The City along the Potomac
Collected by Christian Mirasol, AFAR Local Expert
In recent years, Washington DC has transformed dramatically, becoming a more vibrant city with youthful energy. Most have always known DC for its impressive monuments and outstanding museums; but beyond that, there is a brand-new DC to discover. Neighborhoods have recently reemerged as cultural centers for the local community, innovative restaurants have positioned DC as a top culinary destination, and offbeat theater companies have created a new local theater scene that pushes beyond the norms.
701 E Basin Dr SW, Washington, DC 20242, USA
Having grown up in the DC-area, cherry blossom season translates to one of the most chaotic times of the year around the National Mall. Swells of tourists and fanfare bombard the Tidal Basin in early spring. There are however narrow windows of...
355 Water St SE, Washington, DC 20003, USA
Named for the mythical dragon-like beast said to terrorize the region at the turn of the century, Snallygaster is DC's largest beer festival. It features a beastly display of over 250 unique craft beers, sourced from the best local, domestic, and...
Constitution Ave NW, Washington, DC 20565, USA
With two buildings and a sculpture garden, the National Gallery of Art is a treasure-filled trifecta where each person’s gems will only be uncovered through an immersive day (or more) of cultural exploration. The West Building is a...
1500 S Capitol St SE, Washington, DC 20003, USA
In the middle of the fourth inning of every home game played by the Washington Nationals, a presidential race takes place—an actual footrace run between mascots depicting four former U.S. presidents. This ridiculous and hyper-local tradition...
3200 Mount Vernon Hwy, Mt Vernon, VA 22121, USA
For over 45 years, Mount Vernon was the home of American Revolutionary War General and first U.S. President George Washington. By looking and walking around his once 8,000 acre plantation, one can learn about Washington's personal life, character,...
515 15th St NW, Washington, DC 20004, USA
For decades, this rooftop terrace bar situated at the W Hotel (formerly the Hotel Washington, circa 1918) has provided some of the most stellar views of the White House, monuments, memorials, and beyond. P.O.V. is open year-round, unlike many...
Arlington, VA 22211, USA
The Arlington National Cemetery is a 625-acre cemetery where fallen veterans have been laid to rest since the American Civil War. The cemetery lies at the end of Memorial Bridge, across the Potomac River from the Lincoln Memorial in Washington,...
608 T St NW, Washington, DC 20001, USA
The largest Ethiopian community outside of Ethiopia is located along U and 9th streets NW, in the historic 19th-century U Street and Shaw neighborhood—and it counts many of the greater D.C. area's 45 Ethiopian restaurants. Among them is a...
1517 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036, USA
One of Washington's most beloved independent bookstores, Kramerbooks & Afterwords Café is just as much a D.C. institution as the city's historic monuments. Opened in 1976, Kramerbooks was the first bookstore/café in the United...
415 8th St SE, Washington, DC 20003, USA
I've been fascinated recently with this sweet-savory combination. Sorry cupcakes, the doughnut is back, and it has gotten quite the makeover! Before this craze hit D.C., chefs Kyle Bailey and Tiffany MacIssac of Birch and Barley/Churchkey have...
Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC, USA
Passport DC is a month-long event in May with more than 100 international events and activities that educate visitors and residents of the Washington, D.C., area about our global community. Every first Saturday of the month is the signature event...
1308 G St NW, Washington, DC 20004, USA
Astro is the brainchild of two childhood friends, Eliot Spaisman and Jeff Halpern, who grew up playing hockey together (one currently plays in the NHL) and would enjoy doughnuts as a post-game treat. An union of two iconic comfort foods, relish in...
4798 Western Avenue Northwest, Bethesda, MD 20816, USA
As a licensed guide for Washington, D.C., I've often been asked what the oldest monument in the city is. Well, may I present to you one of 40 sandstone monuments, and also the oldest in the U.S. Dubbed the Boundary Stones, they were placed in 1791...
101 Independence Ave SE, Washington, DC 20540, USA
Established in 1800, the Library of Congress is the oldest federal institution in the United States. The library was destroyed by British troops just 14 years after its conception, and Congress used Thomas Jefferson’s collection of 6,487...
2700 F St NW, Washington, DC 20566, USA
Overlooking the Potomac River, the Kennedy Center stands as a living memorial to President John F. Kennedy and an iconic landmark for arts in America. Its marble facade, sky-high ceilings, and crystal chandeliers exude grandeur, not to mention the...
800 16th St NW, Washington, DC 20006, USA
Not everyone gets to live across the street from the White House. Before the current Italian-Renaissance hotel was constructed in 1927, the prime real estate was occupied by the homes of two little-known American icons: John Hay—personal...
400 8th St NW, Washington, DC 20004, USA
From the hilltop of the U.S. Capitol to the riverfront behind the Lincoln Memorial, the National Mall is “America’s Front Yard.” Lined with museums and accented by monuments and memorials, the 1.9-mile stretch of green space is...
1234 H St NE, Washington, DC 20002, USA
5200 Glover Rd NW, Washington, DC 20015, USA
Rock Creek Park is the main stretch of woodland that runs through the city's northwest corridor. If you want to escape the mob of tourists on the Mall, or you just want to spend time in an urban oasis, head to Rock Creek Park. Any section between...
1309 5th St NE, Washington, DC 20002, USA
Union Market is the perfect D.C. destination if you're searching for a weekend brunch spot, craving a snack on your way to visit the Capitol, or, you know, hungry. Oyster bar, bakery, taqueria, soda shop, sandwich shop, Korean taco grill—all...
800 F St NW, Washington, DC 20004, USA
Aside from fictional spies like James Bond, Jason Bourne, and Austin Powers, few of us know much about the world of espionage and that’s probably very deliberate. After all, you can’t expect any good spy to be giving away their trade...
1739 N St NW, Washington, DC 20036, USA
The Tabard Inn is delightfully historic and creaky, with corridors and staircases that make the place seem endless. (The inn opened its doors to guests in 1922.) You can dine in the cosy basement restaurant or out on the courtyard patio. It's a...
1924 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20006, USA
If you're in the northwest area of D.C., and looking for good food with fresh ingredients, or for some unhealthy beignets that are simply excellent, then check out Founding Farmers. I started out eating on the healthy side, with an egg white...
701 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001, USA
In the heart of D.C.'s Penn Quarter, Zaytinya serves up a variety of tapas inspired by traditional dishes from Greece, Lebanon, and Turkey. It also has a selection of wines from such Eastern Mediterranean countries and seasonally serves a hot tea...
700 F St NW, Washington, DC 20004, USA
If what you’re looking for in a hotel in D.C. is a central location—with easy access to all the major sights and public transportation and in a part of town where there are lots of shops and restaurants, then the place you will want to stay is the...
555 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001, USA
The Newseum is an interactive, ever-evolving tribute to our First Amendment freedoms of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition. Powerful exhibits such as eight sections of the Berlin Wall (the largest display outside Germany) provide...
1632 17th St NW, Washington, DC 20009, USA
D.C. offers a lot of choices for getting about the city. If you are cyclist, consider renting a bicycle to supplement travel by public transportation. Not only is it cheaper than Metro (either subway or bus) and cab fare, but also you’ll avoid the...
1964 Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20024, USA
Many people visiting the King National Memorial in Washington, D.C. wonder why it is so small. What they don't know is that this memorial is a result of a fundraising initiative. The U.S. federal government did contribute to the building of the...
4155 Linnean Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008, USA
Marjorie Merriweather Post was a wealthy American socialite and heiress to the Postum Cereal fortune. Her Washington home is now a museum, and the home’s original furnishings have been maintained alongside all the near-priceless collectibles...
2020 O St NW, Washington, DC 20036, USA
The Mansion on O Street is an original, pleasantly eccentric D.C. destination. Five row houses are interconnected by a labyrinth of passageways, staircases, and 70 secret doors. Get lost in its 100 rooms, which are filled with an ever-evolving...
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