me. Also, Destination DC is the one resource you need to bookmark, so please be sure to visit to create captivating memories with experiences that can only happen in D.C.!

Explore Fairfax with Sharmane Medaris of McEnearney.

Sharmane Medaris | Live Fairfax | | | @soldbysharmane | 813-504-4479 | 374 Maple Avenue Suite 202, Vienna, VA 22180

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