Sunshine Chaser's Guide to Washington, DC

Welcome to the second installment of Sunshine Chasers! Today I welcome Sahra of QueSeraSahra. She's here to show us all the best places in Washington DC. Check it out!

Ah, DC. The land of politics and prose; boxed suits and sensible footwear. Lest not forget that it’s also a modern city with plenty of rich history, luxurious shopping, and a creative group of talented artists.

I’ve lived in DC for a little over 2 years and it’s been a blast. Thankfully, I moved here with someone who was born and raised here so we already knew the cool spots to check out. Now, it’s high time I share these favorite spots with those interested in traveling to the Nation’s Capital!

Best Places in Washington DC

Food:

I am SUCH A foodie. Seriously, when we lived more central in the city we went out 4-5 times a week. It was so good yet so bad. Nowadays we restrict ourselves to just 2 times a week (and one night of take out). DC has quite a wonderful food scene with new restaurants opening all of the time. Some of my favorites are:

I love Zaytinya for cool tapas style Mediterranean food; try the butternut hummus and the Brussel sprouts!

Ping Pong Dim Sum for (you guessed it) Dim Sum; there’s an earl grey whiskey drink that is perfect for both cool and hot nights.

Tico is a wonderful Asian-hispanic fusion restaurant that serves tapas style and has hibiscus margaritas on tap.

For a cheap and true DC experience eat at Busboys and Poets; serving up the best southern fusion meals with DC TapWater, a take on Long Island Iced Tea.

Craving BBQ? Smoke & Barrel is THE PLACE, and they even have one of the best vegan menus I’ve ever seen.

If you’re in DC for a Tuesday try El Centro’s Taco Tuesday for $2 tacos and margarita and mescal specials.

Lastly, if you’re looking for the best brunch in the city you need to try Le Diplomate; a true Parisienne experience of delicious proportions!

I could go on forever….on any cuisine, location, or vibe. Basically, if you’re planning a trip to DC reach out to me and I will Hook. You. Up.

Drinks:

Now, I should also mention that my boyfriend and I are very much into imbibing. We’ve tried everything from the diviest dives to the swankiest hotel bars and here are my favorites.

Looking to PARTY a la your days in college? Dan’s Café in Adam’s Morgan serves whiskey in a ketchup bottle and lets you mix it (or shoot it) as you want.

Not SO divey but still craving some cheap beer? Velvet Lounge or Dodge City are U Street neighbors with the same vibe; somehow it works.

Quill is the place to go if you’re looking for swank…located in the Jefferson Hotel this bar is anything but dive.

If you’re looking for breathtaking views of downtown DC there’s no better place than the PoV Lounge at the W Hotel. While it tends to have a more youthful “club” vibe, you just can’t beat the views.

Dram & Grain is the coolest speak easy this side of the line. Be sure to make your reservations in advance and be ready to be wowed by the creations of craft cocktails.

Shopping

OMG Let’s go shopping!

Georgetown has all the shops you know; Banana Republic, GAP, Kate Spade, All Saints, Juicy Couture, Frye, DSW, Zara, Tory Burch….literally everything along cobble stoned streets in a landmarkedly historic section of the city. Also, if you’re a big cupcake fan you can wait in line for a Georgetown Cupcake of famed TV Show “DC Cupcakes”. But for an even tastier cupcake without the glitz and fame try Baked and Wiredso good.

14th Street is where the locals shop. Here you’ll find a slew of thrift and consignment shops, hip and edgy stores, exceptional home décor, and more amidst some of the best dining in the city. The must-sees are Current Boutique for gently used womens clothes, Salt & Sundry for beautiful home wares and gifts, Miss Pixies for upcycled home furnishings, and Redeem for cool modern styles for men and women.

Union Market is a wonderful one-stop shop for great gifts and food. The aforementioned Salt & Sundry has their first location here but you can also find artisanal cheeses, olive oils, spices, and even up and coming designers who exhibit there for lengthy pop-up shops.

Culture

Like any major city DC has a wondrous amount of museums and landmarks to check out. Unlike most cities though, almost all of these attractions are free! Here are some favorites!

Air and Space Museum This is my boyfriend’s favorite. We love space and astronomy and what not, so it’s always an exciting time to bike down and spend a couple hours re-learning about the planets and the solar system.

The Botanical Gardens are actually right by the Air and Space Museum. While not the largest, these gardens offer a great ambiance and wonderful feeling. My favorite thing to do is bring a book and just sit in the jungle room and enjoy the warmth.

While not free, The Newseum is an experience not to be missed! All about the history of news reporting with daily updates about front page headlines from all over the world. Seriously, this place never gets old.

Smithsonian National Zoo IS free! And has panda bears including a brand new baby named Bei Bei. They also allow certain monkeys out of their enclosures to use ropes to venture around the park so keep your eyes peeled for a wild one.

The Holocaust Museum is a heavy-themed one, but moving none-the-less.

Into a concert or show?

Black Cat,9:30Club, Rock and Roll Hotel and Lincoln Theater are great places for last minute concerts of the indie/rock vibe. Bonus: You can sometimes see Dave Grohl by the Black Cat (he’s the owner)!

Bohemian Caverns is a great place to catch some jazz, or just down the U street block at Twins Jazz.

Explore

So you want to spend some time outside-I got you. While you’re visiting a pretty big city, there’s still much to be done under the sun.

The National Mall is a great place to start as a tourist. You’ll be able to see the museums, monuments, and the tidal basin in one afternoon. I personally love lazy afternoon picnics on the greens people watching.

Take a hike! If you’re looking for an easy walk I recommend Teddy Roosevelt Island, a park between DC’s western bank and Virginia. If you want more of a hiking experience you can visit Great Falls which has both a Maryland and a Virginia side, as well as some breath taking views and waterfalls.

The National Arboretum is another lovely walk within the city limits. It’s right by Union Market and is a sanctuary for trees, deer, and other wildlife.

Sahra is a fashion & travel blogger currently living in Washington, DC by way of The Big Apple. She enjoys her free time brunching on veganish dishes, hanging out with her boyfriend, dog and two cats , shopping with friends, or planning her next great adventure. Her day job is in law marketing but she enjoys moonlighting as a not-so-basic bitch. 

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