The Best of Washington, D.C., Shared by a Local Expert

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When you visit Washington, D.C., it’s always useful to get an insider’s tips on finding the city’s treasures. Renee Sklarew, coauthor of The Unofficial Guide to Washington, D.C., tells us what to put on your must-see list.

  • Best View: My favorite view of Washington, D.C., is from Arlington National Cemetery, where you’ll find a stunning view of downtown, including the monuments and memorials across the Potomac River. The view is along the flight path of airplanes and helicopters traveling south along the Potomac; sometimes you’ll even see Air Force One.

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  • Most Interesting Museum: The Newseum, located on America’s main street, Pennsylvania Avenue, has a bird’s-eye view of the National Mall, the U.S. Capitol, and the dome of the National Gallery of Art. The Newseum is full of modern history, with exhibits ranging from the Berlin Wall to the Unabomber’s cabin. The museum also has a copy of every major newspaper in the world on display.

  • Best Neighborhood Lunch/Coffee Shop: Open City in Woodley Park has ample indoor and outdoor seating that overlooks Rock Creek Park and bustling Calvert Street. It’s a favorite of locals, tourists, and families alike. Only steps from the Woodley Park Metro and National Zoo, Open City’s meal options range from all-day breakfast to a wide selection of craft beers. Of course, they have really good coffee and friendly service too.
  • Best Walk: Strolling on the National Mall. It’s endlessly fascinating in any season. On the Mall there are dozens of museums, most of them free. I like exploring museums in the daytime, and then wandering around the memorials and monuments at night when there are no crowds and everything is lit up and glowing.

  • Favorite Local Chef: Jose Andres, founder of ThinkFoodGroup, brings a slew of fascinating restaurants to our city. He has a vegetarian restaurant (Beefsteak), a stunning Greek restaurant called Zaytinya, a quirky-cool spot serving a mix between Asian and Latin American food called China Chilcano, and a gourmet Mexican place called Oyamel, to name a few.

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