If you have a free day, you should devote some time to the Penn Quarter neighborhood of Washington DC - there is so much to see and do (not to even mention, eat). If you are a tea lover, then you must check out Teaism and try their green tea, 'Dragon Well', it's awesome. If you want to start your morning French style, then check out PAUL Bakery & Patisserie at 801 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW and prepare to become addicted to their pain au chocolat (chocolate croissant). Take your croissant and latte to walk around and view the lovely architecture that the Penn Quarter in DC has to offer. If you are really interested in finding out more, venture over to the District Architecture Center and learn more about the buildings that comprise Washington DC.
Locals and tourists alike go mad for cherry blossom season and it inspires cherry blossom cocktails, races, parties, and much more around the Washington DC area. The Cherry Blossom's peak date has changed. Now, it's from April 3-6 and that new date may throw off travelers with pre-existing reservations, so if you've held back, make your reservations now! Even though the cherry blossoms may not be in full bloom when you arrive, you can enjoy yourself (if you're from out of town) and, if you're a local, you can entertain your visiting guests, family, and friends with a ton of fun and downright quirky activities. There are so many things to do such as going on a photo safari and learning how to shoot your camera in manual mode, finding a morning walking activity led by a park ranger or a nighttime lantern expedition, you may want to spend all your time at the annual Cherry Blossom Festival and check out all the activities, the list goes on and below we have a list of fun activities to do.
The Washington DC Cherry Blossoms have a history worthy of a novel and have been gracing the Washington, DC area for over 100 years, starting in 1910. Although things did not always go according to plan while procuring the trees, it lends to an interesting story. In 1906, Dr. David Fairchild returned from Japan with seventy-five cherry trees and commenced to plant the trees around his residence in Maryland. The trees took to the soil and did quite well in the area and this spurred Fairchild to donate trees to DC area schools for the children to plant. Eliza Scidmore helped negotiate with First Lady Helen Taft to get donations of the cherry blossom trees to plant around the Tidal Basin. As luck would have it, the Japanese consul was in New York at the time and heard of the proposition--he was of the mind to offer 2,000 cherry blossom trees and on December 10, 1910 2,000 trees arrived from Japan to be planted in DC.
The weekend, and St Patrick's Day in Washington DC, is over. People have shamrocks still painted on their faces today at work, right? Your co-workers have also been remarkably "sick," but you've seen their Facebook photos and they don't look like the flu bug bit them. In fact, they look well enough to have done a green beer keg stand followed by updates of "whiskey shots are amazing" on Twitter. You know they don't really have the 24-hour flu, just a hangover. You're so over that scene, so you think, "What else is there to do now that St Patrick's Day in Washington DC is over?"
Well, here are a few fun and pretty chilled-out activities for you and your kids that do not involve green beer, packed and sweaty bars, or shots (we can't promise you won't have a green shamrock painted on your face, that part is up to you).
St. Patrick's Day in Washington DC is here; in fact, some die hard fans of the holiday have been celebrating all week and have been preparing their perfect green outfits for Friday, Saturday, AND Sunday. Green shamrocks everywhere, basically. This is one of the more alcohol-based holidays that we have and why not make the best of it when from 4pm Sunday through 4am Monday SoberRide is offering free taxi rides (up to a $30 value). Free taxi rides? Well, there's your chance to leave your car at home and be responsible while you do car bomb shots to your heart's delight.
Pubcrawls.com is doing their famous three-day pub crawl once again and it's only $30 for 3 days, too! The Friday pub crawl is happy hour related, but Saturday and Sunday's crawls last all day. The drink specials include $1 domestic drafts, $2 domestic bottles, $3 well drinks, and more. Check them out on their website.
If you're interested in DC's history you might want to consider a tour of Georgetown University and a walk around the surrounding neighborhood. Georgetown proper encompasses 1.172 square miles and includes waterfront views, Montrose Park, part of Rock Creek Park, part of the C&O Canal trail, and Reservoir Road as well. You can start your day at any of the area coffee shops, such as Baked & Wired, Cafe Bonaparte, Saxbys, or Dean & DeLuca. Many of these coffee shops have breakfast and pastries to go with your coffee. As you make your way up the hill towards Georgetown University, you will start to notice (on most weekends) lines forming for the Georgetown Cupcake shop. In all honesty, it is best practice to avoid the cupcake line and get a better (and cheaper) cupcake at Baked & Wired.
If you venture up any of the hills off of busy M Street, the main drag in Georgetown, you will find quite a different neighborhood awaits you. The upper Georgetown neighborhood in Washington DC is away from the busy crowds that dominate lower M Street and Wisconsin Avenue. There are only a handful of stores and corner stores, and around Georgetown University it is mainly residential. The University was founded in 1789 by Jesuit John Carroll and has a proud lineage of Jesuit and Catholic traditions practiced to this day. Georgetown University is one of the oldest Jesuit universities in the country and sits on 104 acres of land. Georgetown University and residents along the top of Prospect Street have unrivaled views of the Potomac River and the rest of Washington DC, as well.
The Washington DC neighborhood of Barracks Row has been revitalized and, like much of DC since the riots in the 1960s, the renewal and facelift was something the community needed. Only ten years ago, many people left the neighborhood, feeling that it wasn't safe. The economic and social reinvigoration of the community, however, has been noticed and appreciated by the current residents. Local resident Kay Webster who lives a few blocks over on the corner of 6th and G St, SE is happy with the revitalized area and says the corresponding rise in property values "doesn't hurt." The homes and businesses around Barracks Row reflect some of the unique architecure Washington DC has to offer.
The area has attracted varied businesses and 8th Street has become a very hip place to live as well as to go out and enjoy the lively social scene. Since 2004, the area has been enjoying an increased popularity for the first time since it was built. All of this is due to a string of restaurants, bars, and retail establishments opening along 8th Street or "Main Street" Barracks Row. Many restaurants along 8th Street have happy hour specials and food specials, but while there are many great places to eat along Barracks Row, there are a ton of other establishments as well.
The Washington DC neighborhood of Barracks Row is steeped in history. All along one side of 8th Street you will see rows of barracks, hence the name, "Barracks Row." Barracks Row was established in 1799 when the Washington Navy Yard was opened and, by 1801, the location of the present-day barracks was chosen by then-U.S President Thomas Jefferson. In less than 10 years, the area was full of newly opened businesses to support the Navy Yard, the Barracks Row, officers, and Congressional workers living in the area. The area fell into an era of neglect after hiring at the Navy Yard slowed down after World War II, and when construction began on the freeway in the 1960s (which bisects 8th Street), the area was rapidly losing or had already lost many businesses and residents.
Our little Chinatown neighborhood in Washington DC may be relatively small, but it is packed with colorful restaurants and bars. You can spend the whole day in Chinatown because there are various museums and attractions within walking distance of the Chinatown Arch like: the Chinatown Coffee Company, the Chinatown Community Cultural Center (CCCC), or the International Spy Museum, as well as many great Chinese restaurants.