I’ll admit, I thought it was selfish of me to hoard the knowledge of the best experiences the Nation’s Capital has to offer. As many people know, Washington, D.C. is evolving into a lively  city, booming with businesses and a delicious foodie scene (aka the sole reason I moved here) – a place beyond the iconic history, monuments and political drama.

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As an official D.C. resident for almost a year now (time flies), and even MORE visitors, reference (Klo’s Top 10 D.C. Spots), I’ve experienced the highs and lows D.C. has to offer (mostly highs, although I can’t forgo mentioning the pain of the metro and summer heat). I’ve listed out some of my favorite experiences, and would highly recommend all of them to visitors and locals alike.

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Note: there are so many amazing things to do, I had to break it up into two blogs!

1. Watch your drink fog up at Jose Andres’ cocktail lab, Barmini

Floral cloud with liquid nitrogen is a MUST

2. Just keep spinning with Capital Bike Share  

A fun, fast and low cost option for getting around town. One of my bike route go-to’s is the sidewalks around the National Mall. Even though I’d declare myself a city girl, I don’t think I’ll ever be brave enough to face the the chaotic city streets by bike.

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Start at Lincoln Memorial and make your way to the pond in front of the capitol – all sidewalk friendly, disclaimer, you will have to ring at the bell at some lingering tourists in the way

3. Jam out to some Jazz in the Sculpture Garden (attached to the National Gallery of Art)

Every Friday, sangria and beer are available for purchase, and no outside alcohol is allowed in. Be sure to bring picnic supplies: blanket, easy packable snacks (my fave: cheese, grapes, crackers + jam)

4. Make monumental memories renting a pedal or swan boat overlooking the Jefferson Memorial  in the Tidal basin

During cherry blossom season, you’re able to reserve boats in advance.

Pricing:

$18.00 per hour – 2 passenger boat

$30.00 per hour – 4 passenger boat

$34.00 per hour – 2 passenger swan boat

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5. Play D.C. themed mini golf in a bar at H Street Country Club

Drinks + mini golf, is there really a better activity?

6. Buy local produce, bread, cheeses and other goodies at Dupont Circle Farmers Market

A farmers market which the Wall Street Journal and Financial Times of London named one of the top farmers markets in the country.

Times:

Sundays, 10am to 1pm (January to March)

Sundays, 8:30am to 1:30pm (April to December)

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7. Channel your inner creativity with a class at Lemon Bowl

From calligraphy, to photography classes, to learning how to apply make up – Lemon Bowl has a variety of things to fuel your creative soul! After your class, replenish your energy with food at NuVegan Cafe, a vegan soul-food bistro

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8. Watch a movie outside with free screenings around the DMV area

We’re considered outdoorsy for watching a movie in the fresh air, right? Check out the full schedule of outdoor screenings here.

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9. Watch dessert set on fire before eating it

Save room for dessert when dining at RPM, Bill and Giuliana Rancic’s Italian Restaurant.

What the heck is it?? It’s torta meringata which is flambéd tableside.

10. Escape city life at Rock Creek Park

Favorite hiking trails: Valley Trail, Western Ridge Trail and Military Road NW

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What are your favorite things to do in DC? Comment below!

 

It’s been a while since I’ve given my blog some love – it’s been four crazy months as an official D.C. resident. Within four months I’ve survived my first winter (barely, but turns out a v warm jacket makes life easier), lived through the chaos of Inauguration Weekend (picture an end of the world themed movie with Will Smith standing amidst explosions) and been D.C’s newest tour guide to 12 friends who visited various weekends (and yes, a different itinerary for each one)…Phew, I’m exhausted just thinking about all of it.

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I’ve loved every second of working for Marriott International on the Digital Services team – navigating my way through the world’s largest hotel company HQ being a #girlboss every second possible. Safe to say I’ve already taken full advantage of the hotel discounts, from stay-cations to weekend trips.

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I’ve become infamous (and an expert, if I do say so myself) for planning friends’ weekends with itineraries down to the hour. Not exaggerating, full review on hilarious lifestyle blog and Instagram Extraordinaire, You Chlo Girl.

During my time living here, I’ve uncovered some of my favorite local spots – which should be on the top of your list when visiting D.C.

  1. Lemon Bowl

Picture every DIYers dream – a work space where the city’s creative gather to teach workshops. From hand lettering classes, to indigo dye classes – creatives have dyed and gone to heaven. Check out their monthly schedule.

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  1. Dolcezza

Gelato + coffee shop – need I say more?

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  1. Bethesda Bagels

Four score and seven schemers ago -“Chloe Duke

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What I order: Everything bagel with sausage, egg and cheese – or if I’m not in the egg sammy mood, rainbow bagel with strawberry cream cheese is an absolute go to. BUT rainbow bagels are only available on the weekends.

Tip: There are two Bethesda Bagels locations, one in Bethesda and one in D.C.; Dupont specifically. Bethesda Bagels is a small space (think fish swimming upstream at all times) with practically no seating…So I’ll sit in Dolcezza and sip on some chai while eating my bethesda bagel heaven sent bagel.

  1. Le Diplomate

But first, french onion soup. A D.C staple, and in my opinion, one of the best restaurants in D.C.

16995970_10155035452112442_9023624889398364866_n(Pastry basket + cheese plate + mimosas)

What I order: A million times over, the cheese plate. No matter what meal you’re there for, it’s an essential. There are no set cheeses listed on the menu, but tell the server what you like and they’ll whip out the most delicious cheese you’ve ever had. It’s one of those spots where every dish is to die for.

Tip: Reservations open up a month in advance, so book as close to that date.

  1. National Mall

Such a locals only spot right?? Kidding, but I never get tired of this view.

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Tip: When the weather is right, rent a bike and ride around the Mall, to the Washington Monument, then the Lincoln Memorial. Bring some picnic supplies and lay out your set up on the grass surrounding the Monument. Some of the best views of the Monument are from Lincoln Memorial. 

  1. Barmini

Jose Andres’ “cocktail lab” is exactly that, and nothing like you’ve ever experienced before. It’s topped many best cocktail lists, with a mix of eclectic and innovative cocktails and small snacks.

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16939031_10155035452382442_6667225793819113187_n(Let’s roll!)

Tip: Make reservations 6 weeks in advance (I’m not kidding, but it’s so worth it)

  1. Mockingbird Hill, Southern Efficiency, Eat the Rich

These trio of bars are lined up next to each other with most of the time having different pop up themes based on the season. Starting in November, there was a Christmas and Channakuh theme, with a little bit of Stranger Things sprinkled in. In the Stranger Things bar, there was a light show as well as a Demogorgan spotting, and a spot to pay your respects to Barb.

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In March, #cherryblossomPUB is coming, a pop-up which is a mix of cherry blossoms and Super Mario World.

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Tip: There can be a line, especially on weekends, so make sure you’re prepared.

     8. Butter Cream Bakeshop 

A mighty little bakery with sugary goodness overload

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What I get: unicorn bar, and yes – that is glitter

  1. Blagden Alley

A hidden city block that has history which dates before the Civil War. Additionally, I’d say it’s one of D.C’s most Instagrammable spots.

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Tip: In the alley and close by, check out La Columbe (coffee shop), The Dabney (Mid-Atlantic cuisine cooked over a wood fire), The Columbia Room (cocktail bar) and JRINK (cold press juices).

  1. Union Market

Warehouse-esque food market filled with some of the best local vendors. There are also a couple of outdoor murals on the side of the building. My favorite is the vibrant heart wall, created by Mr. Brainwash, an LA-based graffiti artist who painted it for International Women’s Day in 2015.    

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Well, that’s a wrap folks! Do you agree with my favorite finds, or do you have any different? Comment below!