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D.C. Life

Cyclists get a beautiful view when heading west on Pennsylvania Avenue. (Michael Hicks/via Flickr)

Bike Lane

Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Of the 56 miles of bike lanes in the District, only one makes a beeline from Congress to the White House — a one-mile stretch of protected pavement on Pennsylvania Avenue NW that opened in 2010. With reflective barriers and special traffic signals just for cyclists, this route is a favorite among the city’s burgeoning herd of bike-commuters, while weekend warriors appreciate its proximity to the attractions on the Mall. S.D.
2nd: 15th Street NW
3rd: L Street NW

Neighborhood Blog

Dan Silverman may have discovered the magic formula for writing a great neighborhood blog: several posts a day on real estate, restaurants and development … with cute animal pictures thrown in. Originally known as “Prince of Petworth,” the blog founded in 2006 got a new moniker in December to reflect its expanding coverage area. “I’d say that I regularly cover about 75 percent of the city,” Silverman says, “but I just bought a bicycle, so maybe I’ll expand out a little further.” R.S.
2nd: The Hill is Home,
3rd: ARLnow,

Food Blog

Bitches Who Brunch
To some, Bitches Who Brunch is the blog to check when you need a recommendation for the best breakfast pizza in town or some bottomless mimosas. To others, it’s a daily must-read. With upward of 200,000 hits a month, the site is so bitchin’, the founders, Cori Sue Morris and Becca Clara Love, are launching a Big Apple version in November. T.K.
2nd: What Micky Eats,
3rd: Eater DC,

Way to Hail a Cab

Hailing a cab in the rain may soon be the stuff of old movies and/or old fogies. Uber’s app lets you summon a taxi, SUV or black car to your address and watch on your screen as an icon representing your vehicle speeds (or, this being D.C., crawls) along the map toward your location. Even now that District cabs have to accept credit cards, Uber arguably has the upper hand — all transactions are virtual, with no cards or cash required. E.M.M.
Android and iPhone,
2nd: The old-fashioned way, no app required.
3rd: Taxi Magic, Android and iPhone,


Unsuck DC Metro
More than 19,000 people rely on @unsuckdcmetro’s tweets and retweets for news about their commute. “Metro isn’t always exactly forthcoming with information,” says the anonymous tweeter behind the account. “Through crowdsourcing and Twitter, riders are able to paint a better picture of what’s going on.” Unsuck’s feed also gives commuters a place to air grievances about hot cars, stalled escalators and the general disaster that is the Red Line. R.S.
2nd: Jayson Werth’s Beard, @JWerthsBeard,
3rd: Taylor Gourmet, @Taylor_Gourmet,

Metro Station

Dupont Circle
Dupont’s a nice station, but is it that much better than Union Station or Foggy Bottom? We can’t pretend to know, so here’s some trivia:
1. A stanza from Walt Whitman’s “The Wound-Dresser” is chiseled into the walls of the station’s Q Street entrance. A verse from “We Embrace,” by E. Ethelbert Miller, is etched on the concrete around the bench outside.
2. On Nov. 23 at around 12:30 p.m., the sun will align with the escalator shaft at the Dupont station’s south entrance. Wait at the bottom of the escalators for a stunning visual: a tunnel of light that only appears twice a year (the other day is Jan. 14). Architect Steve Kunin, who calculated the dates, named the phenomenon “Metrohenge Dupont.” H.J.M.
2nd: Union Station
3rd: Foggy Bottom

Political Celebrity

Bo Obama
Even though Best Of voting closed before the federal government did, Bo Obama, the least divisive political force in Washington, won by a landslide. The worst the Portuguese water dog can be blamed for is occasionally peeing on a White House carpet. Because of the shutdown, Bo’s media team was furloughed and unavailable for comment. K.P.K.
2nd: President Barack Obama
3rd: Vice President Joe Biden

Underrated Tourist Attraction

U.S. National Arboretum
Skip the tourist circuit and just go to the Arboretum, a 446-acre living museum with gardens and groves instead of galleries. The 2,000-plus flowering cherry trees make for fine non-Tidal Basin blossom viewing. To get a taste of Congress sans congresspersons, visit the National Capitol Columns, freestanding pillars that once adorned the U.S. Capitol and are now surrounded by pools and greenery. You can even drive: Nine miles of roadways and ample parking make this one of D.C.’s few pleasant spots to see by car. H.J.M.
3501 New York Ave. NE; 202-245-2726,
2nd: Newseum, 555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW; 888-639-7386, (Archives)
3rd: FDR Memorial, near the intersection of Independence Avenue, West Basin Drive and Ohio Drive SW;

Place to Make New Friends

An Amateur Sports League
Every spring, newbies to the area descend upon parks, parking lots and the National Mall to make new friends via amateur sports. Game-time adrenaline and post-game libations create conditions ideally suited to bonding, and actual athletic ability is rarely necessary. Kickball — or, more accurately, 45 minutes of kickball followed by three hours of flip-cup — seems compulsory for 20-somethings (so much so it placed third in this category). If you prefer Peroni to Miller Lite, consider a bocce league. E.M.M.
2nd: Jazz in the Garden, every summer at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden, Seventh Street and Constitution Avenue NW; (Archives)
3rd: A kickball league

Reason to Go to Baltimore

National Aquarium
Forget the drug dealers on “The Wire.” The most dangerous elements in Baltimore are behind the glass walls of the National Aquarium — purplish jellyfish with undulating tentacles, sand tiger sharks that swallow their prey in a single chomp and massive stingrays with venomous tails. It’s not all deep-sea danger, though. You and the family can see dolphin shows, 4-D films and habitats that also feature birds and monkeys. V.H.
501 E. Pratt St., 410-576-3800,
2nd: Inner Harbor
3rd: Oriole Park at Camden Yards, 333 W. Camden St.; 888-848-2473,


Outer Banks, N.C.
When it comes to combining a beach vacation with a short road trip (less than five hours if you don’t hit traffic), stick with the Outer Banks, where the beaches are clean and quiet, rather than roaring with boardwalk bustle. Fishing, kayaking, hiking and biking satisfy active types, while more than 100 miles of shoreline await those who want to zone out to the sound of the waves. K.P.K.
2nd: Rehoboth Beach, Del.
3rd: Ocean City, Md.


Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard
“We have a lot of fun,” says co-owner Jim McKenna of Sugarloaf. So do its patrons, as evinced by record crowds at the vineyard’s seventh annual grape stomp (it’s held the first two weeks of October). Among this year’s new offerings: a white wine named Penelope, after Odysseus’ loyal wife in Homer’s “The Odyssey.” You don’t have to remember high school English to enjoy this “nice, pure, beautiful” vino that’s “a good deal different from Chardonnay and pinot grigio,” McKenna says. H.J.M
18125 Comus Road, Dickerson, Md.; 301-605-0130,
2nd: Barrel Oak Winery, 3623 Grove Lane, Delaplane, Va.; 540-364-6402,
3rd: Tarara Winery, 13648 Tarara Lane, Leesburg, Va.; 703-771-7100,

Written by Sadie Dingfelder, Rachel Sadon, Beth Marlowe, Kristen Page-Kirby, Vicky Hallett (Express) and Tracy Krulik (For Express)