guide to washington DC


this city is near & dear to our hearts unlike any other.
we both lived here at different times and fell in love here over the 4th of july.
we love this city where we both lived…it’s pretty magical! DC is the most unique 
city because it has so much to offer. we promise you’ll never be bored here!
enjoy this guide, and say hi to our old city for us!

• the well-traveled wife’s 
guide to washington DC 
..Eats..
*organized by areas: capitol hill, georgetown, dupont, alexandria, u street, etc.*

{On the Hill}

Good Stuff Eatery
303 Pennsylvania Ave S.E.
the best burgers {and shakes} in town..i get the salty caramel kiss milkshake, and 
the good stuff melt burger. everyone loves the toasted marshmallow shake too! 
they also have two burgers named after the president & first lady…can’t go wrong! 
get the rosemary sea salt fries on the side. {always crowded at lunch} 
this place is owned by spike mendelsohn, who is famous from the top chef show.

We The Pizza 
305 Pennsylvania Ave. SE
next door to good stuff eatery & owned by the same chef! this opened when we lived in dc, 
and we were literally the first customers when they opened the door for the first time. 
amazing, unique pizzas..and the best part? homemade sodas and drinks. i don’t love soda so i get 
the “dreams are made of strawberry lemonade,” but the sodas are SO GOOD too…
because they are pure and homemade! the white pie pizza is my choice.
 

FireHook Bakery
215 Pennsylvania, SE
this bakery has a special place in my heart…i would go here on rainy days when i was missing 
home and it’s the most cozy, perfect little bakery. the paninis and soups are the best, 
and the cookies are literally the size of your head. go for some comfort and some food! 

221 Pennsylvania Ave SE
this is the greatest lunch place. it’s like a subway for healthy, amazing salads.
the toppings are gourmet and so fresh..they also have frozen yogurt! so yummy.

7th Hill Pizza 
327 7th Street Southeast
this is the most authentic italian pizza you can find in DC other than 2amys
and it’s in a much better location. but the real reason everyone goes here 
is for the nutella calzone. i’m serious…such a thing exists! 

Ted’s Bulletin
505 8th St SE

this cute old-fashioned diner is a fun place to eat..the menus look like 
old newspapers, and classic movies play on the walls. good food, 
but the must-get is the homemade pop tart.  
 
{Georgetown}


Founding Farmers** {favorite!}
1924 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, WDC 20006

this is definitely my FAVORITE dc restaurant. it is part of a group of farmers who came 
together to provide the freshest and best food for this restaurant. the flatbreads, plank salmon, 
burgers, skillet cornbread, and desserts are amazing. you really can’t go wrong! they even have 
the “popcorn of the day” and bacon lollipops for all you bacon lovers. get red velvet cake 
at the end no matter what!  {the same company owns Farmers & Fishers, but this one is better.}

La Madeleine 
3000 M St NW
if you are a french person at heart like i am, you will l o v e this place.

such yummy french food from crepes to croque monsieurs to baguette sandwiches to soup to dessert. 

Tackle Box
3245 M St NW
yummy, fresh seafood right in georgetown.

Baked and Wired
 1052 Thomas Jefferson Street NW 
{between 30th and 31st Streets, just south of the canal}
georgetown cupcakes is good, but baked & wired is WAY better!

i think cupcake places get over-hyped a lot but this place actually lives up to it.
craving one now! 


Cafe Bonaparte 
1522 Wisconsin Avenue Northwest
i could never make a city guide without my favorite crepe spot..
so here it is! you can’t go wrong here.
 
{Tenleytown}

2 amys pizza
3715 Macomb Street
most authentic italian pizza in DC, but a little bit out of the way
unless you are going to see the national cathedral.

{Dupont Circle}

Afterwords 
{in Kramers bookstore}
1517 Connecticut Avenue Northwest
this is the coolest little cafe inside of a bookstore which is open 24 hours a day.
it’s fun to go super late at night for dessert, and hang out to read some books!

Larry’s Ice Cream
1633 Connecticut Ave NW
so many kinds of ice cream, all homemade.
need i say more?
 
{Adams Morgan}
this is a fun, crazy area with lots of great places to hang out on the weekend..
if you’re living in DC, go check it out. if you’re on a trip, it’s not the highest priority!

Pasta Mia
1790 Columbia Rd NW

 (between N 18th St & N Adams Mill Rd) 
best best pasta…but it is like the soup nazi {seinfeld reference} of pasta!
there is almost ALWAYS a line, they only take cash, and you CAN’T make
substitutions. but take one bite and you will see why! go hungry.

Amsterdam Falafelshop
2425 18th Street NW
famous falafels in a fun area!
 
{Alexandria}
Overwood
220 North Lee Street
Alexandria, VA 22314

this place is another favorite. i think the restaurant might have changed owners since i
was last there, so hopefully it’s still good! the salmon was amazing, as was the fire grilled
asparagus. the best part of this place is its location: alexandria is the most darling,
perfect little town and i was probably there every single weekend. {really good thai there too} 
{Chinatown}
Vapiano
623 H St NW

this is probably the place i went the most when i lived in DC…and i always go back when visiting!
if you like pasta {who doesn’t} this will be your dream! it is such a brilliant restaurant idea…
you walk in, get a card, go order any kind of pasta/pizza/salad and watch them make it fresh in front of you.
then, you hand them your card and they put the order on it. you go sit down on the couches, stools, or tables,
and if you get drinks, dessert, a 2nd course, etc..they just add it to your card and you pay on the way out.
it’s the perfect place to go with friends, and you don’t have to worry about separate checks!
my favorites are the whole wheat pesto fettucine and the bbq chicken pizza. craving it now!

Matchbox
713 H St NW

really good pizza, burgers, and even brunch.
you’ll always be able to spot matchbox because it has an open flame above the entrance!  

{U Street}
Busboys and Poets
2021 14th Street Northwest
my good friends took me here when i first moved to dc, and i’ve loved it ever since.
it’s a cool bookstore/restaurant with super healthy but delicious food. definitely go!
their housemade hummus and pita is great, as well as the vegan quesadilla, talapia, and sweet potato fries. 
the website alone gives you a good feel for the restaurant and how unique it is! 

Ben’s Chili Bowl
 1213 U Street Northwest
if you’re from salt lake city, this is the Hires Big H of DC.
you won’t want to eat here often, because it is a pretty greasy meal..but so good.
 
{All over}
these are some very favorite chains throughout the city..

FrozenYo
probably still the best froyo i’ve had. it even beats yogurtland in my book.
it’s embarrassing the amount of times we have been here!!!

Potbelly Sandwich Shop
potbelly is a spot i would frequent often in DC…and wish it were still nearby!
it’s just simple soups and sandwiches, but the best ever {including toasted bread, melted cheese}.
also..their homemade cookies and oreo milkshakes are the best thing in this world. go often!!

Pret a Manger 
this is really a london place, but i loved that they had it in DC and
it’s perfect for a quick, fresh lunch. their love bars make a perfect dessert!
 
..Sights..
  • National Mall & Monuments-obviously the best part of DC. spend hours upon hours here. walk and walk and walk. go in all the museums at least for a minute {they’re all free!} take in the view from the capitol down to the lincoln monument. ride bikes over to the jefferson. soak it all in.
  • Washington Monument-an iconic DC sight. lots of people don’t know that you can actually go up it! get tickets in advance, and go at night so you can look out at the capitol and see it all lit up.
  • Capitol Building-i am obsessed with this place. i am so lucky i got to work here and walk its halls and tunnels every day, learning more and more about it all the time. make SURE to call your local senator/congressman ahead of your trip and get a tour booked. there is so much history in this building, and it is literally the center of our nation. the movie in the visitors center is actually really good, i love it. i love every part of the capitol. read lots of history and trivia before, it will make it so much more interesting!
  • Supreme Court-go in here and see the chambers! if you’re lucky, you might see a justice walk by, or even plan it right for when the court is sitting!
  • Lincoln Monument-so majestic and stunning..love the feeling here.
  • Jefferson Monument-this place is special to me, since chase and i would always come here late at night and sit and talk for hours when we were visiting each other in DC. i love the long loop out to it, and i love looking across the water to the other monuments. it’s especially nice when the cherry blossoms are in bloom!
  • FDR Monument-definitely don’t miss this one on the way back from Jefferson monument to the Mall. it’s so well done, and the best tribute to a great president.
  • Botanical Gardens- just southwest of the capitol, these gardens are a hidden gem. take a minute to stop in and smell the roses..literally!
  • Eastern Market-eastern market is the best local spot. we would go here every single saturday morning for breakfast {the famous bluebuck pancakes}, lots of fresh fruit samples, and to peruse the paintings, jewelry, clothes, furniture, and trinkets. adore this place.
  • Georgetown-try to go here and not fall in love..it’s impossible! georgetown is the best escape from the busy center of DC. it is so charming and fun to walk around. go in all of the stores, visit the campus, see the waterfront//canals, and get some good food!
  • Newseum- One of the few DC museums which charges…but it’s worth it! this newer museum is so well done, and so interesting for anyone visiting. it goes through history using the news as its guide, and it’s truly fascinating. they have part of the berlin wall, pieces of the world trade towers, and an incredible pulitzer price gallery. the 1st amendment is inscribed on the outside of the building, so you can’t miss it. you‘ll also recognize it by all of the newspaper front pages from around the world updated daily in it’s windows. LOVE this museum. go to the top floor for a great view of the capitol.
  • White House-book a tour here months before your trip, so that you can go inside the president’s house! i love all the history of this place..make sure to ask the security people about the history of each room–they know a lot, and are just waiting to be asked!
  • Paddle boat at Tidal Basin-in the spring/summer, this is a favorite activity in the best setting.
  • Rock Creek Park-if you’re a runner/biker, this was my favorite place to work out. it’s a huge park with trails all over, tennis courts, and more.
  • Library of Congress- my most recommended DC sight. this building is too beautiful for words. i love walking in and staring at the ceiling. there is so much history in that building. go to the top and look down at the reading room. i got a library of congress card the summer i lived there, and was able to go study in the actual reading room..pretty memorable!
  • FBI-go see the headquarters of the FBI! a little drive, but pretty cool.
  • Bureau of Engraving & Printing- see how money is made! {book tours in advance}.
  • Kennedy Center-try to see some show at this performing arts center. i’ve been to a couple of shows here, including mary poppins the musical, as well as john mayer live with smokey robinson. it is a gorgeous facility right on the potomac, and it’s such a fun experience to go see a show there.
  • Pentagon-again, book a tour in advance. it’s off the metro, so you would need to drive.
  • National Holocaust Museum-this is an incredible tribute to the Holocaust. go prepared to be sobered, as it’s can be hard to take in..but it’s amazing and so worth it. when you walk in you are given a name of a Holocaust victim, and as you go through the museum you learn what happened to your person.
  • Ford’s Theateri loved going here. definitely read “manhunt” first, or at least read more about lincoln’s assassination before doing the tour, because it makes it so much more real. such an amazing scene from history.
  • Embassies- you can go see lots of embassies on embassy row! {from the outside}
  • Smithsoniansas mentioned above, every smithsonian is amazing. the portrait gallery and national museum of american history are my favorites.
  • National Geographic Museum-amazing if you have time.
  • National Postal Museum- fun to stop into quickly, but not a must if you only have a little bit of time
  • Old Town, Alexandria- this place is a MUST. pure magic and charm. when i discovered this waterfront town, i fell in love. my roommate and i came back almost every weekend. take the metro all the way to king street, then get on the free cute little trolley into town. there are such darling cafes, boutiques, art galleries, and the waterfront is one of the most romantic places in DC.
  • Mount Vernon- worth the little side trip to see george washington’s old stomping grounds. i love sitting on the backside of the house, on the benches facing the potomac. pretty amazing.
  • Arlington Cemetary-definitely worth seeing. so many greats are buried here, and it is kept up so well. you can see the tomb of the unknown soldier {always being guarded}, as well as the gravesite of the kennedy‘s, and the eternal flame that burns there…among many other great americans.
..Side Trips..
  • Annapolis
  • Baltimore
  • Virginia Beach
  • New York City
  • Boston 
  • Philadelphia
  • Amish Country
we love you, DC!
write any of your washington, DC favorites below!
XO 



'guide to washington DC' has 20 comments

  1. March 26, 2013 @ 5:13 am Jen

    I absolutely love DC, one of my favorite places. :)

    Reply

  2. March 26, 2013 @ 2:21 pm Kirsten Wiemer

    my husband served in DC and my little brother now lives over in Annapolis, i one day hope we can afford to go over there. if we can i will use this guide to get me some real good food while we are there!

    K

    Reply

    • April 5, 2013 @ 6:40 pm emi

      oh my goodness, you HAVE to go back with those fun connections! your husband probably knows the area so well from serving there! DC is definitely worth saving your pennies for, hope you can go sometime soon! xo

      Reply

  3. March 26, 2013 @ 2:51 pm Ashley R

    I was so surprised at how much I loved Mt. Vernon- one of my D.C. favorites!

    Reply

    • April 5, 2013 @ 6:41 pm emi

      same! i feel like visitors often skip it because it’s a little off the beaten path, but they are missing out! glad you loved it!

      Reply

  4. March 26, 2013 @ 3:33 pm Mara and Jae

    i love DC too! i’ve been twice, but the last time was when i was a senior in high school, so it’s been too long! i want to go back pretty bad. i remember the holocaust museum was a favorite, although so so sad. and yes – mt vernon! loved it. could sit out there for hours, it was lovely.

    Reply

    • April 5, 2013 @ 6:39 pm emi

      yes the holocaust museum..so amazing and so sad.
      mt. vernon is the best! you need to go back for sure, since it’s been since high school for you! ps congrats on the baby on the way!!!!!

      Reply

  5. March 26, 2013 @ 3:56 pm Simply Evani

    One of my good friends just got into grad school in DC, I’ll be passing this on! :)

    Reply

    • April 5, 2013 @ 6:37 pm emi

      how exciting! which school? definitely pass it on, hopefully it will be useful!

      Reply

  6. March 26, 2013 @ 5:04 pm Life as a Bird

    Oh this post made me miss DC. We lived there last summer, and I am begging Mike to take me back during fall break! You hit all the great places! If you ever go back you need to go to Comet Ping Pong Pizza! That was our favorite pizza place there! Also, Hard Times Cafe in Alexandria has amazing fried pickles and wings! And last BBQ Pork Barrel on main in Alexandria! Gosh…. I miss it!
    Last people don’t know they can fish the Potomac River with a guide! Check it out!
    http://kimbird.blogspot.com/2012/07/catfishin-potomac.html

    Reply

    • April 5, 2013 @ 6:36 pm emi

      you have the best tips! love all of those, and the potomac fishing– how fun! thanks for adding your favorites! XO

      Reply

  7. March 26, 2013 @ 5:11 pm Alyssa Amezcua

    Thanks SO much for this guide, Emi!

    I’m studying International Affairs & Political Science at Florida State University and have been looking at different intern and post-grad opportunities in DC. After reading this I am even MORE inspired to immerse myself in this city that is so full of culture, history, and progress!

    You have a true knack for these city guides, by the way! I hope you know how much we readers appreciate the amount of detail that you put into each one. :)

    Reply

    • April 5, 2013 @ 6:35 pm emi

      that is SO great that you are looking at opportunities in DC! you would love it! glad you have found some of them useful, if you move to DC you’ll have to try these places and tell me about new ones! XO

      Reply

  8. March 27, 2013 @ 1:27 pm Jane

    I love your list and has some places that I love as well! I live in the DMV area! :)

    Reply

    • April 5, 2013 @ 6:34 pm emi

      you are so lucky to live there! add any other places you love! XO

      Reply

  9. June 22, 2015 @ 7:46 am Shelby

    I am currently planning a trip here and figuring out where to stay is SO hard. Any suggestions?

    Reply

  10. August 3, 2015 @ 5:42 pm Julie Marzion

    Our DC trip is in 2 weeks. What’s the best way to see MT Vernon? We’re thinking bus tour? Or do you have a suggestion?

    Reply

    • emi

      August 4, 2015 @ 12:05 pm emi

      hi! it is tricky without a car … i have biked there before which is really fun, but it’s a longer route, so you have to be up for a ride! otherwise a bus tour is smart, i did that once and it was pretty easy! you’ll love it there!!

      xoxo

      Reply

  11. February 3, 2016 @ 12:48 am Amy

    Hey Emi :) I am headed back to DC this spring. It has been years since I have been so I am excited to go. Do you recommend any good bike tours of the city? Walking tours? Or any food tours? Although may not need those all of these restaurants look amazing!

    Reply

    • February 4, 2016 @ 2:55 am emi

      Sounds so fun! Don’t miss the cherry blossoms :) I need to go back soon and update this – I haven’t done a bike tour there, only rented because it’s so fun and easy to ride yourself around the mall! I’ll look into a few and let you know if I hear of a few! xoxo

      Reply


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