The heat is on, but don’t let the DC summer get you down.
Washington, DC becomes so hot and humid on some summer afternoons that residents like to tell visitors, “It’s built on a swamp.” This isn’t actually true, but there are a lot of days when you may actually believe it. You step outside and feel consumed by the heavy, wet air as it bares down on you. You walk a few blocks from the Metro station to get to work, and realize that you’ve already become sweaty and ruined your hair/makeup/blouse.
Summer heat pushes a lot of DC residents into the air-conditioned indoors. They stay home on otherwise beautiful summer days, blasting A/C while watching Big Brother, which probably comes out in the summertime expressly for days like these. Other DC-ites leave town, heading to less humid locales up north, but that can become expensive. For a lot of young DC residents who can’t afford to get away every weekend but don’t want to be stuck in their apartments, the best option is to beat the heat with a little pampering. It certainly makes the oppressive weather a little more bearable.
If you’re visiting DC during the ever-popular tourist season, enjoy the day the local way. Grab a hotel in historic Dupont Circle, where you’ll have easy access to all the TLC you need to actually enjoy the city.
Where to Stay
Swann House Bed and Breakfast: A B&B feels luxurious in and of itself. This little oasis in the city has the charm of a cozy inn, mixed with the glamour you’d expect from its Dupont location. You’ll stay in an 1883 mansion that melds modern amenities with crystal chandeliers, ornately carved fireplaces, and original plaster moldings. You’ll also appreciate how central this spot is to the White House and other tourist destinations.
Begin Your Day
Start your morning with a complimentary breakfast at the Inn. If it hasn’t become too hot just yet, you can enjoy eating on their covered porch and get in a little time outside.
Since you won’t want to walk too far in the heat, or head into the equally warm Metro station (and risk sitting in a car without A/C), venture less than half a mile away to a local favorite: Spa Logic. Residents swear by this spot because you can enjoy everything in one place. You’ll appreciate being able to stay inside while having a spa mani/pedi in their nail salon downstairs. Head upstairs for an incredibly soothing massage that takes place in a dark, modern space. Their facials are given on the top level, in a room that looks like an elegant, converted bedroom. Aromatherapy and face masks help you feel clean and refreshed.
After a couple of hours at Spa Logic, you’ll probably be ready to eat. Stay in your Zen, blissed-out state by grabbing a light lunch and some iced tea at Teaism. Cold drinks include a Chai shake made with rich cinnamon gelato and a Japanese Sweet Green Tea. For a hot day, we love the light but filling Udon Noodle Salad starter, followed by the Tea-Cured Salmon Sandwich made with fresh, local ingredients. Dolcezza gelato is a can’t-miss dessert here. This is a great opportunity to enjoy the offerings of a very popular local shop without having to venture to yet another locale in the city.
Crowds of tourist make heat feel even more consuming and can definitely ruin your calm, peaceful day of healthy eating and spa time. To enjoy DC the “hometown” way without running into the sweating, camp short/tank top wearing masses who might smell a little too strongly of sunscreen, we love The Mansion on O Street. Travel + Leisure calls their tours “wild and unconventional.”
Explore this property designed by the architect of the U.S. Capitol with a Treasure Hunt Tour, a Numerology Tour, Penthouse Tour, Champagne Tour, or Secret Door Treasure Hunt (only do this one if you have a lot of money to spare). There are lots of secrets doors and mysteries to uncover in this old mansion, and you can view their art exhibits for free with any tour purchase.
Next, browse Kramerbooks, which is a tourist essential because it’s a DC institution. It’s been open for over 30 years, you’ll see familiar faces from the House/Senate browsing their vast selection of political books, and they have excellent coffee in the café in the back. It’s a very “DC” local bookshop, and you’ll be glad you explored this Dupont area favorite.
Spare yourself from sweating as you tour The National Zoo or exhausting yourself with a walk among the DC monuments. You can stay indoors in the District and still have an incredible time. By situating yourself in a comfy Dupont Circle hotel, you’ll be central to lots of relaxed indoor activities that ensure you have a great time, without feeling the heat.