Washington DC Fast-tracked

The local landmark is Ben’s Chili Bowl, which proudly boasts pictures of Bill Cosby and Barack Obama tucking into its famous chilli dogs.

The Icon: National Mall

Spanning three kilometres from the Capitol building to the Lincoln Memorial, this strip features most of the city’s well-known museums and monuments. If you only have time for one dose of culture, visit the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum. For a selfguided tour of the memorials, hire a bike from A$10 per hour from Bike and Roll (Old Post Office Pavilion, 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue NW). 

The Shopping Strip:  Wisconsin Avenue and M Street NW

Well-heeled Georgetown at the junction of Wisconsin Avenue and M Street NW is where you find most of the designer label and up-market chain stores, but there are a few interesting independent shops in the mix too. Arguably the best shops are at Cady’s Alley (3318 M Street NW), a one-block mini-mall where the prices reflect the cool factor. Both Jewelers’ Werk Galerie and Design Within Reach sell stylish jewellery and homewares while Relish clads impeccably dressed locals in international designs by the likes of Yohji Yamamoto and Jil Sander.

The Eat Street: U Street NW

This street is home to an impressively eclectic blend of dining options. The local landmark is Ben’s Chili Bowl (1213), which proudly boasts pictures of Bill Cosby and Barack Obama tucking into its famous chilli dogs. For something a little more up-market, Creme Cafe & Lounge (1322) specialises in food from grandma’s Deep South kitchen but has an attitude and decor that is sleek and contemporary. Dukem Restaurant (1114) offers traditional Ethiopian dishes  meze-style selection eaten with spongy flat bread  and has live music twice a week. Just around the corner, the classy but homely Cork Wine Bar (1720 14th Street NW) serves excellent small plates, wines and cheeses.

The Hot Spot: W Washington DC,515 15th Street NW

Even if you’re not staying here, drop in on this A-listers’ favourite to gawp at the hotel’s ‘Italian Renaissance meets contemporary cool’ furnishings. The hotel’s on-site restaurant, J&G Steakhouse, is a classic Washington power-suit joint and is said to be a favourite of Michelle Obama. It also serves fabulous Wagyu sirloin. Upstairs is the POV Roof Terrace bar, where nothing is pre-made, the ice is freshly shaved from an enormous block and you can enjoy sensational views of the Washington Monument and the White House.

Words by David Whitley - Published in Voyeur December 2010
Quick Facts 
Population Approx. 600,000 (City) 5.4m (Metro)
Time Zone UTC -5
Languages English (official), Spanish, Native American
Currency American Dollar ($USD)
Electricity 110v - 60Hz
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