​Things to Do in Washington, D.C.

Fusing history with modern sophistication, Washington, D.C. is just next door to Arlington, the host city for this year’s Symposium.  In addition to its government buildings and historic monuments, DC boasts a wide array of things to see and do.  To help you explore the city, the CFGI staff share some of their favorite activities to help you make the most of your DC experience.




​Andrew craves the onion soup gratinee and moules frites at Le Diplomate. For fast-casual, he’ll direct you to District Taco for its shrimp tacos. 

Brittany hails the vegetarian options at Nando’s, but this D.C.-area stalwart is world renowned for its PERi-PERi chicken. 

Emily would love you to try B Too where the Belgian frites are to die for! She also recommends the small plates and outdoor patio at Lincoln, where she knows the exact number of pennies adorning the floor. 

Justin savors the upscale burgers, malts and shakes at The Hamilton. For large groups and a side of music, he’d check out Hill Country Barbecue Market. 

When the weather is right, Katie enjoys dining on the patio at the historic Tabard Inn. In Georgetown, she dines at Kafe Leopold for the savory European fare. 

Lynn would love you to try Brasserie Beck, a top 10 restaurant in the city. She also recommends The Oceanaire for larger groups craving seafood. Cuba Libre offers fantastic Cuban cuisine and cocktails just three blocks from the conference hotel. 

Mike recommends the empanadas, the vegetable paella, and the wide range of mojito options. If lowcountry cooking and southern hospitality are your cup of (sweet) tea, he’d send you to Georgia Brown’s. 

Olga frequents Barcode for its cool D.C. vibe, deliciously refreshing gazpacho and fast bites that go well with happy hour cocktails. She also loves to grab dinner and drinks at Mio, with its Puerto Rican inspired menu. 

​Rebecca considers the breakfast at The Greenhouse in the Jefferson Hotel the best breakfast in town! Especially its lemon ricotta pancakes. For lunch or dinner, she suggests Founding Farmers, which offers fresh farm-to-table, sustainable, American-inspired food and drink. 

Patricia loves Graffiato by Mike Isabella; its Italian inspired menu is to die for! Besides, who can resist prosecco on tap? If Mexican is what you are craving, Rosa Mexicano is for you. Don’t forget to order the table-made guacamole. 

Susan loves Thai food. She would recommend Mango Tree. This upscale Thai restaurant will wow you with its papaya salad. 

Ruth recommends South American asado at Del Campo, paired with one of its smoky lemonade cocktails. Feeling lighter? Try Ping Pong Dim Sum for small Asian plates. 


Andrew slurps Spaten on the roof deck at Sauf Haus Bier Hall & Garten. 

Emily suggests Vinoteca for its divine wine list and outdoor games. 

Justin enjoys the stellar city views and cocktails at POV on the roof of the W Hotel. 

Lynn prefers the vintage D.C. charm of Off the Record at The Hay-Adams. 

Olga likes Barcode’s happy hour specials — they’re great! Rebecca heads to Sheppard for a speakeasy bar experience. 

Brittney suggests you take a short trip to Adams Morgan and try Bourbon. It has great cocktails made with a variety of whiskeys as well as a wide selection of craft beer and wine. The bar food is also pretty great. 

Founded in 1859, Old Ebbitt Grill, D.C.’s oldest saloon, is located minutes from the White House. Patricia thinks that the architecture is wonderful and the bartenders are extremely knowledgeable. 

Ruth suggests nuzzling up to the bar at Jose Andres’ Jaleo for one or more of his six spectacular gin-and tonics. Pairs well with its tasty tapas.

Caffeinate & Snack

Andrew, our resident Starbucks junkie, reports that the closest one is right in our conference hotel! 

Brittany hits up Georgetown's Baked & Wired for Stumptown coffee and the best cupcakes in the city. 

Katie samples the tantalizing tea list at Teaism. 

Olga loves the locally roasted coffees at Filter Coffeehouse and Espresso Bar. 

Susan stumps for Swing's Coffee, a favorite of White House staffers. 

Ruth insists on trying D.C.'s own Dolcezza in City Center for awesome coffee and its famous artisan gelato. 


Brittany peruses Miss Pixie's Furnishings & Whatnot for funky home décor. 

Emily heads to Georgetown to window-shop on Wisconsin Avenue and M Street. 

Justin hikes to Eastern Market in Capitol Hill for a quintessential D.C. experience. 

Katie likes the gift shop at the historic Decatur House for authentic memorabilia. 

Lynn hunts for bargains at Nordstrom Rack. 

Mike browses one of the best book collections in D.C. at Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe. You can also grab a slice of spectacular pecan pie at the café. 

Rebecca selects City Center DC, located adjacent to the Washington Marriott at Metro Center, for D.C.'s newest boutiques. 

Susan recommends Home Rule for its housewares and kitchen supplies. 

Patricia suggests taking a trip on the Silver Line and visiting the Tysons Galleria in her neck of the woods. Plan on a full day of mega mall shopping.

Do & See

Andrew cycles Arlington Memorial Bridge, Rock Creek Park and Capital Crescent Trail. Capital Bikeshare conveniently rents sturdy bikes, but all locations are perfect for a walk or run. 

Brittany scoots around the monuments on the National Mall by Segway. While you're there, you can also visit the Smithsonian Institutes, including the Air and Space Museum, American History Museum, and Natural History Museum, among others, as well as the National Gallery of Art. 

Justin enjoys portraits of presidents and other famous Americans at the National Portrait Gallery. 

Katie strolls the gorgeous gardens at historic Dumbarton Oaks. 

Lynn recommends a visit to the sculpture garden at the National Gallery of Art, and while there, don't forget to do some shopping in the gift shop. 

Mike suggests checking out the stunning photos at the National Geographic Museum. 

Olga pedicabs Pennsylvania Avenue, a unique way to see the White House and Capitol. 

Rebecca explores American history at the Newseum, a dynamic and engaging monument to the First Amendment. 

Susan paddles the tidal basin to scope out the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, her favorite monument. 

Patricia likes the International Spy Museum. If you like spy films, this museum brings espionage to life. 

Emily recommends stopping by the newly redone Renwick Gallery to see the Wonder Exhibit. But hurry – the first floor of this exhibit closes July 10! 

Ruth enjoys visiting Union Market for a stroll through 40+ local food stalls. Sample empanadas, kolaches, and dosas. Need a gift to take home? Pick up some chocolates at CoCo Sala, spice mixes at Salt & Sundry, or delicacies at Ah Love Oil & Vinegar. ​