10 Best Things About Washington, D.C.

The short list of things our editors love about the nation's capital.
Tanner Latham, Jennifer V. Cole, and Taylor Bruce

1. The Willard

You don't even have to stay at the Willard to enjoy its opulence. Many D.C. visitors detour through the hotel's magnificent lobby for afternoon tea in Peacock Alley or a cocktail (order a Gin Rickey) at the Round Robin Bar.

2. National Cathedral

Visitors to D.C. flock to the National Cathedral, the church receiving 1,000,000 visitors annually. It finished its construction in 1990 after 83 years.

3. Comet Ping Pong

Get your game on at Comet Ping Pong. This uber-design-conscious pizzeria with a table tennis bent draws everyone from urban hipsters to the baby-stroller set, making for a low-key atmosphere where even out-of-towners feel right at home.

4. Blues Alley

Set in an 18th-century brick carriage house, this Georgetown spot packs them in with smooth sounds and Creole cuisine. Call ahead for a table.

5. mini bar

Brainchild of a Spanish-born chef, José Andrés, minibar is tucked in a corner on the second floor of local favorite Café Atlántico. There's no menu, only a wine list. Three chefs work together to present a series of 36 small courses, some no more than a bite.

6. U.S. Botanical Garden

In the center, under the spacious 94-foot glass ceiling, a jungle grows, with exotic flowers, clinging vines, bananas, and great palm trees.

7. Adams Morgan Neighborhood

You know you've found Adams Morgan when you spy the 25-foot mural above Madam's Organ Soul Food Restaurant and Blues Bar on 18th Street. And you can order breakfast 24-7 at The Diner, but they serve a great burger too.

8. Roosevelt Island

The tribute to President Theodore Roosevelt is the lesser-known of the monuments. On warm days, rent a canoe in Georgetown and paddle over.

9. Newseum

This 250,000-square-foot techno-wonder is a staggering monument to the world of news and the free press (a 74-foot marble engraving of the First Amendment takes pride of place along an exterior wall). Channel your inner Tom Brokaw in the interactive newsroom; check out a bullet-riddled, armor-reinforced pickup truck used by reporters and photographers in the Balkans; try your hand at production in the Master Control Center.

10. The Mall

Yes, it's expected. But no trip to D.C. is complete without an afternoon on the National Mall. Our favorites include the awe-inspiring Lincoln Memorial, the picturesque Jefferson Memorial, and the VietnamMemorial, which is poetry in its simplicity.