The Ultimate D.C. Guide for a Millennial Girl

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Blogger Alicia Tenise wears the Topshop Embroidered Army Jacket, Rebecca Minkoff Midnighter Top Handle Bag, and Madewell high rise denim boyshorts.

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Embroidered Army Jacket

Jacket: Topshop | T-Shirt: Madewell | Shorts: Madewell | Hat: Nordstrom | Sandals: ℅ Altar’d State | Bag: Rebecca Minkoff | Watch: Michael Kors | Bracelet: ℅ Baublebar | Sunglasses: Karen Walker

This time next week, I will no longer be a Washingtonian. It’s all happening! Over the last few weeks, I’ve told you why I decided to leave D.C., and why I’m moving to Philly, and in the final installment of my unofficial “bye D.C.” series, I’m going to spill the beans about my favorite spots around town. Bookmark this for the next time you want to visit! 🙂 


**Disclaimer: I could probably write a novel on my favorite D.C. restaurants and couldn’t include them all here, but if you’re in a certain neighborhood and need suggestions, hit me up.

The Dabney — Um. Can you say Michelin Star? The menu here switches up frequently so it’s hard for me to recommend a specific dish, but I love that it has a heavy emphasis on Mid-Atlantic cuisine. (Mount Vernon Square)

Cava Grill/Cava Mezze — I’ve written about Cava Mezze before, but Cava itself is a really cool concept. It launched in D.C., but it has recently expanded to New York and L.A. because hello, it’s that amazing. Cava Grill is the fast casual concept that tastes like Mediterranean heaven, while Cava Mezze is the sit down version (which also offers a killer brunch, btw!) (Multiple Locations)

Rose’s Luxury — This little gem was named the Best New Restaurant in America in 2014, ICYMI! Trust, it’s worth the hype. They don’t take reservations, so your best bet is standing in line before they open. (Barracks Row)

Chaplin’s —  Controversial opinion: I prefer Chaplin’s over Daikaya for ramen in the District. Well really, Toki Underground has the best, but the ambiance of Chaplin is more my vibe. (Shaw)

Convivial — I went here on a date once, and almost fell out of my chair because of how amazing the food was. It’s somewhat pricey, but worth all the dollar bills. Get the fried chicken. You’ll thank me later. (Shaw)

Lyon Hall — Ok, I’m cheating: this gem is across the river in my stomping grounds of Arlington, VA. Trust, it’s worth the trek! This French bistro has a great ambiance for an upscale date, and: $1 oyster nights on Mondays. (Clarendon)

Hazel — I haven’t had dinner here, but I have had the dim sum brunch. They’re small brunch plates, so you’re encouraged to order 3-4 dishes for yourself. Or you know, go with a friend and try the entire menu like I did (it’s only $35 to try all the things!). Get the Kimchi Scramble and Duck Muffin. (Shaw)

Le Diplomate — Well, I’m just biased here. Fun fact: Le Dip is owned by Stephen Starr, a restauranteur who’s based out of Philly. When I went to school in Philly, I went to Stephen Starr restaurants like it was my job, so naturally I loved his D.C. french bistro. You’re gonna need a reservation here, folks. It is pop-u-lar. (Logan Circle)

Masseria — One: this place has one of the most adorable outdoor patios I’ve ever seen in D.C., so trust me: you’ll love the vibe. They have a tasting menu which is $69/person, but you can also go the bar snack route if you’re not trying to drop that much for a delicious meal. (Ivy City)

I COULD SERIOUSLY KEEP GOING. Maybe I need an entire post just for restaurants? There are too many delicious ones here. Check out my Foodie Files archives for other spots I’ve highlighted in the past!

Free Things

Renwick Gallery — Renwick is one of the coolest, most Instagrammable galleries in town. It’s the Smithsonian’s hub for contemporary craft and decorative art, so you’re going to see some fun, funky collections here. There’s no need to set up a tour: you can get in and out in about 20-30 minutes.  (Downtown DC)

The National Mall (At Night) — Every tourist and their mother heads to the National Mall, but trust me: it is absolutely STUNNING at night. And there are far less tourists at night. Skip the daytime visit, fam. (Downtown DC)

Hishorn Museum and Sculpture Garden — This is another quirky Smithsonian museum, and they always have the craziest, coolest exhibits coming in and out. You will need timed tickets for Hishorn, and depending on who’s showing, they can “sell out” pretty quickly. (Downtown DC)


Union Market — If you’ve ever been to Chelsea Market in NYC, this is somewhat comparable (but smaller!) it’s a collection of locally owned D.C. restaurants, food trucks and other miscellaneous shops that all share an amazing space. It’s a great way to learn about up and coming D.C. gems! They also host events here from time to time, and I highly recommend stopping in on a weekend. (Ivy City)

Lynn Louisa — This shop is one of the few reasons why I’ll brave an Uber to Georgetown. They carry brands that I just can’t find anywhere else, including Just Female, . Plus, they have a dog. Shopping with puppies? Yes please! (Georgetown)

South Moon Under — Sorry. Sending you all across the river again for this since none of their stores are in D.C. proper, but South Moon is honestly where I scoop up a good chunk of my clothes! They carry Free People, Wayf, Blank Denim, and so many other cool-girl brands. They’ve got locations in Clarendon, Bethesda, National Harbor, Mosaic District, and, well, all throughout the ‘burbs. (Various Locations)

Reddz Trading — I’m not really the biggest second hand shopper, but Reddz is a total gem that inspired me to learn to love consignment pieces! They carry a great mix of super high-end designer pieces like Jimmy Choo, YSL and Chloe, and more attainable brands like Zara, J.Crew and Ann Taylor. If you’re looking to scoop up a designer bag or shoe on a 20-something modest budget, go here. The selection is incredible! (Georgetown)

Maketto — Maketto is really interesting: it’s part restaurant, part retail shop, part bar. I just put it in the ‘Shop’ section because I listed too many restaurants! Just go and give yourself an hour to shop, roam, and eat. (H Street)

Refine Boutique — Refine is a super unique shopping destination: you shop by appointment only here and shop one-on-one with the owner. I love this because the owner, Tanya, carries a selection of clothes you really cannot find anywhere else! She carries some of my favorite brands such as Show Me Your Mumu, Amanda Uprichard, Karina Grimaldi and more. You’re also not charged for an appointment and not obligated to buy anything, so it’s a totally chill shopping experience. Book an appointment here, and then head to Two Amy’s Pizza downstairs! (Cathedral Heights)


Jack Rose — If you like whiskey, you’ll love this spot. You’ve got 2687 bottles to choose from, my friends. Don’t worry, they have flights as well! They also have a pretty amazing, secret speakeasy in the basement, but you’ll have to ask around for the password 🙂 (Adams Morgan)

Blackjack — I primarily go out on 14th Street/U Street area, and Blackjack is just a cool, chill spot to begin your night out on the town. Great music, pretty friendly crowd, cool vibe overall. Just walk north up 14th when you’re set to move on to the next bar! (Logan Circle)

2 Birds 1 Stone — After you’re done with Blackjack, head over to 2 birds 1 Stone. The cocktails here are delicious, and it’s one of my favorite date night spots! (Logan Circle)

The Graham’s Rooftop — Oy, I hate grabbing drinks in Georgetown, but this spot is pretty key. The rooftop views are incredible, and it’s open to the public once the rooftop season kicks off! (Georgetown)

Local Friday’s at The Embassy Row — The Embassy Row has a pretty amazing rooftop pool/bar, and they open it up to the public on Fridays starting at 2pm (and have half price select drinks!) This is pretty much where I spent every nice Friday last summer if I wasn’t traveling! (Dupont Circle)

Rock and Roll Hotel — They’ve got an amazing rooftop if you just want to hang with friends, a dance floor on the second floor, and concerts on the first floor. A one size fits all venue, kind of. (H Street)

Photos by Anna Meyer

Leave a Comment


  1. Candy Kage wrote:

    Very interested is see what DC has to offer since I will be going there soon.

    Posted 5.15.17 Reply
  2. Bootler wrote:

    Great blog and content! We just opened up our services in your area. Would love to learn more about your favorite places to order from in the city. Keep in touch & let’s connect on social!

    IG: @bootler
    Twitter: @gobootler
    Web site:

    We’re now in Boston, Austin, Philly, D.C., Chicago, Portland, Denver, and Seattle!

    Posted 5.15.17 Reply
  3. Sharon Glascoe wrote:

    I’ve been to DC a lot but I haven’t done all the things on this list. I am going back in the fall for a wedding so I am excited to try these out!! Thanks for the idea!

    Posted 5.15.17 Reply
  4. Taylor wrote:

    First off your outfit is SO on point! Like I’m obsessed!! But let’s be real the food section won me…is it acceptable and justified to go somewhere solely for a food crawl because that’s what I currently want to do?!

    Taylor |

    Posted 5.16.17 Reply
  5. I love you jacket. I need to shop more at Top Shop. This guide is so good.

    Posted 5.18.17 Reply
  6. Azanique wrote:

    Bookmarking for my trip next week! I need to try all these food places

    – xo, Azanique |

    Posted 7.6.17 Reply