For my final blog post, in honor of the city I have fondly enjoyed for many summers in a row now, I am going to give a quick to DC. I will focus on the things I like to do as a resident, rather than the many tourist attractions.
I really enjoy hiking, and there are a few excellent hikes not too far outside of the city (though they always require a car).
Harper’s Ferry: This is a great hike. I had fairly low expectations when I arrived, because many large parks (particularly those with a tourist draw) overestimate the difficulty of their hikes. This was not the case here. We went on a 7-8 mile hike with probably the longest steep uphill I’ve done. And, as a bonus, the town has several museums and restaurants. People also enjoy this area for water sports. You can float down the river in tubes if you’d like.
Old Rag Mountain: I hiked this mountain at the beginning of this year and seriously thought I might die. There is a short (~.5 mi.) rock scramble before the summit. During the winter, it was perilous, but it is supposed to be fun (but challenging) in the summer. It offers great views of the Shenandoah Valley, and will give you a good workout.
Billy Goat trail (MD side): As this was my first real hike, it holds a special place in my heart. I was really nervous when I first saw pictures, because there is a section where you feel like you are rock climbing rather than hiking. Other than that section, though, the trail is pretty manageable. I’d say it’s a solid medium.
Haydee’s: Haydees in Columbia Heights offers great Mexican and Salvadoran options. I am especially fond of plantains and veggie fajitas. As for drinks, I love their margaritas. Most of the people I’ve gone with opt for the Cadillac margarita, but I prefer the option with double the tequila (the name is escaping me).
Queen of Sheeba: I know there are a lot of Ethiopian options in DC, this Logan Circle/Shaw location is my favorite. The food is excellent and fairly cheap. I go here every time I’m in the city (including this Friday). Just go.
Julia’s Empanadas: Julia’s has a few locations throughout the city. The empanadas are super yummy and very affordable. I also enjoy their small sides, particularly the beet salad and black beans.
Pete's New Haven Style Apizza and 2Amy’s Pizza: Go to the first if you’re in the Columbia Heights neighborhood, and the Second if you’re closer to Woodley Park. The first is also better for takeout. The second has an excellent dine-in experience.
National Portrait Gallery courtyard: This is one of my favorite places in the whole city. I love to come here and read during the winter. They keep it warm, and there are refreshments available in the cafeteria. While you’re there, make sure to visit the American folk art museum. There is a very cool aluminum foil altar there.
Jazz in the park: This only happens during the summer, which probably contributes to it being a pretty big draw. You get to hang out in the sculpture garden, and both beer and wine are allowed, which makes it even better. The atmosphere is relaxed, but it can be a little crowded.
Monument tour (but at night): Visiting the monuments is great no matter when you do it, but I recommend going at night, especially during the summer. It will be cooler, and there will be fewer people. And, since they’re all lit up at night, you can still get great pictures.