ELLE Escapes: Washington, D.C.

If there’s any metropolis the place you’ll be able to really feel the activism and sense that change is feasible at each nook, it’s Washington, D.C. However true locals know this place isn’t all about politics. Transcend the vacationer stops on the Nationwide Mall, and also you’ll uncover a bustling metropolis with a formidable meals scene, among the nation’s most beautiful waterfront areas, and unforgettable (and largely free) museums. D.C. has developed immensely over the previous decade alone, with new hotspot neighborhoods rising like 14th Avenue and The Wharf. Right here, get to know the capital’s actual highlights, past what the information or Schoolhouse Rock advised you.

What to See

The Rubell Museum

the rubell

Chi Lam, courtesy of the Rubell Museum

At The Rubell Museum, you’ll discover modern artwork from the Rubell household’s private assortment, like John Miller’s sculpture “A Refusal to Settle for Limits,” which options imitation gold leaf on plastic objects, amongst different works. You’ll be able to breeze by the gallery in an hour or two, making it an ideal morning or afternoon pit cease. After you’re performed, ensure that to gas up with a chilly brew and pastry from Grace Avenue Espresso Roasters, positioned inside.

The Georgetown Waterfront

georgetown waterfront

SeanPavonePhoto//Getty Photos

Whereas admittedly a bit of out of the best way, D.C.’s greatest buying, arms down, could be discovered on Georgetown’s principal streets (significantly M Avenue and Wisconsin Avenue, which have each luxurious retailer possible for some true Soho vibes). However head south towards the Potomac River, and you’ve got a picturesque, waterfront park to unwind after your designer buying spree. Remember to seize a cupcake from Baked and Wired (1052 Thomas Jefferson St NW) on the best way—it’s certainly one of D.C.’s most spectacular bakeries that has been serving up big, daydream-worthy cupcakes for over 21 years.

The Nationwide Museum of Pure Historical past

smithsonian museum of natural history

Chip Clark//Getty Photos

Whereas they’re all free and well worth the go to, for those who solely have time to see one museum, take a look at the Pure Historical past Museum. Come for its newly renovated dinosaur corridor, keep to catch the Hope Diamond glimmering within the glass. One other very instructional and extra doable-in-a-day museum, this one will faucet into your interior little one with its fossils, animals, and science galore on show. Different highlights on or close to the Mall: The U.S. Botanical Gardens, the Tidal Basin (a shocking jogging route), and the Library of Congress, which homes among the most attractive interiors in D.C. For a change of tempo, strive testing the monuments at night time.

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The place to Eat

The Bazaar by José Andrés

the bazaar's favorite waldorf salad

Louiie Victa

Each ingredient issues at The Bazaar, helmed by Michelin-starred chef José Andrés. Housed within the Previous Put up Workplace constructing by the Mall, the restaurant serves small bites crafted with care and unparalleled consideration to element (dragon fruit ceviche, octopus, and olives that soften in your mouth, to call a number of). Desserts are a should, particularly the carrot cake with cream cheese, carrot halva, spiced crumble, and salted toffee. The Bazaar is a culinary expertise from starting to finish, with servers sharing the story behind every dish and how one can greatest get pleasure from it. Hearken to them, then savor each fork filled with what guarantees to be some of the memorable meals of your life.


shoto's food

Rey Lopez

Should you’re on the lookout for a culinary expertise to alter the best way you consider Japanese meals, Shōtō is nicely well worth the worth of its high-end delicacies served in a shocking, posh area. That includes a decadent however trendy tackle the standard izakaya fashion of casual eating, the restaurant boasts a robata grill and sushi island—and actually luxurious dishes to come back out of each. To greatest expertise the restaurant’s highlights chosen by its government cooks, go for the omakase menu (beginning at $115 per particular person). Going à la carte? The wagyu tacos, calamari, scallops, and sake are nice additions to the desk. Remember to save room for dessert too: the restaurant’s yuzu cheesecake is value splurging on.

Unconventional Diner

unconventional diner's chicken and waffles

Lia Manfredi

Steps away from the wonderful D.C. Alley Museum, Unconventional Diner is the form of approachable, cool-kid brunch and dinner spot that packs large style. Dishes have distinctive twists right here, however that’s precisely what makes this restaurant a vital pit cease. Lunch favorites embrace the chop salad, a flavorful but mild mixture of kale, hummus, pomegranate, and almonds; the tremendous fluffy blueberry lavender buttermilk pancakes; and rooster and waffles, that includes a cheddar-chive cornbread waffle and habanero butter. Backside line, what’s clear is that the cooks within the kitchen know precisely what they’re doing, with each shock twist and mix of flavors at a worth level ($13-$22 for a brunch entrée) that feels too good to be true given how scrumptious the meals is.

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The place to Drink


cocktails at bronze

Courtesy of Bronze

Bronze serves, by its personal description, “Solar Ra-themed” cocktails in a cool, sci-fi-inspired area. Standout drinks embrace the Voodoo cocktail, with rhum agricole, overproof rum, aged rum, blood orange, white peach, lemon, and absinthe. Pair it with a plate of torched oysters, since you ought to by no means drink on an empty abdomen. The smoky style will keep in your tongue lengthy after you swallow…that’s, till you’re taking one other sip.

Jane Jane

jane jane

Greg Powers

An intimate however buzzy cocktail bar within the coronary heart of bustling 14th Avenue, Jane Jane is the proper pre-game or post-game spot to unwind and meet up with mates. The classics, together with the bar’s espresso martini, hit, however don’t skip the home specials both. The aptly-named Patio Szn (darkish rum, conventional Jamaican rum, and créme de cacao) is enjoyment of a glass, whereas the Shorts Shorts (infused pepper vodka, lemon juice, chareau, easy syrup) packs a pleasant, shocking cooling sensation. For non-drinkers, the Rozata (grapefruit juice, lime juice, orgeat, agave, glowing water), stands out as certainly one of D.C.’s most unforgettable, tangy mocktails.

Silver Lyan

silver lyan

Courtesy the Riggs

Silver Lyan, nestled within the basement of the Riggs Resort, is a speakeasy that feels straight out of a film—and price spending a night in. The vibe is darkish, horny, stylish, and fashionable abruptly. And the cocktails are masterful takes on the classics that completely embody the high-end theme. The martini-for-two service is particularly noteworthy, with sides to the cocktails that make the drink a real expertise (suppose: oysters, lemon peels, pickled onions, and olives). Fruit basket photographs, that includes a standout strawberry daiquiri Jell-O shot on a citrus rim, give a school go-to a complicated, grown-up and debonair twist. Save room for snacks too: the donut holes with miso caramel dipping sauce are a pleasant candy aspect to an after-dinner drink.

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The place to Keep

The Morrow

the morrow

Kris Tamburello

Located within the middle of NoMA amongst new high-rises and road murals, The Morrow is the place to go for a respite from metropolis life. (There’s even a pillow menu to browse from room service, along with meals.) Michelin-starred chef Nicholas Stefanelli is behind the resort’s three hotspots, together with Le Clou, the rooftop bar Upstairs, and a speakeasy lounge, Vesper, slated to open later this 12 months, and plans to supply stay music, cocktails, and even caviar service. Little considerate touches are the place The Morrow actually shines: a breakfast station with fruit, water, and towels for friends within the foyer is only one of many examples.

Riggs Washington DC

riggs hotel

Courtesy Riggs

Initially the Riggs Nationwide Financial institution in-built 1891, this transformed resort incorporates a melange of conventional, colonial American fashion that’s been given a dose of contemporary aptitude. With a pleasant workers whose kindness will stay with you lengthy after you take a look at, that is luxurious in the most effective sense of the phrase. Keep in one of many 181 jewel-box rooms with cozy beds and palatial loos, and also you’ll be as amazed by your momentary house as you might be by the view exterior its home windows. Situated in Penn Quarter, the Riggs will put you within the middle of the whole lot, so your exploration of D.C. is simple, with the Mall, Smithsonian Museums, and White Home mere blocks away. Facilities embrace a gymnasium, bar (Silver Lyan), and restaurant (Cafe Riggs) on the premises.

Resort Zena

hotel zena's pool rooftop

Courtesy Resort Zena

Positioned in Logan Circle simply south of the 14th Avenue’s buzziest eating places and bars, however simply north (and eliminated sufficient) from the bustle of the White Home and its surrounding space, Resort Zena astutely payments itself a “city retreat.” The resort is amongst D.C.’s most feminist—if not the entire nation’s—celebrating by its artwork and décor the accomplishments of girls and the motion for gender equality. However what makes it the actual dream spot for a ladies’ journey, along with its design and placement, is its idyllic rooftop pool with cocktail bar Hedy’s Rooftop alongside it. Good eats aren’t far both, with Figleaf Bar & Lounge, constructed to be inviting however spacious, with COVID-era security in thoughts, contained in the constructing, too.

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Headshot of Alyssa Bailey

Senior Information and Technique Editor

Alyssa Bailey is the senior information and technique editor at ELLE.com, the place she oversees protection of celebrities and royals (significantly Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton). She beforehand held positions at InStyle and Cosmopolitan. When she’s not working, she loves working round Central Park, making folks take #ootd pics of her, and exploring New York Metropolis.