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travel diary + city guide: washington DC, usa

By February 12, 2014 city guides, travel, travel diary, usa

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I’ve been in Washington DC a few days now. And I love it.

It’s such a liveable city. Picturesque, efficient transport, loads of outdoor open spaces, beautiful old architecture, countless museums, art galleries & cultural centres – mostly free for residents, a myriad of food + drink options, decent night life and great little corners for shopping. It’s even only a few hours form the beach.

As most days started, here we’re having breakfast at Le Pain Quotidien

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Then a short stroll to visit THE White House…

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I’m wearing an ancient top (here’s one similar) with ancient denim shorts (here are some similar),  Steve Madden Black Achilles sandals & my bro’s vintage hat.

Lunch was set for the famed Ben’s Chilli Bowl, flag-ship US eatery, established by newlyweds Ben and Virginia Ali in 1958. Ben’s has been there throughout the race riots in the 60’s to the revitalisation of the U Street Corridor in the 90’s. Bill Cosby even attended their 45th anniversary.

They are also famed by a lunch stop visit from none other than Barack Obama.

Now to the good stuff. Here you’ll find chilli bowls + chilli dogs plus a few other options. I couldn’t go past the traditional Chilli Dog…

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Navid opted for the bean version…Washington DC Part 2 | Cream. - 05

After a quick costume change, we headed off for a movie…

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Then dinner at the Old Ebbitt Grill. It’s one of D.C’s most old and famous restaurants often frequented by the men & women that work on Capitol Hill. Washington DC Part 2 | Cream. - 09 Washington DC Part 2 | Cream. - 11  Washington DC Part 2 | Cream. - 10

My date isn’t being so fun…Washington DC Part 2 | Cream. - 12

Sadly I forgot to take photos of the food.

Now. This is awkward. Breakfast at our fav place, yet again. Look at this monstrous omelette…

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With a bowl of coffee to match…Washington DC Part 2 | Cream. - 16

Then a walk around town…

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And check out the Capitol Hill..Washington DC Part 2 | Cream. - 18

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One of the main reasons I came to DC was to visit the The Smithsonian museums – the world’s largest museum and research complex—including 19 museums and galleries and the National Zoological Park. Over the week we hit:

The Air & Space Museum – twenty-three galleries exhibiting hundreds of aircraft, spacecraft, missiles, rockets, and other flight-related artefacts. Including an exhibition on the moon landing, which I don’t believe in, but that’s a story for another day.

The American History Museum – devoted to the scientific, cultural, social, technological, and political development of the United States.

The Postal Museum – devoted to the history of America’s mail service and the hobby of stamp collecting.

The Natural History Museum – exhibitions on earliest human origins; development of world cultures; ancient and modern mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, insects, and sea creatures.

The American Indian Museum – home to one of the largest and most diverse collections of Native art and historical and cultural objects; exhibitions are designed in collaboration with Native communities from across the hemisphere.

If you go here, make sure you eat in their cafeteria, you can sample loads of delicious american indian cuisine.

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All museum-ed out, we stopped for some tea at the Botanical Gardens

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Ok. Now I promise this is the last time… but at least the day started with lunch not breakfast?? See I can mix it up!

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We then hired bikes and did a bike tour of the city…

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Some are better riders than others…

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Then to visit some of my friends…

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And my man Abe…

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Then we escaped the rain at Ezme, in Dupont Circle for some Mediterranean feasting…Washington DC Part 2 | Cream. - 42

Here you’ll find the most delicious array of Mediterranean food…

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Unfortunately that sums up my time in DC. But I am not too sad, as the next and final destination is New York.

Things to do:

I’ve gone into a lot of detail about museums and such to visit when in D.C, so I won’t harp on here. But if you want more, do checkout Timeout’s 20 Great Things to do in Washington DC.

Food:

As you’ve probably realised, my favourite place was Le Pain Quotidien.

But other great picks include:

Old Ebbitt Grill – One of D.C’s most old and famous restaurants often frequented by the men & women that work on Capitol Hill. Soak up the old-world ambiance in mahogany booths with marble fixtures, while sipping traditional cocktail and shucking oysters or digging into a steak.

Sticky Fingers Bakery – Vegan bakery predominantly, but they serve healthy soups and sandwiches too.

Montmartre – French brasserie popular for brunch on the weekends.

Ben’s Chilli Bowl – A flag-ship US eatery, established by newlyweds Ben and Virginia Ali in 1958. Ben’s has been there throughout the race riots in the 60’s to the revitalisation of the U Street Corridor in the 90’s. Bill Cosby even attended their 45th anniversary. They are also famed by the lunch stop visit from none other than Barack Obama. Here you’ll find chilli bowls + chilli dogs plus a few other options. I couldn’t go past the traditional Chilli Dog…

I didn’t get to that many other restaurants actually, so be sure to check out The Washingtonian’s list of Top Ten Restaurants in Washington DC and DC Eater’s 38 Essential Washington Restaurants.

Drink:

My fav 2 places were:

Sonoma – Wine Bar & Restaurant for you cheese & wine lovers.

The Gibson – dimly lit, cosy & romantic speakeasy that evokes the glamour and secrecy of the prohibition era with fittingly perfect cocktails.

Also check out Thrillist’s list of best bars in Washington DC or The Washington Post’s picks for best bars and clubs in Washington DC.

Shopping:

Capitol Hill – The historic neighborhood that sits in the shadows of the Capitol dome offers shoppers a mix of nationally known retail outlets and neighborhood specialty boutiques.

Downtown/Penn Quarter – Fashion staples & specialty shops. DC’s downtown area has been treated to a bucketload of development in recent years, including the arrival of new shopping spots like Urban Outfitters, Aveda and City Sports.

Georgetown – Basically THE place for shopping in DC. Everything from local designers to high end fashion.  It’s hip and historic at the same time with cobblestone streets lined with locally owned boutiques, antiques shops and national retail outlets. Well-known chains like Coach and Restoration Hardware are located in the heart of the neighbourhood.

2000 Penn – located in the heart of Foggy Bottom, it offers a lively setting to meet friends, do a little shopping, or have a bite to eat. Home to a wide array of international cuisines from casual to fine dining, there is something for everyone.

Union Station – one of the most visited sites in Washington D.C. with over 130 stores and restaurants including brands like The Body Shop and Nine West.

Transport:

Transport in Washington is SUPER easy. The tube has trains that run constantly, I never had to wait more than a few minutes.

They also have the bus system which provides an efficient bus service throughout the city and to outer suburbs.

Read more: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/usa/washington-dc/transport/getting-there-around#ixzz2pzybo7JE

Read this for a comprehensive summary of getting around in Washington DC.

The adventure continues:

More on the US adventure here.

Anisa – The Macadames xx

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