Washington DC outfits + travel diary

blush pink trench coat mgemi felize pastoso loafers travel outfit

Express trench coat xxs (borrowed from mom; sleeves are long on me), M.Gemi Pastoso loafers 35.5 c/o, Sam Edelman jeans (very similar – runs small), Goyard tote

Like every grade school kid, Nick and I each made the obligatory visit to Washington D.C. visiting major monuments and tourist sites when we were younger. I didn’t have plans to visit again, until so many of you mentioned D.C. in one of my posts asking about “walkable cities with character and a diverse food scene!” Earlier this month, we got to explore different neighborhoods and experience the area a little bit through fresh eyes, and we loved it! I feel like we barely scratched the surface, so will have to go back soon. Some highlights from our visit:

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Express jacket xxs (sleeves shortened), Ann Taylor sandals 5.5, A&F cami xxs, Uniqlo skirt (very similar – elastic waist runs a bit small), Goyard PM bag, Vince Camuto sunglasses

rainy day Museum Hopping

I loved that there were so many -and free- things to do in D.C. on a rainy day! The U.S. Botanic Garden (free admission) was a little respite in the city, good even for those who aren’t typical museum-goers. The rooms are modeled after different ecosystems, and we loved seeing and learning about so many varieties of flowers, cacti, and other plants!

botanical garden washington dc things to do with kids

A&F lace cami xxs (similar in satin), adhesive bra “covers”, Ann Taylor sandals 5.5, Uniqlo skirt
On Nori: Cloud Island set 6-9m (love these!), Turban for Tots headband 6-12m

us botanic garden free things to do with kids in washington dc

We also enjoyed the National Gallery of Art (free admission) and Newseum, but do plan half a day to explore the exhibits at Newseum to get the most out of your admission fee (which does allow you to come back the next day). The Portrait Gallery also came highly recommended by you guys, but we didn’t make it this time around!

We popped into the American Indian Museum since several people strongly recommended the food there inspired by Native American cuisine and ingredients. Maybe it just wasn’t our day, but the food we got was not great and cost about $60 for two people in a cafeteria setting.

things to do in georgetown washington dc with a baby

Gibson blazer xxsp, Everlane tee xxs, M.Gemi Pastoso loafers 35.5 c/o, Sam Edelman jeans (very similar – runs small), Nuna pipa carseat (the new ones look so good!), Babyzen yoyo stroller

morning walks around the tidal basin

We absolutely loved our family walks around the picturesque Tidal Basin! Peak bloom only lasts about a week and we were lucky to catch it by following this blossom watch forecast. It’s about 2 miles around so definitely wear comfortable shoes.

jefferson memorial washington dc cherry blossoms

It was so nice having my mom meet up with us again! I’m grateful for her help on the road, and Nori loves time with her “po po” (grandma)!

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casual Seafood @ the Wharf

At the suggestion of our hotel, we stopped by the Wharf which was in walking distance. There’s a large seafood market here where lots of people were buying crab and shrimp by the bushels to cook at home, and then numerous restaurants a little further down that we didn’t get to check out. We grabbed lunch from Captain White’s but it was just ok to be honest, and took a very long time to get our order.

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ExplorING historic Georgetown

Georgetown reminded me a lot of Beacon Hill in Boston. We browsed the shops along M St, then turned down O street for the charming, colorful homes and cobblestone roads. There was a small line outside Greenworks Florist to take photos by their door, so I joined right in ; )

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Outfit from this blog post.

We waited in line at Falafel Inc for a delicious, flavorful meal under $10!

falafel inc georgetown washington dc cheap eats

We’re familiar with Georgetown Cupcakes from their Boston location, so indulged in the cake cups at Baked and Wired instead. I got their one vegan flavor since I’m still avoiding eggs and dairy due to Nori’s allergies, and it was scrumptious!


Where we Stayed

For visitors, the most popular areas suggested by you guys on Instagram were Georgetown, Dupont Circle, Logan Circle, or Foggy Bottom. A lot of you also recommended the trendy Line Hotel as well but it was a bit far for us. We booked the Mandarin Oriental for the first part of our stay since it’s super close to the cherry blossoms, then moved to an apartment rental near Dupont Circle to explore a different area!

mandarin oriental washington dc hotel rooms
mandarin oriental dc club lounge
Room & club lounge appetizers spread at the Mandarin Oriental DC

The Mandarin was a splurge due to peak bloom week, but we loved our stay and 10-minute walk each morning to the Tidal Basin. Their club lounge was better than I expected with a full breakfast bar, robust appetizer & snack bar, and complimentary drinks so was worth adding on for busy travelers with little ones. We were able to walk to the National Mall and numerous museums (15 – 20 minutes walk), however the surrounding area by the hotel is mostly offices and government buildings without much to do or eat in the proximity. I was pleased though to find an authentic-feeling “Mini Sushi Bar” sushi counter (run by the owner of Sushi Ogawa) downstairs in the hotel, but note it runs ~$100 per person for omakase.

dupont circle washington dc airbnb apartment rental review

Our apartment rental on the outskirts of Dupont Circle

For the second part of our trip, we rented this apartment (2nd floor, no elevator) – it’s run by a management company with tons of other units on Airbnb that look similarly renovated and decorated in the Dupont Circle area! They were very responsive and our unit was clean, comfortable, and looked recently renovated. If you’re new to Airbnb, here’s a referral link for $40 off your first booking.

Where we ate

I have to thank you guys for the wonderfully detailed and diverse recommendations in the comments of this post! Be sure to take a look through if you’re visiting, as some of these restaurants are very popular / busy and require reservations well in advance or lining up outside, which we didn’t do with a baby in tow.

Got so many polarizing love or hate messages about the chain Founding Farmers, but that’s to be expected when a restaurant has over 12,000 reviews! We made same day dinner reservations and had a 30 minute wait since it was packed. Our food was nearly cold when it arrived, but overall we thought everything was fairly tasty (pot roast and fried chicken were table favorites) and the place was baby-friendly. Nick described it as a Cheesecake Factory ambiance but with better food.

founding farmers where to eat in washington dc food
sushi taro washington dc restaurants

While staying in Dupont Circle, we tried to get into a few places you guys recommended without luck, and ended up at Sushi Taro since there was no wait at the bar! We enjoyed their chirashi bowl and omakase, although the omakase is more like a sushi dinner set (pictured above on the white plate) that comes out all at once. A few of the top restaurants from your suggestions that we didn’t make it to this time include:

Rose’s luxury (limited same-day reservations)
Thip Khao for Laotian
Le Diplomate for French
Union Market for various food stalls
Toki Underground & Daikaya for ramen (no reservations, wait was 1-2 hours)
Little Serow for Thai (no reservations; nightly set menu for all diners)
Rasika for Indian
Bad Saint for Filipino (limited reservations)

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  1. Anna Hassan wrote:

    It sounds like a great trip. I love your jacket!!

    Posted 5.6.19 Reply
  2. Clark Salvatore wrote:

    Beautiful outfit and looking really gorgeous. Loved the blog.

    Posted 5.3.19 Reply
  3. Rach wrote:

    What an amazing guide! You guys were lucky to catch the blooms! They are stunning!


    Posted 4.28.19 Reply
  4. Jewel wrote:

    Hi Jean! Love the photos. What’s your travel camera?

    Posted 4.27.19 Reply
  5. Alaina Pitt wrote:

    I’m so glad you liked DC!

    For those who are planning to visit, the Newseum is closing at the end of this year (no news on if they will relocate or close permanently). Another family-friendly museum is the National Zoo on Connecticut (pro tip: Get off the Metro at Cleveland Park instead of Woodley Park; the walk is much easier).

    Sushi Taro has the best happy hour (but you have to line up). All their sushi is half off and there are drink specials too. It’s seriously the best sushi I’ve ever had.

    Another option for ramen (and my personal favorite) is Sakuramen in Adams Morgan.

    And last but not least for food: I have to recommend going to an Ethiopian restaurant. Chercher in Logan Circle is amazing. Fun fact: The Washington area has the largest Ethiopian population outside of Ethiopia.

    Posted 4.26.19 Reply
  6. Justine M. wrote:

    I’m so sad you didn’t enjoy Founding Farmers! The one in MD is a lot better and less crowded. If you ever visit again, I’d recommend their sister restaurant Farmers Fishers Bakers. It’s right on the waterfront in Georgetown and has a better menu in my opinion.

    Also if you can catch an Uber or drive to H street, I’d check out Purple Patch – it’s another awesome Filipino restaurant. The owners are so sweet and their food is amazing, and you can make reservations!! Come back soon!!

    Posted 4.26.19 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Oh I actually wrote that we found FF to be fairly tasty (despite our food coming out nearly cold)! But I got lots of messages from readers that were VERY polarizing about the restaurant chain.

      Thanks for the heads up on Purple Patch. There were actually SO many diverse spots we wanted to try (and would’ve had we been traveling as a couple), but to be honest were so pooped by the afternoon on some days we just put the baby to bed and filled up on appetizers in the hotel lounge haha.

      Posted 4.27.19 Reply
  7. Valeri Pighini wrote:

    I love seeing pictures of Nori growing up. She’s the sweetest.

    Posted 4.26.19 Reply
    • Kristina wrote:

      It doesn’t look like you got crabs from Captain White, but that’s typically what my husband and I would order and recommend when patronizing the seafood vendors in the wharf area. It’s a great communal eating experience, esp for big groups. Not really what I would have recommended for a family with a baby though since eating crabs can be a lot of work. Anyway, all this to say- I wouldn’t write off Captain White’s or any of those other vendors for the future! lol. And next time, make sure to order a bag of crabs! 😀

      Posted 4.26.19 Reply
      • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

        Hi Kristina, I have fond memories of going to Maryland to buy those bags of crabs with my family when we used to live in VA (and making our own dipping sauce back home)! But like you said, that wasn’t the best option with an active baby on our hands this time haha. We’ll have to go back and do the crabs instead of the boiled shrimp, which got sadly overcooked when we went.

        Posted 4.26.19 Reply
  8. In love with all of your outfits <3 🙂 And I've always wanted to visit Washington DC during cherry blossom season! It looks like a dream come true!

    XO, Elizabeth T.

    Posted 4.26.19 Reply
  9. Jenny wrote:

    You are right about the food at the Museum of the American Indian. It was widely considered the best museum food in town and highly regarded, but I their chef left for the newish Museum of African American History. The food and dining experience has gone way downhill since. The Post’s food critic wrote a pretty bad review two years ago. Still a really great museum, and we love it for our toddler. But we don’t eat there anymore.

    Posted 4.26.19 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Oh I had no idea! Thanks for the info. The Museum of African American History was on our list but we weren’t able to plan ahead well enough with a baby to schedule admission, so we’d love to go on a future visit!

      Posted 4.26.19 Reply
  10. Jean, you look gorgeous!! I love all your outfits! ❤️ 🙂

    Posted 4.26.19 Reply
  11. Jeannie wrote:

    Hi Jean! We are planning a road trip to DC in a few months with my then 6 mos old baby boy, can you recommend any place you came across that are baby/stroller friendly?? We also have the nuna pipa car seat and babyzen yoyo. Would really appreciate any tips you may have!

    BTW, Nori is just the cutest!

    Posted 4.26.19 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Jeannie, I think you’ll be fine pretty much everywhere except really small / intimate restaurants! We didn’t have any trouble with the yoyo nuna combo. When there were steps, Nick and I just carried the yoyo by lifting up the base, but most places have ramps or elevators. I had read in advance that places such as the Tidal Basin during peak bloom and the Botanic Garden were not stroller friendly, but we really did not find that to be the case, especially since the yoyo is so agile. Hope you guys have a wonderful time!

      Posted 4.26.19 Reply
  12. DC looked like so much fun! I loved your Insta stories from the trip, too!

    I hope you have a great Friday,

    Posted 4.26.19 Reply
  13. Gulnara I Mambetova wrote:

    I live in DC at Dupont Circle, i wish i could meet you 🙂

    Posted 4.26.19 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Oh how lovely!! Maybe we will cross paths next time! xx

      Posted 4.26.19 Reply
  14. Janine wrote:

    Great travel guide! I’ve never been to Washington DC, but you made me want to visit now haha!
    How pretty are those cherry blossoms and I like how you were able to discover the city with your little one in tow 🙂

    Posted 4.26.19 Reply
  15. Sara wrote:

    Nori keeps getting more and more beautiful, love the photo of her smiling/laughing! Glad you had a good trip!

    Posted 4.26.19 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Aw thank you, Sara. Her laughs are the best-pick-me up throughout my days!

      Posted 4.26.19 Reply
  16. Christine wrote:

    Bad Saint DOES take reservations now! It just started. Daikaya also takes reservations for its upstairs Izakaya, which is AMAZING and one of my favorite restaurants in DC!

    Posted 4.26.19 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Christine, thanks for letting us know! The reservations appear booked up months in advance so I’ll leave the link for anyone who plans more ahead haha. Good to know about the Izakaya. When I went by and asked they said no ramen is served upstairs, so I passed but will have to go next time, especially as it’s so close to the museums!

      Posted 4.26.19 Reply
      • Christine wrote:

        Haha, yeah, dinner reservations in DC at any of the ‘hot’ spots are a competitive sport! People book them months ahead and then cancel on the day of, so a good tip for travelers is to always check around 5-6 pm for last minute reservations!

        The Izakaya is so fun and typically easy to get a reservation a few days ahead, you’ll love it I think if you come back!

        Beautiful, practical, and informative post as always! Your content is what always keeps me coming back when I’ve tired of most other blogs that have just become sponcon! I appreciate your work a lot!

        Posted 4.26.19 Reply
    • Carla wrote:

      Visiting DC is about honoring US history, not “touristing”. I went 3 times with my family from CA and still haven’t seen all I want to. Going to the Vietnam War Memorial with my mother and her checking for high school classmate names was very moving. Getting lost in a museum with my grandfather is one of my funniest memories, as well as him going back to a restaurant to retrieve my favorite doll showed how much he loved me. All the memorials are awe-inspring and humbling.

      Posted 4.26.19 Reply
  17. What a wonderful diary of your trip. Thank you fir sharing your experiences, good and bad, and capturing your trip with such beautiful pictures. I’m working on starting a blog and yours is an inspiration for it. ❤️

    Posted 4.26.19 Reply
  18. Annaliese wrote:

    I’m saving this guide for next year! I went to see the cherry blossoms in 2018, and really want to go back in 2020. The US Botanic Garden is my favorite thing to do up there!

    Posted 4.26.19 Reply
  19. Rena wrote:

    Wonderful looks and pictures!
    xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena

    Posted 4.26.19 Reply
  20. Roses for Fridays | by mia wrote:

    Always beautiful outfit looks and styles … and the photos are so fabulous!

    🌸🍃ROSES FOR FRIDAYS 🌸🍃| by mia | A Creative Lifestyle Blog

    Posted 4.26.19 Reply

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