My Dupont Area Guide

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Now that I’ve lived over here for six months (seriously, time flies!) it’s about time I do a post on my favorite neighborhood spots (I did a smaller one about a month back, but this one will be a little more comprehensive!). I’ll preface this with two notes–1) I honestly call the entire area surrounding me Dupont even though parts of it are technically Logan Circle/U Street-ish…our apartment was listed online as being in Dupont, but we’re very close to these other two areas, so I kind of describe my place as being in the middle of all three! 2) These are just a few of my personal recs and this definitely isn’t a comprehensive list. I’m also writing this kind of on a whim and am likely forgetting something! Lastly (sorry…I’ll stop rambling!), I really don’t go out to eat that much, so my restaurant guide is a little subpar–I feel like in previous cities, I honestly tried lots of restaurants through various boyfriends because going out to dinner was always our go-to date night activity (I’m sure many of you can relate!), and now that I’m not part of a couple, I’m like, oops…I’ve barely been to any of these!

Anyway, with all of that aside, haha…here are my favorite spots for…

Shopping: 

Starting this on a practical note…Trader Joe’s is my go-to spot for grocery shopping and I love being able to walk to one of the DC locations now. I barely ever made it to TJ when I lived in Georgetown even though the Foggy Bottom location was relatively close, although that’s partly because I lived near such a great Safeway that was about a three minute walk from my apartment. There’s still a Safeway near us now, but it’s known as the “Soviet Safeway” (the DC ones all have nicknames) and it definitely lives up to its reputation of being run down and often lacking in certain areas. (But if you live in Georgetown, seriously go to the “Social Safeway”–it’s amazing!).

In terms of shopping shopping, I think this post pretty much covers it–Miss Pixie’s, GoodWood, and Salt and Sundry are my go-to’s when it comes to weekend browsing. Also, Little Leaf is a spot that I frequent pretty often–I have several of their plants in my room! Plus, 14th Street is also home to chains such as West Elm, Room and BoardLululemon, and many, many additional stores.

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Happy Hour/Dining/Bars: 

I honestly don’t make it to HH as frequently as I would like, but Zorba’s is one of my favorite spots (I’ve been there on dates, with friends, and even alone–it’s super casual and is perfect for dropping in quickly or sitting down for a couple of hours). It’s a Greek spot that’s located right off of the Dupont Metro, making it super convenient whether or not you live in the neighborhood. The owner now knows me and sometimes honors my requests for extra happy hour wine even when it’s past 7:00. 😉 If you’re the kind of girl who appreciates no frills $3 wine, all of the hummus/dips, and delicious french fries, this is the spot for you!

Le Diplomate is a beloved French spot on 14th Street and is perfect for everyone–my friends and I love it, my parents and their friends love it, and for good reason! Go for brunch, drinks, dinner…everything is delicious and this is a highly-recommended spot that you shouldn’t miss if you come to this area (or to the city in general!).

El Centro is delicious for brunch and dinner alike. They also have a Georgetown location, but I really like this one as well. At brunch, you get a ton of food and unlimited drinks for a pretty good price, and if you go for dinner, definitely try the Chipotle BBQ chicken salad at some point–it’s so good, and I promise you won’t feel weird for ordering a salad at a Mexican restaurant; this isn’t a lame one and is super yummy! I also love Lauriol Plaza for Mexican food–start out by ordering one of their delicious swirl margaritas and then grab a platter of tacos (and some queso!). Lastly, there’s Mission, which is located right next door to Zorba’s and also has great happy hour specials in addition to regular dinner and brunch options.

Brick Lane is relatively new to me but has a great brunch menu and is reasonably priced. Alero, a Mediterranean place, is right down the street from Brick Lane and is another popular brunch spot, but be sure to make a reservation, because they definitely fill up! I ate there a few weeks ago and have also been to their happy hour–order the cheese plate and a cocktail! And of course, Duke’s Grocery is also right down the street, and I’ve been told you have to try their burger (although I can attest that their sandwiches are great as well). If you’re in the mood for a wide selection of American food, Ted’s Bulletin (a local chain) is a great option–I always want everything on the menu and am also obsessed with their famous poptarts!

A few of these places (particularly Mission) also double as popular places to go out at night…Ghibellina is another restaurant (delicious Italian) that also fills up on Friday and Saturday nights. I went to Sotto, a speakeasy-ish bar below it, a few weeks ago (overpriced wine = no thanks) and have also had a blast at Pearl Dive and Barcelona. If you venture out to U Street later at night, The Brixton, Provision 14, Hawthorne, and The Fainting Goat are all faves and are a great place to bring out of town friends who want to go out (just prepare to feel like you’re 23 again). That said, you can totally sit and have a drink there and actually hear each other if you get there early enough! Finally, for a real dive/1 am stop, head to the Codmother…just prepare yourself for sticky floors and angsty ’90s music–one of my friends and I call it “the Scotty Doesn’t Know Bar” because they play that song on repeat, and that about sums it up! Oh, and if you want a real speakeasy, definitely try The Sheppard–you may have to put your name in and come back, but the drinks are amazing (the bartender kind of just whips up whatever based on your preferences) and the atmosphere is classy and relaxing.

Coffee/Dessert: 

Colada Shop has a cult following and is conveniently located right off 14th Street–stop in for Cuban eats and good coffee. It’s right next door to Ice Cream Jubilee, an ice cream place that I tried the weekend I moved in–I’ve been meaning to go back, because all of their flavors looked super good! Jeni’s also opened this past fall and has amazing ice cream as well (plus super Instagrammable decor).

If you’re more of a froyo person, I love Mr. Yogato…it’s a super hole in the wall place and a little overpriced, but I swear the plain tart yogurt is among the best I’ve had (and they usually offer one additional flavor as well). Just note that the offerings are somewhat limited, and it also isn’t serve yourself as most froyo places are nowadays.

Activities: 

Kramerbooks and Afterwards is a super energetic bookstore and restaurant (though I’ve heard the food is pricy) and is open pretty late. Someone recently told me that they price match with Amazon, which I didn’t know!

If you’re in more of a game night mood, the Board Room is a super chill bar that lets you bring in your own food (because they don’t sell any!) and offers a wide selection of board games and seating. I went last year with a few high school friends and caught up over Cards Against Humanity, which was the perfect relaxing night out (if there is such a thing!).

Whew–this is everything I could think of for now, but I’m sure this will be updated soon! Anything I definitely need to try? I’m always up for more area recs!

Photos by forbetterdays4@gmail.com

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