The Washington Post

#myTop5: Tour de cupcakes and famous D.C. pandas

I’ve lived most of my life in the Midwest and had only been to Washington once before for a conference. So when it comes to my weekends, I try to take advantage of my time off and experience the District firsthand.

A delightful dozen from Georgetown Cupcake. (By Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post)

Here are #myTop5 things to do this weekend:

1) Tour de cupcakes: D.C. is known for its cupcakes (ala the TLC show “DC Cupcakes,” which features M-Street hot spot Georgetown Cupcake). With more than 40 bakeries or cafes in the area that offer their own take on the delicious treat, you can’t stop with trying just one.

A few years ago, The Post conducted “Cupcake Wars” to determine Washington’s best cupcake — an experiment you can repeat yourself. So far, my favorite is Hello Cupcake’s Strawberry Fields, a strawberry cupcake with strawberry buttercream and topped with — what else — a strawberry.

Don’t think you have to take on this challenge alone. Invite your friends. The more the merrier!

2) Check out the National Zoo: Lions, tigers and bears, oh my! The National Zoo, in Woodley Park, is a must-see and is only a short Metro ride away from downtown on the Red Line. The 163-acre zoo is jam-packed with more than 2,000 animals, including snakes, monkeys, pandas and elephants. And no worries if you’re on a budget, as most interns are: The zoo is free, and is open everyday during the summer from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

3) Have fun outdoors: Take advantage of your weekend by getting out from behind your computer. Catch some rays and relax on a nearby beach in Virginia or Maryland. Or stay in town and venture to Georgetown, where you can rent a bike or a boat from Thompson Boat Center and enjoy the Potomac River firsthand. Spending part of your weekend outdoors is a great way to distance yourself from the workweek

4) Go to brunch: I quickly learned that D.C. residents are serious about two things: happy hour and brunch. Whether you’re looking for a traditional ham and cheese omelet or a salad, there are tons of places to choose from that do brunch — and do it right.

I’d recommend checking out the Madhatter, a restaurant in Dupont Circle that has an Alice in Wonderland theme and $6 bottomless mimosas. Another great find is the brunch special at Masa 14 on 14th Street NW. For $35, you get unlimited regular brunch menu items and bottomless select cocktails.

5) Be a beer connoisseur: Take a trip up to Northern Virginia Summer Brewfest and get a taste of the nation’s best microbrews (as long as you’re 21). For $20, you get access to try some of the best beers in the country. The festival is from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.

Or stay in the District and check out such hot spots as Birch & Barley and ChurchKey, which I've been recommended to try more than once. This Logan Circle staple sports 50 drafts, 500 bottles and five cask ales.

What are your plans for the weekend? Did I miss anything good? Leave a comment below and let me know.


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