Hi friends! I recently took a week long trip to D.C. Only a cheap bus ticket away from the Big Apple, and a must-visit on my very long list.
I have spent so much of the last several years of my life traveling abroad, learning about other cultures, countries and their foundations. Now that I’ve settled in New York I decided it was time to take my first trip in the states over the 4th of July weekend, and what better place than our Nation’s Capitol, Washington D.C. – at such an interesting time in our countries history. Also very hot and humid.
I ended up having one of the greatest, informational yet leisurely trips of a lifetime. D.C. has become a hotspot on the foodie map as of late and recently added as a Michelin city. I ate A LOT of really great things on this trip. The museum choices are overwhelming so it helps to do your research and plan ahead a bit. Here is how I laid it out, day by day.
Day one: Travel & Dinner – The bus I took from NYC – DC was $25 (changes depending on day and time of travel). Check Goto bus for schedules and routes for cheap transportation. The ride itself took about 4.5 hours. Once arrived, the first thing on my list was to check out one of the hottest D.C. restaurants, Rose’s Luxury.
Rose’s does not accept reservations and a line begins to form outside of the restaurant two hours before opening. If you want a guaranteed entry, you must brave the line. If you’re feeling lucky you might try the bar upstairs especially if flying solo. The food is simply fantastic, just as good as everyone says it is. The warm homemade loaf of bread with whipped thyme butter drizzled with honey is to die for. The raviolo with egg yolk center is made with fresh pasta surrounded by a bed of fresh greens; beautiful presentation. Relaxed ambiance, Italian style food with a twist and fun cocktail list. The overall experience: worth it.
Afterwards we had a walk through the National Mall and stopped for a midday snack. We chose farewell Diner, a vegan resto with bomb polenta fries.
A good option for vegan/non vegans alike. We then took the metro to the Columbia Heights neighborhood to brave the line at Bad Saint, a 24-seater Philipino restaurant voted number 2 best restaurants in America via Bon Apetit magazine in 2016. Bad Saint also does not accept reservations, and yes, the line begins to form up to 2 hours before opening. We arrived at 3:15 with about 8 people ahead of us.It started to rain and we took shelter in the cocktail bar on the corner for 30 minutes, then returned to a longer line, however we managed to make the first seating and somehow scored one of the coziest seats in the house, a booth! It’s mainly bar seating, there are two booths in the whole place. We got lucky!
The open kitchen allows diners to see how their food is being prepared creating an intimate experience.
The cocktails: bomb. Verdict : SO WORTH IT. After dinner we ended the night at a rooftop bar, suns out funs out. #Rosé
Day Three: Brunch by Eastern Market, Georgetown, HH, Tacos, at Lincoln Memorial at night. In my research I came across Ambar, a Balkan restaurant near the Eastern Market – an indoor food market where you can buy fresh produce, cheese, meat, etc.
Ambar’s brunch is just $39 for bottomless mimosas or bloody mary’s and unlimited small plates of ANYTHING on their brunch menu for two hours.
This may be the best bang for your buck brunch I’ve seen yet – so we took advantage. Flavored mimosas and simple bloody’s were a nice way to start the day. I highly recommend their meat/cheese pie, phyllo dough with melty cheese of ground beef with a cream underneath – excellent. With an array of egg dishes and waffles too, there’s definitely something for everyone.
After brunch we headed to Georgetown. What’s there? An old canal, lot’s of shopping on the main street, and the Exorcist stairs – where apparently a scene was shot from the original Exorcist film. We wandered.
Snack time – Pearl Dive’s Oyster Palace. Yep that’s the name, and yep you guessed it, they’ve got oysters. A charming little joint with a southern inspired seafood menu. If you head upstairs there’s a charming deep red lounge draped with string lights.
The HH up there is half priced craft beer and $11 pound of mussels. They offer a great selection of oysters for $2.50 a pop. We chose wheat beers and some seafood delights for an afternoon snack.
Dinner time – El Sole Taqueria has hands down the best queso fondito I’ve ever consumed in my life. Well known for their tiny tacos, cheap is an understatement. This is truly a mom and pop shop where you can taste the authenticity.
The salsa given with chips is also fantastic. After eating more, we decided to walk it off on the National Mall. We visited the World War two memorial, Lincoln and others along the way. This is a must-do by night. Much cooler, not necessarily less crowded. Great Sunset views!
Day four (July 3): Holocaust Museum and Laotian food for dinner, followed by 4th of July dress rehearsal concert on Capitol lawn. Since watching “Freedom Writers” starring Hilary Swank, many years ago, this museum has been a priority on my must visits. It was truly worthwhile, heartbreaking but necessary for people to see, everyone to remember and never to forget.
After a heart wrenching 3.5 hour visit, we crossed town via the metro to meet some friends for an interesting meal of Laotian food – a new cuisine for me! I started off with pink gin and chicken hearts at the bar with HH prices.
The chicken hearts were tender and lathered in a semi sweet glaze on a skewer, delicious. For dinner we sampled crispy pig ears, coconut fried rice, amongst a few other stewed dishes. We finished with mango sticky rice which was perfect. We ended the day back on the Capitol lawn watching John Stamos host the dress rehearsal of the big 4th if July concert, which included the Blues Brothers and Kelly Pickler.
Day five: Arlington Cemetery and more rooftops on the 4th. I signed up for a tour with “Free Tours by Foot,” a wonderful website that offers free city walking tours in major cities including NYC, SF and D.C. The 3 hour tour was one of the best and most informative things I did this trip, our guide was fantastic and obviously very passionate about U.S. history.
We saw the changing of the guard at the tomb of the unknown soldier, JFK’s grave and learned the history of the plot of land that is now the cemetery. These tours are donation based and very worthwhile. Best to go early in the morning when it’s not too painfully scorching. The rest of the day that followed consisted of Independence day rooftop parties and BBQ.
Day six: Capitol Tour, National Archives and Lincoln assassination tour at Ford’s theater and Peterson house. The Big Sick. All of these things must be seen whilst visiting D.C. Capitol tours can be arranged through your state congressmen via email, along with White House tours, however those must be planned at least 6 months in advance. So unfortunately I couldn’t see the presidents quarters this time, however I did get to stand on the balcony of the Capitol that faces the National Mall, where presidents often give speeches. That was cool!
Following my Capitol tour I visited the National Archives, free like most D.C. museums, where I saw the Original Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights. Last thing on my list was Ford’s Theater and the Peterson house, where Lincoln was assassinated. There are several time slots throughout the day and one must reserve online or at the box office and return for the time of your choice. This included a tour of the theater, talk from a park ranger about the incident and then a walk through of the home across the street where Lincoln spent his final hours. I winded down my evening at the old movie theater around the corner watching “The Big Sick,” which I highly recommend seeing. It was fantastic!
Overall, my week in D.C. was very well spent with the perfect combination of sightseeing, eating, drinking and wandering. I stayed at Duo Housing hostel in the center of town, about a 20 minute walk to the National mall and all museums. It’s a cheaper option with a safe homey environment. Can’t wait for my next trip. Until next time, D.C.