When visiting any city, I prefer to hit local favorites instead of touristy spots. Often times I turn to Twitter or my favorite blogs for travel suggestions. Throughout travel month, I’ve rounded up bloggers and creatives from different cities to share their favorite restaurants and often over looked gems so you can travel like a local in their city.
Today I’m happy to welcome my friend Madeline of Style Me Thrifty back to Twin Stripe to share her favorites haunts in and around Washington, D.C. I’m a huge fan of her style and she chronicles her affordable style on her blog. If you are looking looking for a wardrobe update but don’t know where to start, be sure to check out Style Me Thrifty. Click through to find out Madeline’s perfect day in DC and more!
Coffee shop – You will feel totally spoiled when you have a cup of coffee from Swing’s. The coffee is rich and strong and if you get a latte like me, they’ll even add a fancy design in the froth (that’s how you know it’s legit, right?). The space is also super cool. It’s an old pie warehouse converted into half coffee shop, half roastery. I frequent the Del Ray location in Alexandria but there is also one near the White House.
Brunch Spot – Washingtonians love to brag about all of our amazing brunch spots, but I’ve never been able to top my experience at Zengo in Chinatown. They serve up Latin American meets Asian fusion tapas (think yummy empanadas and steamed buns) and you can wash it down with delicious mimosas and sangria. Did I mention it’s bottomless food and drinks? Fun tidbit: Zengo is where my husband took me on our very first date, so it holds a soft spot in my heart. 🙂
Dinner – I am a Virginia native and my family spent many “special occasion” dinners at Carlyle in Shirlington. New restaurants pop up all the time in the DC-area and impressively, Carlyle remains my favorite after all these years. They serve elevated American food with a few seafood specialities (their crab cakes and skinny fries are perfection). I honestly could close my eyes, pick something on the menu, and would be guaranteed to devour it. Save room for a warm flourless chocolate waffle, you won’t regret it!
Place to Grab a Cocktail –Picturesque Old Town Alexandria boasts the coolest and coziest speakeasy called PX. There’s no signage for this bar, only a blue light, which adds to the allure, and once inside, you’ll feel like you’re in someone’s old house with comfy couches and dim lighting. I can’t remember my fave cocktail there (because it was umm, strooong!) but there is something for everybody on the menu. Make sure you make a reservation and ask for a seat at the bar if it’s available so that you can watch the bartenders in action.
Place to Shop – Even with numerous malls and outlets at your fingertips, I always recommend that friends check out Current Boutique, with four locations in DC, VA, and MD. Half of the store sells trendy consignment clothing (Emphasis on the trendy; these are not your grandmother’s hand-me-downs!) and the other half sells brand new clothing, in case buying used isn’t your thing. Such a unique concept and I enjoy supporting a local business. Check out my review here.
What is your favorite way to spend a day in the DC area?
This was a hard question to answer – there are too many fun activities in DC to list! But if I must, I would choose to cheer on the Washington Nationals. I’m a huge Nats fan and still play softball myself, but hear me out, even if you know nothing about baseball, you will have a ball at a Nats game (see what I did there??). Think: pregame beers at a pop up parking lot bar before the game, followed by chili cheese fries at the iconic Ben’s Chili Bowl inside the stadium and lots of cheering & yelling. Total home run.
What would you consider a DC hidden gem?
Port City Brewing Company –Hidden among other nondescript warehouses, you’ll find the tastiest, chillest brewery called Port City. I’ve taken the brewery tour here a couple times and enjoyed the informative yet laid back vibe. They recently grew their bar space so there are plenty of areas to taste their wide variety of beers. My husband and I loved Port City beer so much, we decided to serve it at our wedding!
Why do you love the DC area?
I love that there is always something fun to do in DC. We have restaurants galore, amazing boutiques, live music, museums and monuments (it’s fun to be a tourist sometimes, even if your own city!), festivals, 5Ks, sporting events to watch and play, hiking trails, the Metro… I could go on! It’s the perfect place to plan your next trip. And if you live in DC, leave me a comment below sharing your favorite hotspots so that I can discover new places!
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See you all on Wednesday for a sweet treat! Have a wonderful week.