In January, we celebrated my husband’s 30th birthday! My birthday gift to him is a trip to Prague and Vienna in May (stay tuned!), but I wanted to make sure we celebrated his actual birthday with a bang, since it is 30 and all.
For the past 5 years that we’ve lived in Philadelphia, we have been taking weekend trips to all of the drivable places along the East Coast. It is no surprise that my favorite weekend trip is to NYC (duh), but John’s is to Washington DC. He loves that city. So, it made sense to get in the car and drive two and a half hours to celebrate in style.
I will do a comprehensive “favorite places in DC” post later, but this one is focused on the fabulous places we went and ate to celebrate John this weekend. First of all, as Texas natives currently displaced in the Northeast, we take every opportunity to eat excellent TexMex when we can find it. It just so happens that our favorite Texas chain, Chuy’s, now has multiple locations in the DC area! We of course have to stop at one on every trip into DC.
Some quick practicalities: don’t drive in Washington DC if you can avoid it. If your hotel is in the city, I don’t suggest driving in and parking. First, you will definitely see your life flash before your eyes driving in DC. Second, you will likely pay upwards of $40 per night to park at your hotel. That’s insane! We drive from Philly to the end of a metro line, park inexpensively, and then ride the train into the city. Our personal favorite is the Franconia/Springfield station in Virginia (which may or may not be a minute and a half from one of the aforementioned Chuy’s locations). Parking is $5 per day, and the blue line goes right to the Foggy Bottom stop, where we tend to stay in Georgetown.
So, after a stop at Chuy’s for lunch and a 30 minute train ride into the city, we arrived at the Westin Georgetown, which is my personal favorite hotel that we’ve stayed at in DC. You can’t beat the location, and the rooms are lovely, clean, and comfortable. We actually almost always use Hotwire to book our hotels when traveling to get the best deals. See our Travel App post!
One of John’s favorite casual restaurants in the city is Thunder Burger Bar in Georgetown. It has a funky rock vibe, and a huge menu with any kind of burger you can imagine (or build your own). So, after some leisurely shopping in Georgetown on a quiet Friday in January (looking at you, Dean and Deluca, Athleta, Warby Parker, and Lululemon), we enjoyed our delicious burgers and beers.
You may or may not have heard of the great DC cupcake debate, and everyone in the city has an opinion about which cupcake place is best. I think this sounds like a future post in the making, but for now I will just say that we love Georgetown Cupcake. The line is usually down the block, but we discovered that you can order ahead (as long as it’s by 5pm the day before you want to pick up) and just walk in and grab your cupcakes. Part of the fun might be waiting in the crazy long line, but I hate to wait for things. (#millennial)
One of the surprises that I had in store for John was Kafe Leopold—an Austrian restaurant that I read great reviews about. Since we are headed to Austria for his birthday gift, I thought we would prep by brunching on Saturday at Kafe Leopold. They don’t take reservations, so get there early. This place was heavenly. I have spent 10 years searching for a true Viennese mélange this side of Europe, and Kafe Leopold hit it out of the park. Don’t get me started on their desserts, either. John really likes pictures, if you can’t tell.
I told John the day was his to do whatever he wanted, so we spent
forever 4 hours in the Air and Space Museum. I could talk for a very long time about the different Smithsonians and which ones are must-sees, but the Air and Space is truly an amazing museum. My cute hubby who loves all things that fly could spend days in there.
We started our swanky night out on the town at the Hay-Adams bar, Off the Record. This gorgeous bar boasts a dark, quiet atmosphere and the most expensive cocktails I have ever had. But you only turn 30 once, right? After a couple drinks, we made our way to BLT Steak, just down the street, for dinner. The restaurant was bright and open, and the food was incredible—definitely worthy of a special occasion. We shared a salad, both had steaks, and shared the mac and cheese as a side. Let me say, even that was way too much food, so share as much as you can! They treated John to the peanut butter moose for dessert, which was unbelievable, but we were so full by that point I don’t even remember enjoying it.
Last, you can’t end a weekend in DC without a Founding Farmers brunch run. A reservation is absolutely necessary, but the food is incredible. Definitely get the beignets to start, and you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu!
After a fantastic weekend, we dragged ourselves back on the train and homeward to Philly. We had the best time celebrating my little 30 year old, and we found some new favorite places in DC along the way!
Happy birthday to my best friend, my better half, and the man who makes all of my adventure dreams come true. I hope 30 is the best year yet!