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Happy Valentine’s Day week! To get you in a romantic (or at least warm) mood, we asked some of our favorite D.C. residents about what they love about D.C. right now in Washington, D.C.

We asked artists, comics, journalists, producers, writers, and more interesting people to list 5 things/people/places/food plates/drinks/anything really that they love about Washington. Some gave us more than 5. More is always better.

Below is our first batch courtesy of some very hard working men and women. Read, feel the butterflies in your stomach and come back tomorrow for part 2!

Robin Bell, Projection Jedi

Randi Gloss, Founder of GLOSSRAGS

  1. Jawn. Ay moe. Or wuddeva. OH aiiiit. Ja like. Killll moe. Fawvuh. Muvah. Bamma. Errything.
  2. RE. BYB. UCB. Junkyard. New Impressionz.
  3. &pizza. capital hill crab cakes. maketto. cava. bukom cafe. the diner. sakuramen. baked & wired. ben’s chili bowl. the highlands. andrene’s. teddy’s roti shop.
  4. The drum circle at Malcolm X Park. Biking past the monuments at night. Jazz in the Garden. Ice skating at the Sculpture Garden. The Anacostia Community Museum. Truckeroo. Trillectro. Broccoli City Fest. H Street Festival. Anything No Kings Collective or Rock Creek Social does. RIP Carribean Carnivale.
  5. The Metro. FIGHT ME! As much as it “sucks,” I’ve never ridden cleaner trains or buses. Not MTA. Not CTA. Not BART. Not MARTA. WMATA moe. You get to where you need to go, eventually.

Hayden Higgins, Co-founder and Publisher 730dc

  1. Northeast. I just moved, so maybe I’m sentimental, but I think it’s the best quadrant we’ve got. If you want to get outdoors, my love of a stroll through the Arboretum is well-chronicled and it’s also got Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, the Langston links, and Kingman Island. I’m even claiming Hyattsville here, because it’s got the best tacos around in addition to a really cute little downtown littered with craft stores around Pyramid Atlantic. H St is the only place I want to go out — let’s start at Atlas Arcade, lemme beat Area 51 real quick, and end at Jimmy Valentine’s. And, I mean, it’s got Aldi. Love me those cheap groceries.
  2. The unique places you can see music. In addition to your classic rock venues, you can see music here in some pretty amazing settings. On the one hand, really grand halls — not just Kennedy Center but St. Stephens, National Cathedral, Luce Gallery. And then on the other hand there are house shows where you can see amazing local and touring bands from five feet away. Of course none of this works without the artists — from DC I’m particularly keen on Flasher, Cigarette, Rogue Collective, Bacchae and Keeper over the last year or so, but there are so many more too.
  3. The activists and organizers. The national picture is bleak, but it’s heartening to realize how many young people, more radical than their bosses, are straining against the system. There’s an infrastructure of organizers in D.C. who are underpaid, overworked as the last line of resistance against this shitty behemoth — but they’re so full of love and dedication that I still have hope for the world. Some of that hope is borne out locally, with the wave of progressive campaigns that have swept through here in the last couple years, for fossil fuel divestment and carbon pricing and paid leave and fair wages. The Stomp Out Slumlords campaign teaching tenants to fight back against eviction is the most recent example. And it has to be said that there’s such a history and presence of black activism here, both in resistance and leadership, that points the way forward.
  4. The wackos. People talk about this being a square city, but there’s some weirdness going on. I saw a guy riding a wheelchair down Maryland Avenue the other day with a woman on his lap, right through traffic. Another dude made up a poem on the spot for me on U Street yesterday. You can go to a Death Cafe? So this goes out to the people who pursue and share their particular talents, beekeeping and local history and millinery and whatnot, and don’t care what the people say. Stay freaky.
  5. The local journalists. It goes without saying that 730dc relies on the work of journalists and bloggers (including at BYT). After losing DCist (and Borderstan, etc), their work is that much more valuable.

Amy King, editor in chief and creative director of The Lily, a women-focused publication from The Washington Post

Photo Credit: Jesse Dittmar for The Lily

  1. Creamy Kale + Potato taco from Chaia. Everything at the Georgetown vegetarian taco shop is delicious, but this taco is my favorite. The pickled onions really make it. Also, shout out to another spot with great pickled onions: Cava.
  2. The 730 DC Newsletter. A joyful way to keep up with what’s happening in this city. Not too long, not too short and always with an extensive list of things to do. Sign up. It’s also one of the best looking text newsletters, with a playful design by Composite Co.
  3. The track at Banneker Recreation Center. Running around this track makes me feel like I’m in a movie about high school track stars. It’s good to feel youthful when you’re running. Not into track? Banneker also has a pool, tennis courts, baseball fields, basketball courts and a great sense of community. For free. And the brick building out front has delightful seafoam green accents.
  4. October 31 to March 1. The wonderful stress-free window where your car can stay on one side of the road.
  5. Parkview. Or, the most delightfully-named neighborhood in D.C. You will find: Colony Club, Union Drinkery, the Lemon Collective, Heat da Spot and a dog pacing on a roof. And soon, the folks behind Timber Pizza are opening up a deli named Call Your Mother with the goal to “make the best bagel around.” Speaking of, in Parkview you’re a short walk to Timber Pizza. And Bad Saint. And Himitsu.

Mona Lavinia, Wellness + Movement Curator

  1. Running the C & O canal starting from the suburbs of Bethesda, MD to end up at a gorgeous view of the monuments.
  2. The Cherry Blossoms on a FINE April day in Haines Point while biking.
  3. Dupont Circle’s Farmer’s Market and the small green patches where you can lay out a picnic with all the fresh finds of the day. My favorite are the Peaches.
  4. Speaking of Peaches…. ASS day at CUTSEVEN.
  5. The community, the people who are doing all sorts of amazing things in their respective fields. Their drive is inspiring, their creativity is embraced and their talents are undeniable. This city is filled with amazing people who are pushing boundaries and testing ideas … in general doing dope things. It’s embraced!

Katalina Mayorga, Founder of El Camino Travel an immersive travel company focused on elevated and cultural experiences

  1. The people. You always meet so many passionate, interesting, and intelligent individuals in the most random places.
  2. The open hearth at Maydan Restaurant. Perfect for this winter.
  3. Kingman Island is an easy and quick escape to nature.
  4. The tight knit community of women entrepreneurs. They are the embodiment of Shine Theory.
  5. Maketto, it’s my neighborhood coffee shop and always seems to be a watering hole for interesting people.

Alisha Ramos, Founder, CEO of Girls’ Night In

  1. The burgeoning food scene! Recent faves: Masseria, Bresca, Floriana.
  2. Dumbarton Oaks! A hidden gem near Georgetown, the perfect non-touristy spot to watch cherry blossoms bloom.
  3. The Capitals! Sorry but…it’s the only game I watch and have fun watching every time.
  4. The creative and tech community! D.C. may be known for politics and suits, but we have a really cool and supportive creative and technology community here that keeps the city hip and fun.
  5. The free museums! I recently went to the National Portrait Gallery and was reminded of how cool and rare it is to have all of this art and history at your fingertips, at no cost. Must visit them more often.

Haywood Turnipseed Jr., Stand Up Comic

Big Terrific-20

  1. Museums: The fact that many of the museums are free is awesome; They tend to be top ten museums too. People come from far and wide to visit the city and the fact that they are free helps the visitors spend travel money helping the local economy.
  2. Food -N- Festivals: Food Truck Festival; Capital Jazz Fest; Funk Parade; Taste of DC; Cherry Blossoms Festival; Black Family Reunion; Bentzen Ball; Underground Comedy Festival; Howard Homecoming; and so much more!!! Whether its food, fun, funny people, or musicology, D.C. is really the place to be when it comes to constantly having a good time.
  3. Schools & Colleges: As a parent this is becoming more and more important to me; I know that some folks have problem with the charter school model but I’m able to say that my family has been one to benefit from the ability to select schools. My kids have been attending since the age of three and my wife I would not have been able to survive financially if we didn’t have the option to send them. We hope that this grows to their college years should they choose to attend (they’re going to attend tho).
  4. History: Knowing my roots are very important and living in D.C. has allowed me the opportunity to explore my own family lineage, thru places like the National Archives, as well as the history of Black People in America. The New Museum on the Mall, aka The Blacksonian (they don’t like that name much, but it fits so well), continues this education and enlightenment process that will only help our overall American Family. Its really cool to be able to visit places like Lincoln’s Cottage; Alexander Graham Bell’s Lab’s aka Volta House or Frederick Douglass House. Sometimes living in D.C. is like walking thru a history book, and that’s awesome. To know that I walk the streets that Marvin Gaye, Count Bassie, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Moms Mabley, Richard Pryor, Harriet Tubman, Thomas Jefferson, and other questionable White Folks, is not lost on me. I’m thankful that I get to share this vibe with friends, family, and the audiences, that I preform for.
  5. Medical Marijuana/Initiative 71: Let’s just say that I really dig living in a city that’s doing what it can to abolish marijuana prohibition. I personally know people who have unbearable pain and medicinal cannabis has truly aided their ailments; For some folks that I know, it provides the only relief that they can get. This isn’t just in consumption either; its folks who utilize topical creams, cooking oils, spa treatments and the like. Being in contact with these folks has truly enlightened me. Likewise *initiative 71 being implemented in 2015 has allowed adults over 21 the option to use marijuana in private; that’s pretty cool. And from what I can tell, ‘The Good People of D.C. have been responsible’, maybe one day, we all smoke free, privately.
  6. Comedy: I was only supposed to do 5 reasons but I’ll add a 6th. Comedy!!! DC is great place to see live Comedy. Headliners always come thru here, likewise, many headliners come from here, and/or got their start here. Check out show, you never now who’s next!!! Waka, Waka, Waka!!!

Robert van Leer, Kennedy Center Senior Vice-President for Artistic Planning

  1. These boots were made for walking. D.C. is a fantastic city to walk. I walk to work and back every day and across town whenever I can. Lots of different neighborhoods along with tree lined streets, parks, squares, and green spaces of many kinds. I walk for an at least an hour every single day, often more.
  2. The Mall at night. Again, walking, but I will regularly have events at the other end of the mall from where I live and work (Georgetown and Foggy bottom respectively). After two and a half years of doing it, I still find it an absolute thrill to walk from the edge where the mall meets the Potomac (the real Water Gate) behind the Lincoln Memorial to the far side of the Capitol Building to places like the lovely Folger Theatre or Library of Congress – and back again. On a moonlight night, with the fountains flowing and all, pure magic.
  3. The National Gallery. Now, I love ALL the amazing museums, galleries, theaters, and the fact that I cannot keep up with all the different exhibitions and shows. But, the National Gallery has a special place in my heart. From the newly fresh West Building (who would have known pink concrete could be so beautiful) to amazing core collection and changing exhibits. I can get lost every day, any day, and never feel I have seen it all.
  4. The Rivers. I have been lucky to always live in great cities with great rivers, and D.C. does not disappoint. Every morning I walk down and across Georgetown Harbor and the surrounding parks and green spaces and look towards the Kennedy Center – uplifting every time. But it is so much more; a boat to Old Town, the ferry to the Wharf, cycling alongside it, crossing it once, twice, many many times. Coming home from travels (my job keeps me on the road a fair amount), I cherish crossing Key Bridge into Georgetown late at night and looking up the river – then I know I am home.
  5. D.C. Neighborhoods. As I walk (and bike) for much of my transportation, I am able to experience and celebrate the various neighborhoods of D.C. – across all eight Wards. Different, changing, and full of warm open people. I spent the last 30 years of my life in NYC and London. D.C. has a wonderful old world vibe with a warm open modern heart. Great folks, out on the streets, happy to say: ‘Good Morning’ for the price of a smile.

Clinton Yates, The Undefeated columnist, ESPN Radio host, Around the Horn commentator

  • Gentrification: If you moved here in like 2010, you can claim to be a native Washingtonian, and when your friends come to town, you can tell them how much your neighborhood has changed without the slightest hint of irony?” Oh my god, I know. My favorite corner store is now a goddamn hydroponic tea factory, but they hire returning citizens so I go there all the time.”
  • Brunch: You get to listen to 22-year-olds complain about snow days while waiting in long lines for the bathroom and you’re not even the one doing the drugs! Seriously, though. There are few things that make me happier than showing up at noon and buying the entire bar out of rosé, just so I can pour it all over my friends on the roofdeck before sundown.
  • Rent-A-Bikes: Who drives? It’s so much easier to just pick a bike up off the street and ride it down to Gallery Place and just ditch it in the middle of the sidewalk. Sooooo much more convenient than Metro. My dad’s an urbanist, so trust me.
  • Beer gardens: When I want to have a lovely saison on Tuesday afternoon, it’s so refreshing to join 9,000 of my closest friends who are all apparently “working from home” that day (like me!) and their dogs. It’s a really valuable community experience and when I needed someone to help install my Murphy bed in my apartment, I found a friend there! So convenient.
  • Art galleries: Ever since I started going to more, my Insta followers are up like 450%. It’s weird. I just take pictures of things, never credit the artist who did the original work and voila, hearts galore. Amazing how that works.
  • Ramen shops: Bookstores aren’t real anymore, coffee shops actually make you buy coffee and shared workspaces are so last year, so I take all my meetings at Ramen shops. It’s great because they’re not really looking to turn over tables with any quickness, so I can have an excellent three hour lunch over just one bowl of soup with my potential investors. Look, I know, it sounds crazy, but follow me. You don’t think an app that links Tinder with Uber so you can just hook up in cars instead of wasting time at home is a good idea? Get a life.
  • Record stores: Obviously I don’t actually listen to any of the music, but I definitely go shop for vinyl at least twice a month. The album covers make THE BEST wall decorations. Plus, I bought my turntable at an Urban Outfitters in Nashville last year when I went to adult summer camp. That was super fun.
  • Podcasts: D.C. really is the podcasting capital of the world. I listen this really cool pod about how podcasts suck, which is weird because I don’t even think that but I like their podcast. I should start a podcast called Inception, actually. It could be about how brands try really hard to put all their new media on to old media to make old people want to buy new things that are really in fact, just old. Like radios.
  • Florida Avenue Grill: That place rocks and has since you weren’t even a twinkle in your mom’s eye.
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