Hello readers of Local Leo! I’m Deborah from Coffee, Prose, and Pretty Clothes, a Washington, DC blog, and I’m so happy to share a slice of my hometown with you guys! I’ve lived in DC since 2008, which almost makes me a native. I’ve been here through two presidential administrations, six sessions of Congress, and a heckova lot of neighborhood changes. Safe to say, I think I know DC fairly well. Follow along on a few of my must-sees:
Monuments tour – You can’t come to DC without seeing the famous monuments, and lucky for you, there are a lot of ways you can do a monuments tour! Be sure to check out the Lincoln Memorial, which is one of my favorites ever.The Washington Monument is also a fan favorite as it is perhaps the most recognizable. My boyfriend Brian really loves the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial as well so be sure not to miss these. Bring your walking shoes as the monuments are somewhat far apart.
Museums – I think one of the best things about DC is that there is no shortage of free museums, including all 19 of the Smithsonian museums. Some of favorites are the Air and Space Museum (which includes full-size models of planes and the lunar landing module) and the Museum of Natural History (which has the Hope Diamond). You can’t come to the nation’s capital city without checking out the National Museum of American History. Finally the National Museum of African American History and Culture has been a hit (and hard to get in to) since it opened in 2016.
US Capitol – I might be partial to it because Brian works here, but if you want to see American democracy in action don’t miss a (free) tour of the US Capitol building and look around the Capitol Visitor Center. You can arrange this through your Congressman (if you’re American) or just walk up and get onto a tour if you’re visiting from overseas. If you’re there when Congress is in session (generally Tuesday-Thursday) you can view debates from the House or Senate gallery.
Shopping – If you’re in a shopping mood, be sure head to the famous neighborhood of Georgetown! They have a lot of high-end shops and it’s near the beautiful waterfront so grab a bite by the water. Also worth visiting is CityCenter by Chinatown. It has high street brands and Instagram-worthy spots.
Ethiopian – DC has the largest Ethiopian diaspora community in the US, which means we’re also blessed with some seriously good Ethiopian restaurants. Brian and I are partial to Ethiopic because it’s in our neighborhood. If you’ve never had Ethiopian food order tibs (roasted meat) and any of the vegetable dishes. The food is all communal and you eat with your hands using injera (like a spongy bread).
Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak, and Stone Crab – There are several locations of this restaurant around the US, but this makes my list because it’s a great location (a block from the White House) and you’re likely to spot some “power players” here on their way into one of the many private rooms (you may notice them because they’re being followed by men in suits with earpieces). If you don’t want to break your budget be sure to go during happy hour, they have some of the best deals in DC!
Union Market – Do you ever have trouble deciding what you want to eat? There are literally dozens of vendors at this food hall and you can get everything from Oysters to Arepas. Once you’re done eating, check out one of my favorite shops, Salt and Sundry. Be warned that Union Market is extremely popular on weekends, so you may have to fight through crowds but it’s worth it!
Post Pub –The “Post” in this pub hints at its history as the watering hole for Washington Post reporters (the Post used to be headquartered across the street, although they’ve since moved locations). Many sources have spilled secrets at this dive, and it happens to be where Brian and I had our very first date!
Tune Inn –This is a favorite for Capitol Hill staffers and locals and is basically a neighborhood institution. It actually burned down in 2011 but was rebuilt in all its glory with the help of the neighbors. Expect lots of taxidermy and some cheap beer. Fun Fact: They don’t have a website to link to but they are at 331 Pennsylvania Ave SE.
Brixton – When you get here, go up the stairs and keep going. The Brixton makes my list because it has one of the best rooftop bars in DC, and cheap drinks to boot. When the Pope was visiting DC I watched his motorcade go by from this rooftop.
Biergarten Haus – This is your spot if you like German food and beer. Their outdoor bar has heaters so it’s great year-round (even in the winter), and they have an excellent selection of German beers and brats. Plus, in the summer they have live music and a beautiful garden to enjoy your hefeweizen in.
To Get Around:
Metro – We love to hate the Metro in DC. It will get you to where you’re going, but don’t be in a hurry. Local tip: When you’re on the escalator, stand on the RIGHT and walk on the LEFT and no locals will scowl at you.