The Attic City Guides, Vol. 2: Washington, D.C.
As the Attic community stretches across the globe, we often find ourselves in different cities visiting each other or simply traveling – abroad or even at home, sharing recommendations for favorite restaurants and old gems, neighborhoods to get lost in, and coffee shops to harbor us from the rain (or let’s face it, from exhaustion after walking around for miles). Here, we share those recommendations with you, looking not to establish any sort of classical guide to the world, but to share the places close to our hearts (and our stomachs).
When we originally launched the Attic’s City Guides, we had great ambitions for them – new guides every month to help us navigate the different corners of the world our editors and writers live in and travel through. Yet, life somehow got to be overwhelming. Here, finally, is the Attic’s second city guide… dedicated to Washington, D.C. – a place important to our editors, whether as a home (past or present) or a frequent destination.
KRAMERBOOKS & AFTERWORDS
1517 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036, USA
We raved about Kramers in our bookshop post, but we also spent a fair share of time at Kramers’s Afterwords Café for its food. Serving everything from brunch to extremely well done classics (ahem, crispy duck, fried chicken, crab cake, and more) to pie, it helped Olivia eat some of her favorite American foods in one of her favorite settings and gave Raquel moments to soak in the beloved bustle of the multilingual and expat crowds while pestering servers for extra syrup in her coffee.
401 7th St NW, Washington, DC 20004, USA
What’s a trip to the US without some Mexican food? Oyamel is a favorite in Olivia’s family and serves fantastic dishes and drinks that help make up for the lack of good Mexican cuisine in Europe. Be warned though that the wait can be long to get a table if you don’t book ahead (and show up on time).
3207 Grace St NW, Washington, DC 20007, USA
About halfway through the trip, we realized that thanks to massive servings of pancakes every morning, we hadn’t had a vegetable in a while. Exclusively vegetarian, Chaia Tacos helped us with this, serving a perfectly roasted variety of vegetables atop homemade tortillas with filling cheeses and hand-picked microgreens.
DOG TAG BAKERY
3206 Grace St NW, Washington, DC 20007, USA
When Olivia asked for breakfast sandwiches, Lee led the way to Dog Tag Bakery, a small shop in the center of Georgetown staffed entirely by veterans that serves extremely straightforward but extremely good breakfast fare.
1818 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009, USA (multiple locations)
That brunch we’re still thinking/posting about… A great stop if you can’t decide what to get for brunch and want a bit of everything as most dishes come with scrambled eggs and hash browns.
915 F St NW, Washington, DC 20004, USA
While we headed to Succotash because Olivia wanted (and got) good Southern food and Lee loved their dishes, it also led to the best drinks of the trip. Lee and Raquel had Belle’s Punch (which can also be had as a virgin drink!) while Olivia had a frozen bourbon cocktail.
515 8th St SE, Washington, DC 20003, USA
A trendy hole in the wall in Capitol Hill, this restaurant exclusively serves Steak Frites, and even brings seconds without you needing to ask (you can take them home if you’re full!). Free of the pressures of deciding on an entrée, Raquel enjoyed its intimate gastropub atmosphere and varied options on the drink and dessert menus instead.
633 D St NW, Washington, DC 20004, USA
Constantly craving varieties of Indian cuisine, Rasika was one of Olivia’s first requested stops in Washington. Definitely on the upscale side, the restaurant has fewer cozy dishes and more elaborate plates. A mix of appetizers, sides, and cocktails were enough to sample what Rasika had to offer.
1633 P St NW, Washington, DC 20036, USA
Equally upscale and what many D.C. guides seem to be referring to as an “upstairs, downstairs” situation with a separate restaurant and bar, Nazca Mochica is another fantastic food & drink stop to splurge on. It serves Peruvian fare with amazing pisco cocktails upstairs and boats a full pisco bar and more casual atmosphere downstairs.
Much coffee was had on the trip, and you can find a full list of our D.C. Coffee Guide here.
BOOKS, BOOKS, BOOKS
The most important shopping done on any Attic trip is for books. You can find Olivia and Raquel’s D.C. Bookshop Guide here.
Olivia’s DC base and her go-to for shopping in the US is the entire Georgetown area. Full of old favorites like Anthropologie and J.Crew (heaven when you don’t have easy access to them abroad), but also less-easily-found staples like Warby Parker and Tuckernuck, all situated in or around the area’s historic buildings, Georgetown gave us most of what we needed on the trip.
THE PHILLIPS COLLECTION
1600 21st St NW, Washington, DC 20009, USA
A favorite museum for many of us at the Attic, the Phillips Collection is situated in a historic house and is home to stellar permanent collection that includes Renoir’s “Le déjeuner des canotiers” (“Luncheon of the Boating Party”) and a roomful of Rothko. It’s a mandatory stop on every one of Olivia’s trips to DC and was a favorite discovery of Raquel’s. The most memorable moment of this visit though was the room dedicated to Jacob Lawrence’s “The Migration.”
Bonus: The Phillips Collection is located between “Embassy Row” and DUPONT CIRCLE, some of the best areas to walk around if you like to stroll and admire architecture on your trips.
NATIONAL MUSEUM OF WOMEN IN THE ARTS
1250 New York Ave NW, Washington, DC 20005, USA
Another smaller D.C. museum, the National Museum of Women in the Arts was a new discovery for both Olivia and Raquel, who walked in just as the museum was getting ready to host a wedding. They still got to tour its permanent collections, and were particularly struck by the Louise Dahl-Wolfe prints and a Barbara Kruger lithograph. The museum also has a fun gift shop, which is also a great stop for anyone who loves merchandise dedicated to women writers and artists.
If you’re in D.C. for the first time (or the first time in a long time), The Mall is a must to get a feel for the city’s history and monumental character. Museums line several sides of it, leading down from the Capitol, towards the White House, and the Monuments. Bear in mind that it covers a massive area and is nowhere near as quick to walk through as you might expect! If you are visiting in the spring, the Tidal Basin is the best spot to see the cherry blossoms.
Olivia Gündüz-Willemin is Editor-in-Chief of The Attic on Eighth. She holds multiple literature degrees and is dedicated to reading her way through the world while trying to stay as calm as possible.