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Washington DC

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Trip List by DCMenina

The Real DC (for hipsters and urban adventurers)

Mar 16, 2007  Local girl, born and bred
4.5 of 5 bubbles based on 13 votes

Did it never even occur to you to go the Bureau of Engraving? Do you loathe bus tours? Do you want to get outside of "monument city" and live like a local? This is the list for you.

  • Explore locations featured in this Trip List: Washington DC
  • Category: Best of
  • Traveler type: Culture, Sightseeing, Shopping, Never been before, Repeat visitors, Theater
  • Appeals to: Couples/romantics, Singles, Students, Budget travelers, Tourists
  • Seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
  • 1. Rorschach Theatre

    The scrappiest little theater company in DC, they don't even have their own space, instead performing out of a local church. Whatever they do is always interesting. Other great theater options: The Studio Theater, Catalyst Theater, the Wholly Mammoth Theatre Company and the Theater Alliance for good, edgy stuff. The Gala Hispanic Theater (which does bilingual productions) is also a great hidden gem.

  • 2. Live Jazz at HR 57
    HR-57, Washington DC, District of Columbia

    THE place for live jazz in DC. Named for House of Representatives resolution (H.Con.Res 57) designating jazz as "a rare and valuable national American treasure". Plus, you can bring your own booze (but you will have to pay a corkage fee). It's on 14th St, a nice walk from Dupont Circle or U St. - tons of good restaurants nearby.

  • 3. Showbar Palace of Wonders

    Magic, freak shows, an oddities museum, burlesque , arm wrestling championships in Atlas district on H st. There are several bars on this little strip and it's a local favorite - still unknown to tourists b/c it's not on a metro line, but taxis are plentiful and a shuttle runs on weekends from Union Station (red line metro).

  • 4. Marx Cafe
    Marx Cafe, Washington DC, District of Columbia

    Cozy, dark wood paneled neighborhood bar decked out with Che Guevara posters, Chimay beer and interesting characters. The Marx is in the Mt. Pleasant neighborhood, which is home to the Salvadoran community (and idealist 20-somethings saving the world at one of the DC's many non-profits). Saturday is the popular Rock en Espanol night.

  • 5. Black Cat
    Black Cat, Washington DC, District of Columbia

    Still the best bet for interesting bands and music. Larger music venue upstairs, bar and smaller dance space downstairs. Hosts the FIrst Ladies DJ Collective, parties that give props to female MCs. First place in town with bhangra, but equally comfortable with punk and alt rock. Other options for shows: 9:30 club, DC9, The Red and the Black, the Velvet Lounge

  • 6. Dupont Circle Farmers Market

    Great farmers market Sunday morning in Dupont Circle. If you like markets, also try the Adams Morgan Saturday Art Market from 12 Noon until dark (for gifts that do not include FBI baseball hats or Washington Monument shot glasses).

  • 7. Bedrock Billiards

    A pool hall in Adams Morgan with an excellent jukebox and a laid back vibe. Darts and a regular old bar too for the cue ball-challenged. Smaller and more of a neighborhood joint (as opposed to Buffalo Billiards in Dupont, which is huge ESPN zone of pool-esque spot).

  • 8. Busboys and Poets

    Busboys and Poets is exactly what you would expect from a place named after Langston Hughes (who worked as a busboy in a Washington, DC hotel in the early 1920s) It is a cafe. A radical bookstore. A restaurant. A bar. A performance art and community meeting space. All of the above. 14th and V (right off U).

  • 9. Ben's Chili Bowl
    Ben's Chili Bowl, Washington DC, District of Columbia

    Excellent greasy spoon open until the wee hours known for its chili (dogs, fries, etc). Pictures of Bill Cosby, Denzel Washington, Jesse Jackson and a slew of other African-American political leaders, celebrities and athletes on the walls. It is famous for being one of the only businesses along U street (formerly known as Black Broadway) to survive the 1968 riots after the asasination of Martin Luther King. Most recently made famous by a visit from President Obama - so expect lines.

  • 10. Etete Ethiopian Restaurant

    I used to recommend Dukem restaurant (on 11th and U) and it is still fine IF you can't get a seat at Etete (9th and U). Ethiopian is a DC specialty and Etete is the most delicious place to try it - you literally can't go wrong with their menu, but I especially love the lamb dishes.

  • 11. Rosemary's Thyme
    Rosemary's Thyme Bistro, Washington DC, District of Columbia

    My favorite neighborhood spot for brunch - especially the Turkish specialties (try a pide, you won't regret it). If you like more entertainment - and alcohol - at your brunch, try Perry's famous drag queen brunch on 18th and Columbia. Yes you read that right. Vegans love Aslyum's "tofu scramble" and vegan pancakes in Adams Morgan).

  • 12. Nana Vintage Store

    Nana is a great place to start on a long walk of boutique and antique shopping down U street - there are tons of good little shops that have been there forever or cropped up in the past 5 years (another good boutique shopping strip is on 14th)

  • 13. Phillips Collection - Thursday

    This Dupont Circle museum is fabulous at any time - but it especially fun to go on Thursday nights to the "Phillips After Five" events, which can include film showings, local artisan food tastings, performances and gallery talks.

  • 14. National Zoological Park
    National Zoological Park, Washington DC, District of Columbia

    Assuming you are not the type of person who hates zoos on principal, the Washington zoo is lovely - really relaxing to just wander around. Perfect distance from Adams Morgan or Dupont to walk off your brunch (or hop on the red line metro to get there post Dupont Circle Farmers Market).

  • 15. Habana Village

    Three floors of Latin dancing, with a live band on the third floor that plays old school salsa on the weekends. Salsa lessons for beginners and plenty of partners for both the experienced and beginner alike.

  • 16. DC Walking Tours

    Washington Walks has tours like Haunted DC, a walking snack-a-thon food tour and the Before Harlem, there was U Street .