Neighborhood Guides

From walking tours of great neighborhoods to a drive to the beach, the Going Out Guide offers fool-proof trips.

 

Cleveland Park Neighborhood Guide

  • By Going Out Guide staff
  • |
  • Updated 06/04/2014

The National Zoo and the Uptown Theater have been drawing people to Cleveland Park for decades, but since 2010, unique restaurants have added more reasons to visit this self-contained small town in the city. Newcomers include a place that serves only steak frites, the expansion of an elegant dining room run by a former White House chef, and a tiny bar of gourmet ice cream sandwiches. Visitors will quickly discover Cleveland Park's many other charms: leafy hiking trails, quirky dive bars, cozy date-night hangouts and homegrown shops that offer last-minute gifts for birthday boys and girls of any age. We picked these favorites for their one-of-a-kind qualities.

 

Georgetown Neighborhood Guide

  • By Washington Post Staff
  • |
  • Updated 01/23/2014

New bars, new condos, new restaurants -- few Washington neighborhoods have escaped vast transformation. But save for the revolving cast of chain stores on M Street, Georgetown has remained comfortingly familiar, a place where you can cultivate favorite little cafes, gelato shops and boutiques knowing they will still be there in a few years. And with its 19th-century architecture and red-brick sidewalks, and all its international flair, is it any wonder we have a soft spot for the neighborhood and its old charms?

So consider this guide not a compass for the new and hot, but a little love letter to the treasures that can feel hidden in the tourist traffic jam -- like a 10-acre garden that was once a haunt for hippies and 40 years later is still a lush getaway, though now for ladies who lunch. And a bakery so unpretentious that it has a treat called The Chocolate Cupcake of Doom.

Whether you are showing visitors the sights, or rediscovering the neighborhood, here are 12 stops to hit.

 

H Street NE Neighborhood Guide

  • By Fritz Hahn and Stephanie Merry
  • |
  • Updated 04/17/2013

Once upon a time, the H Street corridor of Northeast was one of the biggest shopping and entertainment districts in the D.C. region. Then, like other parts of Washington, the area was torn apart in the riots after the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. As recently as five years ago, H Street was still a string of boarded-up storefronts, Chinese carryouts and discount beauty salons.

But then things began to change. The Atlas theater reopened. The Argonaut (itself the victim of a recent fire) and other bars began to move into the neighborhood. The Palace of Wonders offered burlesque and sword swallowing performances, the Red and the Black hosted indie bands before (slightly) growing crowds.

Hipsters started hanging out and getting late-night fish sandwiches at Horace & Dickie's. Then everything exploded, and restaurants and bars began attracting larger and larger crowds.

But H Street has become more than a strip of late-night bars: There's dance, cutting-edge art and even a kid-friendly wine bar. We know we've written a lot about H Street, and if you're a savvy Washingtonian, you've probably putt-putted past zombie presidents at the H Street Country Club and grabbed a pie to go from Dangerously Delicious. But there's more to H Street than novelty stops. Here are some of the destinations that keep us coming back.

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-- Fritz Hahn and Stephanie Merry

 

Leesburg Neighborhood Guide

  • By Jess Righthand, Fritz Hahn, Justin Rude and Amy Joyce
  • |
  • Updated 08/29/2012

Sure, this quaint historic town in Loudoun County may be about 35 miles from Washington's hippest night spots, but it is that distance that makes it such a gem. In town, you'll find an eclectic mix of shops, sites and dining, all steeped in history. Along King Street, the town's main thoroughfare, American flags wave and antique shops beckon with displays of vintage finds from every era. But Leesburg is also where you can eat doner kebab out of a kitchen built from recycled fighter-plane parts. Where indie rockers and grandmothers mingle at the coffee shops. Where former Redskin Chris Cooley signs autographs at his art gallery. Here are 11 Leesburg establishments -- both new and old -- that are not to be missed.

 

Adams Morgan Neighborhood Guide

  • By Fritz Hahn and Justin Rude
  • |
  • Updated 07/30/2012

If you've written off Adams Morgan as a place for people just out of college, it's time to look again. The past few years have seen an influx of businesses catering to customers more interested in quality food and drinks than in Jagerbombs and hookups. Here are some spots to help you get to know the new Adams Morgan.

 

Lighthouses to visit

  • By Amy Orndorff
  • |
  • Updated 06/26/2012

Lighthouses represent a romantic notion for many of us. The guiding lights along the Chesapeake Bay and nearby waters afford spectacular views and connect us to a time before a job could be accomplished with a flick of a switch and there were still such things as frontiers,where folks fended for themselves. These lighthouses are in varying states of preservation: Jones Point in Alexandria is undergoing restoration, but Hooper Strait in St. Michaels is entirely refurbished. Each stands as a testament to the men and women who tended the lights many years ago and to the countless volunteers and workers who have labored so hard to preserve them. | What it's like to own a lighthouse

 

Eastern Market and Barracks Row Neighborhood Guide

  • By Going Out Guide staff
  • |
  • Updated 01/23/2012

Unless you live in the neighborhood, this section of Capitol Hill can be a bit of a world unto itself. So while many have strolled through the historic market hall on Seventh Street SE and waited in a long line for Market Lunch's blueberry buckwheat pancakes, it's easy for an outsider to overlook the intimate bistros and book shops that sit within the Eastern Market's shadow.

And then there's Barracks Row, on Eighth Street SE, a commercial strip that's seen a bar-and-restaurant boom in recent years, transitioning from a strip marked by empty storefronts to a destination where one can stroll, eat, drink and shop a day away.

--Alex Baldinger

Photo gallery: Get to know the neighborhood

 

Rockville Neighborhood Guide

  • By Alex Baldinger
  • |
  • Updated 12/17/2011

When I decided to move to Rockville last year, traffic was something I knew I would find. A neighborhood, though? A place to walk around, with hidden gems to discover and places to become a regular? I wasn't optimistic.

But it's out there. It's hidden among granite countertop and mattress dealers; hidden across the street from car washes and behind BP stations; hidden above dance studios and in the shadows of tall government buildings. It's hidden a short walk from the Twinbrook Metro.

It's also hidden among the chain stores of Rockville Town Center, which opened in 2007 across from the Rockville Metro. "It's really cool to have a place to run into people," said Kate Bentley, 25, a construction office manager who grew up in Twinbrook. "We didn't really have that before, just a place to walk around and hang out. You always see the same people there all the time. It's a little bit more of a community feeling."

Just like a good scavenger hunt, the gems are hidden among the ordinary.

-- Alex Baldinger

 

14th Street NW Neighborhood Guide

  • By Michael O'Sullivan
  • |
  • Updated 12/17/2011

Walk down 14th Street from P to U between 10 and 1 in the morning, and it feels like the liveliest place in the world. Still, the booming canyon of bars, restaurants, boutiques and cultural establishments that line the bustling strip just west and north of Logan Circle has the feel of a small town, in the middle of the big city.

"It's like an old Main Street," says Rod Glover, one of the founding owners of Home Rule. Along with Garden District, Vastu, Muleh, Well Built and other shops, the funky housewares store has turned the once-faded neighborhood into a home-furnishings mecca.

But shopping is not all that 14th Street is known for. Anchored by the venerable Black Cat music club, dotted with commercial galleries, and bookended by the Source and Studio theaters, the strip has become what Irvine calls "one of the main arts corridors in Washington."

Hop on the tour bus, as we take you around the neighborhood. We'll take you out to eat, show you where to shop and tell you where to see the latest shows, whether they be art, music or theater. There's no better time than now to start.

-- Michael O'Sullivan

 

Best pre-theater dining near Studio Theatre

  • By Justin Rude
  • |
  • Updated 12/01/2011

In addition to its top-notch productions of cutting-edge contemporary theater, the Studio Theatre is in a great neighborhood for dining out. Here are some of our favorites in the area.

 

Annapolis Neighborhood Guide

  • By Fritz Hahn, Lavanya Ramanathan and Justin Rude
  • |
  • Updated 09/09/2011

Annapolis is dominated by history and water. Tourists come to see the wooden dome of the State House, visit the U.S. Naval Academy, wander down cobbled streets past 18th- and 19th-century houses or take a pleasure cruise on one of the many boats moored at the city's docks and yacht clubs.

Amid the guided tours and Colonial landmarks, though, Annapolis has even more to offer: seriously great seafood, a night-life scene that ranges from wine bars to local sailors' pubs, alfresco art events and stylish boutiques.

It's funny how the city grows with you: As a kid, I ate peanut butter ice cream at Storm Brothers on the City Dock and ran through the gardens of the William Paca House downtown with my brother. Decades later, I come back for leisurely afternoons on the water and to visit dives that serve crab balls alongside cans of Natty Boh.

Here's a guide to our longtime favorites and recent discoveries.

More: Photo Gallery: Discover Annapolis | Visitors: How to soak up the water

 

Winery, distillery and brewpub tours in the Virginia countryside

  • By Fritz Hahn, Lavanya Ramanathan and Justin Rude
  • |
  • Updated 09/09/2011

The Virginia wine country isn't just about wine anymore.

In the heart of what local wine educator Laurie Forster calls the holy grail of the winemaking region of the state, you can still find cab francs and viogniers, but will also discover nascent distilleries producing fine small-batch whiskeys and gins, and selling their products on-site. And the area between Charlottesville and Staunton has given rise to the Brew Ridge Trail -- breweries that offer tours and tastings of award-winning beers.

Sampling your way through the region makes for an excellent day trip or quick weekend getaway, especially when you add locavore restaurants, sweet-smelling peach orchards, scenic hikes and swimming holes in the mix. Just remember to bring a designated driver.

Stops to make along the way | Photos: Scenes from the road

 

Take a tour of Civil War Washington

  • By Fritz Hahn
  • |
  • Updated 05/10/2011

One hundred and fifty years ago, as the country marched toward civil war, Washington was a very different city. The dome of the Capitol remained unfinished. The Washington Monument was barely 150 feet high -- less than a third of its finished height -- and its grounds were filled with grazing sheep and cattle. The Mall had no other memorials and only one museum (the Smithsonian Castle); a railroad station was where the National Gallery of Art now stands; and open canals known for their unsanitary conditions led to the Potomac River.

To honor the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, which began April 12, 1861, we went looking for traces of the conflict beyond the usual landmarks. (Sorry, Ford's Theatre and the White House.) Many buildings that would have been familiar to residents in the 1860s are long gone, but a few others are hidden in plain sight. A well-known Chinatown restaurant is where the assassination of Abraham Lincoln was plotted, and dozens of Union soldiers who died defending the city are buried in a sleepy spot along Georgia Avenue NW.

Quiz: Civil War statues | Civil War sites photo gallery | Submit your Civil War memorial photos

 

Clarendon Neighborhood Guide

  • By David Malitz and Justin Rude
  • |
  • Updated 05/10/2011

Sometimes it's easy to see Clarendon as just another generic place to run errands. From block to block, you can easily hop from one super-mega-chain-store to another: Starbucks to Whole Foods to Barnes & Noble to Apple to another Starbucks.

Still, that dominant picture of Clarendon-as-Blankville is not a complete one. In the past few years, the area has struck a balance between the corporate and the homegrown. And people seem to be happy. Not some of the time or most of the time. But pretty much all of the time. What follows are 10 places in Clarendon that make us happy.

-- David Malitz and Justin Rude

 

Falls Church Neighborhood Guide

  • By Justin Rude
  • |
  • Updated 05/10/2011

Even though I grew up in Northern Virginia, the city of Falls Church was always a bit of a mystery. Compared with neighboring Fairfax and Arlington counties, the incorporated and independent city is tiny, and yet it breeds a kind of loyalty that is rare among the usually interchangeable NoVa suburbs. It took marrying a native Falls Churcher to understand its appeal. The area combines a small-town community feel with the advantages of living 15 minutes outside the District. And with a number of new establishments in the area, including a temple to beer and one of the region's best pizzerias, there is more reason than ever to check out what's happening on Broad Street. Here, with the help of Fritz Hahn and David Malitz, are some favorite spots in the neighborhood.

 

National Harbor Neighborhood Guide

  • By Lavanya Ramanathan and Fritz Hahn
  • |
  • Updated 05/10/2011

We already know what you're thinking. How is National Harbor a neighborhood? It's not, in any conventional sense. The chain-store megalopolis on the shores of the Potomac River has hotels the size of small Texas towns. There's a pet boutique, a high-end jewelry shop and a Peeps store, but no grocery store. And there are more parking spaces than residents. But only a few years after National Harbor's shops and restaurants began opening in 2008 (and The Awakening sculpture was famously uprooted from Hains Point and moved there), it's locals who stroll the waterfront sidewalks with their stroller-bound babies, and locals who take the water taxi from Alexandria to dinners at Ketchup and Bond 45 or drive from Southern Maryland for a night at Bobby McKey's. And it's Prince George's County residents who stop by with their families for an after-school snack at Elevation Burger and meet their girlfriends for after-work drinks at Rosa Mexicano. Last fall, 145,000 people visited National Harbor just to see Cirque du Soleil. National Harbor might not be their neighborhood, but it is their new downtown. From spring through fall, it's also festival central: In two weeks the harbor will host a food and wine festival, then an homage to Led Zeppelin; and later in the summer, will come a beer and barbecue bash and a multiday Beatles festival. If you're festival-bound or just dying to see what the harbor is all about, we've got the spots that should make your itinerary.

 

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