In a city rife with contrary opinions, few subjects have ignited as much controversy as the location of the National World War II Memorial (202/426-6841; nps.gov)—smack on the National Mall, disturbing the sight lines between the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument. But four years later, the elliptical monument is one of the Mall’s must-see stops.
The revitalized Penn Quarter neighborhood is anchored by the spectacularly renovated Old Patent Office Building (Eighth and F Sts.; 202/633-1000; si.edu), which now contains the National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Where else can you find a Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington and a Jenny Holzer sculpture under one roof?Penn Quarter is also known for inventive restaurants like Proof (775 G St. NW; 202/737-7663; dinner for two $110), with a market-driven menu, champagne trolley, and 40-plus wines by the glass; and the hopping brasserie Poste (555 Eighth St. NW; 202/783-6060; dinner for two $80), accessed through a 19th-century carriage portal. The recent arrival of Wolfgang Puck’s tri-level The Source (575 Pennsylvania Ave. NW; 202/637-6100; dinner for two $120) considerably ups the ante, perhaps forecasting splashier openings to come.
In ever-happening Dupont Circle, housewares shop Tabletop (1608 20th St. NW; 202/387-7117) has opened a second floor to make room for Blu Dot tables and Marimekko bags. Through August, the excellent Textile Museum (2320 S St. NW; 202/667-0441; textilemuseum.org) hosts “Indigo,” an exhibition focusing on the prized dye; displays include original William Morris chintz and Yoruba adire cloth. Hudson Restaurant & Lounge (2030 M St. NW; 202/872-8700; lunch for two $60) is the neighborhood’s stylish new canteen, serving comfort-food classics (corned beef hash, buttermilk fried chicken) from early morning until late at night. At cozy Veritas (2031 Florida Ave. NW; 202/265-6270), charcuterie and cheese plates are paired with any of two dozen flights of wine.
In Georgetown, Hook (3241 M St. NW; 202/625-4488; dinner for two $110) is luring foodies for the seafood-focused, locavore cooking of Barton Seaver, one of the city’s brightest young chefs. A few blocks away, the District Line (1250 Wisconsin Ave.; 202/558-5508) brings edgy, tailored menswear from British labels like Ben Sherman to a clientele more accustomed to pinstripes and loafers.
Meanwhile, the long-embattled U Street Corridor continues to blossom: At Muléh (1831 14th St. NW; 202/667-3440), contemporary Filipino furniture shares space with hard-to-find domestic and European clothing labels. Wild Women Wear Red (1512 U St. NW; 202/387-5700) stocks sexy but practical shoes and accessories. Cocktails?Head to the upstairs lounge at Marvin (2007 14th St. NW; 202/797-7171), a “Belgian-Soul Food” restaurant-bar named for native Washingtonian Marvin Gaye.