So, it’s no surprise that the past few months in D.C. have been difficult. Between trying to get on my feet after graduating, some unexpected career changes, the craziness of school and struggling with leaving behind the comfort of my Texas life, I’d be lying if I said I was happy every day. Many days, I find myself wondering if I’d be happier anywhere else. Not because I want to drop everything and quit and leave, but because I wonder and worry if this is the right choice for me. The right choice should feel right, right?
I’m bouncing back and forth between the choice I make today does not determine the rest of my life and if it’s meant to be it will be. I go back and forth between telling myself to only worry about the things I can control and let be the things I can’t, and trying to be pro-active and stay two steps ahead of everything. I’ve filled out countless job applications, put myself out there to try to find the right girl-gang to fill the void I have from leaving my Baylor group behind, poured so many hours into the papers and projects I’ve had for school and still tried to find the time for things that truly make me happy. A close mentor of mine told me when I moved here that I’m only going to be 22 and bright-eyed in a brand new city once, so I should take advantage of it and explore as much as possible.
I’d also be lying if I said I spent every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night hitting up a new bar and happy hour, and I spent every weekend in a new neighborhood looking at all the sites to see. Most weekends I spend in a coffee shop doing work, trying to add some quality runs to my training, sleeping or honestly, reading or watching Netflix. But between this mundane, grandma-style set of habits (sorry grandma, love you!), I have had some fun in the city! And as I continue to practice manifestation and positivity in this new semester and season of heavy change, I like to come back to this list of things in this city that make me happy. Sometimes, it’s not the situation that needs to change but your outlook on the situation.
Who would I be if I went more than a few minutes without bringing up SoulCycle? Honestly, this is my number one way to cheer up or find some “me” time. Some people may make fun of the class and the “boujeeness” associated with it, but this class makes me feel so strong and confident, something I’ve been looking for in a workout. The bike may go nowhere and it may be easier to just go out for a run, but when I’m in that class on that bike, something in me changes. I totally zone out and I have a blast – I’m in the front row singing along to all the songs, screaming and cheering after a good choreography set and I push myself harder and harder each time. My boyfriend came to a class with me in December, and he asked me afterwards why I liked it so much. I said it was my happy space, I felt so accepted and encouraged and there was no pressure to look or act a certain way. He smiled, and told me other people were looking to me during class as a leader, and I was so excited. More to come on this, I might honestly do a whole post on SoulCycle and its role in my life, but this is honestly my favorite part of D.C. – between the instructors and the people I’ve met and the experiences I’ve had!
- The Running Trails
Coming from Waco, TX where there are two directions to run, left or right, I was through the roof when I saw all the options in D.C. My personal favorite is Theodore Roosevelt Island because the loop is just perfect, I can make it a perfect 7 mile loop from my house or add on or take off to make it 5 or 10 miles for a shorter or longer day. I also enjoy the Capitol Crescent Trail, running through the hills of Glover Park and running to the National Mall through Georgetown Waterfront! There’s so many places to go and explore – just the other day I just left my house and explored the neighborhoods behind me and had a blast.
- El Centro Happy Hour
Many people ask me what my favorite happy hour is in the city, and as lame as it sounds, I’ve only been to like two. El Centro is my favorite, especially in the summer, because the deal on the frozen margarita is so good, and its a good drink too! I’m not exactly a tequila connoisseur but I have taken margarita snobs here who have enjoyed it, so they must be just that good! The summer is so fun because the frozen margs are so refreshing and the deck is lively with people and music. The chips and salsa are also super good!
- Georgetown Bagelry
If you know me, you know bagel sandwiches are my brand. Surprisingly, this is NOT in Georgetown, but in Bethesda. I stumbled across this gem driving home one weekend, I was getting a late start hitting the road and really was in a rush to eat something. I looked up bagels near me on the way home to Connecticut, and this came up. The bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches are literally to die for. Thank goodness its about 20 minutes away from me because it saves my diet considerably, otherwise I’d be eating one of these bagel sandwiches every morning!
If you’re looking for a fun night out, I recommend Madhatter! It’s a club in Dupont Circle (I think Dupont Circle is my favorite neighborhood in D.C.!) that isn’t too wild but also not boring at all. The whole club is Alice in Wonderland themed – think drinks in top hats and vintage movie posters – and although I’ve only been a few times I had fun every time I did go! It became a go-to as friends and I explored the city and tried to find places to go, it was always nice to fall back on.
- All the Museums
Technically, these are not free, but technically, they’re also free. All the Smithsonian’s are truly an experience, but my favorite is the Air and Space Museum. I could literally hang out here all day every day, but I find aviation so interesting. Definitely take advantage of the museums in town because tax payer money goes toward them, but they’re also so full of cool stuff and knowledge. The Newseum was also a great one, but pricey to get into. Unfortunately, its doors closed this year and I’m unsure where the museum is going next.
- Tyson’s Galleria
Do you like shopping? Enough said then. This mall is split into two locations because its so big! One has higher end stores and the other has more affordable shops. Its great to walk around and window shop, and there are plenty of great restaurants in the area too! I like that its not outside shops because if it does rain this is a good indoor option.
- The Pembroke
I just recently went to this restaurant last week with my boyfriends mom and it was adorable! The restaurant has a 1920’s-esque feel to it, between the branding and decor, and the food was phenomenal too. I had a glass of the red zinfandel, the arugula salad with fennels, radishes and honey and a sea bass dish called the Loup de Mer with a watercress salad on the side. Beautiful atmosphere, delicious food and great company! Again, another Dupont Circle hit!
- Ford Theatre
I had the joy of seeing a show at Ford Theatre, it was called Fences by August Wilson. I’m not really a show person but I was so intrigued and captivated by this show, I was actually crying at the end! It was also a once-in-a-lifetime experience to sit in the same building Lincoln sat in, so for that alone I highly recommend seeing a show here if you get the chance. The theatre puts on shows that honor and celebrate Lincoln’s legacy and the American experience. The shows all have a reputation of being good, and I can attest to that.