When planning a trip to Washington D.C., I knew I wanted to do more unique things than visit the usual tourist stops. Since I’m not interested in museums, history, or anything of the sort, I was on the hunt to find the best places to take pictures (sans monuments). I was also looking to explore all the colorful neighborhoods in Washington D.C.
I honestly never knew what D.C. had to offer until I saw @SecondCityMom’s Instagram stories during one of her trips. She was showing off the best neighborhoods in D.C. as recommended by her local friend @FrenchieYankee, and I was quickly convinced that I needed to explore them myself. I reserved a rental car, and Jorge and I drove the 10 hours from Chicago for the long 4th of July weekend.
There were several people, blogs, etc. who said that seeing the monuments is a “must”, but I think the only “must” on YOUR trip is to do what you really love. You paid to make this trip happen — do what you want.
So, I spent the weekend enjoying some of the best places to eat in D.C. and chasing all the beautiful colorful neighborhoods it has to offer. Hopefully, this post can show you a different side of the city you may not have seen.
D.C. Photos in Georgetown
I think historical Georgetown is a favorite area for many and it’s easy to see why. A lot of the architecture in the D.C. neighborhoods actually reminded me of a combination of Savannah, Georgia, and Charleston, South Carolina — both cities I love.
You’ll find a lot of great restaurants in Georgetown, and every single retail store you can think of. But can you guess what drew me to this part of town? I’m pretty sure my photos give me away. In my opinion, it’s one of the best places to take pictures in D.C. if you’re into colorful facades and street photography.
Below are the famous stairs from the Exorcist movie. We accidentally ran into them when we passed up our exit. You can find them at 3600 Prospect St NW, right next to a gas station. *Side note* I have no idea who that guy at the top is. Do you guys see him too?
D.C. Photos in U Street Corridor
This is another great area for colorful adventures, food, and street photography. I took a ton of photos just on this one street below (first photo). You can find that block on 12th PL NW, but there are plenty more if you wander around the area.
Cheap Eats in D.C.
Baked & Wired– The carrot cake cupcakes are DELICIOUS here!! They’re big and really filling though, so you might be sugared out by the end.
Olivia Macarons– I mainly went here for their fruity pebbles macaron, and the flavor was spot on.
A Baked Joint– Get a Biscuit Sammie, so good. This place is the sister store to Baked & Wired.
Federalist Pig– I do recommend the BBQ here. Even the brisket was good, and that’s a lot coming from us.
&bar– Located inside Hotel Hive. Favorites were: Rum Punch and Vodka Lemonade (it’s not your typical vodka lemonade). The bar is located inside Hotel Hive but is also open to the public.
El Pollo Rico– Jorge loves watching Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations to see what restaurants he goes to in the cities we visit. This place was one of them. It’s located across the bridge in Arlington, Virginia. It’s funny because when we got to D.C. I asked Jorge if there were any monuments or museums he wanted to visit and he said, “No, but there’s this chicken place I want to check out.” lol what?! They serve Peruvian chicken, and the restaurant looks like it used to be a laundromat. I will admit, the chicken was really good, but I don’t think you need to go out of your way for it.
Un Je Ne Sais Quoi– I’m so disappointed it was closed for the holiday. It’s a French pastry shop owned by French expats. The pastries look amazing and they have great reviews, so let me know if you like it. I’m hoping to return soon and check them out.
Where to Stay in D.C.
I loved my stay at Hotel Hive, and cannot recommend it enough. When I was booking my trip, I was looking for a place that was right in the center of all the areas I wanted to explore. This well-designed micro-hotel in Foggy Bottom fits that profile perfectly.
I loved that they have two bars, a rooftop, and a pizza place inside the hotel. But what really won me over were the details they put into each guestroom. The rooms are minimal but modern and unique.
Our room was spotless, had a view, and inspiring quotes throughout. We also got lucky because we easily found free parking right next to the hotel for the weekend.
The mirror reminds us that “It’s all smoke & mirrors.”
How perfectly fitting is this quote in my room?
Blue hour on the rooftop of Hotel Hive overlooking D.C. Make sure you try their Frose cocktails! I personally loved their Rum Punch.
There are cute nooks all around the hotel. You can enjoy pizza and cocktails here, or breakfast and coffee in the morning.
If you’re visiting D.C. in the future and looking for where to stay definitely check them out. Next time I visit, I’d love to also stay in the Georgetown area to be close to all my favorite facades.
If you prefer something a little more private, be sure to check out Airbnb’s in D.C. I love staying at Airbnb’s when possible. I always filter my searches to “superhost” and choose “entire place” to make sure I have the privacy and hosting that I’m paying for.
Pin For Later
Thank you to Hotel Hive for hosting us while in D.C. As always, all opinions are my own. This site contains affiliate links. I may receive a small commission for purchases made through these links at no extra cost to you. As an Airbnb Associate, I also earn when you book through my Airbnb links. Thank you for your support!