This may be the most anticipated city on my Weekend Like a Local tour with Hilton Hotels. Not only will my next location be a city I have never been to but it starts by using transportation I have never used before. Yes that’s right, this Maine girl has never ridden an Amtrak Train before (assuming subways don’t count). Judgement free zone I was completely geeking out as I arrived at the Philadelphia train station to board and find myself in Washington DC in just two hours!
It was the perfect day to explore the city by foot. The sun was shining with a temperature in the 60’s. Could it have been any better in February? We arrived at the Washington Hilton early afternoon which gave us plenty of time to venture around the neighborhood before happy hour and dinner. First things first… the Hotel. I couldn’t have been more impressed with the cleanliness and professionalism the Washington Hotel achieved. I immediately felt at home noticing all the accommodations around me. With 4 on-site restaurants varying from sports bar theme to high class dining you can find what you are looking for. Forgot to pack an item? Not to worry. The Washington Hilton has a gift shop that has you covered. To add, there is an outdoor pool, a fitness center and 24 hour business center. I could go on but it’s time to check out the room!
The presidential suite had it all. Located on the designated Hilton Honors floor, I walked in and automatically visioned myself with a similar sized city condo. The decor vibed a blend of mid century modern with royal color and textures. Think I could just move in? I give so much credit to any hotel that finds an inviting way to welcome you and make you feel like not ever leaving the room. Every room offers air conditioning, LCD televisions, and digital programming, with wireless internet for your convenience. Luckily the room had beautiful views of the city which was my push out the door to go explore!
Walking distance to the White House, I set the plan in motion and started walking in its direction. The streets were busy with pedestrians getting out to enjoy what felt like a spring day. The streets were extremely clean offering shopping and restaurants in every direction. Passing through small parks coming to life with music and arts I soon found myself standing in front of the iconic White House. Amazed by the prestigious stature I began to sink into history thinking of all the founding fathers that have lived behind its walls. The sun was starting to set and its beauty couldn’t have shined brighter.
Next on the agenda was to enjoy drinks at Iron Gate. Iron Gate is located in such a quaint neighborhood set amongst the hustle and bustle of the city. Once having been a carriage house, Iron Gate has turned the former horse walkway into a pop-up bar called “Tunnel of Love” for the month of February. The former horse stable is the location of the restaurant. I love this – I absolutely love when history still exists with the luxury of modern comfort. Iron Gate really emphasizes on the month of love with the romance throwback theme. You are surrounded by hearts, posters and cutouts of iconic love making musicians and a warm atmosphere. Your eyes are sure to be entertained but so are your tastebuds. Not only were the craft cocktails so spot on but the small plates were perfectly prepared and executed. I would highly recommend drinks and/or dinner at Iron Gate to any Washington DC local or visitor. Before we filled up and got too cozy it was time to venture to our next outing.
The best way to see a city is by foot, so we decided to walk to dinner at Hazel to ensure we work up the appetite. It was the best decision to take advantage of the warm winter weather and see the city light up and the sun set. Hazel is located in the heart of the Shaw neighborhood. The setting allows for casual to intimate setting seekers to come together and enjoy an easy going atmosphere. Upon first view of the menu I knew I was about to indulge in comfort. From small plates to feasts, Hazel really strives to ensure a sense of togetherness through food. I decided to try as much as possible started with “our bread”, then on to roasted carrots, crispy brussel sprouts, finishing with braised beef short rib. I am not lying when I say this was one of my most favorite meals with every bite bursting with flavor. A must try.
“Oh what a night!” After such a comfortable night of sleep It was now time to order Breakfast from in-room dining from the cafe located downstairs in the lobby and prepare for another beautiful day in the city. Ready to go, I yet again couldn’t resist the opportunity to walk to the first stop and take advantage of the weather. It’s time for more food. This is what vacation is about anyways, right? Indulge and dig in!
Lunch was reserved at Matchbox Vintage Pizza Bistro. This is a classic neighborhood spot offering menu items from brick oven pizza to roasted half chicken. I choose the house salad, half chicken and lemon cake! Every single dish was enjoyable and the perfect portion for lunch. The atmosphere invited guests of all types from business to leisure. With outside seating, I opted to move to the deck and enjoy my last bites in the sun. Oh and can we talk about the street views? Located off of 14th street you are in the perfect place to people watch, shop and dine!
At this point, I am starting to praise the warm weather for giving the excuse to walk and burn off all the delicious food D.C. dishes out. It’s time for more sightseeing. With a quick turn of a corner I begun walking down 14th street and enjoying window shopping and seeing the city like a local. I decided it was time for more monuments and thought the Lincoln Memorial was the perfect destination. Due to timing I hopped in an uber to get there faster to have more time to walk around the National Mall. The drive was stunning! Passing by what I have only seen in books and documentaries. I felt like I was living a dream. We finally arrived at the Lincoln Memorial and my jaw dropped. Speechless to describe. It is truly something you need to see and experience for yourself so for the time being I hope these photos captured at least some of the timeless views.
It was time to start heading back towards the Washington Hilton to freshen up before a winery tour! I couldn’t resist a little shopping on Connecticut Avenue on the way! Again, the warm winter weather had the streets buzzing with those seeking the sunshine and good feeling so I’m obviously going to join in.
With a quick rest and new outfit I was ready for a wine tour at City Winery . Located in the up and coming neighborhood of Ivy City, this is the place to be. The neighborhood is made of many warehouses and City Winery is one of them. Offering 4 floors of space including a rooftop you can delight in a winery tour, dinner, events and live music. I thought why not do it all?! The night started with a private winery tour and tasting. I am about to admit I drink a ton of wine and this winery had me enjoying my arch enemy, Rose, so that tells you they are doing something right. Dinner consisted of classics like fried calamari, fritters, and pan roasted chicken. Can’t go wrong with anything off of their menu especially when paired with one of their wines. It’s time to head up to see Miki Howard live who has sold out the past two nights.That was not the only thing going on. Located on the 3rd floor, Sofar Sounds hosted 3 guests artist who all performed incredibly. Overall, it was an unbelievable night!
As I wrap this up, I want to first thank Hilton Hotels for the opportunity to review the Weekend Like a Local package so that all of you, my viewers and readers, can make an informed decision on your next destination. I think so highly of this innovative package that offers an attainable and affordable way to travel to a new destination with the ease of a curated itinerary in the comfort of a reputable hotel and offered discounts. With over 140 North East locations, you will find the perfect stay to create long lasting memories. I know I have.