The opulent dining room inside Hillwood Estate

The opulent dining room inside Marjorie Merriweather Post's Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens (Courtesy Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens)

Top Luxury Experiences in Washington, D.C.

By Anne Kim-Dannibale on 01/15/16, updated 03/15/16
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In Washington, where lawyers and lobbyists with large expense accounts regularly wine and dine, there’s no shortage of upscale things to do.

A sky’s-the-limit tour might begin in Georgetown, the epicenter of wealth and status. Founded in 1751, the neighborhood has been home to many powerful and influential Washingtonians, from politicians to socialites and media personalities. Head here for a dose of history while strolling along the zone’s cobblestone streets lined with magnificent mansions. Shop for art and antiques along M St. NW and Wisconsin Ave. NW, and dine at some of the city’s most coveted tables.

Urbanites with cash to burn may prefer the heart of the city in which to flex their financial muscles. At CityCenterDC, a hub of luxury awaits with stores like Hermes and Louis Vuitton, plus restaurants like Daniel Boulud’s DBGB Kitchen and Bar. A precious gemstone’s throw away, Penn Quarter offers the well-heeled even more high-priced dining options, including Jose Andres’ restaurant empire (with ultra exclusive Minibar). Near the White House, take the elevator to the top floor of the W Hotel to swanky POV Lounge, where VIP tables include sweeping city views.

For options farther afield, the cash-rich may take their Teslas for a spin in Northern Virginia, where glitzy storefronts offer up pricey goods, and restaurants draw even the President.

Georgetown's main shopping street

Georgetown's main shopping zone

Areas to Explore

Georgetown

This historic zone hums with activity so come during off-peak times like weekdays and weeknights. You’ll find trendier shops along M St. NW, with galleries concentrated around 29th St. NW and on Wisconsin Ave. NW at 33rd St./Reservoir Rd. NW.

Minibar's exclusive 12-seat dining room

(Courtesy ThinkFoodGroup)

Restaurants

Minibar by José Andrés

Reservations at this exclusive restaurant are accepted three months out by email only. You can also call for cancellations closer to your preferred date.

Lincoln Memorial and Reflecting Pool

(©Chris Favero/Flickr, Creative Commons)

Activities

Fiat Luxe Tours

Book at least 48 hours in advance for a customized tour of the city by private sedan. Visitors may also request restaurant reservations, offered on the day-long tour.

The Rye Bar's masculine decor with leather chairs and dark wood.

(Courtesy Rosewood Washington, D.C.)

Nightlife

The Rye Bar

Located inside the posh Capella Hotel, this whiskey-focused bar offers a secluded hideaway with its dark lighting, high-back leather chairs, and even a separate entrance for VIPs.

Fiola Mare's elegant main dining room with waterfront views

(Courtesy Fiola Mare)

Restaurants

Fiola Mare

James Beard winner Fabio Trabocchi's riverside restaurant is one of the hottest in town. Reserve a spot by the window for unobstructed views.

The Spa at Mandarin Oriental

(Courtesy Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group)

Shopping

Spa at the Mandarin Oriental

For a truly one-of-a-kind experience, book the Time Ritual for treatments that address specific needs. The Diamond Magnetic Lift treatment is designed to balance and purify the body, using mud made with diamond dust that is lifted away by magnets.

Barmini

"Essential Pollen" cocktail (Courtesy ThinkFoodGroup)

Nightlife

Barmini

Imbibers at Jose Andres’ whimsically decorated cocktail den watch the fun at adjacent Minibar through a window between the two businesses. Reservations are highly recommended here as well.

Asparagus poached egg

Asparagus poached egg (Courtesy the restaurant)

Restaurants

Restaurant Eve

Cathal Armstrong’s intimate Old Town Alexandria, Va. restaurant drew much attention when President Obama and the first lady dined here on a date. Opt for a tasting menu: either the regular or the one featuring Filipino flavors.

Inside Prime Rib's elegant black and white dining room

(©Ron Blunt/The Prime Rib)

Restaurants

The Prime Rib

This steakhouse standout feels like a sophisticated supper club, with its elegant black-and-white decor and live music, not to mention its top-notch chops. Men should wear jackets on Sat. nights.

The illuminated arch with video projection at CityCenterDC

(Courtesy CityCenterDC)

Shopping

CityCenterDC

With luxury shops like Hermes and Louis Vuitton, plus upscale restaurants like DBGB Kitchen & Bar and Fig & Olive, you could spend an entire afternoon here. In between all that shopping, take a break by the fountain and marvel at the videos projected on the archway.

Inside The Lafayette's traditionally elegant dining room

(Courtesy The Lafayette)

Restaurants

The Lafayette

Located inside the iconic Hay-Adams hotel, this restaurant is as elegant as they come. Reserve a table by the window for a view of Lafayette Park and the White House across the street. Order the Dover Sole, which is expertly prepared tableside.

Inside DTR Modern Gallery with multi-media works decorating the walls

(Courtesy DTR Modern Galleries)

Shopping

DTR Modern Galleries

This gallery with locations in New York, Florida and Massachusetts offers private viewings of its vast collection, and uses technology to project an image of artwork onto a wall so prospective buyers can gauge the overall look.

Liljenquist & Beckstead's Fairfax Square store

Liljenquist & Beckstead’s Fairfax Square store (Courtesy the company)

Shopping

Liljenquist & Beckstead

In addition to offering some of the biggest brands in fine jewelry and watches, this locally owned shop also offers exquisite custom-made pieces.

POV

(Daniel Swartz, Courtesy W Hotel)

Nightlife

POV

Avoid the crowds on Friday and Saturday night and reserve a table for bottle service. Time your visit for sunset and snap magnificent views of the Monument while sipping champagne.

Inside Tysons Galleria

(Courtesy Visit Fairfax)

Shopping

Tysons Galleria

Look for standalone shops for Chanel, Bottega Veneta, Gucci and Louis Vuitton, among others. Restaurants include Jose Andres’ America Eats Tavern inside Ritz-Carlton, accessible from inside the mall.

Hillwood Estate

(©Maxwell MacKenzie 2014/Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens)

Attractions

Hillwood Estate, Museums and Gardens

There’s much to see at Marjorie Merriweather Post’s mansion and grounds, but the heiress’ collection of Faberge eggs are particularly sublime.

Kennedy Center

At the Kennedy Center, sunset reflected in the waters of the Potomac River (Courtesy Destination DC)

Attractions, Entertainment

Kennedy Center

This memorial to JFK is also home to the Washington National Opera and the National Symphony. Arrive early or stay after a performance to take in city views from the terrace.

Exterior of Inn at Little Washington

(Gordon Beall, courtesy the restaurant)

Restaurants

Inn at Little Washington

Make a day trip out of it and stay overnight in the inn after a sumptuous meal by celebrated chef Patrick O’Connell. Ask for a tour of the “most beautiful kitchen in the world.”

Map of Top Luxury Experiences in Washington, D.C.