How do you experience a city? Is it the streetscape, or the museums? The must sees or the hidden gems? How many times one needs to visit a city to really experience it? Surely, the touristy stuff must be done, but what about the cafes, the hideouts, the street life? We've all seen D.C. right? It's the backdrop to major action movies, tv series, and even a reality show lately. That is the reality. Snarkiness aside, please find the musts of the city, from landmarks to restaurants.
Photo credit: @dccitygirl
If mesmerizing spaces call you, if you’re mesmerized by grand structures; the Capital will fulfill everything you have imagined in terms of magnificent architecture. It is hard to practice architecture and not write a post reminiscent of a history of urban planning essay on the city. Yet, I believe planning of the urban environment is directly related to how one experiences the city. New Yorkers as avid walkers may shortly realize that blocks are not sized to what they are used to. Diagonal streets are more common. The 'new' Federal City was planned by Major L'Enfant as a grid overlaid with large diagonal boulevards connecting important nodes of the city. While East-West Axis is created from United States Capitol to Lincoln Memorial, North-South nodes are established by the White House and Thomas Jefferson Memorial. In the intersection stand Washington Monuments. Foreplay of symmetry and axiality bores the city. Green carpet of the city, National Mall is bordered with museums and memorials.
Photo credit: @whatifindrelevant
The White House, was originally influenced by Leinster House in Dublin. Initial design was thought to lack grandeur and ornamentation by Washington. To be completely honest, I agree. Added portico's and the colonnaded facade establishes hierarchy.
United States Capitol, is a monument gleaming over Capitol hill. The topography was once described by the urban planner L'Enfant as 'pedestal waiting for a monument'. Housing the governing bodies of the country, the design is influenced by the Pantheon in Rome. Even from afar, experiencing the Capitol is nothing short of loosing your breath.
Tribute to 16th President of the United States, Lincoln Memorial is a neoclassical monument sitting on a platform of stairs. On the other hand, Thomas Jefferson memorial stands across Tidal Basin; both great locations for early morning or late afternoon viewing. Sun piercing through colonnades and the play of reflections on the water calls for magical moments.
One building that I cannot get enough of is the National Portrait Gallery. From it's organic courtyard to colorful and patternfull interiors, there's no shortage for photography. The play of light and shade on what once was a facade is truly mindblowing. With a courtyard full of outlets and a promise of a full battery; the space is a great rest stop when running around. I may or may not have taken a nap here while waiting for the 'right amount of contrast'
If you are a fan of #ihavethisthingwithfloors, you have come to the right museum. The tile work is unbelievable. If drinks were allowed in, I would've put my coffee down and photograph it in a heart beat. Even in a to go cup.
Other spaces that should make it into your itinerary are: United States Botanic Garden, Enid A. Haupt Garden, National Gallery of Art, National Building Museum, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, The Society of the Cincinnati, National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial, and United States National Arboretum.
photo credit: @pearlrough,
One can spend days around the National mall, in and out of museums, hitting all the memorials, basking in the sun. Another testament to how much the city has to offer.
Photo credit: @li_diana; www.seaofblush.com; @cam.era_; @cruising_casey
I used to joke restaurants in D.C. are politically correct. Nothing too edgy to be found. Anything edgy seem to be covered with white cloths waiting to receive the political bunch. Thanks to my recent discovery of fellow D.C. instagrammers; @dccitygirl, @frenchieyankee, and @awalkinthewild I have noted down quite a few restaurant to sustain the edgy vibe.
Since our home base in D.C. was Georgetown - mainly due to a brother studying there- my first brunch stop was Ristorante Piccolo. Small it is, but as most small things are, this place is pretty cute. Yellow facade with red sunbrellas paint a pretty streetscape picture. It is awarded as the best restaurant for service and for good reason. Staff was extremely accommodating and sitting outside in warm weather was especially lovely. If you're a party of two, do ask for a table in the balcony. Dinner was served at Martin's Tavern. If you guys have read the post 33K; Being and Instagram Influencer, you all know that I do not shoot at night, thus for transparency' sake, this restaurant was not chosen for it's Instagrammable quality. Nevertheless, outdoor seating was extensive and lovely, the food was pretty good - forgive the lack of enhanced vocabulary when it comes to edibles-
Del Mar de Fabio Trabocchi was by far one of my favorite restaurant. Taste of Spanish cuisine is brought to life in a green and blue setting topped off with textures and patterns. Elegantly put together nautical theme was carried through from plate selection to wall murals. Gotta leave some for next time, right? Other noteworthy restaurants that I've added to my list yet couldn't make it to are as follows: Succotash, Primrose DC, All Purpose Shaw, the Quadrant Bar & Lounge, Calle Cinco, Fox Loves Taco, and Dirty Habit DC. Although I did not dine in Dirty Habit, I managed to get in for couple of quick photos. It was enough for me to be convinced that this spot is a must try next time! How many times do you guys think we should eat in order to photograph all of these spaces? Maybe two breakfasts and three lunches a day would suffice.
Is it on foot? Do you venture around looking at a map with destinations in mind, or aimlessly walk around? I'd say I find a happy medium between the two. Sometimes google maps is damn right necessary. Sometimes all I need to change direction is a spark of color.
Beyond the landmarks and grand structures, DC has some colorful neighborhoods. Colorful, meant by a literal sense. Residential buildings are painted in all shades, some topped off with cupolas to make it even cuter. Rounded corners of apartments create a fun dynamic. Driving around Bloomingdale and taking the U street, we've passed by quite a few houses, all of which made me jump out of the car and reach for my phone. Communal area at the new apartment complex, the Apollo was simply jaw-dropping. City Center DC with it's fun installation was a great lunch pit stop. If you're looking for a healthy plant based meal, highly recommend Fruitive at the City Center as this was one of our meals. Further down H street, Friendship Archway is a great pit stop to photograph.
If one can spend days on the landmarks, same can be said for the neighborhoods. from Georgetown to Bloomingdale, to Adams Morgan and the Warf, every corner promises and Instagrammable street scene.