8 Spots To Do Afternoon Tea (AKA Your New Favorite Weekend Ritual)

Cliche as it may sound, getting dressed up and sharing a meal with your besties is totally therapeutic. But that doesn't mean your gal time has to revolve around boozy brunches — why not channel your inner Lady Mary and partake in afternoon tea? Whether you're sipping Earl Grey in a chic hotel lobby or nibbling scones in a cozy tea room, this could easily become your new favorite tradition. The dowager countess would be so proud.
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Newcomers to the tradition will appreciate the choices at Old Town Alexandria's Morrison House. Try the traditional tea ($38 per person), which covers all the basics of tea, savory treats, and sweets, or upgrade to the royal tea ($44), which adds a champagne cocktail and salmon tartare.
The Grille at Morrison House, 116 S. Alfred Street, Alexandria; 703-838-8000.


Photo: Courtesy of Kimpton Hotels
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Easily one of the prettiest settings in town for a morning meal, The Jefferson's Greenhouse is posh and pretty without feeling overdone. The original 1923 skylight adds even more glamour to your meal of tea sandwiches, pastries, and scones with homemade fresh-fruit preserves ($39; $55 with one glass of Jean Milan Gran Cru Champagne). Tea is served on Saturdays from 2 to 2:30 p.m. and Sundays from 2 to 3 p.m.
The Jefferson, 1200 16th Street NW; 202-448-2300.


Photo: Courtesy of The Jefferson
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If you want to treat your fam (or impress your S.O.'s parents), the Mansion at Strathmore is a sure bet. Every Tuesday and Wednesday, as well as one Saturday each month, you can experience afternoon tea in the Shapiro Music Room, complete with live musical accompaniment. The $23-per-person tea includes savory tea sandwiches and a special tea made just for Strathmore by master blender John Harney.
The Mansion at Strathmore, 10701 Rockville Pike, North Bethesda; 301-581-5108.


Photo: Courtesy of Strathmore
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Calm and serene, the afternoon tea experience at Mandarin Oriental's Empress Lounge is the next best thing to a seat in the spa. Thursdays through Sundays, from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m., grab a table overlooking the Asian gardens and treat yourself to cakes, tarts, and scones, along with rare teas and coffee blends.
The Empress Lounge at Mandarin Oriental, 1330 Maryland Avenue SW; 202-787-6042.


Photo: Courtesy of Mandarin Oriental
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For a tea experience that feels a little more exotic, head to Takoma Park's SiTea, where you can enjoy your cup of Rockin' Moroccan Mint Chai in a vibrant, warm setting with friendly staff and fellow sippers.
SiTea, 6902 4th Street NW, between North Butternut Street & North Blair Road; 202-525-5386.


Photo: Courtesy of SiTea
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If you're jonesing for a road trip, hop in the car and head to historic Culpeper, nestled at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia. Once you arrive, make tracks to Miss Minerva's for the tasty chicken-salad croissant sandwiches and 50-plus varieties of fine, loose tea.
Miss Minerva's Tea Room, 167 East Davis Street, Culpeper; 540-829-9700.


Photo: Courtesy of Miss Minerva's Tea Room
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Craving something different? The Tea Cellar at the Park Hyatt is home to more than 50 rare and limited-production, single-estate teas from remote regions of China, Japan, Sri Lanka, and the Himalayas. On Saturday and Sunday afternoons between 2:30 and 4:30 p.m., you can partake in a sweet and savory tea service featuring seasonal ingredients.
Tea Cellar at Park Hyatt Washington, 1201 24th Street NW; 202-419-6755.


Photo: Courtesy of Park Hyatt
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On Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through June 23, head to The Willard hotel for afternoon tea with a harpist playing live music while you indulge. Expect an array of organic teas, finger sandwiches, and fresh pastries. Tea service costs $45 per person, or $59 per person with a glass of Champagne.
Peacock Alley at The Willard, 1401 Pennsylvania Avenue NW; 202-637-7350.


Photo: Courtesy of The Willard
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