Once in a Lifetime: Unique Experiences of Washington DC

By: Katie Manning

January 11, 2013

As the capital of one of the most progressive and exciting countries in the world, it’s no wonder Washington D.C. has provided us with some of our most forward thinking, adventurous and unique experiences. From the dinner table to the water, we believe these once in a lifetime experiences are a great place to spend your time in the city.


miniBa | Washington DC
At the chef’s table © miniBAR

José Andrés, named  “Outstanding Chef” by the James Beard Foundation and a “Hot Restaurateur” by Condé Nast Traveller, offers an innovative 25-30 course extravaganza of a meal, served for an über-exclusive twelve guests. The restaurant is situated in the Penn Quarter Neighbourhood, right in the heart of DC. This is avant-garde cooking at its best so you can expect the meal of a lifetime. Booking well in advance is, understandably, essential.

855 E Street NW, Washington, +1 202 393 0812,

Kidspy Overnight Mission

Kidspy Overnight Mission | Washington DC
Disguises at the ready © Spy Museum

The Spy Museum hosts interactive events throughout the year. The current mission involves as a group of mini-elite recruits perfecting their aliases and cover stories. Once you’ve checked in at “˜Border Patrol’ you’re transported to Khandar to gather intelligence and crack the case in this immersive experience (for ages 12 upwards). Spykids will make and break secret codes, interrogate suspects, and evade capture.

Operation Spy, International Spy Museum, 800 F ST NW, Washington DC, 20004
+1 202 EYE SPYU,

Segway Tour

Segway Tours | Washington DC
A Segway tour of Washington DC ©

See Washington DC in a new way with a Segway tour. City Segway Tours will set you up with a self-balancing personal transportation device and a knowledgeable guide – don’t worry, he or she will help you figure out how to work the Segway in addition to sharing fascinating titbits about the city. There are a variety of tour options to choose from – opt for a classic, like the three-hour National Mall Tour or two-hour Segway Experience, to learn about the vast history of DC.

624 9th Street NW, +1 877 734 8687,

Kayaking on the Potomac

Kayaking on the Potomac | Washington DC
Kayaking on the Potomac © Tumi

Head over to Georgetown’s Thompson Boat Center for an unforgettable day on the water in Washington. Rent a kayak or a canoe from their convenient location on the Georgetown waterfront and paddle down the Potomac – it’s the perfect outing for a sunny day, whether you’re looking for a romantic date option or a contemplative solo activity. You’ll catch stunning views of Georgetown from the river and don’t worry if you’re not confident in a boat: no prior experience is required to get out on the water and helpful staff members are always happy to indulge newbie boaters.

2900 Virginia Ave NW, +1 202 333 9543,

Drinks at Historic Gadsby’s Tavern

Gadsby's Tavern | Washington DC
The Historic Gadsby’s Tavern, Washington DC © Gadsby’s Tavern

Gadsby’s Tavern has been a drinking and dining establishment for longer than the United States has been a country. The elegant Colonial dining rooms, located just outside the city in neighbouring Alexandria, have been in use since 1770. If atmosphere’s what you’re after you could hardly ask for more – servers wear period dress and some nights feature performances by John Douglas Hall, an 18th century-style lute-playing minstrel. Head here for a drink, or three: you couldn’t be in better company with previous customers including the likes of Founding Fathers George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe. If you’re looking to get really fancy, the Gadsby’s Tavern Museum (attached to the restaurant) hosts occasional period balls and dinners. Check their website for upcoming events.

138 N Royal Street, Alexandria, VA 22314, +1 703 548 1288,


Katie Manning

Katie is an author for the Virgin Atlantic blog. Despite her urban London residency, Katie can often be found exploring far-flung corners of the globe in search of exciting new experiences and stories. A self-confessed night-owl, she makes it her mission to search out the best cocktail bars and live music venues on each and every expedition. Follow Katie @kt_saramanning

Categories: Our Places