I had secretly planned a weekend trip to D.C as Dan's birthday present this year, to take him to see the Udvar Hazy Aerospace Museum! We'd recently visited the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and to be totally honest, the experience was kind of a bust. I had high hopes that this museum would be better and it definitely was. Because of a scheduled protest on the National Mall in D.C, we made the decision to spend all of our time outside of the museum outing, exploring some of the neighborhoods in the area. I wanted to share some of the fun places we went, in case you end up in D.C and are looking for some non-monument related, low-key activities and popular eateries.
I found our Airbnb back in July and was able to book a few months out. Our Host's home was located in Mt. Pleasant, very close to the Cleveland Park and Adams Morgan areas. It was a positive stay overall, giving us a private and fully equipped basement apartment in a quiet area. Our host was also helpful in giving dining recommendations -- almost all of our meals were suggested by her and we loved them! I've linked the listing below, in case you're looking for a place to stay in this area.
AIRBNB LISTING: https://abnb.me/GfTZ83lk5jb
The first morning, we got up and walked for about 15 minutes to get to the VERY popular Elle's cafe in Mt. Pleasant. We actually ended up walking through a bustling farmers market to get there, which was pretty cool. If you're planning on stopping by this cafe though, I suggest getting up early! They are currently only doing mobile orders and we waited about an hour to get our coffee and breakfast sandwiches after ordering. I ordered the sausage and egg sandwich and Dan got the brisket breakfast sandwich!
The food was good, but their pickup system wasn't the most user-friendly, resulting in a longer wait time. Make sure that you let them know that you're in the area after ordering, because they say they'll text you when your order is ready (but that didn't happen for us). I can admit, I was a little hangry by the time that my sandwich came out, but it did fuel me up for the rest of the day and was admittedly a good breakfast!
For dinner, we went to Donburi in Adams Morgan, to get a bowl of delicious Japanese comfort food. I have to say the bowls felt pretty authentic in terms of taste -- I was really impressed! The donburi bowls ranged from $12-$20 based on the type of dish and the meat you chose. I got the shrimp tempura bowl! The restaurant was small, cozy and unassuming, with only counter seating looking into the prep area. I liked the vibe of it and our food was out within minutes! Definitely recommend popping in here for a quick dinner or a lunch break!
We wanted to check out some of the popular bars in the Adams Morgan area that were walkable after dinner and ended up stopping in two different ones that our host recommended. The first was Roofers Union. The interior part of the bar was closed for a wedding, so we went to the rooftop deck, which was absolutely beautiful in terms of view. We were able to watch the sun set over the city and the weather was nice, making it a memorable drink. The drinks themselves were strong and a bit rough to kick back, but hey -- the free pour is real in the city!
Next up was Madam's Organ, which was right across the street. This bar was really unique in that each of the different floors had a different distinct vibe to them. All of them were dark and moody compared to the more straightforward bar across the street, but at Madams Organ you could experience what felt to be four unique bars in one. The first floor was a traditional bar space with live music, the second floor was like a slow club vibe with couches and more intimate conversation space, the third floor was full of pool tables and packed to the brim with people and the rooftop area was somewhat open air, with red lighting and a weirdly "shipwrecked" theme. The center stand-up bar looked like one giant piece of driftwood. This was where we spent most of our time and the drinks here, though strong, tasted much better.
We ended the night at a corner slice place next door to Madams Organ, to soak up the rest of the alcohol that would inevitably become a hangover the next morning and it was the perfect end to the night. The pizza was big enough that we both shared one slice and Dan even ran into a man with the same exact Hawaiian shirt as him (though he was much less amused about it than we were).
CALL YOUR MOTHER
For breakfast the second morning (or more accurately brunch), we drove to Georgetown and got bagels from the popular Jewish deli 'Call your Mother.' This corner shop is straight out of an influencers dream, with pink walls, floral accents and trendy/colorful merchandise. On top of the killer aesthetic, the food itself was worth waiting in line for. I'm also happy to say that we didn't wait long at all this time for our breakfast sandwiches and coffee (only about 20 minutes), so I'd definitely recommend this spot over Ellē cafe if you have to choose just one.
Udvar Hazy Aerospace Museum
This museum was nice because it wasn't too far of a drive from our airbnb (about 30 minutes), but it was away from the hustle and bustle of tourists circling the national mall. As a part of the Smithsonian, admission was free and the staff were friendly and eager to share what they knew!
The collection of aircraft was pretty impressive and we were even able to see one of the X-Wing fighters from Star Wars on its last day in the collection before moving locations. Doing this museum with Dan was memorable because it's something he has such a passion for. I felt like I was able to learn a lot about the different planes and helicopters while bonding over one of his interests!
Most of our weekend consisted of just walking around neighborhoods, which was a really nice change from some of our more structured excursions. We ended up parking by the Performing Arts High School in Georgetown and walking past 'Call your Mother' to eat our breakfast down by the water.
There is a lovely waterside park and many high end shops and boutiques to see in the area. We did wait in line for the famous 'Georgetown Cupcakes' and it was 100% worth it in my opinion. I genuinely believe that they are some of the better cupcakes out there and luckily the line moved quick (we were to the front ordering in under 20 minutes).
Overall, this was a pretty laid back trip for us. We're already excited for our next visit to D.C, to do some of the more traditional tourist activities like visiting the monuments and other museums!