Its been one year since I moved to the nation’s capital (someone get this girl a sheet cake!). March of 2017, I ventured from California to Washington, D.C. for an internship. Having only been to the city briefly the following spring, my mental picture of the space equated to monuments, and tourist with clunky selfie sticks and sensible walking shoes.
After only two months, I excitedly decided to indefinitely extend my stay in D.C. by applying to full-time positions and finding housing. Neither task was a walk along The Mall, but I did it and have tremendously enjoyed my experience.
Now, concluding my first full-year, I’d like to share with you some of my favorite things, highlights and what I’ve learned!
- Philz Coffee at The Yard because it reminds me of simpler times and home, plus the natural lighting is to die for! In 2003 Phil Jaber founded Philz Coffee in San Francisco with a focus on quality drip coffee. 15 years later and there are 44 coffee shops across the U.S. I order their mocha
- Colada Shop on 14th St because it’s loud Cuban music, bright colors, outdoor seating, location next to Trader Joe’s, friendly staff and indoor plants make me burst with contentment – try the cortado half sweet
- Bourbon Coffee near Eastern Market. Try their lavender latte after you visit the Eastern Market and Capitol Hill Books
- The Coffee Bar on 17th St NW and M St – Fun place to go if you’re near K St and need a coffee on the run
Restaurants & Bars
- Iron Gate Restaurant – their outdoor seating under the lights, surrounded by greenery, yes
- Filomena Ristorante – an iconic Italian restaurant in Georgetown. Make a reservation and come hungry!
- Grace Street Coffee Roasters – my favorite Georgetown cafe and sandwich place. Visit on a Saturday at 11 am and you’ll find everyone here post workout class
- Le Diplomate – an iconic French restaurant on 14th St. Enjoy a brunch outside in the sun! Wonderful staff and oh my gosh, the food!
- Ann at District Winery – in Navy Yard, right along the waterfront. Fun art, great service/food/view!
- Espita Mezcaleria – in Shaw for an Oaxacan inspired brunch! My favorites include the Guacamole & Chips, Churro French Toast and Atole De Maiz Azul
- Keren Restaurant – delicious and filling Eritrean dishes in Adams Morgan
- Garden District – great spot on 14th St to enjoy a beer outside with friends
- Wunder Garten – open year-round and decorated according to season! Expect games, live music, camping chairs and picture perfect backgrounds for an Instagram worthy photo
- Playing host to friends, family and Thierry! Invite, extended.
- Book Club and UC Davis Alumni Association! Hello, fast-friends!
- Sitting at CityCenter, after a morning Bar Method class, drinking a cortado and eating a warm buttermilk biscuit with freshly whipped butter and apricot jam from Rare Sweets (regrets: zero) while chatting with my mom over the phone and watching little kids play in the water
- All the free events! For example: Open Studio at the National Portrait Gallery; Yoga at the Georgetown Waterfront Park; Jazz in the Sculptor Garden; Movies in the park (all the parks); catered think tank events; Smithsonian Museums
- Most things being within a five mile radius of the White House. I enjoy walking everywhere for everything and the Metro, although sometimes delayed, is relatively clean and extremely convenient
The D.C. Learning Curve
- Rain boots are a summertime essential, as it downpours frequently and nobody is about to ruin their Tory Burch flats
- Weekends are for athleisure unless you’re attending a boozy brunch that will be photographed
- Washingtonians are trendy not fashion forward. We leave that to New Yorker’s
- Seasonal jackets are everything
- Conservative-business attire is the Mon-Fri norm
- Peers are educated, ambitious and Type A
- Networking is everyone’s side hustle
- Weekends are for brunch
- Every third person you meet went to law school or is currently in law school
- Typical conversation starters: Where do you work; Do you live in the district; Where are you from originally; Where did you go to school; Do you see yourself in D.C. long term (spoiler alter: most don’t)
- Three field of work: public, private, not-for-profit
Statistics (by census.gov)
- Population 693,972
- 47.7% Black or African America; 44.6% White; 0.6% American Indian and Alaska Native; 4.1% Asian; 0.2% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islanders; 10.9% Hispanic or Latino
- Median household income $72,935
- Persons in poverty 18.6%
I hope this post has inspired you to visit Washington, D.C. and explore the city you live in with new eyes. Maybe it has even sparked the thought to move cross country! I highly recommend switching coasts or moving to an unfamiliar city, at least for a couple years. The east coast is different from the west coast. The pace is quicker. People are generally more focused on their career growth. The weather is NOT as nice. Fitness classes have cult like followings. When you live in the political bubble, I personally take it all with a grain of salt as Breaking News is now a frozen headline on the screen.
Thank you kindly for stopping by,
A Year in Photos