Let DC Be Your Date

The perfect day in DC, with or without a valentine.

Aaliyah Royster

Staff Writer

Start the day off right with a local coffee shop.

Bluestone Lane Metro Center Coffee Shop, 600 13th Street NW, Washington, DC 20005

To start the day off, catch the Blue Line headed towards Largo Town Center at the King Street or Braddock Road Metro Stations in Alexandria. Ride the train until you arrive at the Metro Center stop, where it’s time to get off. Walk down G St. towards 13th St. and you’ll find Bluestone Lane Coffee Shop. The shop is clean and quiet with a bright aesthetic. Employees at Bluestone Lane recommend you get the “Avocado/With the Lot,” which is avocado toast with prosciutto and feta cheese and tomatoes. For drinks, they recommend the “Affogato,” which is vanilla ice cream served with a double shot of espresso.

Channel your inner tourist as you head to an art museum.

National Portrait Gallery, 8th and G Street, Washington, DC 20001

Grab your coffee and head back on G St. in the opposite direction, towards 8th street, and in a few blocks, you’ll hit the National Portrait Gallery. This beautiful museum depicts famous American figures from the U.S. Presidents to singers and performers like Amy Winehouse and Marilyn Monroe. A favorite attraction in the museum is the Atrium with a variety of plants and a nice seated area.

If the National Portrait Gallery isn’t enough art for you, visit the Smithsonian American Art Museum just across the street.

Painting from the National Portrait Gallery. Photo by Aaliyah Royster.

Enjoy a fun dining experience for lunch.

Rice Bar Market Place, 801 Pennsylvania Ave, Washington, DC 20004

After a morning of coffee and art, you’re probably ready for lunch. Rice Bar Market Place is a fun and tasty dining experience with a clean and fun aesthetic. The menu varies from ramen bowls, rice bowls, and chicken teriyaki to Mochi ice cream for dessert. The employee favorite on the menu is the “Panpan Ramen,” which is a spicy ramen soup. A major plus to this restaurant is the affordable prices for this type of dining experience.

TanTan Ramen at the Rice Bar Market. Photo courtesy of Luis Miyar.

Relax with the Ducks.

Southwest Duck Pond, Entrance on 6th and I Street, Washington, DC 20024

After lunch, it’s time to relax. Catch the Green Line at Archives-Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter station to the Waterfront Station. Head up 6th street and enter the Southwest Duck Pond. This Urban Oasis is the perfect place to relax and enjoy nature, even in the city. The park is home to ducks and squirrels, beautiful fountains, and greenery. The park also includes a mini Free Library stand where you can take and leave books free of charge. 

“Avocado with The Lot” from Bluestone Lane. Photo courtesy of Deana B.

If you’re not ready to go home yet…

Culture House DC, 700 Delaware Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20024

The final stop in your day in DC is the Culture House DC. This community art space, housed in a former church, is a collection of modern artwork from local artists. The current exhibition being shown at the Culture House is Joseph Shetler: In Pursuit of Nothing (January 22-March 5, 2022) which takes an artistic look at the Declaration of Independence and “the fundamental right of the ‘Pursuit of Happiness.” If you visit this exhibit, be sure to make an appointment on their website first.

And you’re done! Walk back to the Waterfront Metro Station and catch the Green Line to Metro Center and transfer to the Blue Line back to Braddock Road or King Street Station and you’ll be back home in Alexandria. Exploring DC for the day, regardless of who you’re with, is a great way to discover new things in the city right next to ours. Happy exploring and happy Valentine’s Day! 

The Atrium in the National Portrait Gallery. Photo by Aaliyah Royster.

Aaliyah Royster is a staff writer and junior at Alexandria City High School.