CITY GUIDE: Washington D.C.

Today’s City Guide is brought to you by Jess who lives in Washington D.C.!

Washington, D.C., the nation’s capital, is a destination rich in politics, history and plenty of eighth-grade trips.  However, there is more to D.C. than meets the eye.  Throughout the city there are treasure troves of art, culture, spectacular food and unique activities.

Once you get past the monuments (make sure to visit them at night) and the museums (which I highly recommend), this city guide begins.

On Capitol Hill, behind the U.S. Capitol Building and Library of Congress lies Eastern Market.  This is my favorite place to spend time on Saturday mornings.  The indoor portion of Eastern Market is called South Market.   Here, merchants sell fresh flowers, cheese, and a wide variety of meat, fruits and vegetables every day of the week.

On the weekend, the outdoors come alive with a Farmers Line of additional produce and booth after booth of arts and crafts vendors who sell jewelry, art, clothing and beyond.

One of the hidden gems of Eastern Market is Crepes at the Market.  Mitch, the owner, serves sweet and savory crepes on Saturdays and Sundays all year round and knows many of his regular customers by name.  There is no cash register.  Customers just drop their cash into the appropriate glasses labeled $20, $10, $5, $1 and retrieve the appropriate change.  Don’t miss out on this special treat!

In the northwest D.C. neighborhood of Adam’s Morgan, tucked between Madam’s Organ and the Diner lies Tryst.  This coffee house/bar/neighborhood gathering place is known for its smattering of couches, wing back chairs, yummy pastries and somewhat hipster culture.  Beyond that, the coffee is truly amazing and brunch is served ALL day, every day.

Tryst is located on 18th street and lies in the heart of Adam’s Morgan.  Though known for its nightlife, the neighborhood also provides great day time activities like shopping at Violet Boutique or Idle Time Books.  It is also a short walk away from the National Zoo, which is free to visit every day.

Adam's Morgan DC

A couple of blocks southeast of Adam’s Morgan, is U street.  It is the home to my favorite trivia spot in Washington, D.C. – Solly’s U Street Tavern.  Every first and third Wednesday of the month, Solly’s hosts trivia night benefiting a different charity.  There are always plenty of regulars, great team names and open wallets to contribute to the charity of the week.  Vinoteca is next door to Solly’s and is known for its brunch on Sundays and the Plaza at Vinoteca, a bocce court and outdoor bar in the back.

The U Street corridor has quite a history and personality of its own.  Before visiting, check out which bands will be playing at the 9:30 club and then grab a bite at the famous Ben’s Chili Bowl before the concert.  Known as the birthplace of Duke Ellington, this entire area, from 9th to 16th, is worth checking out.

While visiting D.C., you also won’t want to miss some of the great shopping that is available on 14th, just south of U Street.  Current Boutique carries name brand clothing on consignment and Home Rule is the perfect mix of modern and eclectic items for the home.  I love visiting Cork Market & Tasting Room, where they carry a wide variety of wine, a lovely cheese selection, and all the related accoutrements.

Current Home Rule Cork

Finally, just across the river from D.C. (in Northern Virginia) is Gravelly Point.  Upon first glance, this seems like any other park in the greater Washington area.

Gravelly Point

On a sunny weekend afternoon, you will find families on picnic blankets, kids playing soccer and people riding their bikes or running on the adjacent bike trail.  However, looks can be deceiving.  Suddenly, out of nowhere, airliners fly directly above the park on final approach to Ronald Reagan Airport.  If you have never been this close to an airborne juggernaut, it is a sight to behold and makes for a fun day at the park!

A HUGE thanks to Jess for providing this amazing D.C. city guide. Be sure to follow her on Twitter and say hi!

Featured image by Rob Shenk.

May 31, 2012