Friday: Make your way for drinks and dinner to the lively Logan Circle neighborhood, where food offerings range from Spanish tapas and French fare to gastropub grub.
Saturday: Devote the morning to one of the city's world-class Smithsonian Institution museums, such as the National Gallery of Art, the National Air and Space Museum or the groundbreaking new National Museum of African American History & Culture (free timed passes are required for the latter). Lunch in a museum cafe fuels an afternoon walk or bike ride through the 1,754-acre Rock Creek Park, one of the country's largest urban preserves. That evening, catch a concert, ballet or theatrical performance at the Kennedy Center (book in advance); the nearby Foggy Bottom neighborhood is a good choice for a preshow dinner.
Sunday: Start slow with a leisurely brunch in Georgetown, followed by a visit to Dumbarton Oaks, where you can stretch your legs in the gardens of this historic estate and pop into its small but exquisite museum of Byzantine, pre-Columbian and European art. Shift the action for the rest of the day to the hip Shaw District, which boasts a bevy of indie boutiques for a spot of afternoon shopping, a hot dining and cocktail scene, and live music and theater venues such as the Lincoln Theatre and the Howard Theatre, where acts like Cab Calloway and Pearl Bailey once played.
Monday: Hit the water for monumental views of the Jefferson Memorial, Lincoln Memorial and other sights from the Potomac River. Feeling sporty? Opt for a guided kayak paddle. Otherwise, you can book a lunch cruise.