District Of Columbia, United States
The nation's capitol isn't all politics: DC grooves at Adams Morgan clubs, dives into US history at the Smithsonian, kayaks through Georgetown, hits art openings on Dupont Circle and tries not to drift off during bill amendment votes on Capitol Hill.
Things to Do and See in Washington
GeorgetownAnacostiaChinatownDupont CircleAdams MorganPenn QuarterFoggy BottomCapitol Hill
Georgetown has a stately, old-money air with elegant row houses, historic home museums, gardens, and the landscaped Georgetown University campus. Georgetown is bursting with boutiques for food, fashion, decor, and art, with the best-curated selections atop Book Hill on upper Wisconsin Avenue. Rent a kayak at a riverside boat center for a paddle on the Potomac, or take a bike ride along the C&O Canal. Blues Alley has hosted talents from Dizzy Gillespie to Tony Bennett, and still features live jazz every night. Georgetown sits west of Rock Creek Parkway from the Potomac to the Naval Observatory, and is accessible by the DC Circulator bus.
Anacostia and the Southwest riverside have long been viewed as the wrong side of D.C. due to high crime rates, but local residents and business owners have worked tirelessly to revitalize the area. Now you'll find murals to rival Adams Morgan's, plus a handful of restaurants as good as those across the 11th Street Bridge. Cedar Hill provides excellent panoramic views of the national's capitol. The Frederick Douglass National Historic Site and historical Uniontown are both worth a stop. While urban renewal efforts continue, it's best to visit Anacostia during the day. The area can be accessed by the Anacostia metro stop.
D.C.'s Chinatown is smaller than New York's or San Francisco's but plenty welcoming, ushering visitors through the ornate Friendship Arch. Among the Asian-fusion bistros, you'll find a few authentic hole-in-the-wall eateries serving regional Szechuan cuisine and housemade noodles. Chinatown is accessible via the Gallery Place/Chinatown metro stop.
Dupont Circle is D.C.'s cosmopolitan heart, with Embassy Row along Massachusetts Avenue and some of the best small museums outside the Smithsonian system. Museums range from the acclaimed Phillips Collection of modern art and the fascinating Textile Museum to the haunting Laogai Museum, which chronicles Chinese forced labor camps. With its boutique hotels and refined restaurants, Dupont Circle is an relaxing spot to unwind after a day of D.C. sightseeing.
By far the most socially and culturally diverse neighborhood in DC, Adams Morgan offers funky uniqueness to offset D.C.'s more buttoned-up areas. Walls are covered with murals like Cows on a Bicycle, and nightlife is infamously rowdy. Here you'll find popular gay and lesbian clubs along with ethnic restaurants, dive bars and the District's best karaoke spot, Muzette Karaoke. The Adams Morgan Partnership is working to tame the area's bad-boy image with volunteer security aides who patrol the streets from noon to 3 in the morning. Adams Morgan is accessible by the Woodley Park/Adams Morgan metro stop and DC Circulator bus.
Penn Quarter is a D.C. revitalization success story that began with the opening of the Verizon Center, the District's largest sports and entertainment arena. Today Penn Quarter has a sleek, modern city feel, with excellent restaurants ranging from the casual Protein Bar chain to fine-dining flagship Minibar. Here you'll find the fun International Spy Museum and the internationally acclaimed National Portrait Gallery, all within easy walking distance of the White House, the Mall and Dupont Circle. If traveling via Metro, take the Gallery Place/Chinatown or Archives/Navy Memorial/Penn Quarter stops.
Once a modest community of blue-collar row houses, Foggy Bottom is now known for the Watergate Hotel, World Bank, Department of State and world-class Kennedy Center. Even if tickets to the symphony or opera at the Kennedy Center are sold out, you can still catch free nightly Millennium Stage performances. George Washington University occupies the center of Foggy Bottom, keeping the area young and full of student-friendly bars like the raucous Froggy Bottom Pub. Some areas along Pennsylvania Avenue see higher crime rates, so avoid walking the avenue at night. Foggy Bottom is accessible by the DC Circulator bus and Foggy Bottom metro stop.
Capitol Hill is primarily residential, but it's a relaxing escape from tourist congestion along the Mall. Protected by history-honoring residents, Capitol Hill's 100-year-old town homes and tree-lined streets are postcard-perfect. Shakespeareans will revel in the Folger Shakespeare Library, and hardcore book lovers must visit Capitol Hill Books (don't bring your e-reader—they'll kick you out). The Eastern Market is the heart of the area, where vendors sell farm-fresh lunches and the weekend farmers market features seasonal produce from nearby farms. The neighborhood is accessible by the Capitol South and Eastern Market Metro stops.
Our friends at Eater.com pick the city's best restaurants each quarter, and we trust their opinion. See full list »
Central Michel Richard
t can be pricey, but Central is the most accessible restaurant in chef Michel Richard's empire and for good reason. The menu boasts two much-discussed dishes that are the French chef's spin on classic American comfort food: a lobster burger and a bucket of fried chicken (which is available to-go, by the way).
Minibar by José Andrés
It may have gotten a tough review in the Post this week, but Andrés' re-imagined restaurant, now open in a bigger location, is still a huge draw. Reservations now are by email only and are one of the toughest tickets in town for this multi-course meal of mini-bites.
Hill Country Barbecue Market
Hill Country is Texas barbecue by way of New York City, where you'll find the original restaurant. Try the moist brisket, the sausages imported from Kreuz Market or any variety of sides from this cafeteria-style restaurant and settle into the dining room or the even noisier basement Boot Bar. Most nights of the week bring live music and pitchers of Shiner are always $20.
Fiola da Fabio Trabocchi
Italian chef Fabio Trabocchi has returned to Washington with his latest effort, Fiola, and the restaurant has really hits its groove. Trabocchi brought back some of his old restaurant Maestro's most popular dishes, such as the lobster ravioli and a thin-layered lasagna, and there are plenty of new things to keep diners coming back for more.