When you come to DC

Summer2014-67 Summer2014-70 Summer2014-75 Summer2014-80 Summer2014-81 Summer2014-83 Summer2014-85 Summer2014-94 Summer2014-104 Summer2014-106 Summer2014-107It is one of my hopes of this blog that it makes you want to come to DC. I just really love this city, and I feel like it doesn’t get enough credit as a great place to come, at least not beyond the 8th grade trip we all took where we had to march around in matching t-shirts. DC is so much more than that. I like to imagine that you read this blog and think, Someday I would like to go there and stuff my face with good food see cool things.

We get a lot of visitors at our home, mostly because I am incapable of saying no, but also because I love sharing this city with our friends and family. This past weekend one of my best friends from Kentucky and her husband came to visit. As long as I can remember, Megan and I have dreamed about going on trips together with our future families, dreamed of staying friends even after our lives pull us in separate directions. Shortly after she got married in December, we started planning a trip for her and her new husband to come out to DC. When we knew that James would be leaving, we decided that one of the weekends he came home had to coincide with their visit.

While I love every visit and visitor, everything came together to make Megan and Matt’s visit truly exceptional. The weather took a break from its normal DC summer tune of sweltering heat and high humidity to allow pleasantly breezy sunny days. My current state of vacation bliss meant that I could enjoy their time without secretly stressing about the work going undone. Really, their visit was just the ideal visit, ideal in that we were able to do all of the very best of DC, everything I would wish for someone to experience when they visit. So, for any of you who find yourself in the District anytime soon, here is what I would want for you. It is important to note that a lot of these are outdoor/nice weather activities…DC is not nearly so fun in the cold wet winters.

  • Dinner at Good Stuff Burgers followed by a night walk around Capitol Hill. Go ahead and indulge in the shakes as you walk and appreciate how ridiculously empty the Capitol is at night.
  • Eastern Market Brunch. I rounded up some of my favorites here, but we also loved this bottomless brunch and Market Breakfast. While you are waiting for brunch, or walking it off, enjoy wandering through the outdoor market and don’t forget the fresh mini-donuts down near the food stalls on North Carolina Ave or the macarons at Sweet Lobby.
  • Smithsonian Highlights. You could go to New York for lots of museums… and you could pay a lot. Or, you could just go down the mall spending a couple minutes in each museum for free. DC for the win. The highlights we always take people to hit include some spaceships at the Air and Space Museum, a couple of my favorite paintings at the National Gallery (including the best, fattest baby Jesus to ever be in a Renaissance painting), and several exhibits at the American History Museum, including the First Ladies gowns, and the Star-Spangled Banner exhibit, at which I usually cry.
  • A Nats baseball Game. Because Ballpark snacks, and that unifying moment when we all stand and sing “Take me out to the ballgame.”
  • An awesome dinner out. Our go-to restaurant is Founding Farmers, but we also love Le Diplomate, and recently discovered Virtue down in Old Town.
  • A bike tour of the city. If you come on the weekends, DC is surprisingly empty in the evenings, especially on Sundays. It is also surprisingly bike-friendly. We have bikes, but you can easily rent them through Capitol Bikeshare, and as long as you trade the bike in every 30 minutes (there are kiosks all over the city) you only pay 7$. You can download the free Spotcycle App to find a map of all the kiosks. Biking really is the best way to explore this city and check out all the best monuments.
  • Have a picnic at the Tidal Basin. DC is so, so green, with parks, trees, and grassy spaces everywhere, and you know how much we love picnics. Anywhere along the Tidal Basin or Mall you can find excellent picnic places.

*DC is also ideal for anyone with dietary restrictions because I would say that one out of every three people is gluten-free or vegan or vegetarian or only eats grass-fed meat, etc. You can find a great gluten-free DC guide here, and the Nationals ballpark might be the only one where there are stands for every dietary need, including gluten-free soft pretzels.

DC people or visitors, what are some of your other favorite things to add to this list?

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9 Responses to When you come to DC

  1. Yes yes and YES! You make me homesick for my collegiate days. I would add Sweetgreen for fast casual salads that are the best, second vote for picnics everywhere, I love Mr Yogato in Dupont for froyo, and Lauriol Plaza for frozen margaritas (get the strawberry twist ones) and the best Mexican seafood dishes (I always get Mariscos Saltados). Walk everywhere, stop for lemonade, hit up the farmers’ market and Le Pain Quotidien for a pastry… I can’t wait until I can get back there to visit friends.

  2. Brunch at Bistro Cacao — specifically their bread basket!

  3. Nikki says:

    For me, the cool things to see (many of which were on that middle school trip, or the one in college where we saw the new monuments and filled in some gaps), supplement the stuffing of my face (which was a large part of the previously mentioned college trip). You do make me want to stuff my face in DC, usually brunch more so than anything else.

  4. Emma says:

    Can’t wait! This has got me so excited for my visit (and reassured as a vegetarian!)

  5. laxgirl9110 says:

    Reblogged this on Semper Gumby and commented:
    I’ve been in Virginia for going on 8 years now. I think this is the best “Go see DC” list I’ve come across yet 🙂

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