The Best Washington D.C. Tips From Our Readers
When we asked Lifehacker readers for
their advice on visiting or living in D.C.
, we got nearly 300 comments, a new record for the
Hack Your City
series. Here are the best suggestions for where to drink, where to eat, and where to... do the verb for museums.
Or pore through the massive original thread:
- Like New York and San Francisco, D.C. is a big public transit city, and its trains are often deep below the ground, so it's a big escalator city too. People are busy. So stand on the right, walk on the left.
- If you call your Congressional representative's office ahead of time, they can put you on a tour of the Capitol building.
- Skip Georgetown (though it has its defenders) and try out Old Town Alexandria. Instead of Georgetown Cupcake, try Red Velvet, Sprinkles, or Baked and Wired.
- Come off-season; all the popular spots get crowded (and humid) in the summer.
- Rush hour lasts all afternoon, so get where you want to be in the early afternoon, then stick to one area.
- Choose from multiple bike-share programs. The Capital Bike Share is $2 a trip, says DudleySpellington . Trip Hacks DC recommends downloading CBS's app to save time.
- See the monuments at night, when they're beautifully lit up. "The world War two memorial is especially beautiful at night and the Korean memorial feels real at night as if one is walking with soldiers," says Monicanaples .
And a warning from dailybugle :
Remember DC is split into 4 quadrants. As a result, there are MANY duplicate addresses, so make sure you know if you're going to Northwest, Northeast, Southwest, or Southeast."
Some of the popular federal institutions are bogged down with heavy security. Ridley90 has a shortcut:
The Capital and Library of Congress are connected via pedestrian tunnel. If you are already through security at one, you can bypass the long security line at the other by taking the tunnel.
- "Petworth Citizen and Reading Room is a bar that has a community library." - llaalleell
"Stop in Off the Record at the Hay Adams hotel. Awesome little basement bar where you're sure to run into someone you recognize from the news." -
- "Best bar in the city, by far, is the Black Cat. But it's only for normal people. If you're a pretentious blowhard who 'only drinks craft cocktails,' it's not the place for you." - pravan1066
- "Dirty Habit: The bar in the Hotel Monaco is exceptional. The food is good, if not a bit shwanky. But you're really there because the entire center courtyard of the building is part of the bar. Great spot to relax outside with friends and get away from the noise of the city." - hokiefez
- "If you're into beer at all, stopping at Churchkey is a must. One of the best draft beer bars in America. If you're lucky you can find some beers made in VA/MD that aren't distributed in stores (Aslin, Veil, Burley Oak, etc.)." - danielahn31
- "Dan's Cafe is the only bar you need to go to in Adams Morgan." - Scrumdiddliumptious
- "Adams Morgan is the college dive bar area, though it has some real nice rooftop bars and whiskey joints (Jack Rose and Bourbon)." - BeGood
- "Wonderland Ballroom: local favorite dive bar. Gibson: speakeasy for craft cocktails. H St Country Club: bar with mini golf upstairs. Jackpot: basement bar with amazing selection of craft beers." - GotThemHacks
- "The best Capitol Hill bar is Tune Inn." - amildlyamusingstory
- "Champagne buffet brunch at Freddie's Beach Bar (a gay bar) was rated one of the best in the country. Make reservations, trust me." - automaticdoor
- "Le Diplomate is good food and if you can get a reservation a worth it meal for both the food and the people watching. Red Hen is also a very, very good meal and the service is excellent." - FacePalmHeadache
- "Maketto on H St. is a coffee shop / restaurant / heaven on earth that has free yoga Sunday mornings on the roof when it's nice." - imissdc
- "Check out Ambar restaurant! For $50 a person it's all you can eat/all you can drink. Make reservations as the seating area is small but everything we tried was amazing! Also, maybe don't take the 'all you can drink' quite as literally as I did. 6 old fashioned's in 2 hours was such a delicious mistake though." - checkert
- "The Spanish restaurant Jaleo - the one near the Nat'l Portrait Gallery - is just spectacular." - booktart
- "Eat ethnic food. All of it. Any of it. For cheap. Tyler Cowen's Ethnic Dining Guide is a good resource." - imissdc
"Try the food at the Native American Museum. When I visited, it was all based on indigenous foods, which beats Burger King by a mile." -
- "I'd say the Building Museum and the Newseum, maybe the National Museum of Women in the Arts and NatGeo if there are good exhibits." - llaalleell
- "Don't forget about the Portrait Gallery itself. One of my favorite museums. Half portrait gallery, half American Art Museum. It's truly spectacular, and never super busy since it's off the mall." - ent_whisperer
- "The Spy Museum is definitely a cool spot for you to take the family. A lot of exhibits and stuff that interests both the parents and keeps kids entertained. Plus it has a pretty awesome store." - classiclyclassic
- And a word of warning: "Security at the museums was tighter that airport security-I completely forgot about a wallet ninja tool I had with me and was asked to get rid of it before being allowed back in - this had been with me through Dublin airport without an issue. Eat before you go to the Mall-food in the museums is ridiculously expensive compared to a normal eatery." - Detritus
A few greatest-hits lists:
The best music venues, from Seanballard :
For house & techno fans, Flash is a truly first class experience with top grade speakers, visuals, and culture. U St Music Hall is better for dubby more bass heavy shows. Soundcheck brings some good artists but culture is bad and sometimes speakers aren't greatest and not by other great bars. And 18th St. Bar is my fave in DC with multiple rooms w different themes with awesome music.
The best view, from Stulgs :
My favorite view is from POV at the W Hotel in DC. You're basically on 'top' of the white house and have great views of the monument as well. Sure, a bottle of beer is like $12, but I think the view is worth it.
The best way to drink at Minibar, from DL Thurston :
A Minibar-specific hack: My wife and I did the non-alcoholic drink pairings, because neither of us were wine people. By the end of the meal, people were leaning over trying to figure out what we were getting, because while the win drinkers were getting their tenth sip of a different wine, we were getting this odd and inventive little drinks that actually matched the feel of the place better. Plus it's cheaper, but that's not the reason to do it.
The best view at a Nationals ballgame, from TomL-DMV :
If you are going to a Nationals game always buy the cheapest seats available, then stand up in the center field bar, which is probably a better view.
The best airport, from jdfighter :
Don't fly into Dulles, it's terrible. Fly into Reagan if you can, but if not fly into Baltimore (BWI), it's about the same distance from downtown as Dulles really (maybe a 10 minute difference), and it's an easy train ride and better airport over all.
For dozens more suggestions, check out the original thread . Leave your own tips there or here, and come back Monday to give tips on a Texas megacity.