We have so many people visiting us this year in Washington and with so many things to do here, it’s been hard to fit everything into an itinerary for their trips. I always find that I enjoy my trips most when I’m staying with locals or friends or family that live in that particular place, because you get to see it in a much more authentic way.
Visiting DC can be quite daunting as everywhere you look online there is something you ‘cannot miss!’, but apart from the amazing historical sites, great food scene and shopping, what are the locals up to that might not seem so obvious?
I’ve teamed up with Hilton, which has packages that help you discover the city like a local, on your own time. There are 94 hotels just in the DC Metro Area alone, all designed to suit everyone from families, to couples and everything in between.
I’ve passed The Graham Hotel numerous times over the last few months as we often find ourselves walking to Baked and Wired (the bakery across the street from the hotel) for a post-dinner treat. Named after famous Georgetown resident Alexander Graham Bell, the hotel offers character, unique décor and a great location in what I think is the best neighborhood in the city.
I love strolling around the residential streets in Georgetown, it’s one of my favorite things to do on a weekend morning. Whenever we have a visitor from out of town, it’s the first thing we show them. The charming residences and building in the area are nothing like the political jungle of white stone buildings that visitors expect to see. The area is so full of history that I don’t think there’s a single street in Georgetown that you can walk down without a notable person or family having lived or are still living there. The house in the photo below is one of four properties that the Kennedy’s owned at one time or another. This particular residence being where JFK ran for president and would often hold press conferences on the front steps.
For me, the highlight in the area is definitely the shopping. I love how all the stores are designed to be boutiques as if they could still be independent local businesses, however they actually contain powerhouses like Michael Kors and Steve Madden. The Graham Hotel is a short walk to Kate Spade, Free People and Cusp by Neiman Marcus (which is one of my favorites!). A little further up M Street and you’ll hit some other great stores like Intermix, J Crew and Alice & Olivia.
With great shopping, comes great food and Georgetown is no exception to this rule. The area has everything you could want from Mediterranean restaurant Fiola Mare which is located on the river front, 1789 restaurant which is one of Washington’s iconic fine dining spots or a more casual eatery such as Pizza Paradiso. If this all sounds like too much daylight after a night spent at the rooftop bar, then room service is the way to go!
If there is one thing that I love more than Georgetown itself, it’s a rooftop bar in Georgetown! Over the last few weeks as the weather has been getting warmer, my discover page on Instagram has been filled with numerous photos of locals enjoying centuries-old buildings and cobblestone street views, over a great sunset. We visited the bar during Cinco de Mayo so the atmosphere was at it’s best, with a great DJ until midnight.
This one of the most up and coming neighborhoods in the city and is quickly becoming the place to be for locals. With a new eatery opening up every month in the neighborhood known as Capitol Riverfront, it’s not one to miss when visiting DC.
One of the main attractions for visiting the area is to watch a baseball game at Nationals Park. After the game it’s only a 10 minute walk to all the nearby restaurants including Chloe which is one of my favorite restaurants in the city! After dinner you’ll be in the perfect mood for a visit to Ice Cream Jubilee and a walk along the riverfront. Ice Cream Jubilee has been voted best ice cream in DC every year since it opened in 2014 and is constantly changing it’s unique menu of flavors to suit the seasons. They also ship the ice cream nationwide so if you can’t wait for your trip here, they’ve got you covered!
Having only recently settled into DC we’ve already fallen into the trap of a regular routine, without realizing it we opt to do similar things a lot of the time and always stay within our comfort zone (trying out new restaurants and bakeries doesn’t count!). During the summer in Germany (where we lived previously), we would often go to the amazing lakes that Europe had to offer, however it wasn’t something we had considered, or even knew you could do here. Don’t get me wrong, you won’t find me getting into a kayak anytime soon, but that’s what is great about boating in DC, they have different ways for everyone to get on the water, whether you’re a keen rower, wanting to tone up on a paddle board or like me, showing up for the scenic boat ride with no intention of getting wet or breaking a sweat, I’m certain you’ll have a memorable experience.
Your days will be easily filled with things to see and do during your trip but when the museums shut at 5pm, what else is there to do in the Nations Capital I hear you ask? This is when the New Yorkers pipe up and say they have the best nightlife on the East Coast, which, to some extent may be true but we’ve recently found a home for one of their gems and word on the street is, have made it better! City Winery opened it’s doors in Hudson Square, New York City in 2008 and since then have opened four other locations in Chicago, Nashville, Atlanta and Boston. They pride themselves on giving authentic music acts a stage with a very intimate setting and have even hosted acts such as Graham Nash and Norah Jones, in 2013 Prince even performed an after hours gig at the Chicago venue. If you’re a lover of great food, great music and most importantly, great wine, this place is for you!