The city boasts a number of fine jazz clubs including Georgetown's Blues Alley.
Zaytinya ranks high among the hot new restaurants in Penn Quarter.
See the monuments at night when crowds thin out.
Sweet Dreams. For both style and value, check in to the Hotel Helix at 1430 Rhode Island Avenue NW., (202) 462-9001. Located just off Logan Circle, this hip hotel with vibrant colors and pop art caters to a younger crowd. We can often find weekend rates for around $119, unheard of in this budget-busting town.
To the Coast. The District boasts numerous hot spots where young professionals gather after work, but you'll launch your evening at DC Coast at 1401 K Street; (202) 216-5988. Many of the city's lobbyists, lawyers, and PR gurus work along this famous corridor, shaping the nation's political agenda. Cool off with a Bellini martini ($8.95), a concoction of Champagne, orange vodka, and white peach puree. If you're hungry, snack on "Buffalo" Crispy Fried Oysters or Salmon Tartare served in a martini glass ($11 each).
Moonlight and Monuments. Several companies offer two-to-three-hour nighttime tours of the monuments. Old Town Trolley Tours of Washington start at Union Station at 7:30 p.m. and cost $28 per person. Don't need a guide? Plot your own personal tour.
Dine Alfresco. Many restaurants in the up-and-coming Penn Quarter neighborhood offer patio dining. You'll love Zaytinya's Mediterranean atmosphere and moderately priced, appetizer-size dishes featuring the flavors of Lebanon, Greece, and Turkey. They don't take reservations, so be prepared to wait, especially on weekends. Other favorites with outdoor seating include Jaleo, Poste Brasserie, and TenPenh.
Jazz Up Your Night. Music fills this great city, but jazz aficionados love the legendary Blues Alley Jazz Club at 1073 Wisconsin Avenue NW. in Georgetown (call (202) 337-4141 or www.bluesalley.com). You can sit so close to the action in this dark, intimate nightclub that you can actually touch the stage. Ticket prices, which can be expensive, vary according to the artist. The last show starts at 10 p.m., which may make it hard to squeeze in all we have planned. Other clubs stay open later, including favorites such as HR-57 and Twins Lounge. If you're not familiar with the city, hail a cab, and save yourself some headaches.
Out Late? If you're hungry after a night spent exploring the city, Ben's Chili Bowl at 1213 U Street NW. is the place to be. Their specialty: the Chili Half-Smoke ($3.95). A cousin to the hot dog, the plump sausage is split, grilled, and topped with mustard, onions, and chili. It goes down best with a thick, creamy shake.