Time for dinner. In Georgetown, Martin’s Tavern is a 1930s saloon that was frequented by John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, House Speaker Sam Rayburn and convicted Soviet spy Elizabeth Bentley, and still visited by political figures today. Every president since Harry S Truman has visited Martin’s, making it a required stop on the campaign trail. Paintings in the dining room came from the estate of President James Monroe. The kitchen’s Delmonico steak remains a crowd-pleaser. After dinner, consider a trip to Blues Alley, the intimate brick-walled jazz club that has welcomed Miles Davis, Wynton Marsalis and a long list of bold-face names.
Culture Vultures: Start the day off right at Eastern Market, the historic farmer’s market full of butchers, florists and vendors selling fruit and vegetables. The venerable Market Lunch makes the best blueberry pancakes around -- order the “blue buck,” or buckwheat blueberry pancakes. On weekends, a bustling flea market and produce vendors fill the neighborhood.
Then it’s off to Georgetown, Washington’s best-known shopping district, where little boutiques line Wisconsin Avenue, alongside big names like Barney’s Co-Op, Zara, H&M and Intermix. (Walk over to Union Station and grab the cross-town Circulator bus, which will drop you at the corner of Wisconsin and M, which is the heart of the neighborhood.) Spend some time wandering the side streets before making a pit stop. In warm weather, the waterfront bars lining Georgetown’s Washington Harbour provide some of the best people-watching in the city, thanks to legions of well-dressed singles on the prowl -- some of whom tie up their boats at the dock before heading to Sequoia for a beer on the patio. If you’re looking for bold-faced names, the place to go is Cafe Milano, an expensive restaurant where regular Placido Domingo is honored with a 15-foot mural. Martini lovers can head for the Bourbon Steak restaurant and bar in the tony Four Seasons hotel, where celebrity spottings -- including Tom Hanks and Oprah Winfrey -- are a regular feature, and the cocktails are some of the finest in town.
Just across Rock Creek Park is Dupont Circle, a vibrant neighborhood that is the center of Washington’s large gay community; a popular nightlife destination with lounges and bars and clubs catering to all stripes; home to many embassies and the city’s diplomatic community; and filled with small galleries and the newly expanded Phillips Collection, America’s first modern art museum.
The Phillips is known for its huge French Impressionist collection, which includes Renoir’s “Luncheon of the Boating Party.” Admission to the permanent collection is free on weekdays. A short walk away, 14th Street has become an exciting corridor of independent galleries, mostly located within a block or two of the intersection with P Street. The Transformer Gallery, Irvine Contemporary, Hemphill Fine Arts and the Adamson Gallery are all worth a visit, and the latter two share a building at 1515 14th St.
To get to Dupont from Georgetown, you can catch the handy Circulator shuttle bus on M Street. Just make sure it’s going to Dupont Circle instead of Union Station.