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Runners in front of the Washington Monument

How to Rock 'n' Run DC in 48 Hours

By Rock 'n' Roll, 11/16/17, 12:45PM EST


There is plenty to do in DC that extends beyond the race weekend.

NOV 16, 2017

A visit to the nation’s capital is on nearly everyone’s bucket list as DC is full of rich history, monumental attractions, and a thriving arts and culinary scene. The United Airlines Rock ‘n’ Roll Washington DC Marathon & ½ Marathon takes place on Saturday, March 10, 2018, right around the time of cherry blossom season. While you’ll want to save your legs for race day, DC neighborhoods are walkable and also easy to access by bike or bus tour. There is plenty to do in DC that extends beyond the race weekend, which could mean a good time for an early spring break or extended weekend to the East Coast. And don’t forget to book through United Airlines to receive your exclusive Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon discount!


The Health & Fitness Expo officially kicks off the day before, but day two gives you the opportunity to return to any vendors you may want to revisit or grab last-minute swag. The expo is open to the public and free to attend, so bring your race buddies and travel companions to see if there’s anything they want to swoop up as well.

Running by the monuments

Honor History on the National Mall

It’d be remiss to bypass all the iconic monuments that line the National Mall. The Mall is bookended by the U.S. Capitol Building and the Lincoln Memorial. In between the two is the Mall lawn where historical moments have taken place throughout the decades, including Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. For 2018 race visitors, the Washington Monument will still be visible but is undergoing repairs to the elevator and will reopen in the spring of 2019. Regardless of any ongoing renovations, the National Mall and its monuments make up a great part of U.S. history. It is a significant part of the city and worth taking a long stroll down the lawn.

Peeking through a circular structure to see the national museum

Enjoy Lunch in a Sculpture Garden

After spending the morning at the Mall, you don’t have to stray far to grab a bite to eat. The Sculpture Garden Pavilion Cafe offers up soups, sandwiches, pizzas, and salads for lunchtime fare. The pieces that make up the sculpture garden each have their own history and artistic inspiration. Entry to the National Gallery of Art and the Sculpture Garden is free and open to the public.

The National Archives Museum

View Historical U.S. Documents

The National Archives Museum holds the historical documents on which the country was founded, such as the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights. Visitors can also view the Magna Carta and Emancipation Proclamation. This is a definite stop for history buffs, and passes are free. If you want to reserve them in advance, which is highly recommended to avoid the line, there is a $1.50 service fee per ticket.

Red white and blue buildings

Dinner in Adams Morgan

Adams Morgan is a diverse neighborhood made up of local restaurants and shops. The relaxed, trendy vibe has a welcoming, unhurried feel. Load up on carbs at Red White and Basil, which offers tasty dishes like seafood pasta, ravioli of the week, and three-course specials that include soup or salad, choice of entree, and a sweet treat at the end (either a cannoli or tiramisu). You can also make-your-own-pasta bowl by choosing your favorite, fresh pasta (gluten free is available), sauce, and any add-ons, including proteins like meatballs,chicken, or vegetables. An early dinner and a good night’s sleep is a successful recipe for waking up on race day feeling refreshed and ready to go.


Bonus Treat at Julia’s Empanadas

If you passed on a sweet, Italian dessert post-dinner, consider stopping by Julia’s Empanadas for a unique dessert option. Or you can get some to go and save them for after your race. Fruit-filled empanadas, such as the blueberry and cream or strawberries and cream cheese, are sure to hit the spot and end the day on a sweet note.


Race day! The marathon, 1/2 marathon, and 5K all kick off this morning. Last year’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon welcomed headliner The Family Stone at the finish line to celebrate all the participants after a race well run. Stay tuned to find out who this year’s main musical event is!

Lemon martinis

Brunch or Bust at Cava Mezze

Once the race is through, it’s time for a satisfying brunch and a well-deserved rest to enjoy the remainder of the day. If there ever was a time for all-you-can-eat brunches, your first meal after running a marathon would be it. The brunch special at Cava Mezze is $35 plus 25¢ mimosas. The menu includes everything from biscuits and gravy to french toast to green eggs and ham. The only catch: everyone in your party must order the AYCE option, which shouldn’t be a problem if you’re with other runners who have also worked up an appetite.

Holocaust Museum

Museums, Museums, Museums

There is no shortage of museums in D.C., so plan your day accordingly to visit the ones highest on your list. The Smithsonian Institute is an experience like no other. With buildings spread out across the city, map out your plan ahead of time to avoid backtracking. The Newseum gives an up-close look at the behind-the-scenes work that goes into putting on a news broadcast, while also presenting footage of some of the top news stories throughout history.

Other interesting museums to note are the International Spy MuseumUnited States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Running through DC

Spending Time in DC

Leaders, lawmakers, and everyone in between have made their mark in DC, which leaves much to be uncovered about this prolific city. There are events that have gone down in history here, and your participation in the United Airlines Rock ‘n’ Roll Washington DC Marathon and ½ Marathon can be another one to add to the list.

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