The cool thing about having a city as your hometown, is that when you come back to visit, it is almost like traveling. Even after living in the DC area for 18 years, there is always something new to explore.
This week, I not only revisited some favorites, but also explored some new.
Freedom plaza is a square in NW DC, near metro center and federal triangle. It contains a large square, a small park, and a view of the capital. Interestingly, it was named “freedom” after MLK, who wrote his “I Have a Dream” speech in close proximity, at the nearby Willard hotel. As such, it is often a point of social and political activism and rallys.
Navy Yard/Anacostia Riverwalk
Although many DC locals may dispute me on this topic, Navy Yard is said by some to be the fastest growing neighborhood in all of DC. It has seen tremendous growth in the last 5 years. It is home of the Nationals stadium, and is a short walk to the Anacostia river, a popular destination for community events, biking, walking, and sitting along the waterfront.
There is not much nightlife in this neighborhood yet, but there are a handful of restaurants and bars.
The bar I recently discovered, BlueJacket, delivered me the best IPA of my entire life, called “lost weekend.”
Old Town Alexandria
Old town Alexandria is a cute town on the Virginia side of DC. It features a myriad of shops, restaurants and bars, and is only about 10 blocks from the potomac river. You can take the King street trolley for free, and hitch a ride down to the river.
Georgetown is a historic NW DC neighborhood situated right along the potomac. It has many shops and cute coffee shops, as well as kayak/canoe rentals right off of the river. The only downside to this area is the lack of metro accessibility, but people often forget how easy it is to get around by bus, of which there are plenty options.
A friend introduced me to Baked and Wired, a cutesy coffee shop in Georgetown. The store is split in two by a wall, one side featuring the “baked” goods, and the other side featuring the “wired” drinks, aka coffee.
Dupont circle is a neighborhood and traffic circle in NW DC, characterized by a gorgeous fountain and park right in the center of the circle. It is also known as DC’s “gayborhood,” and as such is the center of many gay rights activism, clubs, and LGBT-friendly stores. It has lots of restaurants, nightlife and shops.
The three I visited this week included:
Kramerbooks – Arguably the best independent bookstore in all of DC, the bookstore also has an attached bar and cafe which feature live music on the weekends. Kramerbooks is a MUST visit!
GBD – A friend introduced me to GBD, or “golden brown delicious.” Right near the center of Dupont circle, GBD features donuts and drinks. Great happy hour selection.
Cobalt – One of the gay clubs in Dupont, Cobalt features three stories including a restaurant section and 2 dancing floors. Cobalt is definitely a great time.
Probably my favorite section of DC, U Street is a neighborhood in NW DC known for Ben’s Chili Bowl, live music and nightlife, and black culture. Historically, U street was known as “black broadway,” named after Duke Ellington and other musicians. Today, the streets come alive at night with hopping sounds and city lights.
The three spots I visited included:
Busboys and Poets – Busboys is a restaurant and bookstore, that features signature poetry readings. I had the pleasure of attending my first poetry reading here this visit, and was blown away by the heavy prevalence of social equality themes. Busboys poetry readings are a MUST if you visit!
Eatonville – Eatonville is a restaurant inspired by Zora Neale Hurston. The restaurant is named after Hurston’s hometown in Florida, and the setting for her infamous book Their Eyes Were Watching God. The food is absolutely fantastic, incorporating a great deal of comfort food, and also includes vegan options.
Nellies sportsbar – Nellies is a 2-story sportsbar only 2 blocks from the U Street metro. Probably the one gay bar in U Street, it features great beer, happy hour, and Drag-bingo tuesday nights.
Now tell me: have you ever been to DC? Favorite attractions?