This morning I headed on a plane to Washington, DC. Instead of visiting as a tourist, I was visiting to pack up the remainder of my things in my old apartment that I’m currently subletting. Over the years, I have had a love-hate relationship with DC. Some of my best and worst times occurred here, and it is strange to think that this era of my life is over.
To end things on a positive note, I’m going to focus on what I loved about DC.
I love the sense of power and possibility you feel while walking around the city. Walk into almost any bar, and you are likely to meet someone who is at least moderately important or famous. There is an unrivaled sense of ambition here, and the city thrives off it. To be honest, living in DC stressed me out. I know I will miss the District though, and here’s why:
Like most locals, I didn’t take advantage of the Smithsonian museums as often as I should have. I still made time to go for walks on the National Mall though, as my apartment was only five minutes away. I’ll miss having such a beautiful space practically in my backyard. On snow days, I’ll miss being able to walk down to the mall and see how beautiful the monuments look when deserted and adorned in snow.
I regret not taking full advantage of all the museums and their special programs. If you are planning to visit Washington, I urge you to try to see as many Smithsonians as possible! My personal favorites are the National Museum of American History and The National Gallery of Art.
I will also miss hanging out on the Kennedy’s Center’s roof anytime there is supposed to be an eclipse, or whenever the Northern Lights may make an appearance.
Restaurant and Bar Scene
Washington, DC is no NYC in terms of restaurants and bars, but the city still has a great food scene. On a nice summer day, there is nothing better than relaxing on a rooftop bar with a drink in hand.
Some of my favorites include:
DC also has thousands of happy hour specials! So, even in this insanely expensive city you can still drink on the cheap. Be sure to check out:
Since DC is such a cosmopolitan city, you can find authentic cuisine from all over the world easily as well. For example, while living in Germany I became obsessed with the popular street food Döner Kebabs. Luckily for me, a Berliner brought Döners and a huge selection of other German goodies to DC via his restaurant Döner Bistro.
Other great international dining experiences include:
Brunch is one of the most important weekend meals in DC, and I’ll miss meeting my friends hungover to indulge in bottomless mimosas. Check out Bitches Who Brunch for suggestions; the best brunch spots are always changing!
DC is the kind of city that brings the world to you. On any given week, there are dozens of events hosted by diplomats, politicians, and change-makers.
Some of my favorites last year were Capital Pride, PostSecret Live, and Film Neu (a German film festival hosted by the Goethe Institute). The National Mall was also the backdrop for several free concerts this past year.
A summertime favorite is Screen on the Green, where movies are screened on the National Mall and everyone camps out on picnic blankets to enjoy.
Another summer activity you shouldn’t miss is Jazz in the Garden. This weekly free concert series is hosted in the National Sculpture Garden Pavilion and is popular among tourists and locals alike.
There are always tons of free events hosted through cultural organizations, think tanks, the Smithsonian Museums, and other institutions. The Kennedy Center hosts free performances nightly as well.
Some helpful resources for finding cool events year-round are:
There are far too many things I will miss about DC to list. Mostly, I will miss the city’s vibe, and the amazing friends I am leaving behind. As far as cities go, I know DC will be hard to beat.
How have you coped with “breaking up” with a city you love?