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When there isn't time for a vacation, take advantage of D.C.'s proximity and easy access to other major happening cities. (File photo)

No time for a vacation? Escape the beltway with these weekend getaways

With the near whiplash inducing changes in Washington, D.C. - 200 plus new restaurants in the last three years as well as the wholesale gentrification of Shaw, Bloomingdale, NoMa - it's hard to explore all the new items within our own city. But that doesn't stop us from getting that all too familiar itch for a new adventure. For those yearning for a bit of a change outside of our cozy Beltway bubble, here are three happening cities that make for an easy escape from the DMV hustle.

Philadelphia

Given its storied history as the first capitol of our country, and the fact that it's only a quick $35 Amtrak ride from D.C., Philly makes for an excellent short getaway. Stay at the elegant Radisson Blu Warwick, a few blocks from the Amtrak Station. With access to Philadelphia's amazing Indego bike share program, you can ride to Independence Hall to take a look at the Liberty Bell, over to Christ Church (to see if there really is National Treasure buried) or enjoy the brand-new, multibillion-dollar Philadelphia Museum of Art. End the day with drinks at power chef Jose Garcia's (of D.C.'s Rural Society fame) luminously sexy Bar Volver. Located as the anchor bar and restaurant to architectural masterpiece The Kimmel Center, Garcia's Michelin-starred Volver restaurant creates a sultry yet relaxing atmosphere with deliciously accessible cocktails and food.

New York City

With multiple bus options, the Acela train or a four-hour drive, a Big Apple getaway has never been easier. For those who are in the know, Amtrak sometimes lets you buy $45 tickets, one-way, if purchased two weeks in advance .Spend the money saved on transportation with a stay a la Eloise at legendary Fairmont hotel, The Plaza. Located right off Central Park and Fifth Avenue, the revamped suites looks like Pinterest come to life. Or live like the Astor's of old at the flawless St. Regis. The St. Regis design team has created the perfect blend of luxury, comfort and sublime design. Bop down the Highline to the new Whitney Museum of American Art for some culture since tickets to the hit Broadway musical The Hamilton is out-of-this-world before relaxing with drinks at The Waverly Inn in the West Village. Of course if Brooklyn (and beyond) is more your style, try Pizza Loves Emily for the best pizza, burgers and just down-home chill style in NYC right now.

Richmond

Located a quick two-hour drive south down I-95, Richmond has rapidly transitioned from a sleepy southern town to something definitively more hip and fun. Overlooking the James River, stay at the stylish, brand new Quirk Hotel. In addition to lovely interiors, the team at Quirk will help you explore the numerous historical sites around the hotel. Head over to Church Street to enjoy two-time James Beard Award nominee Lee Gregory's The Roosevelt for southern cooking at its finest and some seriously mouth-watering cocktails. For those with a sweet tooth, try Neil and Nicki Smith's pies at Proper Pie Co or the cavity- inducing donuts at Sugar Shack Donuts. Basically, if you just drove to Richmond to do one thing, it would be to eat these donuts.

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