cherry blossom by the lake

Leisure Activities

Best things to do in Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C. is a city steeped in history and prestige. Well-known to both business and leisure travellers alike, it is on the short list of destinations that every international traveller must see at least once in their lives.

Home to some of the most recognisable buildings in the world, including, of course, The White House, Washington, D.C.'s skyline also features a number of notable buildings designed by celebrated architect and Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group Fan, I.M. Pei. These include the East Wing of the National Gallery of Art and L'Enfant Plaza, which are both located within walking distance of the hotel.

New discoveries

Over the last few years, a regeneration of areas and new attractions have helped turn the Nation’s Capital into a new hub for art and culture. Just a short walk from the hotel, District Wharf is attracting locals, visitors and residents alike to a brand new $2 billion development offering thrilling nightlife, new restaurants, boutiques, galleries, and bookstores. Live music is the attraction at the state-of-the-art Anthem where 6,000 fans can catch the hottest touring acts in all musical genres, whilst smaller venues such as D.C.-by-way-of-Austin at Pearl Street Warehouse, the hip Union Stage, or the Celtic folk at Kirwan’s Irish Pub, offer a lively atmosphere and a stage for cult acts.

a plate of oysters

Hank's Oyster Bar

The oysters at Hank's Oyster Bar is just one delicious dish to experience during your stay in Washington, D.C.

anthem music venue at the Wharf

The District Wharf

The revamped Wharf along the Southwest waterfront includes numerous restaurants, shopping and even a brand new indoor music venue.

A hot restaurant scene

The city is developing an inventive and thrilling restaurant scene, as recognised by the recent publication of the first ever Michelin Guide for Washington, D.C. in which fourteen establishments earned stars. Hot picks include micro-gastronomy pioneer minbar by Jose Andres, which is still one of the hardest tables to snag in the city, Rose’s Luxury, which famously doesn't take reservations, and Kinship and Metier by Mandarin Oriental, Washington, D.C. alumnus Eric Ziebold.

District Wharf also offers some of the city's most fashionable restaurants including Fabio Trabocchi's Del Mar, Hank's Oyster Bar by Jamie Leeds, Officina by Nicholas Stefanelli, and Tiki TNT by Virginia native Todd Thrasher.

a woman walking at city center



Shop like locals in the Shaw and Penn Quarter neighbourhoods where local boutiques and contemporary brands lie side by side with recognizable names. At CityCenterDC luxury brands such as Dior, Louis Vuitton, Hermes, and Morgenthal Frederics are well represented.



Washington, D.C. is in a class of its own when it comes to museums, many of which are free to enter. The Smithsonian Institute has 19 museums (and millions more artefacts in storage) including the must-see National Museum of American History and National Air and Space Museum. As well as the renowned National Museum of Natural History there is Sant Ocean Hall and the David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins. Or visit the newly refurbished Renwick Gallery and Sackler | Freer Galleries. The widely acclaimed and important National Museum of African-American History and Culture continues to draw big crowds over a year after its opening.

interior of Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

National Museum of Natural History

Visit the National Museum of Natural History just steps away from the Mandarin oriental, Washington, D.C.

interior of anthem music venue at the District Wharf

The Anthem

See a show at the brand new Anthem music venue at the revitalized District Wharf.

Exterior of National Museum of African American

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Take time to visit the many museums nearby, like National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Museum of the Bible interior

Museum of the Bible

In 2017, the Museum of the Bible became the newest museum to dot the D.C. skyline.