DC is fun!
November 23, 2012 1:12 PM   Subscribe

I'll be in DC next/this weekend. Where should we eat, what should we see? Shorter events are appreciated!

My partner and I will be in DC from the 30th to the 2nd. 3 days, two nights. Saturday morning until about 2pm is spoken for. Other than that we're pretty open! We'll be staying at the Washington Court Hotel downtown.
Us: Early 20s nerdy/art types who could have fun doing anything with ample amounts of experience using public trans.

We need recommendations for food. Dinner places that are "nice"/not chains but not expensive? Diners/cafes/delis for lunch?

If we don't at least visit one museum, my partner will kill me. I don't want to spend a lot of time in one, either, since the trip is short. Which museum is best for a spending a few hours in? Is there one exhibit that's particularly awesome, and we can just visit that? Is there a museum that's more interactive and less "lets look at things"? I'm thinking of the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago as an example.

What other things are there to do? It doesn't have to be directly downtown, we have lots of experience with public trans, but we also don't want to spend too much time on a bus or the metro since it's a short trip.

Also, bedtime is usually around 1am.
posted by FirstMateKate to Travel & Transportation around Washington, DC (16 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
The Roy Lichtenstein exhibit at the National Gallery of Art is awesome, and free. It is good for about an hour, hour and a half.
posted by foodmapper at 1:44 PM on November 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

Seconding the Lichtenstein exhibit. Teaism is a great cafe. Do you like Jose Andres? He has several local restaurants. Michel Richard also has a less pricey restaurant, Central. The Spy Museum and Newseum are good but a little pricey so you might want to pick one over the other. There's also the National Geographic museum that I believe has an exhibit on Islam culture that has interested me but you should check it out to be sure it's still there.
posted by kat518 at 2:29 PM on November 23, 2012

Best answer: Seconding Teaism. Kramerbooks. Washington Improv Theater.
posted by ecsh at 2:41 PM on November 23, 2012

Best answer: Eat Ethiopian food! DC is sort of known for it, and it's delicious. The usual recommendation is Dukem, which is on U Street, but I also really like Ethiopic on H Street NE. Both of those restaurants are in neighborhoods with lots of fun bars and nightlife, so I'd recommend Ethiopian for dinner, followed by wandering the neighborhood a bit and popping in for drinks at places that look interesting. If you end up on H Street, go see what's happening at Red Palace too; they put on a great show.
posted by decathecting at 3:16 PM on November 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The National Museum of the American Indian is fantastic and has a great food court
posted by spunweb at 3:20 PM on November 23, 2012

Don't forget that so many of the museums, notably the Smithsonian ones, are free so even if you just walk in, look around for a few minutes, and leave, you have very little sunk cost.

Your hotel is very close to the (free!) National Postal Museum. They are a bit esoteric but do have some interesting exhibits right now, if you're into that.

You're also close to the National Portrait Gallery. Not super-interactive but they have so much neat stuff. And did I mention the free part?
posted by Wretch729 at 3:24 PM on November 23, 2012

There's an 1812 exhibit which I'm planning to see in Dec/Jan.
posted by brujita at 4:59 PM on November 23, 2012

Response by poster: Oh, sorry decathecting, but Ethiopian is probably the only food genre we've tried and didn't care for. We're not super picky, and can find something at most places, but Ethiopian is always a flunk. :( The Red Palace looks neat though!
posted by FirstMateKate at 5:38 PM on November 23, 2012

Granville Moore's for moles and belgian beer is always awesome...

And why not just hit the National Gallery of Art? It's free!

To each his own opinion, but I've NEVER liked the American Indian food court. It's just american food dressed up with Indian-ish names... Navajo Nachos, Bison Burgers, etc...
posted by matty at 5:44 PM on November 23, 2012

If you want to browse around and get a feel for what's happening, I've bookmarked a lot of DC events calendars here.

Two picks for museum shows: Detroit Disassembled at the National Building Museum, and Enlightened Beings at the Freer. Either of these could be easily combined with some time wandering around the National Gallery or the Hirshhorn, too.

Near you on the Hill and worth checking out: Eastern Market (and Market Lunch), Tune Inn, Congressional Cemetery, Peregrine Espresso, Jimmy T's Place.
posted by ryanshepard at 9:37 PM on November 23, 2012

The Ai Weiwei exhibit at the Hirschhorn Museum is a must-see.

For lunch one day, get sandwiches at Sundevich, pretty near your hotel.

Go to H Street and get upscale ramen and cocktails at Toki Underground. (Warning: It's very in. There'll probably be a wait.) H Street is also a good place to go out. Maybe check to see if there's anything you're interested in hearing at the Rock and Roll Hotel.

If you're willing to go a little bit out of the way, Adam Express in Mt. Pleasant has amazing Korean food. It's a hole-in-the-wall place run by an old Korean couple who must have been cooking bibimbap and kimchi forever.

If you can squeeze it in after your plans on Saturday morning, catch the 3:30pm DC Brau brewery tour and tasting.

Prince of Petworth has my favorite events calendar, though the Washington Post's Going out Guide is also good.

The best people watching is in Dupont Circle. If it's not too cold, expect to see a bunch of locals playing speed chess and blasting funk out of a boombox in a big public circle surrounded by nice cafes and restaurants.
posted by sashapearl at 9:48 PM on November 23, 2012

And oh yeah, if you happen to be flying in, and coming through Dulles, go look at some planes at the Udvar-Hazy Center, one of the least known Smithsonian museums but also one of the best.
posted by sashapearl at 9:55 PM on November 23, 2012

H Street NE. Has your demographic written all over it. Walking east on E and then north when you get to Stanton park is a little longer but more pleasant than trying to go through Union Station traffic and tracks.
posted by RandlePatrickMcMurphy at 10:06 PM on November 23, 2012

I loved dinner at Zaytinya -- and it's not too far from your hotel.
posted by shw at 1:51 PM on November 24, 2012

The Hirshorn is always fun to visit and is on the mall. The Botanic Garden is also fun, although I don't know what it's like during the winter.

Your hotel is right next to Penn Quarter where you can find some nice restaurants in the Jose Andres empire: Jaleo (Spanish tapas), Oyamel (tacos and Mexican cuisine), and Zaytinya. Teaism is also nice for a quick lunch before or after visiting museums. If you like barbeque then Hill Country BBQ is the best bbq in the city, but it's the same restaurant as the one in New York.

Regarding Ethiopian, DC is regarded to have the best Ethiopian restaurants in the country so maybe you just went to a bad restaurant. Dukem is good and convenient, and Ethiopic is a bit of a pain to get to (it's on H St) but it's gotten good reviews as well.
posted by rq at 10:04 AM on November 25, 2012

My list of exhibits/museums worth paying for:

"Women Who Rock" at Museum of Women in the Arts, a traveling exhibition from the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame http://www.nmwa.org/exhibitions/women-who-rock

"Exquisitely Evil: 50 Years of Bond Villians) at the Spy Museum http://www.spymuseum.org/exhibition-experiences/exquisitely-evil

For Smithsonian specific ideas, check out or download a 99 cent app of GoSmithsonian www.gosmithsonian.com
posted by MichelleinMD at 10:01 AM on November 26, 2012

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