Washington will forever be associated with The White House, but spend ever a short time in the city and you’ll soon discover that DC has a thriving food scene. For lunch on the run, look to Union Market (www.unionmarketdc.com), a fabulous food market that’s the perfect place to taste DC on a plate filled as it is, with over 30 of the top food producers in the region.
Need a 3pm sugar hit? Afterwords Cafe (www.kramers.com), part of a buzzy bookshop, is top spot to tuck into heavenly home made cakes and excellent coffee. For something more swanky, seek out Central Michel Richard (www.centralmichelrichard.com) which specialises in serving new takes on traditional American comfort food favourites – lobster burgers anyone? – in an upmarket setting.
After a hard day at the office, locals love to let their hair down over a cocktail at a hip U Street bar: take a bow Bar Pillar (www.barpilar.com) and Marvin (www.marvindc.com). Wine more your bag? Dickson Wine Bar (www.dicksonwinebar.com) whose cosy walls covered in wine will put a smile on the face of any oenophile. When you’re done drinking, catch a show at DC’s original live music venue - the 9.30 club (www.930.com) whose name was derived from its opening time. Everyone who is anyone - we’re talking Bob Dylan, Beastie Boys, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Adele - has played here when in town. As Fall Out Boy's Patrick Stump once said of the 9:30: “It's got so much character, you wonder if the locals know how lucky they are.”
Shop to it
Good retail therapy is another part of Washington’s short break pleasures. If you want to play at being a politician, check out The CityCenter complex (www.citycenterdc.com). Housing some 40+ individual boutiques plus all the big designer names, this is where Washington’s power players shop till they drop.
Alternatively if your budget is more Primark than Prada, head to historic Georgetown - especially M Street, whose charming cobblestone streets sell everything from streetwear to home decor.
Into art? Don’t miss the Phillips Collection (www.phillipscollection.org/) near Dupont Circle (a favourite with DC’s diplomatic and gay scene) where you’ll find a remarkable collection of European and American works, many of which are for sale.