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07 Jul, 2019

Build Business 2019: DC Like a Local

Laura Ewan

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Read time: 6 minutes, 42 seconds

Build Business is coming to the nation's capital, and we're excited to show off all our city has to offer. For those of you extending your conference experience through the weekend, we asked members and sponsors to share their go-to destinations—both on and off the beaten path—to help you make the most of your time here in DC. So whether you're into monuments, Monets or bottomless mimosas, our members have you covered with these recommendations on how to DC like a local.

Friday Night Right at the Skyline Soiree

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© Sam Kittner

Start your weekend right with SMPS DC at the Skyline Soiree, our end of Build Business reception. Hosted at the Observatory at America's Square, this event brings Build Business attendees together with local industry movers and shakers for a celebration you won't want to miss—and views you'll never forget. Relax on our rooftop lounge provided by Design Within Reach while enjoying cocktails, hors d'oeuvres and a summer sunset over the Capitol dome.

Rise and Shine

Nothing gets you up and moving on the weekend like the promise of a good brunch. Luckily, DC suffers no shortage of delicious options worth venturing out for.

Unconventional Diner / Shaw

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A post shared by Unconventional Diner | DC (@unconventionaldiner) on Apr 30, 2019 at 7:15am PDT

Unconventional Diner near the Convention Center is delicious—kind of a modern twist on classic dishes. Plus it was recently just named one of Open Table's 100 Best Brunch Restaurants of 2019.

- Jason Moskowitz, Wilmot Sanz

Hank's Oyster Bar / The Wharf DC

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A post shared by Hanks Oyster Bar (@hanksoysterbar) on May 17, 2019 at 9:47am PDT

If you like fresh seafood and a view, I highly recommend checking out Hank's Oyster Bar's newest location at The Wharf then walking along the boardwalk afterwards.

- Kailee Dahan, EYP

Mi Vida / The Wharf DC

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A post shared by MI VIDA® (@mividamexico) on Apr 11, 2019 at 8:10am PDT

DC has a great brunch scene and while some say you can’t go wrong, I’d highly recommend Mi Vida at The Wharf. Great cocktails paired with an array of traditional and nontraditional brunch options make it worth returning to again and again. Added bonus, if you don’t like brunch you can order off their lunch/dinner menu as well.

- Marie Purkert, christopher consultants

Songbyrd / Adams Morgan

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A post shared by Songbyrd Music House (@songbyrddc) on Aug 11, 2018 at 8:37am PDT

For those looking for something funky and low key, I'd recommend checking out Songbyrd in Adams Morgan. It's a unique blend of bar, restaurant, music venue and record store that's become our favorite Saturday morning staple—complete with a DJ and board games to keep you entertained.

- Laura Ewan, Hickok Cole

Farmers Fishers Bakers / Georgetown

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A post shared by Farmers Fishers Bakers (@farmfishbakedc) on Aug 28, 2018 at 10:45am PDT

I like to go to Farmers Fishers Bakers in Georgetown after stand-up paddleboarding at the Key Bridge Boathouse. Then grab a delicious cupcake at Baked & Wired and of course go shopping (OK, maybe get the cupcake after shopping).

- Jessica Gillette, christopher consultants

See the Sights

There's way more to see in DC than you can do in one weekend (or lifetime). Whether your into history, art, or just wandering around, we've helped whittle it down by sharing a few of our favorite stops.

Jefferson Memorial / National Mall

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A post shared by Sam Kittner (@samkittner) on Mar 7, 2018 at 1:47pm PST

When it comes to monuments, I love the WWII Memorial because its so powerful, or the Jefferson Memorial because I'm from C’ville, plus, it's gorgeous in spring during cherry blossom season.

- Jordan Garren, EYP

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden / National Mall

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A post shared by Hirshhorn (@hirshhorn) on Aug 31, 2018 at 3:44pm PDT

We visit the Hirshhorn Museum more than any other in the city, and our favorite part by far is the sculpture garden. It's a beautiful collection and we make a point to walk through and see our favorites on any trip we take down to the Mall.

- Laura Ewan, CPSM, Hickok Cole

Albert Einstein Memorial / National Mall

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A post shared by chris cosentino (@chefchriscosentino) on Jun 14, 2019 at 5:02pm PDT

The Einstein Memorial is a larger-than-life sculpture of Einstein. It’s a really cool monument not many people know about and a really great spot to reflect.

- Bill Zink, christopher consultants

Renwick / McPhearson Square

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A post shared by Renwick Gallery (@renwickgallery) on Aug 2, 2018 at 9:34am PDT

If you want to tour a museum or two, I love the National Gallery or the Renwick because it's a different experience each time. But now that there are new dinos, Natural History is definitely back on the list.

- Jordan Garren, EYP

Botanical Gardens / National Mall

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A post shared by Judith de Graaff (@joelixjoelix) on May 15, 2019 at 11:08am PDT

My recommendation is always the Botanical Gardens. It’s easy to miss because it’s up the hill a bit, but it’s such a unique spot. It’s great for families because touching the exhibits is encouraged!

- Staci Vega, christopher consultants

Smithsonian's National Zoo / Woodley Park

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A post shared by Smithsonian's National Zoo (@smithsonianzoo) on Jun 21, 2019 at 10:56am PDT

I love going to the zoo and wandering around for a few hours. There are lots of great restaurants in the area, plus the zoo is free! Also like wandering around Embassy Row and looking at the architecture of the buildings and their beautiful grounds.

- Mary Noonan, CPSM, Resource Environmental Solutions, LLC

International Spy Museum / L'Enfant Plaza

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A post shared by International Spy Museum (@spymuseum) on Jun 27, 2019 at 3:38pm PDT

The Spy Museum is the newest museum in the city, and definitely worth checking out (even if just from the outside) for the architecture lovers in your group. If you're interested in experiencing the exhibits, heads up that it's a private museum which means you'll need to buy a ticket, but the sunset views of the Wharf from the top are totally worth it.

- Laura Ewan, CPSM, Hickok Cole

Old Town / Alexandria, VA

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A post shared by Visit Alexandria VA (@visitalexva) on Jun 30, 2019 at 4:00am PDT

Take the water taxi from the DC Wharf to Old Town Alexandria ($14 round trip)! Visit the Old Town Alexandria Waterfront with cobblestone streets where George Washington himself used to brunch on Saturday afternoon.* With several restaurant options in the area, you can't go wrong but we recommend Blackwall Hitch right on the water. Afterwards, take some time to tour the local shops and don't miss the Torpedo Factory filled with local artisans. It will be a hot summer day, so stop into Pop's Ice Cream on King Street before catching the water taxi back to DC. [*according to unverified internet sources]

- Amanda Cole, LandDesign

Wine and Dine

DC's food scene does not disappoint, and every neighborhood has something amazing to offer. Regardless of where you choose, we recommend using your Saturday evening as an opportunity to explore somewhere new and enjoy the fun of a summer night in DC.

Anything Jose Andres / Chinatown

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A post shared by Jaleo (@jaleobyjose) on May 21, 2019 at 12:58pm PDT

I love any of Jose Andres’ restaurants but Jaleo may be my favorite.

- Staci Vega, christopher consultants

Zaytinya by Chef Jose Andres. You can't go wrong with anything on the menu.

- Kailee Dahan, EYP

Blagden Alley / Shaw

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A post shared by Columbia Room (@columbiaroom) on Jul 3, 2019 at 11:06am PDT

Check out all the local spots in Blagden Alley—just a few short blocks from the Convention Center. The Columbia Room is the top rated cocktail bar in America (if you interested, be sure to make a reservation ahead of time), and Tiger Fork and Calico are both great spots for happy hour.

- Amanda Cole, LandDesign

Joselito Casa de Comidas / Capitol Hill

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A post shared by Joselito Casa de Comidas (@joselitohill) on Apr 30, 2019 at 9:03am PDT

I have recently been visiting Joselito Casa de Comidas a lot. This recommendation would work for brunch/lunch, afternoon snack or dinner. It serves tasty Spanish tapas all day, though also offers some more traditional breakfast-y entrees for weekend brunch. Most dishes are available in three sizes (tapas, entrees, and family style), so you can construct a meal based on your group size and how much sharing you'd like to do. The ambiance is relaxed and welcoming, but upscale—a perfect neighborhood spot for a nice meal out. And the location is around the corner from Eastern Market, so on a Saturday it pairs well with a stroll through the flea market and the surrounding historic neighborhood's beautiful, tree-lined residential streets. It's also not far from the Capitol, so it could be part of a day spent exploring the eastern side of the National Mall as well, if you like to walk.

- Jason Moskowitz, Wilmot Sanz

Compass Rose / 14th Street

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A post shared by Compass Rose Bar & Kitchen (@compassrose_dc) on Nov 28, 2018 at 2:11pm PST

We've had some great meals with out of town visitors at Compass Rose. The menu celebrates international street foods of all sorts, so it is a lot of fun to visit with a group and try a wide variety of flavors. The location just off of 14th St NW pairs well with grabbing a pre- or post-dinner drink or just strolling around.

- Jason Moskowitz, Wilmot Sanz

District Winery / Capital Riverfront

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A post shared by District Winery (@districtwinery) on May 28, 2019 at 1:53pm PDT

As a wine fan I’d quickly to direct wine lovers to Primrose in the Brookland neighborhood or District Winery. If you venture to District Winery, stop in at Bluejacket. It’s laid back atmosphere is the perfect place to start or end your day.

- Marie Purkert, christopher consultants

Espita Mezcaleria / Shaw

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A post shared by Espita Mezcaleria (@espitadc) on Dec 8, 2018 at 1:59pm PST

Espita Mezcalaria is both delicious and a short walk from the hotel. If you're not sure whether or not you like mezcal, start of with the Mayahuel, which is their take on the traditional margarita. Definitely get the guacamole, and order a selection tacos to share.

- Laura Ewan, CPSM, Hickok Cole