We're just a few weeks away from one of the most highly-anticipated nonprofit conferences of the year and, seeing as it will be hosted in Washington, DC, our team wanted to share some favorite local spots to eat, drink, and enjoy the sights while visiting for 17NTC.
Check out the list below and make sure to read the travel tips at the end!
With locally-sourced dishes that change daily, the Dabney recently received a Michelin star and is worth the wait. If you are dying to try it but can't get a reservation, go early and grab a seat at the bar.
Comet Ping Pong
Yes, that Comet Ping Pong. It recently gained national attention for the #FakeNews story that became widely-known as #PizzaGate. But to locals, Comet is a family-friendly establishment and neighborhood staple, and it's been featured on Diners, Drive-in & Dives. While the restaurant is known for their incredible pizza, they also have a wonderful bar with hipster-vibe and lovely cocktails.
Conveniently located across the street from NTC, Open City offers all-day breakfast, cappuccino and delicious pancakes. If you need a quick coffee or pastry, you can also order directly at the coffee bar.
Bindaas, affectionately known as the street food-centric sibling to Indian fine dining restaurants like Rasika and Bombay Club, is a must for those craving casual and wallet-friendly Indian food. Treat yourself to an array of chaat (think savory snacks), delicious homemade breads (the kathi rolls are amazing), and a variety of other trendy dishes – including many meatless options.
Convivial has some of the most interesting dishes in DC and is great for groups who have various dietary needs (the vegetarian dishes are some of the best on the menu).
More to eat:
- Mintwood Place (Adams Morgan)
- 2 Amys (Cathedral Heights)
- The Red Hen (Bloomingdale)
- Bul (Adams Morgan)
- Lebanese Taverna (Woodley Park)
- Sakuramen (Adams Morgan)
- Indique (Cleveland Park)
- Dolcezza (multiple locations)
- Mama Ayesha’s (Woodley Park)
Jack Rose Dining Saloon
Jack Rose has over 2,500 whiskey selections to choose from. Need we say more?
If you love Marvin Gaye, chicken and waffles, dancing, and rooftop bars, Marvin is a must. Created by Eric Hilton of Thievery Corporation, a popular local DC band, this bar and restaurant is an ode to the late and great Marvin Gaye.
Republic Restoratives and the Ivy Room
Voted one of the "25 least douchey bars in DC," the Ivy Room is a bastion of unpretentious and reasonably priced craft cocktails. Located in Republic Restoratives and one of the few LGBTQ- and women-owned distilleries in the world, the Ivy Room offers the rare opportunity to sip spectacular craft cocktails in full view of the glassed-in spirits production space.
Cherry Blossom PUB (Pop-Up Bar)
Venture over to Shaw for a limited-time Cherry Blossom Pop-Up Bar experience from the folks at Southern Efficiency and Mockingbird Hill.
More to drink:
- Cork Wine Bar (Logan Circle)
- Dacha Beer Garden (Shaw)
- Solly's (U Street)
- Hank's Oyster Bar (multiple locations)
- Macintyre's (Woodley Park)
- Right Proper (Shaw)
Songbyrd Record Cafe
Songbyrd may seem like a coffee place, but it brings a lot more to the table, including a robust live music and event calendar.
Love Open City but need some space from the conference goers? Tryst (same owners as Open City) provides a great casual meeting space. Check out the local art that is featured regularly.
Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe
Browse the numerous shelves of Kramerbooks before walking into the Afterwords Cafe at this Dupont landmark - the food is as great as the reads.
- The Potter’s House (Adams Morgan)
- Philz (multiple locations)
- Compass Coffee (multiple locations)
- The Coffee Bar (multiple locations)
- Baked & Wired (Georgetown)
- Filter Coffeehouse (Dupont Circle)
The hottest ticket in DC has to be the National Museum of African American History & Culture. The newest addition to the Smithsonian cadre, its collections feature powerful moments in African American history, culture, and community and is a must-see.
The National Zoo
If you are an animal lover and need a break during NTC, take a walk through the National Zoo. And even though Bao Bao is now back in China, her brother and parents (also Giant Pandas) are still the Zoo's main attraction here in DC.
Are you and your fellow conference-goers looking for a place to blow off some steam? Korean karaoke bar Muzette is a local favorite that's great for groups of 5-15 people.
If you can score tickets, the Hirshorn Museum's Yayoi Kusama exhibit is truly a sight to behold.
More to see & do:
- U.S. Botanic Gardens (Capitol Hill)
- National Museum of American History (The National Mall)
- Washington Wizards (Chinatown/Verizon Center)
- Eastern Market (Eastern Market)
- Yards Park (Capitol Riverfront)
Rock Creek Park
Need a morning run? Rock Creek Park a running and bike path that stretches from Woodley Park (which begins right near the NTC conference hotel) to Georgetown. Choose to run through the nature trail or via the paved path that includes workout stations throughout the way.
US Holocaust Memorial Museum
Visit the Holocaust Museum, located on the south side of the National Mall, to remember the victims of the genocide and pledge to never forget what happened. The museum is free and open to the public, but on crowded days timed passes should be picked up at the museum desk in advance.
One of our favorite monuments to visit is the Lincoln Memorial, whose austere beauty and reflecting pool offer a serene vista to overlook the nation's capital.
More official landmarks:
- Library of Congress (Capitol Hill)
- National Cathedral (Cathedral Heights)
- Washington Monument (The National Mall)
- Theodore Roosevelt Island (Georgetown)
- Frederick Douglass House (Anacostia)
Meridian Hill Park
If you're looking for a lush, green oasis in DC, Meridian Hill Park (aka Malcom X Park) is the place to go for picnics, workouts, outdoor naps, first dates, and Sunday drum circles.
Cherry Blossom Festival
You can't come to DC in the spring and not see the cherry blossoms. Walk or bike over to the Tidal Basin to see the annual floral eruption, or take part in one of the many Cherry Blossom Festival events around town.
Ben’s Chili Bowl
Want to eat like a DC local? Look no further than the iconic Ben's Chili Bowl, which has been serving up its famous half smokes, chili dogs, and burgers on U Street for over 50 years.
More unofficial landmarks:
- Politics & Prose (Friendship Heights)
- POV Rooftop Bar (White House)
- Embassy Row (Woodley Park)
- Sculpture Garden at the National Gallery (The National Mall)
- Georgetown Cupcakes (Georgetown)
Folks living in the District have a love/hate relationship with WMATA, the local metro authority.
As convenient as DC's metro can be, it's not perfect so, for the best experience, make sure to download the DC Metro & Bus app (iOS/Android) or Transit app to your smartphone and stay ahead of delays and scheduled track work.
Pro tip: when traveling on the DC metro escalators, be sure to stand to the right and walk on the left - locals will thank you.
Capital Bikeshare is also a great option for getting around town quickly, touring the monuments, or visiting the museums on the Mall.
At the end of your visit, you can donate your Metro card and remaining funds to DC nonprofit Martha's Table, which supports local children, families, and communities.
We can't wait to see all of the do-gooders descend onto DC for this year's NTC - see you there!