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Shopping, schools and shrimp: How Mayor Bowser would spend a perfect day in D.C.

Mayor Muriel Bowser (Khalid Naji-Allah)

In D.C. Dream Day, we ask our favorite people in the area to tell us how they would spend a perfect day in the District. See previous dream days from NPR’s Ari Shapiro, the BYT’s Svetlana LegeticStory District’s Amy Saidman and more.


If anyone knows the city like the back of their hand, it’s Muriel Bowser. The Washington native has spent her entire political career in her hometown, from her first election to the Advisory Neighborhood Commission in Ward 4 in 2004 to her current gig as D.C.’s. mayor. Has she gotten sick of the District and thought of heading somewhere new? “I already live in the best city in the world,” says Bowser, 45. “Where would I go?” The mayor’s dream day, in the one and only city where her dream day could unfold, is pretty much an everyday reality for her. And what could be more perfect than that?

I like to wake up early. I usually make some coffee at home and read The Washington Post or watch “Morning Joe.” I like a great breakfast spot not far from where I live called Highlands on 14th Street. Highlands is a pretty terrific place. They have shrimp and grits and fantastic waffles. It’s become a pretty popular breakfast spot over the years.

If I can in the course of my workday, I’d like to visit a D.C. public school. That’s always the highlight of my day: getting to stop by and visit schools in all eight wards of the city. The kids love to show off all the different rooms in their schools. We were really excited recently when we reopened Marie Reed [Community Learning Center] with a pool.

What’s really become great in D.C. is, all the really great shopping that we used to have to do out in Virginia and Maryland, we can now do at home. I love just being able to walk through Room & Board on all four floors and see what’s new: rugs and lamps and such. The one that I hope everybody supports is Willow in Petworth. I usually go there and buy little gifts for the office around the holidays. And one of the areas where I always spend a lot of time shopping is Friendship Heights. You can have a department store experience, and you can also have a small retailer experience. There’s a really cute cigar bar there too called Civil Cigar Lounge.

Then you can go to Le Diplomate for a great dinner. I don’t get to get there a lot, but I was just there meeting a friend for dinner. It was one of the days where it was single-digit temperatures, and it was full of people. People had been cooped up for too long and wanted to get out and enjoy their neighbors and friends. I had the warm shrimp salad. I eat a lot of shrimp!

I like to be in bed by 10:30 p.m., but in the evening I’ll probably have a stop at a community meeting. Frequently when I do that, I try to see what’s happening in different neighborhoods and on different corridors. Recently I was at a community meeting in Ward 7 close to the Minnesota Avenue Metro station. So I stopped in to see some old friends at Sala Thai. I got to know them really well when they opened [one of their new locations]. It’s fantastic. You’re going to love this: I get the pottery shrimp there. I’m trying to have less red meat in my life. Shrimp is a good protein.