Rich in history and neoclassical charm, Washington D.C. is one of the most popular vacation destinations for American residents and international visitors alike. When one thinks of things to do, the standard tourist attractions—the Smithsonian museums, monuments, Ford’s Theatre—come to mind. While the tourists crowd the usual areas, the locals frequent these eight D.C. establishments, perfect for a little break from the usual sights and restaurants.
This two-story bookstore offers a sprawling selection of fiction, nonfiction and more. They also host a slew of literary events each month. They’ve attracted some of the greatest authors, from Toni Morrison to Mei Fong. Down the slender staircase, patrons will find the P & P Coffeehouse small with a variety of coffee and tea options as well as an open mic night.
Established in 2005 this eclectic, fun restaurant serves great food and fosters cultural connection. They offer everything from sweet and tangy vegan coconut balls to southern style fried chicken, all of which is made in house with sustainably sourced ingredients. Each location houses a small bookstore, chock-full of literature that celebrates many cultures.
This historic synagogue-turned-cultural-hub is a local D.C. favorite. Sixth & I hosts everything from author signings to monthly meet-ups for runners to tea tastings and comedy workshops. They’ve had authors like Elizabeth Gilbert and NPR’s Diane Rehm in their midst. Their calendar is always full and available on their website.
In 1958, Ben’s Chili Bowl opened on U Street in downtown D.C. Today, four locations are booming in the D.C. area. Everyone from President Obama to Jimmy Fallon have enjoyed a meal at Ben’s Chili Bowl. Most of the restaurant’s regulars have been frequenting the establishment for decades. A note to visitors—bring cash for dining as Ben’s doesn’t accept credit cards.
Whether you’re in Chinatown or Capitol Hill, Matchbox American Kitchen is in reach. Though the menu has expanded, they’re known for their artisan pizzas, which are made in a brick oven packed with different blends of wood that give each pizza its own unique flavor. The ambiance is what makes Matchbox a local favorite, though. Each location features its own variation of exposed brick and a contemporary, inviting setting.
Known to locals as Malcom X Park, this urban park is located in the D.C. neighborhood of Columbia Heights and features yoga classes and a weekly drum circle. The focal point is a beautiful, 13-basin fountain flanked by seasonal flower foliage. The park was designed and erected between 1912 and 1940 and called “Meridian Hill” because it sits at the precise longitude of what was the original District of Columbia settlement.
Owned by 40,000 family farmers, Founding Farmers understands the importance of the American farming industry. The restaurant thrives on that which is grown and cultivated on small American farms.Their fresh ingredients come in on a daily basis, and everything is made from scratch. Founding farmers has a delicious food option for everyone in your party.
Two sisters and a dream manifested into what is now a local favorite for everything cupcakes. Georgetown Cupcake offers seasonal options, eight daily specials, vegan and gluten-free options, making it the perfect location to satisfy every cupcake lover. What’s more, Georgetown Cupcake is a little piece of D.C. celebrity, as they have their own show on TLC called “DC Cupcakes”.
With all the incredible sights, DC has much to offer; but a stop in one of these local establishments will make your vacation a little more special.