Guidebook to Washington, DC

Karen

Guidebook to Washington, DC

Food scene
Busboys and Poets has amazing food and so much more. Busboys and Poets is a community where racial and cultural connections are consciously uplifted… a place to take a deliberate pause and feed your mind, body and soul… a space for art, culture and politics to intentionally collide… we believe that by creating such a space we can inspire social change and begin to transform our community and the world.
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Busboys and Poets
2004 Martin Luther King Jr Ave SE
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Busboys and Poets has amazing food and so much more. Busboys and Poets is a community where racial and cultural connections are consciously uplifted… a place to take a deliberate pause and feed your mind, body and soul… a space for art, culture and politics to intentionally collide… we believe that by creating such a space we can inspire social change and begin to transform our community and the world.
Evoking the atmosphere of a modern backyard wine party meets beer garden, our space brings the outdoors in, with an indoor ‘patio’ inspired by warm-weather climates. The open, airy space is accented by warm, earthy color tones, natural woods, decorative breeze blocks, twinkling string lights, glowing candles, a wall of dried flowers from Guatemala, and live greenery throughout. As at a beer garden, groups are welcomed, with large handmade wood tables featuring seating for up to 42, with built-in ice buckets to keep bottles chilled. There is also bar and ledge seating for 24, and plenty of standing room for lively gatherings (post-COVID). The indoor space features two large flat screen TVs and one large TV on the back patio to air sporting events, debates and more. The space is also family-friendly and dogs are welcome on the streatery and front patio.
Lulu’s Wine Garden
1940 11th Street Northwest
Evoking the atmosphere of a modern backyard wine party meets beer garden, our space brings the outdoors in, with an indoor ‘patio’ inspired by warm-weather climates. The open, airy space is accented by warm, earthy color tones, natural woods, decorative breeze blocks, twinkling string lights, glowing candles, a wall of dried flowers from Guatemala, and live greenery throughout. As at a beer garden, groups are welcomed, with large handmade wood tables featuring seating for up to 42, with built-in ice buckets to keep bottles chilled. There is also bar and ledge seating for 24, and plenty of standing room for lively gatherings (post-COVID). The indoor space features two large flat screen TVs and one large TV on the back patio to air sporting events, debates and more. The space is also family-friendly and dogs are welcome on the streatery and front patio.
Located in Washington, D.C.’s Mount Vernon neighborhood, RPM Italian is modern in approach and Italian in spirit and features a contemporary, chef­-driven menu with dishes meant to be shared. The food is delicious!
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RPM Italian
650 K St NW
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Located in Washington, D.C.’s Mount Vernon neighborhood, RPM Italian is modern in approach and Italian in spirit and features a contemporary, chef­-driven menu with dishes meant to be shared. The food is delicious!
Family owned vegan restaurant in Washington, DC. Try it and you won't be sorry!
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NuVegan Café
2928 Georgia Avenue Northwest
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Family owned vegan restaurant in Washington, DC. Try it and you won't be sorry!
My go to ice cream spot in the area! There are several locations in the DMV so look up the one closest to you at the time and GO! My favorite flavor is Marion Berry, a nod to the former DC mayor.
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Ice Cream Jubilee
301 Water Street Southeast
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My go to ice cream spot in the area! There are several locations in the DMV so look up the one closest to you at the time and GO! My favorite flavor is Marion Berry, a nod to the former DC mayor.
Sightseeing
The Frederick Douglass National Historic Site preserves the last residence of Frederick Douglass (1818 -1895), one of the most prominent African American leaders of the 19th century. Tours available. Reservations required for groups of 10 or more. Open 9 am - 5pm (Apr.15 - Oct.15) and 9am - 4pm (Oct.16 - Apr.14).
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Frederick Douglass National Historic Site
1411 W St SE
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The Frederick Douglass National Historic Site preserves the last residence of Frederick Douglass (1818 -1895), one of the most prominent African American leaders of the 19th century. Tours available. Reservations required for groups of 10 or more. Open 9 am - 5pm (Apr.15 - Oct.15) and 9am - 4pm (Oct.16 - Apr.14).
Open 362 days a year, Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens welcomes visitors with blanketed white snow in winter, fresh green sprouts in spring, lush green hot summers, and painted foliage during the fall. There are a variety of activities and experiences for ALL to enjoy throughout the year. Hiking, birding, photography, painting, and more are possible within the confines of Kenilworths historical landscape. The trails are short ranging from 1/3 mile to 1/2 mile, going in a loop. There are benches to enjoy the views that invite you to linger or just have a small picnic so you can relax while a friend is photographing lotus, cooking is prohibited however. Birding is excellent all year. Many visitors come by canoe to explore the marsh.
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Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens
1550 Anacostia Avenue Northeast
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Open 362 days a year, Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens welcomes visitors with blanketed white snow in winter, fresh green sprouts in spring, lush green hot summers, and painted foliage during the fall. There are a variety of activities and experiences for ALL to enjoy throughout the year. Hiking, birding, photography, painting, and more are possible within the confines of Kenilworths historical landscape. The trails are short ranging from 1/3 mile to 1/2 mile, going in a loop. There are benches to enjoy the views that invite you to linger or just have a small picnic so you can relax while a friend is photographing lotus, cooking is prohibited however. Birding is excellent all year. Many visitors come by canoe to explore the marsh.
The National Museum of African American History and Culture is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history, and culture. It was established by Act of Congress in 2003, following decades of efforts to promote and highlight the contributions of African Americans. To date, the Museum has collected more than 36,000 artifacts and nearly 100,000 individuals have become members. The Museum opened to the public on September 24, 2016, as the 19th and newest museum of the Smithsonian Institution.
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Museo nazionale di storia e cultura afroamericana
1400 Constitution Ave NW
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The National Museum of African American History and Culture is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history, and culture. It was established by Act of Congress in 2003, following decades of efforts to promote and highlight the contributions of African Americans. To date, the Museum has collected more than 36,000 artifacts and nearly 100,000 individuals have become members. The Museum opened to the public on September 24, 2016, as the 19th and newest museum of the Smithsonian Institution.
The National Portrait Gallery was authorized and founded by Congress in 1962 with the mission to acquire and display portraits of individuals who have made significant contributions to the history, development, and culture of the people of the United States. Today, the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery continues to narrate the multi-faceted and ever-changing story of America through the individuals who have shaped its culture. Through the visual arts, performing arts, and new media, the Portrait Gallery presents poets and presidents, visionaries and villains, actors and activists whose lives form our national identity. As the nation's only complete collection of presidential portraits outside the White House, the "America's Presidents" exhibition lies at the heart of the Portrait Gallery's mission to tell the country's history through the individuals who have shaped it. Gilbert Stuart's "Lansdowne" painting of George Washington is the grand introductory image to this exhibition. In 2000, the Portrait Gallery was in danger of losing this painting—which had been on loan since the museum's opening in 1968—when its owner decided to sell it. A generous gift from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation allowed the "Lansdowne" painting to be purchased as a gift to the nation. "America's Presidents" continues to acquire portraits—including paintings, sculpture, photographs, caricatures, video, and time-based media—of each succeeding president. Over the years the collections, which were initially restricted to paintings, prints, drawings, and engravings, have grown to over 23,000 items in all media, from daguerreotypes to digital. In the late 1990s, the Portrait Gallery began commissioning portraits of presidents, beginning with George H. W. Bush. In 2006, the Portrait Gallery hosted the first Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition, now a prestigious triennial event, which also brings commissioned works into the collection. The 2013 winner was Bo Gehring, whose close-up video and sound portrait of jazz musician Esperanza Spalding draws delight and praise from visitors.
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National Portrait Gallery
8th Street Northwest
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The National Portrait Gallery was authorized and founded by Congress in 1962 with the mission to acquire and display portraits of individuals who have made significant contributions to the history, development, and culture of the people of the United States. Today, the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery continues to narrate the multi-faceted and ever-changing story of America through the individuals who have shaped its culture. Through the visual arts, performing arts, and new media, the Portrait Gallery presents poets and presidents, visionaries and villains, actors and activists whose lives form our national identity. As the nation's only complete collection of presidential portraits outside the White House, the "America's Presidents" exhibition lies at the heart of the Portrait Gallery's mission to tell the country's history through the individuals who have shaped it. Gilbert Stuart's "Lansdowne" painting of George Washington is the grand introductory image to this exhibition. In 2000, the Portrait Gallery was in danger of losing this painting—which had been on loan since the museum's opening in 1968—when its owner decided to sell it. A generous gift from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation allowed the "Lansdowne" painting to be purchased as a gift to the nation. "America's Presidents" continues to acquire portraits—including paintings, sculpture, photographs, caricatures, video, and time-based media—of each succeeding president. Over the years the collections, which were initially restricted to paintings, prints, drawings, and engravings, have grown to over 23,000 items in all media, from daguerreotypes to digital. In the late 1990s, the Portrait Gallery began commissioning portraits of presidents, beginning with George H. W. Bush. In 2006, the Portrait Gallery hosted the first Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition, now a prestigious triennial event, which also brings commissioned works into the collection. The 2013 winner was Bo Gehring, whose close-up video and sound portrait of jazz musician Esperanza Spalding draws delight and praise from visitors.
Great local spot for people watching and trying new restaurants in front of the river.
I love this area. Grab a book and a seat to people watch and enjoy the view of the river. My favorite ice cream spot, Ice Cream Jubilee, is located here. The Yards Park, a premier waterfront destination, provides green space and water features for all to enjoy the outdoors along the Anacostia River. This award-winning park is an ideal place for recreation, special events, and festivals throughout the year. Follow Yards Park on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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The Yards Park
355 Water Street Southeast
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I love this area. Grab a book and a seat to people watch and enjoy the view of the river. My favorite ice cream spot, Ice Cream Jubilee, is located here. The Yards Park, a premier waterfront destination, provides green space and water features for all to enjoy the outdoors along the Anacostia River. This award-winning park is an ideal place for recreation, special events, and festivals throughout the year. Follow Yards Park on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
The Wharf is another favorite place of mine to visit. Beyond amazing restaurants and shops, The Wharf offers countless things to do and see—on and off the water. Take a stroll along the piers, rent a kayak to paddle past some of DC’s most famous attractions, or catch a concert at The Anthem. And don’t forget to check out our upcoming events to plan your visit.
Wharf
715 Wharf Street Southwest
The Wharf is another favorite place of mine to visit. Beyond amazing restaurants and shops, The Wharf offers countless things to do and see—on and off the water. Take a stroll along the piers, rent a kayak to paddle past some of DC’s most famous attractions, or catch a concert at The Anthem. And don’t forget to check out our upcoming events to plan your visit.
Watch a game or just enjoy the area! The area surrounding the ballpark has been building up and there is so much to do.
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Nationals Park
1500 South Capitol Street Southeast
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Watch a game or just enjoy the area! The area surrounding the ballpark has been building up and there is so much to do.
Want to shop local? Want to get fresh fruit, veggies, flowers and meet local makers? This is the spot for you. The indoor farmers market is open throughout the week and they have outdoor vendors on the weekends. This is one of my favorite spots!
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Eastern Market
225 7th Street Southeast
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Want to shop local? Want to get fresh fruit, veggies, flowers and meet local makers? This is the spot for you. The indoor farmers market is open throughout the week and they have outdoor vendors on the weekends. This is one of my favorite spots!
Neighborhoods
Georgetown is home to some of the city’s top shops, tastiest restaurants and most luxurious hotels, and it's a favorite of tourists and locals alike. And it’s easy to see why: Though M Street may be best known for a wide-ranging retail scene that includes such mainstream crowd-pleasers as Anthropologie and H&M and exclusive high-end designers like Billy Reid and Rag & Bone, the neighborhood is also home to a solid selection of upscale home design stores, independent small businesses and many of the city’s best fine art galleries.
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Georgetown
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Georgetown is home to some of the city’s top shops, tastiest restaurants and most luxurious hotels, and it's a favorite of tourists and locals alike. And it’s easy to see why: Though M Street may be best known for a wide-ranging retail scene that includes such mainstream crowd-pleasers as Anthropologie and H&M and exclusive high-end designers like Billy Reid and Rag & Bone, the neighborhood is also home to a solid selection of upscale home design stores, independent small businesses and many of the city’s best fine art galleries.
As one of America’s most unique cities, Washington, DC seamlessly offers a full range of international, national and local cultural experiences. Explorers interested in learning about some of the local African American history and culture should ride the Metro’s Green Line to Anacostia. One of the neighborhood’s most famous draws is Cedar Hill, the home of Frederick Douglass and now an historic site run by the National Park Service. Guided tours are your only way inside the home, which includes artifacts that belonged to the former slave-turned-nationally renowned abolitionist. In addition to Douglass' home, some 500 other buildings comprise the Anacostia Historic District, featuring unique two-story cottages, Italianate-style architecture and Queen Anne-style homes. https://washington.org/dc-neighborhoods/anacostia
Historic Anacostia
As one of America’s most unique cities, Washington, DC seamlessly offers a full range of international, national and local cultural experiences. Explorers interested in learning about some of the local African American history and culture should ride the Metro’s Green Line to Anacostia. One of the neighborhood’s most famous draws is Cedar Hill, the home of Frederick Douglass and now an historic site run by the National Park Service. Guided tours are your only way inside the home, which includes artifacts that belonged to the former slave-turned-nationally renowned abolitionist. In addition to Douglass' home, some 500 other buildings comprise the Anacostia Historic District, featuring unique two-story cottages, Italianate-style architecture and Queen Anne-style homes. https://washington.org/dc-neighborhoods/anacostia
Capitol Hill is one of the city’s most popular places to live, with 19th-century rowhouses and a market plus a vibrant nightlife and dining scene. Politicos, young staffers and tourists alike head to the neighborhood both for its government buildings like the U.S. Capitol and the Supreme Court and the surrounding historic, walkable, restaurant-filled blocks. Tour the U.S. Capitol via its impressive visitors center, where guides lead small groups under the intricately painted, 180-plus-foot dome and past the dimly lit Old Supreme Court Chamber. You’ll need a reservation for the tour or to visit Congress or the Senate (when they are in session); for the latter, just contact your senator or house representative. Nearby, the Library of Congress' impressive 1897 Thomas Jefferson building is open for tours that reveal its Italian-Renaissance style architecture and gilt murals, plus the stunning, circular main reading room with its 160-foot-high ceiling. Other attractions include the Folger Shakespeare Library (the world’s largest collection of the author's timeless works), and the glassed-in U.S. Botanic Garden at the base of Capitol Hill, which holds palms, ferns and orchids and provides a peaceful escape. Nineteenth and early 20th-century rowhouses (think turrets, stained glass and ironwork) lead to throwback commercial zones. Eastern Market, an 1873 brick building houses grocers, bakers and pasta makers inside every day except Monday, as well as a lively weekend bazaar with produce, crafts and antiques. The nearby micro-neighborhood of Barracks Row centers on 8th Street SE, where vintage storefronts hold oyster houses, pubby bars and foodie-focused restaurants. Closer to the Capitol, Massachusetts Avenue NE has multiple restaurants and longtime watering holes.
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Capitol Hill
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Capitol Hill is one of the city’s most popular places to live, with 19th-century rowhouses and a market plus a vibrant nightlife and dining scene. Politicos, young staffers and tourists alike head to the neighborhood both for its government buildings like the U.S. Capitol and the Supreme Court and the surrounding historic, walkable, restaurant-filled blocks. Tour the U.S. Capitol via its impressive visitors center, where guides lead small groups under the intricately painted, 180-plus-foot dome and past the dimly lit Old Supreme Court Chamber. You’ll need a reservation for the tour or to visit Congress or the Senate (when they are in session); for the latter, just contact your senator or house representative. Nearby, the Library of Congress' impressive 1897 Thomas Jefferson building is open for tours that reveal its Italian-Renaissance style architecture and gilt murals, plus the stunning, circular main reading room with its 160-foot-high ceiling. Other attractions include the Folger Shakespeare Library (the world’s largest collection of the author's timeless works), and the glassed-in U.S. Botanic Garden at the base of Capitol Hill, which holds palms, ferns and orchids and provides a peaceful escape. Nineteenth and early 20th-century rowhouses (think turrets, stained glass and ironwork) lead to throwback commercial zones. Eastern Market, an 1873 brick building houses grocers, bakers and pasta makers inside every day except Monday, as well as a lively weekend bazaar with produce, crafts and antiques. The nearby micro-neighborhood of Barracks Row centers on 8th Street SE, where vintage storefronts hold oyster houses, pubby bars and foodie-focused restaurants. Closer to the Capitol, Massachusetts Avenue NE has multiple restaurants and longtime watering holes.
This small neighborhood that lies just north of Union Market and NoMa has worn a number of hats over the years, and its recent resurgence has made it a popular spot for locals to escape the hustle and bustle of downtown and interact with many of the city’s makers. The land that Ivy City sits on was originally envisioned as a predominantly African American post-Civil War subdivision, with the first lots being sold in 1873. Most residents lived in dwellings without heat or power, and five years later a portion of the neighborhood’s land was purchased to build a city horse racing track. In 1879, President Rutherford B. Hayes opened the National Fair Grounds to thousands of onlookers; the track would operate for a little more than a decade before bankruptcy forced its sale. The next iteration of Ivy City was that of an industrial zone that was home to numerous factories, warehouses and a railyard. The neighborhood remained this way for decades until the historic Hecht Warehouse was redeveloped into apartments and retail, bringing with it a number of local and national businesses. Today, Ivy City is home to mouthwatering restaurants, including the Michelin-starred Gravitas, which highlights the delicious bounty of the Chesapeake in a modern space with plenty of exposed brick. The neighborhood is also a go-to destination for made-in-DC beverages. You’ll find a host of distilleries producing everything from bourbon to gin, craft beer-style ciders from Supreme Core Cider, the full-service City Winery and hoppy IPAs poured to perfection at Atlas Brew Works. Not too far from the heart of the neighborhood is the U.S. National Arboretum, a stunning, free-to-enter 446-acre collection of plants and Instagram-worthy sights like the National Capitol Columns. The National Arboretum is also home to the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum, a fascinating space displaying legendary miniature Japanese and Chinese trees.
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Ivy City
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This small neighborhood that lies just north of Union Market and NoMa has worn a number of hats over the years, and its recent resurgence has made it a popular spot for locals to escape the hustle and bustle of downtown and interact with many of the city’s makers. The land that Ivy City sits on was originally envisioned as a predominantly African American post-Civil War subdivision, with the first lots being sold in 1873. Most residents lived in dwellings without heat or power, and five years later a portion of the neighborhood’s land was purchased to build a city horse racing track. In 1879, President Rutherford B. Hayes opened the National Fair Grounds to thousands of onlookers; the track would operate for a little more than a decade before bankruptcy forced its sale. The next iteration of Ivy City was that of an industrial zone that was home to numerous factories, warehouses and a railyard. The neighborhood remained this way for decades until the historic Hecht Warehouse was redeveloped into apartments and retail, bringing with it a number of local and national businesses. Today, Ivy City is home to mouthwatering restaurants, including the Michelin-starred Gravitas, which highlights the delicious bounty of the Chesapeake in a modern space with plenty of exposed brick. The neighborhood is also a go-to destination for made-in-DC beverages. You’ll find a host of distilleries producing everything from bourbon to gin, craft beer-style ciders from Supreme Core Cider, the full-service City Winery and hoppy IPAs poured to perfection at Atlas Brew Works. Not too far from the heart of the neighborhood is the U.S. National Arboretum, a stunning, free-to-enter 446-acre collection of plants and Instagram-worthy sights like the National Capitol Columns. The National Arboretum is also home to the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum, a fascinating space displaying legendary miniature Japanese and Chinese trees.
The vibrant Waterfront District at National Harbor features boutique shops, restaurants and entertainment options along the picturesque promenades. The iconic Capital Wheel—a 180-ft observation wheel—offers guests unprecedented views of DC, Maryland and Virginia. The MGM National Harbor is an integrated luxury entertainment resort featuring renowned chef-driven restaurants, a 3,000-seat state-of-the art theater and one of the largest gaming floors outside of Las Vegas. Tanger Outlets offers guests the best deals with 85 premium brands. Topgolf National Harbor is also a recent addition to that area.
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National Harbor
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The vibrant Waterfront District at National Harbor features boutique shops, restaurants and entertainment options along the picturesque promenades. The iconic Capital Wheel—a 180-ft observation wheel—offers guests unprecedented views of DC, Maryland and Virginia. The MGM National Harbor is an integrated luxury entertainment resort featuring renowned chef-driven restaurants, a 3,000-seat state-of-the art theater and one of the largest gaming floors outside of Las Vegas. Tanger Outlets offers guests the best deals with 85 premium brands. Topgolf National Harbor is also a recent addition to that area.