D.C.'s Winter Wonderland with Samia Yesuf of the Omni Shoreham Hotel

Wondering where can you find the perfect gift, or day trip destination to get into the holiday season? Samia Yesuf of the Omni Shoreham shares her top picks to help tourists and locals celebrate the holiday season as our December concierge expert!

Which D.C. neighborhood is your favorite? What makes it unique? 

My favorite neighborhood is actually just outside of D.C. in Old Town, Alexandria, Virginia. The historical value of the area and the vibrancy maintained by the small shops, pubs and restaurants really makes the neighborhood unique and appealing.

What other neighborhoods do you recommend exploring? 

Woodley Park, Cleveland Park, Tenleytown are all great to explore. Although primarily residential, these areas also have many landmarks and great attractions, including the Smithsonian National Zoo, Rock Creek Park, The National Cathedral and so much more.

Though the holiday season has passed, D.C. loves a great celebration. What restaurants do you suggest?

Robert Restaurant at the Omni Shoreham, I Ricchi Italian, and Sequoia in Georgetown are all great restaurants for holiday dining. The lobster fettuccini at Robert Restaurant is delicious. Ricchi’s agnello scottadita (grilled lamb chops served with lemon and rosemary marinade) is one of my top recommendations. Sequoia’s jumbo sea scallops pomme with cauliflower purée, gruyere and a spicy curry lobster sauce is also one of my favorite dishes.

What are some of your favorite winter or holiday activities you recommend to your guests? 

Guests can stay warm by going to the museums and art galleries throughout the city. I also like to recommend ice skating in Georgetown and touring the monuments and the National Mall at night. If you're visiting the area during the holidays and looking to get into the spirit, “A Christmas Carol” at Ford’s Theatre is always a wonderful tradition.

Visiting the district during the holidays and looking to get into the spirit? “A Christmas Carol” at Ford’s Theatre is always a wonderful tradition (Courtesy Maxwell MacKenzie)

I want to get into the holiday spirit, but want to explore outside of D.C. Where should I go?

Williamsburg, Virginia, is beautiful during the holidays. It’s the best Christmas town in America and has one of the largest light displays. With festive food and drink, unique holiday shopping and heart-warming shows, the spirit of the season comes alive at one of Virginia’s top theme parks, Busch Gardens.

Where can I go to find the perfect gift for the holidays?

For imported crafts, jewelry, antiques, collectibles and paintings, I would suggest exploring the Holiday Market at Penn Quarter. For White House collectibles, such as postcards and ornaments, I suggest the White House Gift Shop.

Although temperatures have dropped, the DMV still has plenty of visitors who want to get out and explore. Any suggestions?

Many may not know this, but attending a free show at the Kennedy Center is always fun and something different for visitors and locals to do while exploring D.C.

The city is also known for its diversity, so I always recommend trying international food at places such as Zaytinya, Das, Rasika, and Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse. If the weather permits, I would also suggest taking a water taxi from Georgetown, Old Town or The Wharf. A trip to D.C. is not complete without visiting the National Mall and the museums along the way. I suggest the National American History Museum and the National Gallery of Art.

When the weather permits, Yesuf suggests taking the water taxi with direct routes to The Wharf, Georgetown, Alexandria and National Harbor (© The Wharf)

No vacation is complete without the perfect photo. Where can I go to get the best picture in the city?

You’re right, no vacation is complete without a great photo! The U.S. Botanic Garden is a beautiful location, as well as the Lincoln Memorial, White House, Friendship Archway in Chinatown, Washington Monument, U.S. Capitol, and the Georgetown Waterfront. The interactive installations throughout CityCenter, especially during the holiday season, always makes for a great place for a photo, too.

Looking for a great photo location? The U.S. Botanic Garden is a must (Courtesy USBG)

When you’re not working to make sure your guests are enjoying their stay, where can we find you?

I can usually be found at home cooking with my family or shopping in Tysons Corner, CityCenter or Georgetown.


Irena Laster
About the author