Washington, D.C.

Washington Monument and the U.S. Capitol Photo by: Destination DC
Photo: Destination DC

Have you checked all the major sights off your Washington, D.C. list? You’ve visited the White House and the U.S. Capitol, the Washington and the Lincoln Memorials, the Smithsonian, and even the zoo. You’ve seen the cherry blossoms, strolled along the National Mall, and said a prayer at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. So what’s next? It’s time to ignore the tourist attractions and make yourself at home in a D.C. neighborhood. First stop: Dupont Circle.

Take the Red Line to Dupont Circle. The small park has a fountain and plenty of benches to people watch. The trendy area is full of row houses, small shops and galleries, and international embassies. The Indonesian, the Moroccan, the Australian, and the Bahamian embassies are all right here. As is St. Matthew’s Cathedral, the seat of the Archbishop of Washington.

Visit the Phillips Collection, the city’s first modern art museum. You’ll see artwork by Picasso, van Gogh, Cézanne, Degas, and Rodin. Spend hours browsing at Kramerbooks, one of the best independent bookstores in D.C. And then almost as much time trying to decide which albums to add to your collection at Red Onion Records. Another place where the minutes will quickly turn into hours is Veritas Wine Bar. Especially since you skipped lunch. The dimly lit wine bar has comfortable seating and 70 wines by the glass. Order buttery Brillat-Savarin and nutty Gouda cheeses, plus salty prosciutto. And unless you know exactly which wine you want to drink, ask for a flight. The three-wine flights are based on countries–Italy, Spain–and varietals–Chardonnay, Merlot.

Photo: By Caroline Léna Becker (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Photo: By Caroline Léna Becker (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
After selecting your wine, the most difficult decision of the day is where to eat dinner. But hopefully you thought about that in advance. Most Dupont Circle restaurants accept reservations a month in advance, and tables fill up quickly. Komi, one of the best restaurants in the city, only has 12 tables. The Greek restaurant doesn’t print their menus. Small mezzethakia plates are followed by pastas and family style entrées. Obelisk has a more romantic setting and an Italian menu that changes daily. Hopefully the burrata is on the five-course tasting menu when you visit. Or sit on silk floor pillows at Sushi Taro and have a sushi tasting, which alternates between cooked dishes and sushi.

Regardless of which tasting menu you opted for, you should be beyond stuffed by now. Hopefully you’ll be ready to think about food first thing in the morning. The Dupont Circle Freshfarm Market on Sunday mornings shouldn’t be missed. Watch a cooking demonstration, sample local cheeses, and buy produce from the Chesapeake Bay watershed region. For the first time, Washington, D.C. is starting to feel like home.

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