Every time I travel, I spend a few days doing the touristy bit and visit a good handful of the well known places in a city. The other days are spent trying to be more like a local, visiting and discovering the smaller nooks and crannies of a city. I like the mix of both and with companies like Yelp and Instagram, finding interesting places is so much easier!
Our biggest “local” task was to discover and utilize the Metro/Metrobus. We lived in a city that had NO METRO, so we had to bus about an hour to get to a larger city center. We were 20 minutes bus ride from Georgetown though, which was nice. We traded some quiet for distance. I LOVED that!
I try to keep my vacations just that. I don’t want to feel like I need a vacation from my vacation. You just have to make sure to plan adventure days as well as relaxation days.
Most of my picks ended up being coffee or food, but we definitely explored so much more than just these little tidbits. Think of this as little stops to make while exploring your bigger cities/places!
1. Georgetown Waterfront– in the heat/humidity of July in DC? You’ll want to come here to relax and maybe enjoy a dinner along the Potamac at sunset. Gorgeous. You can rent bikes, kayaks, etc here and enjoy the weather, but many families just let their kids run through these giant arches of waterfall from an outdoor play fountain!
2. Astro’s Chicken & Donuts– Alan loves both. We tried this place after an exhausting adventure day (the first day we arrived!) on the Big Bus Hop On/Offs after visiting Ford’s Theater and going to Madam Tussaud’s. I wouldn’t go again, but Alan loved the chicken! The passionfruit donut had great flavor, but wasn’t anything special. The creme brulee one was great! Custard filled and brulee’d!
3. Eastern Market Flea Market– a 1 mile walk from Union Station. Open on Sundays, it is a great way to adventure but enjoy the locals getting goods at the farmer’s market and getting food.
4. Georgetown– shopping & food, but also has an amazing trail C&O Canal
5. Luke’s Lobster– I think this is the chain over here because it was all over DC! Maybe it was just our tourist thing to try, but it was tasty! A little small in portion, but they give quite a bit of seafood on each half piece of toast.
6. Northside Social– our friend Jo took us here when we landed. I had a sweet and creamy iced vanilla latte, which was the perfect thing for someone who was tired and hot from the plane ride! They also have soft serve and GIANT pastries.
7. Baked & Wired– In Georgetown. A MUST GO. Coffee isn’t amazing, but the strawberry cupcake WAS. I will dream about that place until I get my hands on one again! Locals tipped us off to come here rather than Georgetown/DC Cupcakes, and I’m so glad we listened!
8. Caffe Aficionado, Rosslyn– Walkable from Georgetown (across the bridge). This cafe is smack in a business center, but it is a hidden gem. The coffee was smooth and strong. I got an iced latte.
9. M.E. Swing Coffee– a block from the White House. This place has a cool and easy vibe to it. Cool and relaxed with high tables and old school brewing gear. This had THE BEST iced vanilla latte I’ve ever had in my life. The sweetness of the vanilla syrup, the creaminess of the milk, and the sweet and fruity notes of the roasted coffee was SOOOOO GOOD. It was smooth, but had body. My personal preferences perfected in a cup!