Our nation’s capital is home to so much more than just politics. A vibrant city packed with world class dining, drinking, art and more, here is our curated guide to the District of Columbia.
Located on a picturesque, tree-lined street just a stone’s throw from Dupont Circle, the Lyle is a traveler’s modern oasis in the District. The hotel occupies a 1940s Art Deco apartment building, and now welcomes visitors to stay the night within one of its 196 rooms and suites. Past a sleek yet unassuming lobby, you’ll find its namesake restaurant and bar, Lyle’s, decked out in rich burl wood and marked by white, overstuffed banquets and hanging statement lights. Boozy weekend brunch here is energized by the addition of a live DJ. Up the elevator, find light-filled rooms featuring rounded burlwood headboards and vintage-inspired cantilever seating. For the fitness-minded, Pelatons and other workout equipment are available for morning sweat sessions on the basement level.
An architect-lover’s dream, DC’s iteration of The Line Hotel is located within a renovated 110-year-old church in Adams Morgan. Soaring ceilings, ornate details and an imposing gold chandelier made of pipe organs frames the multi-use lobby space. Aside from the 220 rooms and suites, The Line is the kind of place where DC locals go to spend time—taking photographs, grabbing a coffee, or meeting friends for drinks at No Goodbyes bar. Upstairs, find the hotel’s farm-to-table restaurant by the same name. Thanks to the historic qualities of the property, each room is unique, but a throughline is found through antique gold accents and black leather. From the windows of the monument view suite, guests are treated to an unrivaled look at the city.
You’d be hard pressed to find a restaurant more universally beloved in the city than Rose’s Luxury, which is currently going on its 9th year in the charming neighborhood of Eastern Market. Tucked away into a converted townhouse, people used to queue for hours to get a taste of their eclectic mezze plates, which are globally inspired but local ingredient minded. Luckily, they now offer reservations. Rose’s Luxury is also lauded as the perfect date night destination, with a uniquely warm atmosphere and friendly service to boot.
When Thip Khao first opened its doors in 2014, it became DC’s first Laotian restaurant, and one of the first in the entire country. Now, it’s on the city’s Michelin guide, and was listed in 2021 by the New York Times as one of the country’s 50 most exciting restaurants. The Columbia Heights restaurant didn’t earn these accolades because of fancy decor or luxe ingredients, but simply because of its delicious cuisine, which is served family style. For those unfamiliar with Laotian cuisine, expect stomach-warming elements like coconut sticky rice, aromatics such as lemongrass, tangy vinegar and tons of pork and fish.
Stepping into this speakeasy-style bar within the stylish Eaton Hotel is like entering a dark wonderland of sorts, wrapped in fantastical murals and marked by plush black seating and lighting. Allegory’s menu follows the same theme as the artwork on the walls, Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, with inventive tipples that call upon culinary and molecular techniques such as clarification and forced carbonation.
This subterranean cocktail bar within the Riggs Hotel is legendary London mixologist Ryan Chetiyawardana’s first stateside venture. The space is all sleek wood and red velvet, making for a very sexy atmosphere, and the drinks are known to call upon uniquely delicious ingredients, from honeydew sherbet and lemon cacao butter to beechwood bubbles.
No trip to DC is complete without wandering down the iconic 18th Street NW in Adams Morgan. The neighborhood is named after the conjoining of two formerly segregated elementary schools, which is the perfect way to describe the vibrant, diverse area. Stare up at colorful townhomes while you pop into eclectic shops, grab coffee at local favorite cafe Tryst, and cap your day off with a drink at whiskey den, Jack Rose Dining Saloon.
Local institution Kramers is located in the heart of Dupont Circle—another great neighborhood to find yourself for an afternoon. Packed with an eclectic, well-curated selection of books, Kramers is a charming spot to get lost, taking in the afternoon light while perusing the titles. At the back of the space is an all day cafe and bar, for grabbing brunch or quenching your thirst after all that reading.
Picky eaters, rejoice, for Union Market has something to eat (and drink) for everyone. Located in the now-bustling Union Market District, the large warehouse-esque space contains numerous stalls offering anything from Korean tacos to raw, locally caught seafood, as well as a boutique interior design shop and more. During the warmer months, find the grassy Hi-Lawn on the rooftop where you can grab a beer, or visit Latin American marketplace La Cosecha just down the road for pupusas, artisan chocolate, or Panamanian coffee.
While it’s a given that a trip to DC will include a visit to the Smithsonian Museums on the National Mall, Glenstone is a hidden gem just a half hour’s drive from the city. The private collection of contemporary art is a must, housing over one thousand works from arts big and small, as well as 300 acres of natural landscape integrated with outdoor sculpture.