Thanks to our proximity to D.C. as Alexandria residents, we regularly make the trip across the Potomac into the city. Earlier this month, we decided to spend a day exploring the city primarily using public transportation and ending the day with a much anticipated comedy show from one of our favorite spoken word poets Andrea Gibson. From bikes, metros, and eventually a Lyft home, we spent the day traipsing across D.C. as sustainably and economically as possible.
10:00 AM – Capital Bikeshare Del Ray -> Braddock Metro Station (30 Minute Pass, $2)
A Capital Bikeshare docking station is located only a couple blocks from our apartment. As we exited our apartment we were met with a pleasant fall day, passing fallen red-orange leaves and doorsteps decorated with pumpkins and gourds.
After a quick download of the Capital Bikeshare app and $2 purchase of the 30 Minute Pass, we were on our way. The sleepy neighborhood roads proved to be an ideal introduction to city biking. Once at Braddock station, we docked our bikes, loaded our metro cards, and waited on the platform for the next Blue Line train.
10:30 AM – Braddock Station -> Eastern Market (Blue Line, $3)
It was a straight shot to Eastern Market from Alexandria. Eastern Market is one of the oldest public markets in the country, now housed on 7th Street in Southeast D.C. The main building offers a wide selection of fresh produce, meats, sweets and fresh flowers. Outside the neighboring streets are overflowing with artisan tents.
For breakfast, we stopped by Bullfrog Bagels and ordered an everything bagel with scallion and chive smear (under $5 each). They were easily the best bagels we’ve had in D.C. As we feasted on our bagel delights on the upstairs patio, we overlooked the fall foliage, people searching for new treasures in the Eastern Market stalls with a saxophonist playing in the background. Think: Nora Ephron circa You’ve Got Mail.
After perusing the market stalls, we paid a visit to Capitol Hill Books. The quirky and overstuffed converted town home is a wonderful way to spend an hour or two. When you enter the bookstore, you are greeted by a slightly eccentric older gentleman, who owns the shop, and numerous handwritten notes taped to the walls that dictate customer rules and directions to navigate the tight winding rows of ceiling-high stacks.
After wandering the isles and nearly knocking over a leaning stack of books, we took home a copy of Kate Millet’s Sexual Politics ($8) and J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, in its legendary red cover ($4). Luckily, we managed to exit the store without receiving a scolding from the impassioned shop owner. (Note: refrain from using the words “like,” “awesome,” “Amazon,” or “OMG” in the store). But don’t let the store’s list of rules scare you, Capitol Hills Books is one of the most endearing and treasured places in the city.
1:00 – Eastern Market -> L’Enfant (Blue Line, $2)
Our next stop was L’Enfant plaza, to explore the National Gallery of Art’s East Building. Adjacent to the National Gallery of Art’s main building, the East Building galleries offer modern through contemporary works of art. In need of a caffeine boost, we left L’Enfant station for the Dolcezza box car coffee bar beneath the Hirschhorn Museum. Macchiato X2, please ($5/ea).
Next, we crossed the National Mall toward the National Gallery of Art’s East Building (FREE). We have visited the National Gallery of Art’s main building multiple times, usually accompanying out-of-town friends. But, we never made it to the East Building. It’s significantly smaller than the main building, but it is home to some of our favorite artists. Pollock, Toulouse-Lautrec, Picasso, Calder, Lichtenstein, Matisse, and more. A visit to the East Building is definitely worth a visit.
3:33 – Archives -> U St (Green Line, $2)
We hopped on the green line at Archives to U St. When we first moved to the D.C. area, 14th Street was one of the first areas we discovered, and we’ve continued to come back time and time again. With plenty of shopping, bars, and restaurants, it’s an ideal spot to begin or end the evening. Not to mention being one of the bigger LGBT hot spots in the city. We decided to try Le Diplomate, a slightly bougie, but cozy and elaborately decorated French-style café, fit with wicker café chairs and marble round tables. We split an order of Chicken Paillard and Moule Frites with a gin-champagne cocktail ($10-15/entrée + $12 cocktail).
After dinner, we walked over to the Garden District beer garden and had a couple of Right Proper’s Raised By Wolves ($8/beer). As we downed our local brews, we watched partygoers pass in their best Halloween outfits. Because it was the weekend preceding Halloween, we were lucky to experience some top tier people watching as we downed our local brews. The winners: Bob Ross, everyone elaborately painted as candy skulls, and the Fruit of the Loom dudes.
6:40 PM – McPherson Square Metro -> Foggy Bottom (Orange Line, $2)
We walked from 14th Street corridor to McPherson Square Metro and took the orange line to Foggy Bottom in a mad dash to the Kennedy Center make our event on time. Finding our seats as the curtains opened, we finished our day in D.C. listening (and crying) to the incredible poems read by Andrea Gibson and Amber Tamblyn in their spoken word performance in partnership with D.C.’s Comedy Festival. Both performers are known for their feminist and LGBT activism, which was inspiring and moving. It’s always a fun night when surrounded by other dope queer feminists.
– Kathryn & Hunter