Your essential guides to Washington, D.C.

Guide
Find your bearings

 

Checking into Mandarin Oriental, Washington, D.C. means dipping into the attractions on the capital’s buzzing waterfront and its museum- and monument-filled National Mall. Stroll a few blocks to the new, Washington Channel-front development, The Wharf, where glass-and-steel mid-rise buildings hold concert venues, boutiques and restaurants with stellar views. Four blocks from the hotel, the Mall’s elegant Sackler Gallery houses Asian art in recently renovated digs around a serene courtyard.
Feed your mind

 

Just a few blocks away, you’ll find the National Museum of African-American History and Culture. The museum, which opened in 2016, is housed in a striking, bronze lattice-wrapped building designed to look like a tribal crown. Exhibits merge video, artefacts (everything from a slave cabin to Prince’s purple jumpsuit) and photos to explore the African-American experience. Mandarin Oriental, Washington, D.C. is also less than a mile from other only-in-DC museums such as the National Gallery of Art and the modern art temple, Hirshhorn Museum.

 

Shop like a local

 

A ten-minute cab ride and you’ll be at CityCenterDC, which offers up luxury shopping and dining in a walkable zone orbiting around the pedestrian byway Palmer Alley, where an ever-changing, Instagrammable seasonal canopy ranges from faux cherry blossoms in spring to icicle lights in winter. Boutiques include a glam, two-level Dior outpost and D.C.’s only branch of plush Italian cashmere brand Loro Piana. Just two miles west, Georgetown's buzzing, historic blocks hold indie antiques shops plus big-name retailers such as Billy Reid and Intermix.
See some sights

 

The gleaming memorials on the National Mall salute great presidents (Jefferson, Lincoln) and pay tribute to war heroes (the stirring black granite wall of names at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial). All can be seen via a short walk from the hotel, and they're particularly dazzling by night. For a deeper dive into the city's rich history, catch a water taxi from the nearby Wharf to Georgetown, where the redbrick sidewalks are lined with Federal and Victorian townhouses. The city's oldest neighbourhood also holds hidden gems such as Dumbarton Oaks, a recently renovated mansion museum with pre-Columbia gold inside and a lavish garden outside.

 

Toast your arrival

 

Inventive cocktails, many with an Asian twist, headline Mandarin Oriental's Empress Lounge, with seating inside the plush, exotic lobby or on a serene outdoor patio. A few blocks away, the Wharf serves up a range of after-five live music venues including the laid-back, diner-like Pearl Street Warehouse for bluegrass and Americana concerts, and the acoustically stunning Anthem, where big acts, including former local boy Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters, perform.

Make time to unwind

Dine in style 

 

Nearby, at the Wharf, Italian-born, D.C.-based celebrity chef Fabio Trabocchi's Del Mar plates Spanish-style fish and tapas in sleek surrounds. And for one of the hottest tables in town, head to Maydān in D.C.'s hip Shaw neighbourhood, where North African and Middle Eastern fare includes wood-grilled breads and dazzling dips.

And finally...

Catch a Washington Nationals MLB game at the stadium and cheer for the team and the hilarious racing president mascots.