There’s no doubt that the election of President Barack Obama made Washington, D.C., a more glamorous city to live in and visit. What is often seen as a city for politics nerds became cool with his election, and glamorous thanks to the renewed interest of not only young people eager to be part of change but celebrities who threw their support behind the president.
The Smithsonian Institution Building
While the glamour quotient still isn’t quite as high as it is in, say, New York City or Los Angeles, Washington still has plenty of offer, and plenty of beautiful people to mix it up with.
There are some obvious stops you’ll want to make on our sightseeing tour of the District. Taking a White House tour and visiting the Rotunda at the Capitol building almost go without saying. It’s a somewhat surreal feeling to realize how close you are to some of the most powerful people in the United States, and the world. If you’re from the States, you can usually arrange a Capitol tour through your Representative’s office.
Then of course there are the memorials – the Lincoln and Jefferson being the most popular. The Vietnam War Memorial is also particularly moving and worth spending some time at. The Jefferson is especially nice to see in the springtime, when the cherry blossoms are in bloom. This is actually the nicest time of year to be in DC in general. The entire city has a cheery atmosphere as the chipper pink blossoms brighten up even the most stressful days – and there are plenty here.
The Smithsonian is of course a must do, as is the Air & Space Museum. While some may balk at following such a traditionally touristic path, these are popular for a reason and you’d be remiss to skip them.
Nonetheless, there does come a time for breaking away from the tourist trail and one great way to get the vibe of a city is to check out its nightlife. You can head to the Capitol Hill bars if you’re eager to rub elbows with political consultants and congressional staffers, but some of the more interesting nightlife happens in other quarters of the city.
The H Street corridor has seen a great transformation in recent years, from a sketchy neighborhood you wouldn’t be eager to wander around in to a fun, hip area with an eclectic mix of bars and restaurants.
You can never go wrong at Dupont Circle, where you can shop, dine and drink all within a few blocks’ radius. There is a great mix of bars and clubs around here, so start the night early so you can take it all in.
Georgetown is a great area to go out in as long as you’re OK with being surrounded by preppy college kids. There are some fun bars and great restaurants here, especially those on the waterfront, but bring a thick wallet because nothing in Georgetown comes cheap.
The U Street corridor is where you’ll want to go for great live music. This is a historically jazz-centric neighborhood and it’s still where you’ll find some of the best musicians in the city jamming together.
And for just plain old debauchery, make your way to Adam’s Morgan, where you’ll find all kinds of opportunities to relive your college days, from dive bars to late-night pizza joints.