Amazingly, the end of the summer is near and my internship in Washington DC has come to an end. Despite my best intentions, I failed miserably to maintain this blog on a regular basis. That being said, I do have hundreds of pictures from which to choose that would aptly illustrate some of what I experienced this summer. Washington DC is such a unique place and I sought out the best the city had to offer. Below, I have listed some of the highlights from the summer.
I was pleasantly surprised once I began my internship at how much substantive work I had to do. My supervisors allowed me a great deal of latitude in pursuing projects that would contribute to the office while at the same time pertained to my academic and professional interests
Definitely one of the best places in the country for foodies, D.C. boasts a wide variety of restaurants that will satisfy any epicurean’s palate. Below, I have listed a few of my favorite spots.
Ben’s Chili Bowl
This restaurant is located in the historic Shaw part of the city on U Street and proudly serves politicians, entertainers and average Joes alike. The restaurant prides itself on great food and a storied history, which dates back to 1958. Try the chili half smoked once and you’ll understand exactly why the President took Nicolas Sarkozy here for lunch during his visit to D.C. You can’t visit the city and not eat at this restaurant at least once. Remember to bring cash and that of course only President Obama and Bill Cosby eat for free!
It’s one of those days when lunch time rolls around, you didn’t bring your lunch and the cafeteria that you frequent practically everyday seems wholly unappealing. The only other option is to trudge across the city in the oppressive summer heat and an atmosphere as thick as soup. Well never fear, for the food trucks are here! Serving anything from Indian to Italian to Ethiopian to Korean and much much more, these trucks cruise around the downtown D.C. area during lunch delighting patrons with their food and colorful antics. Watch out for the Fojol Brothers, who are especially entertaining with their campy costumes and fun mustaches. They also provide blankets and hula hoops. Food Truck Fiesta
is a great website that aggregates the Twitter feeds for these trucks and tracks their movements so you always know what truck will be around on what day.
Dukem Ethiopian Restaurant
Great place for a taste of Ethiopian food and the occasional traditional dance showing.
First Lady Michelle Obama was lambasted for visiting this establishment, which is something I find completely ridiculous. I think a woman who exercises and eats as healthily as she does is allowed to indulge once in a while, and I visited to indulge my own craving for a good ole burger and shake.
If you’re in the mood for Cajun food and can’t jet down to N’awlins this place is your next best bet in D.C. Besides the delicious cuisine, there was a wonderful live jazz music performance which may or may not be a regular occurrence.
One of my favorite spots to eat in D.C. happens to be hidden in a very unlikely spot, a gas station. From the outside, this place is unassuming and slightly rundown looking, but once you enter and try the Cuban you’ll definitely be back for more.
Fourth of July
One of the best places in America to celebrate the nation’s independence, there is nothing like taking in the fireworks display down at the National Mall with the Washington Monument as a spectacular backdrop. The crowds may be large, but it is worth experiencing at least once. Keep in mind, there are many places to view the fireworks from afar if you are weary of the crowds.
Hip-hop/dance festivals featuring local artists and a few celebrities. Dougie Fresh was the featured performer at this particular event along with a group from America’s Best Dance Crew. Although, my personal favorite was a local group that is gaining in popularity called Mambo Sauce
Jazz in the Garden
Another wonderfully free event is the Jazz in the Garden series which takes place almost every Friday during the summer in the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden. This year the series is running until early September so there is still plenty of time to catch at least one show! Information on the performances can be found here.
Smithsonian Folk Life Festival
The Smithsonian Folklife Festival is an international exposition of living cultural heritage annually produced outdoors on the National Mall of the United States in Washington, D.C., by the Smithsonian Institution’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. The festival offers a range of food and events from different cultures and countries around the world.
Whether or not you’re a huge baseball fan, a rather inexpensive and entertaining thing to do is take in a Nationals baseball game. The atmosphere is festival and you can catch a couple of former presidents racing around the field from time to time. You might even see poor old Teddy win a race one of these days.
An excellent place for a weekend retreat if you live close by. Even if you don’t, it’s worth the trip! Check out more about the arboretum here
Museums in DC are not only amazing and easy to access, most of them are free! Be sure to check out the Smithsonian Castle and the International Museum.
The International Museum featured an exhibition focused on Buddhism and Asian art. The installation pictured above, Monkeys Grasping for the Moon
, is based on a Chinese folktale, the monkeys link arms and form a chain reaching to capture what they believe is the moon. The moon is actually a reflection shimmering in a pool of water below and the monkeys all fall into the water and perish. The moral is: “We often waste much time on futile goals.”
This exhibition features the word monkey in a dozen different languages, craved in wood and linked together just like the monkeys in the story.
There is barely any place in D.C. that does not have a monument or statue dedicated to some historical figure or event. Besides that, time-honored buildings like the White House, the U.S. Treasury Building, the Capitol Building and many others offer not only storied histories but beautiful architecture to admire. For a geek like myself it’s the perfect city to wander around.