A short trip to D.C.
January 31, 2009 2:47 PM   Subscribe

Things to do in Washington, D.C. on Feb 6-8th.

My girlfriend and I are heading up to D.C. on the 6th of Feb. and staying until the 8th (two nights). We are planning on staying at "The Donovan House" in/near Foggy Bottom / Georgetown. I am wondering if there is anything going on special that weekend or if there are any hidden secrets that would be cool to see.

We have been to D.C. before and we stayed at the L'enfant Plaza hotel. We already did the whole museum and walked the mall the last time, we might try to go to a few that we didn’t have much time to really explore.

I am really looking for event, food/restaurant, places, and if anyone has stayed at “The Donovan House” some reviews would be nice too. If it helps we really enjoy shopping, exploring and other things like that. I am 23 and she is 21, so if you have any good bar suggestions that would be great too...
posted by hxc to Travel & Transportation around Washington, DC (12 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Um, Donovan House isn't in/near Georgetown or Foggy Bottom. Its on 14th and M, overlooking Scott Circle. I walk by it every day on my way to work. They have nice big white chairs in the windows and friendly doormen. The bar in the hotel looks cool.

No specific advice for those dates, but there are good places to eat and drink up 14th St. towards U. Rice for Thai at 14th and P. Cork is a good wine bar at around S. Bar Pilar (esp on Tuesday nights) and Saint Ex at T. I try to avoid Commissary and Logan Tavern across from the Whole Foods on P - they're owned by the same people and are relentlessly average - never terrible, never great. Vegas Lounge, HR 157 for music. Lalibela on 14th & P for Ethiopian nearby. And of course there's much more around U St.
posted by RandlePatrickMcMurphy at 3:31 PM on January 31, 2009

Oh, I was under the assumption it was at least near foggy bottom / George town. Is it atleast a short metro ride and is there a stop close to the hotel? As I said we plan to do a bit of shopping.
posted by hxc at 3:50 PM on January 31, 2009

Check out Marvin at 14th and U Street for Saturday dinner or Sunday brunch. Mix of Belgian and soul food. Mussels are great, as is the fried chicken & waffle plate.

Hank's Oyster Bar in DuPont is great too.

The botanical gardens by the US Capitol are also really worth visiting (if you haven't been yet), especially in the dead of winter.
posted by BobbyVan at 4:01 PM on January 31, 2009

The McPherson Square Metro stop is just a couple of blocks away, at 14th and I. That's just a couple of stops from the foggy bottom metro. There's no metro in Georgetown. I'm pretty shopping-averse myself, but I guess there are some cool furniture and design stores up on U and around Du Pont and Adams Morgan. I'm not sure there is much in Georgetown that isn't also in a mall much closer to home.
posted by RandlePatrickMcMurphy at 4:36 PM on January 31, 2009

Seconding the botannical gardens. Some specific spots in the U street area that are worth mentioning:
Palace of Wonders = Bar + Museum of Curiosities + Belly Dancing
Black Cat = Music Club. On the 6th they have 80s and 60s dance parties in the back. Very enjoyable.
Ben's Chili Bowl = I know. Every guide tells you to go there. It's still cool, if only for the sign that says "ONLY BILL COSBY GETS FREE FOOD." Also, Barack ate there.

If you're adventurous, go out to Anacostia for some Morgan's Family Fish Fry. Guaranteed best catfish sandwich in the District. Also, their ice tea/lemonade mix is better than crack.
posted by The White Hat at 4:37 PM on January 31, 2009

From my wife, who works near the hotel:

You're right near the McPherson Square metro station from whence you can get to Foggy Bottom.

Georgetown doesn't have metro access, but if you walk down 14th street to 14th & K, you can get on the red Circulator bus and travel to/from Georgetown for about $1 each way.

Donovan House is a relatively new hotel that is 'Mod,' and the hotel restaurant just opened up prior to the inauguration.
posted by i love cheese at 5:38 PM on January 31, 2009

From 14th and M St, the best way to get to Georgetown, probably, is to take the DC Circulator bus from 14th and K west to Georgetown (map). You honestly can walk it in about 30 minutes (or less), depending on how fast you walk. It also goes through Foggy Bottom, although there isn't a lot of shopping there. Also check WMATA's route planner for what buses would work for getting around, various 30s go pretty close to your hotel, I think.

As mentioned above, the Metro goes to Foggy Bottom and Rosslyn, both about a 15 minute walk from Georgetown proper. For eating in Georgetown, Cafe La Ruche is quite affordable, very nice, and normally not overly crowded (to be honest, most places in Georgetown aren't that crowded for lunch). Moby Dick's, also on 31st St, is a nice place to grab a kabob as well. If you like beer (and/or pizza), check out Pizzeria Paradiso. The "good" bar is downstairs.

The C&O Canal is worth a peek, at least (it's between M St and K St in Georgetown). Next to it is Baked and Wired, a great coffee/cupcake/brownie place.

If I think of anything else great, I'll post again.
posted by skynxnex at 5:41 PM on January 31, 2009

Well... it may not be the proudest spot in DC, but it's one I never, ever, ever miss...

6th and New Jersey...not even sure if there is a store name or sign other a old Old Style or Schlitz thing hanging there. Nondescript white building corner store sort of thing. Usually a bunch of winos out front begging for money.

Bottom floor is a standard liquor/cigarettes/papers/condoms store. But if you walk up the side stairs, there is a deli run by an old lady who takes great joy in her work, and is a total character.

My last transaction there went something like this...

"Hi can I get a ..."

"What in the HELL do YOU want boy?"

"Uh...like one of those pulled pork hoagies and....."

"Well it sure looks like somebody shoulda fed you somethin by now. Get on up here son. (slapping the best sandwich I ever had in my life together)

You like cole slaw?...(boom...slaps it right onto the sandwich) Alright. You want some chips with that right? You go getta pop outta that cooler there its all included.

"alright now...."(standing behind the cash register ringing me up)...sandwich and chips, pop on me. Four and a quarter and we square.

"thank you maam...."

"Boy just go eat somethin...you are too damned skinny!"

Not saying it is fine dining, but it sure is fine living.
posted by timsteil at 7:09 PM on January 31, 2009 [3 favorites]

I work at 15th and K on McPhereson Square. I didn't look on the calendar for your visit dates, but if you're in town on a weekday, go visit the Burrito Guy on the corner at his shack for a cheap street lunch. It's vegetarian, but amazing... http://www.pedroandvinnys.com/ Just make sure you know the protocol beforehand. He's not the Soup Nazi, but it's worth it to know how to order while you're 10th in line - he shouts out to you to get your stuff started. He also works on the honor system... bring cash, put it in the box, and make your own change.

And did you check out the bar at the Spy Museum? Always a hipster crowd with good drinks.

In case you missed it, the Museum of American History has re-opened. It was closed for almost two years.

Also, more and more 17th street near P ST. is changing from the 'gay ghetto' to the yuppie enclave. Lot's of bars and restaurants that now cater more to a diverse crowd than just gay clientele (to my dismay... but still a good place to visit).

N'thing the Botanical Gardens.... amazing!

Also of note (but requires transportation) is the National Harbor, which has opened up over in Maryland on the Potomac just across the Wilson Bridge.
posted by matty at 10:05 PM on January 31, 2009

In October during one of my many recent trips to DC, I stayed at Donovan House. It tries really hard to get that hipster feel, and for the most part succeeds. Though I did have to ask to be moved because my "non-smoking" room smelled of cigarettes. The decor in my room reminded me of the Woody Allen movie "Sleeper". Its like what someone in 1972 envisioned a 2008 hotel room looking like. They did have a cool looking but impractically shaped tub.

There's not all that much in the immediate neighborhood, but its only a few blocks to the metro and that can get you where you want to go.

I always have a hard time finding restaurants on my DC trips. I know there are good ones around, I just don't know where they are. Tyler Cowen recently updated his mega-list of DC restaurants, I'm keeping it bookmarked for my next trip. It should help you find any kind of food you want.
posted by cptspalding at 7:32 AM on February 1, 2009

Don't waste your time at the American History Museum unless you really, really want to see the new star-spangled banner exhibit. The museum is open, but it's not ready. Half the galleries are closed and things like the Greensboro Woolworth's counter are sitting on concrete slabs with no placards or displays.
posted by djb at 9:32 AM on February 1, 2009

If y'all are beer drinkers, it just happens that you're in town on the weekend of the monthly "SIG-BEER" gathering -- somewhere between 3 and 15 mostly-sysadmin and otherwise geeky types that gather at the Brickskeller (off Dupont Circle) to drink beer and generally carouse. You can RSVP or just show up; place opens at 6pm and we're generally there from opening to at least 10pm, sometimes much later.
posted by genehack at 9:59 AM on February 1, 2009

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