Whatever D.C. may lack in size, it more than makes up for in history. The crowd of politicos, lawyers, and a big crop of college kids plus their professors lends a more academic & professional feel than you’ll find in other cities. That means there’s not as much of a low key, bohemian, or cut-loose-and-party vibe, but D.C. has got a rich culture all it’s own.
As for getting around, the metro stations are pristine and easy to navigate, and though the service can be sparse in certain parts of town, the bus routes do a good job of picking up any slack. Take a ride and wander through town and you’ll run into incredible monuments, memorials, and museums that are seamlessly placed throughout the city, all well worth your time and attention. They’re touristy, sure, but in D.C. you actually want to do the touristy stuff.
We don’t say that often, but it’s true here. There’s so much incredible history and collected culture that finding local haunts should take a backseat to learning about the city. Check out all of the museums, both public and private — there are lots, and they’re all good. Go on a tour and learn about the monument constructions and political history. Visit the beautifully designed memorials. There are still lots of great bars and restaurants (more on that below), but the seeing the sights should be your first priority in D.C. And when you're ready to eat, drink, and explore after that, here's where to head.
It can get crowded, but for good reason: Churchkey’s got 40 taps of terrific beer, broken down into easy-to-understand categories along with helpful descriptions, plus a phonebook-sized bottle menu that would please even the most obsessive beer drinker.
Especially great is that each draft offering comes with the option of a reasonably-priced 4 oz. pour, so it’s easy and not too pricey to sample a big range of beer without needing to commit to a full glass of anything. And if you’re not in the mood for a beer, the Mulefoot cocktail, with Dewar’s scotch, Averell (a plum-flavored gin), Campari, and orange peel is surprisingly great.
The food may not win any awards for creativity, but Ted’s serves comforting classics with care and polish. Big, perfectly-assembled sandwiches and hangover-busting breakfast platters (served all day) are terrific and filling, but you’ll want to save room for dessert so that you can order one of the homemade pop tarts, a boozy milkshake, or a big-as-your-head cinnamon bun.
It’s all served in a beautifully designed space that feels nostalgic but not kitschy, giving Ted’s a retro diner coziness that doesn’t feel manufactured despite the three locations.
Each spring, D.C. celebrates the blossoming of the city’s cherry trees, which were originally a gift from the mayor of Tokyo City way back in 1912. Whether or not you get caught up in the history and festival events, the blossoms are stunningly beautiful, which makes for a picturesque walk or bike ride along the bank of the Tidal Basin. The average peak for the blossoms is April 4th, usually starting a few days prior and lasting for up to two weeks.