Our lovely friend Brittany Godwin Baker is currently living in Washington DC, and we called upon her to give us the low-down on her favorite spots! She has rounded-up some classic and dream-worthy places! Also, check out her blog here! Enjoy!
~Jess and Ashley
10 Places in DC
There are some places you visit and just never want to leave. I experienced this feeling when I visited DC for the first time the summer following my high school graduation. I don’t know exactly what it was about the city or when it happened, but I told my friends on the trip that I would live there one day.
Fast forward three years…I moved to DC for a summer internship with Congressman Aderholt. It was a life-changing experience and at the end of the summer I vowed to return after college. Indefinitely.
So I did. Now, five years later, there are certain places around the city that feel like home to me – that make me come alive in new ways no matter how many times I revisit them – and are the places that are simply too amazing not to share with others.
I’ve been going for runs, walks, and bike rides on-and-off for the last six years, and I have to admit that there is no greater feeling than running up the steps of the Lincoln at sunset after a long and beautiful run from the Capitol. Or strolling around the Tidal Basin to the Jefferson Memorial when the Cherry Blossoms are in full bloom. Or playing flag football on Saturday mornings, or softball on warm summer nights, or kickball on Sunday afternoons – it’s my place. It’s my little slice of heaven.
Like the Mall, I’ve been going to Nats games for the last six years. The first two years, I was most definitely still a Braves fan at heart and rooted for them when they were in town, but then something changed and the Nats became my team. It also helps to live three blocks from the stadium, which makes game days so much better.
Think outdoor farmer’s market mixed with Capitol Hill charm. Eastern Market has always been a Saturday morning go-to for me. There is nothing in the world I would rather have for breakfast than buttermilk chocolate chip pancakes covered in real maple syrup and an Arnold Palmer from The Market Lunch. I highly recommend it. But, you better go early to avoid the line – because you can bet the farm there will be a long one!
Every Friday during the summer, the National Sculpture Garden fills with blankets upon blankets of diverse and cultured (usually very southern) twenty-something year olds looking to get there jazz and sangria fill. It’s definitely something to experience – though I tend to avoid going in August, because guys, it’s just too hot.
Twice a year, Mt. Vernon hosts a wine festival featuring wineries from the surrounding areas. All the winemakers set up spots under a huge, well-lit, white tent adjacent to George Washington’s house. There is also a band and friends and families bring blankets and snacks and sit out in George Washington’s backyard overlooking the Potomac sipping wine. It’s all very lovely and enchanting and great for people-watching, especially when the dancing begins.
6) Aqua Al 2
Aqua has been my longest standing favorite restaurant since moving to DC. Nestled in the heart of Eastern Market, it’s the one I tell people about when they ask where to eat, or where I take friends visiting from out of town, or where I go on a Tuesday night for dinner just because it’s Tuesday, and Tuesdays are my least favorite day. The original Aqua opened in Florence, Italy in the 70s, then the owner moved back home to DC where he opened this location in the early 2000s. I’ve been wanting to take a trip to Italy for easily the last five years, instead I just go to Aqua, which is a great stand-in.
7) DC Rooftops
Oh gosh, rooftops have been part of my DC repertoire since I first stepped foot on one. The best thing about them are the views, and what sets them a part from rooftops in other cities, like New York, is DC’s law that no building can be taller than the Capitol. So, from almost any building in the city, you can see the Capitol, the Washington Monument, and the gorgeous skyline. Not to mention most apartment buildings have rooftop pools and grills, which is sure to amp up any summer barbecue.
Rose’s is the cutest, most eclectic restaurant I’ve ever dined in. So many of my sweetest memories have been shared around a table in the quaint space on Barracks Row. It was declared by Bon Appetit to be the No. 1 restaurant in the country last year and has easily stolen the hearts of most Washingtonians. What makes it so great is that every dish, every taste is so flavorful and unique that you aren’t quite sure how to describe it, therefore giving it that “out of the box” dining experience that makes it so attractive.
Though most would have trouble finding it on the map – Shaw is the up-and-coming, sleek, trendy, hipster-meets-chic neighborhood where all the crazed restaurants, bars, and coffee shops are popping up. Some of my favorite spots are Compass Coffee (love it so), Southern Efficiency, Mockingbird Hill, Beau Thai, and the Chaplin. I also really love La Colombe tucked away over in Blagden’s Alley, but the fact that a coffee shop doesn’t have wifi is downright baffling.
Last, but not certainly least is the rooftop bar at the W Hotel. The outdoor space of the bar overlooks the White House and Treasury Department and offers amazing views of the monuments, mall, and Pennsylvania Avenue. The inside half of the bar is where L.A. club meets DC proper. Their cocktails are amazing and cost about a half week’s paycheck so sip ever so slowly.