I have had the privilege growing up in many places around the world. At the age of 16, I moved from Santa Barbara, CA to Washington DC. Since my family moved in June, I had no friends to spend the hot summer days with. But, my friendless summer turned into one of the most thrilling memories to date. As a solo traveler in my new hometown, I used the Metro to take me throughout the District. My prerogative was to learn all about America's Capital.
Fast forward 15+ years later, I'm living in the city for a few months. My perspective is still through the lens of a tourist who calls Washington DC one of my many homes, but it's now mixed with memories of what was, along with what currently is.
I will take you down memory lane to five areas in Washington DC that will always remain close to my heart, and in no particular order.
Georgetown: I used to love Georgetown for the immense amount of shopping, restaurants, and beautiful waterfront property, and I still do. If you appreciate shopping like I do, walk along M Street and up through Wisconsin Avenue. Men, you must visit Suit Supply if you are looking for sharp business and casual clothing. Women, Intermix is a hip and trendy boutique shop that I always check out when I'm in the area. Walk to the waterfront to see boats sail along the Potomac River and to watch planes taking off or land into National Airport. If you are in the mood to spend the day near the waterfront, consider buying food for a picnic from Dean and Deluca. I also recommend the kabobs from Moby Dick.
Smithsonian Museums: I am HUGE nerd when it comes to soaking up anything educational. I have always been fascinated by the intricacies of this world, and I take my sweet time walking through the art galleries and history museums. I recently went back to the Natural History Museum to see the dinosaurs, elephants, and to learn about the underwater sea animals. Seeing an Anglerfish, especially blew my mind. I walked through the Sculpture Garden on my way to the National Mall to see the displays from the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. I sat on the grass, absorbed the rays of sunshine, and spent some time reflecting and appreciating all this country has to offer. I plan to visit the National Archives this summer, and cannot wait to see original documents on display such as the Declaration of Independence. Lines for the Archives can be long, so plan to spend some time in line, or pay $1.50 for a timed visit. Visits to all Smithsonian Museums and the Archives are free if you do not pay for a timed visit.
Dupont Circle: My first international development internship was in Dupont Circle. I always loved the energy of this area; there was never a dull moment walking to and from work. I still stop and shop at some of my favorites: Kramerbooks & Afterwards Cafe for intellectual inspiration and a good book, Teaism for the most amazing masala chai and french toast, and Urbana for a delectable bite to eat.
Adams Morgan: It's true. This area is popular among the undergrad crowd, but Adams Morgan still appeals to 30-50 somethings. Bars and late night eateries like Madams Organ, Jumbo Slice and Amsterdam Falafel are foundational establishments, but the ultra laid back coffeehouse Tryst will always be my favorite place to work. The Diner offers the most amazing comfort food in a retro-modern setting, and the DC Yoga Studio takes me to a place of serenity and perspective. It is also the first place I was finally able to do a handstand, which represents years of patience, practice, and pure excitement.
Union Station: I used to commute to the Union Station Metro for my first internship on Capitol Hill. The architecture of Union Station always impressed me, and the eatery on the basement floor was to die for when I loved eating fast food. I use Amtrak quite a bit now, and I recognize and appreciate the ease and versatility of Union Station more than I ever have before. It is a hub for various modes of transportation, city tours, food, and shopping, AND it's clean.
Washington DC will always be one of the many places I call home. I encourage you to not only visit DC, but to view your hometown from a visitor's perspective. You will appreciate your town even more than you anticipated.
Do you have stories you would like to share about your hometown? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org - I would love to hear them!