Touring the DC Metro System
June 4, 2009 8:25 AM   Subscribe

What activities do you recommend near less-frequented DC metro stops?

A friend and I want to break out of our usual rut by visiting some new DC neighborhoods. Specifically, we want to take the metro to stops we've never been to before. We're hoping to eventually visit every stop in the system.

What restaurants/coffeeshops/museums/activities/etc. do you recommend? Anything within walking distance of a metro stop is fair game, but I'm especially looking for recommendations near more obscure stops (the suburbs, the residential neighborhoods outside of the usual NW nightlife, things that aren't on standard tourist maps). What should we see/do/eat/drink on our travels?
posted by Amy Phillips to Travel & Transportation around Washington, DC (27 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
Artomatic is around for the month of June and just off the Navy Yard metro stop. Silverdocs is coming the week of the 15th to the Silver Spring Metro. While not necessarily near a metro, the H Street corridor has some solid spots to check out.
posted by alzi at 8:38 AM on June 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

Have you explored Arlington? It isn't the cool, funky neighborhood it once was (sigh) but there are good places to eat near the Courthouse and Clarendon stations. I especially like Kabob Bazaar.

Old Town Alexandria has a free trolley (well, a trolley-shaped bus) from the King Street station to the waterfront and Old Town areas. Good coffee/pastry at Misha's.

Farther out...hmm. The Mediterranean bakery is a good grocery store/counter service restaurant kind of/sort of walking distance from Van Dorn.

Springfield-Franconia is a wasteland.

Any specific stops you were thinking of?
posted by JoanArkham at 9:09 AM on June 4, 2009

The 8th Street area around the Eastern Market Metro is happening these days.
posted by MrMoonPie at 9:13 AM on June 4, 2009

Response by poster: We're thinking about all the stops. Franconia-Springfield is a great example of a place we're having trouble finding anything for.

Clarendon, Eastern Market, Bethesda, Chinatown: those are easy. Morgan Boulevard, Twinbrook, White Flint, Cheverly, Dunn Loring, Gallaudet: those are the sorts of places we're looking for recommendations for, because it's not at all clear what's worth doing there if you don't know the neighborhood well.
posted by Amy Phillips at 9:41 AM on June 4, 2009

There's nothing in Cheverly except the (membership) pool -- Capitol Hill's country club!

Cheverly is a well-kept community that is one of the area's best-kept secrets.

But there are NO clubs, bars, etc. Nothing to do.
posted by jgirl at 10:08 AM on June 4, 2009

Gallaudet University has beautiful historic architecture. You could visit the campus. I can't check now, but it should not be far to Litteri's for some fab Italian deli food. They have a Web page - call and ask.
posted by jgirl at 10:12 AM on June 4, 2009

Well, the Springfield mall is close to Franconia-Springfield (and there is a shuttle bus) but I would not recommend it. In fact, I recommend avoiding it.

The official Metro stations site might give you some ideas.
posted by JoanArkham at 10:56 AM on June 4, 2009

Wheaton is a completely underrated area that's getting a bit better, at least in terms of restaurants. Pollo Rico and various other smaller ethnic eateries is a good draw.

Take the bus from Union Station to the Atlas District.
posted by X-Himy at 11:05 AM on June 4, 2009

The best Thai restaurant in the area is near the Wheaton metro.

The main Second Story Books store (more like a warehouse) is not too far from the Twinbrook station.
posted by arco at 11:14 AM on June 4, 2009

F. Scott Fitzgerald is buried in the Saint Mary's graveyard, less than 5 minutes away from the Rockville Metro station. Exit to the upper level, then make a left and walk along Church St till you get to the back of the church. IIRC, he, Zelda, and Frances are all buried in the corner furthest away from 355 (Rockville Pike). There are often flowers and an empty liquor bottle there. Drink a gin rickey (supposedly his favorite drink) and leave an empty bottle after you visit.

Within the past few years, they've built some "town square" stuff in downtown Rockville. Same station, but cross the street and head in the direction of the movie theaters and trendy looking apartments. The shops are overpriced IMO, but you might like some of the restaurants. The library at the center of the town square is relatively newly renovated, and looks pretty (though oversized for the collection of books they have here). It's the main branch of MCPL.

Crystal City is screening superhero movies for free on some evenings this summer (Crystal City metro station brings you to the heart of this neighborhood).
posted by scission at 11:40 AM on June 4, 2009

Have you checked out Stationmasters? You might find their monthly e-mail helpful.
posted by rabidsegue at 11:52 AM on June 4, 2009

Hillcrest is having their annual garden tour this Saturday. Closest stop is Naylor Road on the Green line.

Within walking distance of the Branch Avenue station, there's a Red Lobster and several car dealerships. If you want to explore the area, maybe rent a car at one of the dealers and drive around.

The Largo Town Center Station drops you right where the Capital Centre used to be and what is now an outdoor shopping mall. You're also near Prince George's Community College.

The Grosvenor-Strathmore station is pretty close to Garrett Park.

There's a lot of shopping around the White Flint and Twinbrook Metro stations. Bagel City is in between the two, and Rockville CD Exchange (next to Ledo Pizza) is north of the Twinbrook stop.
posted by hoppytoad at 12:00 PM on June 4, 2009

White Flint has Vegetable Garden, a vegetarian Asian restaurant that's very good. Pretty much leave the station and cross Rockville Pike (there's even a tunnel that goes under the street) and it will be in a shopping center nearby.

The problem with most of the suburban stops is that you're going to have to walk a long distance in order to get to anything, and you may be facing traffic and walking on the shoulder. In light of that, it looks like it's theoretically possible to walk to Four Sisters at Merrifield Town Center from the Dunn Loring/Merrifield stop (it's less than a mile), but I don't know if I'd recommend it
posted by darksong at 12:10 PM on June 4, 2009

White Flint can be left unvisited.

Silver Spring houses a true gem, the National Museum of Medicine on the Walter Reed complex. Here you will find good directions via Metro.

Not a good idea if you're squeamish!
posted by wowbobwow at 12:12 PM on June 4, 2009

The Capital City / Union Market is an easy walk from the New York Avenue station, and a part of D.C. that even folks who have lived here for decades often overlook. Seconding subs at A. Litteri. Take a walk through the Saturday flea market.

A few other suggestions:
posted by ryanshepard at 12:20 PM on June 4, 2009

Here's a working link for the monastery:
posted by ryanshepard at 12:30 PM on June 4, 2009

Glenmont: Glenmont station lies in the heart of a blighted shopping district. There is nothing worth visiting unless you want to see the most depressing strip mall in the county or the amusingly-named "Privacy World" apartment complex.

Wheaton: Wheaton is surprisingly less terrible than you might assume. There are a number of very good, reasonably-priced restaurants within walking distance, including the Royal Mile Pub and Moby Dick sushi.

Takoma: Takoma station is located blocks from historic downtown Takoma Park, which is a very nice little town with lots of caf├ęs, restaurants, and other such things. Just walk past the 7-11.
posted by Electrius at 1:15 PM on June 4, 2009

I second JoanArkham's recommendation of Kabob Bazaar. Ate there six years ago (with my girlfriend who lived in DC at the time and a friend of hers who was Actually Persian) and it still sticks out in my head as a good meal. (To be fair, I couldn't remember the name of the place, so I might be thinking of another Persian restaurant near a Metro stop in Arlington.)
posted by madcaptenor at 5:16 PM on June 4, 2009

I second JoanArkham's suggestion of avoiding Franconia-Springfield. I commuted from there every day for several months before moving to Ballston, you really don't want to go there. Certain entrances to the mall are locked later in the evening for good reason.
posted by thebestsophist at 7:57 PM on June 4, 2009

another Persian restaurant near a Metro stop in Arlington

This could be the Food Factory in Ballston, across Wilson Blvd and around back... but I found a report that says it's closed. (?) They still have a branch in College Park, I think, but beware: the station with that name isn't exactly near anything, although you will eventually reach the University of Maryland if you walk long enough.
posted by Rash at 11:07 PM on June 4, 2009

There's a very good aikido dojo about five minutes walk from Takoma station. Feel free to drop in during a lesson to observe.
posted by armage at 11:20 PM on June 4, 2009

Wilson Blvd has Kanpai, a block west of the Hyatt at Lynn and Wilson near the Rosslyn stop. Very good sushi to be had there.

The Huntington Metro has a bus to Mount Vernon.
posted by ostranenie at 10:57 AM on June 5, 2009

Also near the Rosslyn stop is the fabulous China Garden. It's one of the best dim sum places in the metro area, but you'd never find it if you weren't looking for it--it's on the second level of an office building in an area that's deserted on weekends. You must get there early, though--the Chinese tour companies all go there, and by noon the waits can be over an hour.

If you're into playing guitar and drums and such, the Takoma station is near The House of Musical Traditions, and the Wheaton station is close to Chuck Levin's Washington Music Center.
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:36 AM on June 5, 2009

Seconding Mangialardo's!!! I'd have gone today if the weather were better. The roast beef, the g-man, and the meatball are fabulous! The hard rolls are great - just don't eat too fast and scrape your mouth.

You can do a comparison with Litteri's, which some consider better than Mangialardo's
posted by jgirl at 11:53 AM on June 5, 2009

If you're looking for a sandwich on the weekend, Litteri's will win every time, since Mangialardo's, as good as it is, is open only on weekdays.
posted by MrMoonPie at 12:31 PM on June 5, 2009

White Flint - there's a Russian deli/grocery store down Nicholson Lane a bit, and past that an organic food store with a neat bakery, and if you keep going on Nicholson all the way down and around a right hand turn at the end, there's a very large center with a goodwill on the far side and next to it, a neat used-book store (hours end around 6pm, so check on that..).

there's a great vegan restaurant/juice bar, Vegetable Garden, just across Rockville Pike - ah I see someone mentioned that, so, I cosign. It's so friendly, very fast service, and the vegan key lime pie is delicious. Also on Nicholson on the left hand side as you walk down it toward that center with the goodwill, there's a nice pho restaurant, it's just before the Latino grocery store.

of course you can walk all the way to White Flint mall but it's nothing special unless you're kind of fascinated (I am) by the first generation 80's type of malls where the place in general & food court especially has some super tacky neon and pastel design. There's also a giant Anthropologie store across Rockville Pike on the same side as Vegetable Garden, you'd see it as you walk toward the mall, if that's your cup of tea (it's not mine and if your friend is a guy, I'm pretty certain every guy hates it, a lot).
posted by citron at 1:30 PM on June 6, 2009

Morgan Boulevard - wait til NFL starts up again and go to a Redskins game. preseason games are there too. FedEx Field is maybe a 3/4 mile walk from the stop. Sure, the team maybe isn't that great, but.. hey, it's football and football is awesome. Far as I know there's not a lot else around the stop to do - I didn't see anything though admittedly I was there for a night game. It's nice residential townhouses mostly.
posted by citron at 1:34 PM on June 6, 2009

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