The designer’s guide to Washington during #SNDDC

Washington isn’t just the capital of the United States; it’s also a hotspot of arts, culture, dining and more. To make the labyrinth a little bit easier to navigate (and to ensure that you have the best possible time while visiting the District), we’ve compiled a go-to guide for experiencing the city during #SNDDC, which runs April 9-11.

EXPLORE

If you’re looking to check out Washington’s landmarks, here is a quick guide to some of our favorites (organized by Metro stop):

Metro Center Stop (Lines: Red, Orange, Gray, Blue)

The White House (Note: Tours must be arranged in advance. Info here.)

Union Station

U.S. Capitol Building

Supreme Court of the United States

Capitol South (Lines: Orange and Blue) 

Archives-Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter (Lines: Green and  Yellow)

National Mall and Memorial Parks (NAMA)

Okay, guys.  If you don’t do anything else and want a one-stop tourist show, the National Mall and Memorial Parks are for you. While you can find maps here and a complete list of all of NAMA’s landmarks here, here’s a quick roundup of some of our favorite stops:

1. Lincoln Memorial

2. Washington Monument

3. Thomas Jefferson Memorial

4. World War II Memorial

5. Vietnam Veterans Memorial

6. Korean War Veterans Memorial

Mobile Munchies

If you’re in need of a daytime bite and like living on the edge (or just on the edge of the sidewalk), then Washington’s diverse and delicious food truck scene needs to be on your radar. Thanks be to data, Food Truck Fiesta can serve as your guide to all-things mobile dining in and around D.C. The site is literally a food-truck tracker, and allows you to view selections at locations around the DMV in map or list format.

Casual Eats

If, like us, you consider good Mexican food to be a religious experience, then a stop at District Taco (1309 F Street NW) should be at the top of your list. The chain, which boasts daily specials worthy of lines stretching out of the restaurant’s front door, delivers fare that’s easy on the wallet (3 tacos for $7, anyone?), but which packs a flavor punch.

If you’re looking for more of a sit-down experience, then we’d suggest Tortilla Coast (400 First St. SE), the Capitol Hill crowd’s go-to Tex-Mex hideaway (especially during Happy Hour).

If you’re craving something a little more creative, check out Matchbox Chinatown (713 H Street NW), which features fusion-inspired sandwiches, artisan pizzas, innovative entrees and cool cocktails.

Ben’s Chili Bowl (1213 U. Street NW) is a go-to place for late-night comfort food. Whether it be burgers (both classic and veggie),hot dogs, chili cheese fries or a quick dessert, this place has got you covered. The best part? If you’re venturing out to U Street for late-night entertainment, it’s also right in the center of the action.

If you’re looking for something a little more upscale, here are some splurges worthy of indulging your inner foodie:

Old Ebbitt Grill (675 15th St. NW), open for breakfast-dinner, is your classic steakhouse on Capitol swagger. Make reservations because, between the famous oysters, indulgent entrees and lavish ambience, this place fills up fast.

Le Diplomate (1601 14th St. NW) offers fresh seafood and classic French fare in an elegant setting.

If a great Irish pub is more of your thing, check out Daniel O’Connell’s in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia (take the Metro’s Yellow or Blue lines to King Street Station, then grab a free trolley or take an easy walk down King Street). Combining traditional Celtic fare with international influences and boasting an out-of-this-world beer list, this place is worth the commute.

Choose Your Own Adventure

In case you’re feeling adventurous, we created some customized Yelp searches to help you quell your every craving without leaving the District.  All of the results accept credit cards, are wheelchair-accessible and can accommodate groups, so feel free to bring any new friends you make at SNDDC to the party.

Vegan Restaurants

Vegetarian Restaurants

Chinese Restaurants

Japanese Restaurants

Italian Restaurants

Indian Restaurants

 

DRINK

The Local 411

Want to imbibe with the in-crowd? Check out The Reliable Source, the bar at the National Press Club.

Go to the NPC building, make a right and take one of the golden elevators up to the nth floor. Between the elegant ambience, the portraits of esteemed journalists covering the walls and the constant rush of newspeople frequenting the NPC’s halls for events, drinks, dinner or just good old-fashioned networking, this place is the Washington press’ equivalent of Willy Wonka’s factory. Your golden ticket? Come with an existing NPC member (so that they can present their membership credentials), and you’re in. The unspoken dress code is business attire (think a step above casual).

A chilled-out alternative that draws the journo crowd but doesn’t require a membership card is The Laughing Man Tavern (1306 G St. NW), a bar and restaurant that boasts a great beer list and amazing plates.

If you want to keep your drinks upscale but prioritize views over news (of the city, that is), head to POV Washington D.C. (515 15th Street NW) the W Washington D.C.’s rooftop destination that boasts unparalleled views of local landmarks like the White House and the Washington Monument. Their self-professed dress code calls for “casual sophistication,” so leave your sneakers at home.

Have a more low-key, but still exclusive, setting in mind? Head to Quill at the Jefferson Hotel (1200 16th St. NW), keepers of craft cocktails that’d make the most picky connoisseur swoon, an extensive wine list and an appetizer menu that’s served until midnight. Plus, the Jefferson-inspired decor (taking equal cues from architecture and cartography) is a designer’s dream.

If you’re in the mood for a throwback, you can hop on the X2 bus to the H Street Corridor and grab drinks and a game of Galaga at Atlas Arcade at 1235 H. St. NE (check out their full game selection here).

Pick Your Poison

Want to discover D.C.’s most delectable drinks on your own?  Here is a customized Yelp guide to D.C.’s highest-rated bars.  Note: All bars listed here offer a full bar,  accept credit cards, are wheelchair-accessible, can accommodate groups and hold happy hours.

WATCH

The cold weather might be wrapping up, but the Verizon Center ice is just heating up! Hometown NHL heroes the Washington Capitals are scheduled to play 2 major teams during your stay at #SNDDC: the Boston Bruins on Wednesday, April 8, and the New York Rangers.on Saturday, April 11th.

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts hosts multiple events nightly, but highlights during SNDDC include a visit by the New York City Ballet (April 8-11), a performance by Edgar Meyer (of The Goat Rodeo Sessions and MacArthur “Genius” grant fame) on April 8, and a comedy performance by Jay Leno on April 8, as well.

If you prefer your performances to be of the rock-and-roll persuasion, then be sure to check out The Black Cat (1811 14th St. NW), a music venue/bar/restaurant combo that curates an eclectic (and excellent) roster of under-the-radar and established music acts from the District, nation and world over.  Check out their schedule here.

Last, but certainly not least, the H Street Corridor’s Atlas Performing Arts Center (1333 H. St. NE) is one of the District’s best-kept entertainment secrets. Hosting everything from symphony performances and theatre to film screenings and spoken-word poetry shows, its schedule is always bustling.

ADMIRE

If museums are more your thing, here are some of our favorites:

Art

National Gallery of Art & Sculpture Garden

(Metro directions: Red to Judiciary Square / Green or Yellow to Archives–Penn Quarter–Navy Memorial /Blue or Orange to Smithsonian)

Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery

(Metro directions:  Green, Yellow or Red to Gallery Place-Chinatown)

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

(Metro directions: Blue or Orange to Smithsonian)

Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

(Metro directions: Red, Gray, Blue, Yellow or Green to L’Enfant Plaza)

National Archives Museum

(Metro directions: Green or Yellow to Archives-Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter)

ROAR

— or don’t. In either case, we’d be remiss if we didn’t include the nation’s foremost arbiters of cute in our rundown of D.C. must-dos.

Smithsonian National Zoological Park

(Metro directions: Red to Woodley Park-Zoo-Adams Morgan or Cleveland Park)

BELONG

We here at SNDDC have a few exclusive events up our sleeve to help break the ice:

  • Karaoke Night
    • WHO: SNDDC attendees
    • WHAT: Singing for a great cause, the SND Foundation
    • WHERE: Solly’s U Street Tavern (1942 11th St. NW)
    • WHEN: Friday, April 10th at 8:30 p.m.
    • HOW: Donate $10 to get 1 drink and 1 song.

(Keep checking back for more SNDDC-only events TBA as the conference nears.)