The viceroy of Washington DC has a buzzer when it comes to local recommendations in the nation’s capital: Sherry Abedi, the general manager of the hip hotel near Logan Circle. We recently tapped into his source of knowledge, getting tips for tourists and locals. Below, you’ll find his suggestions for the best cup of coffee in town, cheap eats, low-key museums and more.
Where can I get a cup of coffee near the hotel and have a good walk?
Outside of BPM, our on-site cafe, I often visit Slipstream which is a block away on 14th Street. It has those lovely cafe vibes and a tasty menu to boot.
Where’s a good place to go dancing?
Twelve After Twelve is the perfect place to enjoy intense beats in the dark.
The best cheap restaurants in town?
It might sound cliché, but no trip to DC is complete without a visit to the affordable Ben’s Chili Bowl, a DC family institution for more than six decades. You get a free side of the story with your half smoke.
Where can I go for the best dessert?
I’m heading to L’Ardente for a live. I hit Tatte Bakery for something more casual. They are right next to each other so my sweet tooth is easily satisfied. Sticky Fingers will delight and surprise you when you discover that it is 100% vegan.
The best place for a sunset cocktail?
Top of the Gate, the Watergate Hotel’s rooftop lounge, overlooks the Potomac and several DC landmarks. If you don’t feel like venturing out, Viceroy patrons can head straight up to Hush Rooftop Bar for a gorgeous sunset cocktail framed by less typical but equally beautiful DC views.
Where to go in the region for a day spent outdoors?
One of the best things about DC is its abundance of green spaces. Head to Rock Creek Park for nature hikes, great running and biking trails, and wildlife viewing in DC’s untouched natural habitat. Or visit the United States Botanical Garden to learn about plants of all kinds while enjoying the breathtaking flora.
Where’s a good place to take an Instagram-worthy photo?
Culture House is a destination for art exhibits and community enrichment, while the building, a former church, has been transformed into a bold and colorful work of art.
The best neighborhood for a four-hour walk?
The H Street Corridor is very close to my home and there is so much to do: festivals, farmers markets, shopping, unique restaurants and cool bars.
What is the easiest way to get around town, in terms of transportation?
The metro, because we have one of the cleanest and safest metro systems in the country. It is a safe and pretty walk from our hotel to four different stations. It’s a bit confusing, so we recommend familiarizing yourself with where each line goes and where the transfer stations are before setting off.
What is a lesser-known cultural institution worth visiting?
Yes, we have the Smithsonian Institutions, and yes, they are surely the best free museums in the world, but we have so many other museums worth seeing. The Phillips collection is always a favorite. Tucked away in the Dupont Circle neighborhood away from the busiest streets, the Phillips Collection is over a century old and is America’s first museum of modern art.
What’s a cool architectural site that isn’t overrun with tourists?
Everyone knows Dupont Circle, but do you know the abandoned streetcar station below? It sat empty for decades until it was revitalized and turned into the Dupont Underground, which is an arts hub that promotes independent and up-and-coming artists, and a very cool place to visit.
What’s the best thing you can only get in your city?
Fried chicken with Petworth mambo sauce at the Hitching Post Restaurant. Mambo sauce is the national capital’s go-to condiment. It’s sweet, tangy, and tangy — and it goes great with the Michelin Guide-acclaimed southern cuisine at Hitching Post.
What’s the best thing you can do only in your city?
Watch an authentic go-go show, recently named DC’s Official Music Go-go music has a rich history in this city. Head to the U Street Corridor for several clubs known to host excellent go-go bands.
What can I say or do to make the locals like me?
Ask us where to buy local. DC has a bad reputation for its collective fashion sense, but around U Street, H Street, Capitol Hill, and scattered throughout the city are owner-run stores filled with really cool up-and-coming designers. [Here’s our take on eight excellent menswear shops in the city.]
What do tourists tend to do that really annoys locals?
Keep left on the subway escalator – this side is for walking. Stand to the right side if you don’t want to be reprimanded.
What is the object or activity on which tourists tend to get ripped off? Any tips to avoid this?
I would recommend skipping the trolley tours and Segway tours in favor of one of the larger DC walking tours, like DC on foot.
I’m looking for a low-key brunch. Where to go ?
You can’t go wrong with Union Market as the food hall gives you plenty of options, but my top pick would probably be Immigrant Food, which also has locations near the White House and at the Planet Word Museum.
The best place to eat a meal or drink a beer outside when the weather is nice?
I recommend patrons visit any outdoor bar in the Navy Yard Waterfront. I find that most people enjoy the more relaxed vibe of the area, rather than the other busier (and more touristy) waterfronts in town.
Are there any potential issues I should worry about or watch out for when it comes to public transportation?
Although clean and safe, our Metro system requires a little research before use. Subway prices change throughout the day and are higher during rush hours and major events. Also, the subway closes much earlier than the NYC subway (or whatever), so have an alternate mode of transportation home if you plan on going out late.
What is the thing that everyone forgets to pack? Or the one thing everyone should remember to pack when visiting?
Mosquito repellent, especially in summer. They don’t call us a swamp for nothing.
Finally, what is the best book to read about the region before coming?
Passing Creatures, written by a DC native. This book is chilling and entertaining while providing the reader with the history of DC’s prosperous, mostly black neighborhoods obliterated over time by gentrification.
This article was published in the InsideHook DC newsletter. Register now to learn more about the Beltway.