D.C. is a deceptively small city, as the District population hides the fact that it is at the heart of one of the country's biggest, most densely populated metro areas—more than five million people live in the immediate D.C. area. As you might expect, there is a lot to see in the suburbs, including some of the capital's principal attractions, like Arlington Cemetery, and all three airports, for that matter. The suburbs also have a lot of hotels just across the District line near Metro stops, catering to travellers looking to evade the dreaded D.C. hotel tax.
Northern Virgina, or more obnoxiously NOVA, is best reached via Metro. Nearly everything of interest is just an easy walk away from a Metro station. Driving is a terrible headache, as Arlington and Alexandria have the worst traffic jams in the metro area, and the street layout is even more labyrinthine than that of the city itself. With the sole exception of the Arlington Cemetery stop on the Blue Line, all the main Arlington stations are on the Orange Line. If in Georgetown, the #38B bus leads right across the Key Bridge into Rosslyn, but it's not a bad walk if you'd rather skip the bus fare.
For Alexandria, the King St Metro stop on the Blue/Yellow Line is much more convenient than driving to Old Town. Annandale, on the other hand, would be a great foodie destination if it weren't so hard to reach. The only way out there is by car, where ample parking awaits. To get there, take the Little River Tnpk exit heading east from the Beltway, west from 395.
Arlington once comprised most of D.C.'s Southwest, before retroceding into the state of Virginia. This is the one "suburb" that most visitors to the city do see, as it is home to National Airport, the Pentagon, and Arlington National Cemetery. It's also just a highly urbanized center, with lots of restaurants, bars, hotels, etc.
Arlington National Cemetery, Memorial Dr, ☎ +1 703 607-8000, . 1 Apr–30 Sep 8AM-7PM daily, 1 Oct–30 March 8AM-5PM daily. Just across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., adjacent to the Pentagon, this national military cemetery includes John F. Kennedy's tomb and the house of General Robert E. Lee. Visitors can watch the changing of the guard ceremony in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Oct–March every hour, Apr–Sep every half hour.edit
Iwo Jima Marine Corps War Memorial, Meade St & Arlington Blvd, . One of D.C.'s most compelling war memorials, which commemorates the amphibious landing and victorious battle for the Pacific island of Iwo Jima during WWII, is just outside the city, on the northern border of Arlington Cemetery. If you walk around the memorial counter clockwise, you'll notice the optical illusion of the marines planting the flag. This spot also provides an excellent view of the July 4 fireworks. From either the Rosslyn or Arlington Cemetery Metro stations, it's about a fifteen minute walk.edit
China Garden, 1100 Wilson Blvd, ☎ +1 202 525-5317. Su-Th 11:30AM-10PM, F-Sa 11:30AM-10:30PM; dim sum: Sa-Su 11:30AM-3PM. The Chinese have fled the District, mostly to Virginia, and there are honestly no good dim sum places in the city itself. But this Rosslyn restaurant serves a perfectly fine dim sum, and it's just across the Key Bridge from Georgetown (in an office building).$8-20. edit
Delhi Club, 1135 N Highland St, ☎ +1 202 527-5666, . Su-F 11:30AM-10PM, Sa 11:30AM-10:30PM. Stylish, modern Indian plates with a specialty in lamb and egglplant. If you would like something different, try the Indian take on the Chesapeake crabcake!$15-27. edit
Me Jana, 2300 Wilson Blvd, ☎ +1 703 465-4440, . Lunch: 11:30AM-2:30PM daily; dinner: Su-Th 4:30PM-10PM, F-Sa 4:30PM-10:30PM. Upscale Lebanese cuisine (mostly mezzes) in a trendy, casual dining room, and accompanied with a fine selection of Lebanese wines.$18-40. edit
Pho 75, 1721 Wilson Blvd, ☎ +1 703 525-7355. 9AM-8PM daily. For a really good bowl of Vietnamese pho, you need to head out to the suburbs where the Vietnamese actually live. Happily, one of the closest pho joints to the city is also one of the best—several local food critics have declared it the best.$5-10. edit
Piola Pizzeria, 1550 Wilson Blvd, ☎ +1 703 528-1502. M-Th 11AM-11PM, F 11AM-1AM, Sa noon-1AM, Su noon-11PM. Based in Treviso, Italy, this small but international chain serves great, vaguely Neopolitan style pizzas. Later at night it morphs into an attractive lounge playing house and trance. Happy hour (M-F 4:30PM-8PM) sees free bar snacks and $4 sangria.$10-16. edit
Quarterdeck, 1200 Fort Meyer Dr, ☎ +1 703 528-2722, . 11:30AM-9PM daily. For a great Maryland style crab feast by D.C. you should go to... Virginia! Paper on the tables, buckets full of crabs, pitchers of beer, and an elbow-deep mess of Old Bay seasoning.$6-25; crab feast: $35/person. edit
Ray's Hell Burger, 1713 Wilson Blvd, ☎ +1 703 841-0001. M 5PM-10PM, Tu-Su noon-10PM. This place is best summed up by one of its signature burgers: named the Fat Joe, which adds seared foie gras with a balsamic glaze, white truffle oil, crispy shallots, and vine-ripened tomato. Yes, the burger with truffle oil and foie gras is called a Fat Joe. Ray's Hell Burger has an incredible tunnel vision-focus on burger quality to the exclusion of anything else—the seating area is at best an overcrowded, functional fast-food restaurant. But the burgers are worth whatever journey it takes to get here.$8-20. edit
Taste of Morocco, 3211 Wilson Blvd, ☎ +1 703 527-7468, . Lunch: Tu-F 11:30AM-2:30PM; dinner: Su-Th 5PM-10PM, F-Sa 5PM-10:30PM. A great Moroccan restaurant with lovely ambiance (precisely the sort you'd want of a Moroccan restaurant), great service, and one mean Chicken Bastilla, a sweet pastry filled with savory, spiced chicken.$14-30. edit
The Continental, 1911 Fort Meyer Dr, ☎ +1 703 465-7675, . M-F 11:30AM-2AM, Sa-Su 6PM-2AM. A weird little 60s-looking, orange-colored pool hall and bar just across the Key Bridge. If the small bar and pool tables are crowded, they also have shuffleboard, darts, and Wii!edit
Galaxy Hut, 2711 Wilson Blvd, ☎ +1 703 525-8646, . 5PM-2AM daily. Northern Virginia's sole hipster refuge has a fun jukebox, a fantastic draft beer selection, and perhaps the most laid back atmosphere on the Wilson Blvd corridor (it predates the Clarendon yuppie boom). Live indie rock Su-M.edit
Guarapo, 2039 Wilson Blvd, ☎ +1 703 528-6500, . M-Th 5PM-10:30PM, F-Sa 5PM-11:30PM; lounge: Th-Sa 9PM-1:30AM. A Latin lounge with salsa dancing, live music Th-Sa, hookahs, and "Latin tapas."edit
Iota Club, 2832 Wilson Blvd, ☎ +1 703 522-8340, . 5PM-2AM daily. It's arguably a dive bar, but more importantly one of the best live music venues in the area for roots-rock and country acts.edit
Jay's Saloon, 3114 N 10th St, ☎ +1 703 527-3093. Su-Th 11AM-midnight, F-Sa noon-2AM. This is a true, old-school, neighborhood bar that has not been overrun with the twenty-somethings, with really cheap beer—$2 Buds and Miller Lites any time of the week.edit
Kitty O'Shea's, 2403 Wilson Blvd, ☎ +1 202 522-5295, . M-F 11AM-2AM, Sa-Su 10AM-2AM. There are a ton of fake Irish pubs in Arlington. This one's especially fake (it's way too well lit), but it's a good time for anyone looking for a nice sports bar not overrun with immature young'uns.edit
Best Western Rosslyn/Iwo Jima, 1501 Arlington Blvd, ☎ +1 703 524-5000, . For once, a hotel with an attraction in the name isn't lying to you—it really is just about a block from the Iwo Jima Memorial. That does place it a little out of the way, but it's not a long walk to the Rosslyn station. Newly-renovated, heated indoor pool, free WiFi, meeting rooms.$100-190. edit
Clarion Collection Arlington Court, 1200 N Courthouse Rd, ☎ +1 703 524-4000, . A high-end Clarion a couple blocks south of the Courthouse Metro, with free WiFi, free breakfast buffet, and 24 hour fitness center. Offers a free one-mile shuttle—shame that anything interesting that isn't within easy walking distance would be at least two miles away...$130-300. edit
Hilton Garden Inn, 1333 North Courthouse Rd, ☎ +1 703 528-4444, . Notably just one block from the Courthouse Metro stop and the surrounding restaurants and nightlife. $120-260. edit
Residence Inn Rosslyn, 1651 N Oak St, ☎ +1 703 812-8400, . An all-suite hotel with free WiFi, free hot breakfast, free evening buffets M-W, and a dessert buffet Th.$110-270. edit
Old Town Alexandria rivals Georgetown for sheer historical charm. Alexandria historically was Georgetown's rival port on the Potomac, vying for supremacy in the lucrative Mid-Atlantic trade, particularly tobacco and slaves. Alexandria's fortunes started to decline during the early nineteenth century, especially following the construction of the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal north of the Potomac, which benefited only Georgetown. Amid continuing complaints that the federal government was neglecting investment in Alexandria, and over sharp fears that the District would ban the slave trade, Alexandria led the retrocession of the southern portion of the District (what is now Arlington County and the City of Alexandria) into Virginia.
Alexandria is one of the nicest places in the Metro Area for a stroll, a visit to the Torpedo Factory, and a night of fine dining and drinks. Since it's just off the Metro Yellow Line, it's an easy and rewarding little trip out from the city.
George Washington Masonic Memorial, 101 Callahan Dr, ☎ +1 703 683-2007, . 1 Apr–30 Sep: 9AM-4PM daily; 1 Oct–31 March 10AM-4PM; guided tours: 10AM,11:30AM,1:30PM,3PM. Designed and built by Freemasons in the 1930's, this monument to George Washington was made to resemble the Lighthouse at Alexandria, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Free tours are available daily except on major holidays. The tour takes visitors through a unique series of rooms each designed to illustrate some element of Freemasonry and presents visitors with artifacts from the group's past. At the end, visitors are treated to an outstanding view of Washington D.C. and Old Town Alexandria. Free. edit
Torpedo Factory Art Center, 105 North Union St, ☎ +1 703 838-4565, . 10AM-5PM daily; additionally 6PM-9PM every second Tu. A former World War I munitions depot that once housed the Nazi war archives after World War II , the Torpedo Factory has been turned into an artist studio/learning center for local artists.Free. edit
Bastille, 1201 N Royal St, ☎ +1 703 519-3776, . Lunch: Tu-F 11:30AM-2PM, Sa noon-2:30PM; brunch: Su 11:30AM-2:30PM; dinner: Tu-Th 6PM-9:30PM, F-Sa 6PM-10PM, Su 5PM-8PM. Country-style French cuisine with all organic, local ingredients, served in a romantic atmosphere are good reasons to wander a little north of Old Town. The cassoulet and the pastries are some of the kitchen's particular specialties.Tasting menu: $55/five course, $45/four course, $35/three course; a la carte also available. edit
Gadsby's Tavern, 138 N Royal St, ☎ +1 703 548-1288, . M-Sa 11:30AM-3PM, 5:30PM-10PM, Su 11AM-3PM, 5:30PM-10PM. A 325 year old dining spot, and a favorite of the first five U.S. Presidents! Thomas Jefferson celebrated his 1800 election victory and George Washington celebrated several birthdays in the upstairs ballroom. The museum , +1 703 838-4242, is in the old 1785 portion of the tavern and has access to the historic ballroom. Tour times vary but usually end at 4PM in the winter and 5PM in the summer. The restaurant occupies the bottom floor of the relatively new 1792 section and provides an impressively historic setting with food styles influenced by the original tavern. The food is just okay, but is not really why you come here.$26-50 (dinner). edit
The Majestic, 911 King St, ☎ +1 703 837-9117, . Lunch: M-Sa 5:30PM-2:30PM; dinner: M-Th 5:30PM-10PM, F-Sa 5:30PM-10:30PM; Su 1PM-9PM. American food done really, really well. Everything except the butter is made here, including the outstanding bacon and ham. Casual family atmosphere. The prices are comparable to other places in the area, but the quality is heads and shoulders above.$25-45. edit
Restaurant Eve, 110 S Pitt St, ☎ +1 703 706-0450, . M-Th 11:30AM-11:30PM, F 11:30AM-12:30AM, Sa 5:30PM-12:30AM. This one of the D.C. area's great restaurants, a four-star operation for special occasions, comparable to Citronelle in Georgetown. Also has a separate bistro section and bar, which also serves outstanding food for a much lower price.Main restaurant: $110/five course, $150/nine course; bistro: $25-40. edit
Vermilion, 1120 King St, ☎ +1 703 684-9669, . Lunch: M-F 11:30AM-3PM; brunch: Sa-Su 11AM-2:30PM; dinner: Su-Th 5:30PM-10PM, F-Sa 5:30PM-11PM. Run by a master chef, Vermillion is often mentioned in the same breath as Eve when describing Alexandria's most prestigious cooking. It's far less expensive, though, so it's possible for the masses to treat themselves to Anthony Chittum's seasonal, local cuisine, nearly all of it prepared in-house.$25-45. edit
The Wharf, 119 King St, ☎ +1 703 836-2834, . Lunch: M-Sa 11AM-4PM, Su-11AM-3PM; dinner: M-Th 4PM-10:30PM, F-Sa 4PM-11PM, Su 3PM-10PM. The seafood here really isn't so noteworthy as that of its competitors above, but the beautiful, old-timey Alexandria waterfront ambiance most certainly is. And it has rich desserts to die for (or from).$17-40. edit
Buzz Bakery & Coffee, 901 Slaters Ln, ☎ +1 703 600-2899, . 6AM-midnight daily. The best reason to come may be the long hours when you can sip and surf the free WiFi. The close second runner up, though, are the treats—the brioche breakfast sandwich (think an omelet between rich brioche bread) is the local favorite, but the panini and desserts are also worth ordering. Tired travelers who need to spend some good time online updating Wikitravel should brave the long walk and just check in here for the full day.edit
Murphy's Grand Irish Pub, 713 King St, ☎ +1 703 548-1717, . Su-Th 11AM-1AM, F-Sa 11AM-2AM. One of the happiest fake Irish pubs around, with great Irish beers on tap, a big fireplace, surprisingly good Irish/bar food for the very low prices, and high-quality live Irish music downstairs most nights of the week, which the crowd gets very into. Su 10AM-3PM is a great time to stop by, when the pub switches gear to a restaurant for the champagne brunch (great if you like an Irish breakfast).edit
PX Lounge (Ring the buzzer under the blue lamp.), 728 King St, ☎ +1 703 299-8384, . W-Th 7:30PM-1AM, F-Sa 7:30PM-2AM. The classiest of the swankiest bar/lounges in the D.C. area, in a beautiful historic building, with mixed drinks that are widely considered the D.C. area's best, and easily some of the best you'll find in the nation. The gin and tonic is a standout, despite seemingly being a very boring choice, as it is made to perfection with house-made tonic. If the various wild rides on the menu (e.g., tobacco-infused bourbon with lemon and honey syrup) don't catch your fancy, the expert bartender will craft you any cocktail you can dream of. The bar is extremely small and intimate, and both reservations (days in advance for F-Sa) are a must, as is classy attire—a jacket is not a bad idea.edit
Rustico, 827 Slater Ln, ☎ +1 703 224-5051, . M 4PM-10PM, Tu-Th,Su 11:30AM-10PM, F-Sa 11:30AM-11PM. Despite billing itself as a restaurant, this is a much better place for drinks (the food is overpriced). For drinks however, you'll find an enormous list of craft beers, and a very beer-knowledgeable staff.edit
Union Street Public House, 121 S Union Dr, ☎ +1 703 548-1785, . M-Th 11:30AM-10:30PM, F-Sa 11:30AM-11:30PM, Su 11AM-10:30PM. The Union St Pub is an Old Town institution, in no small part to its location and for the roomy, comfy interior where you'll be able to sit even on a crowded Old Town weekend night, and where you'll find a good selection of local Virginia craft beers. edit
Hilton Alexandria, 1767 King St, ☎ +1 703 837-0440, . Hiltons are always nice, if big and impersonal, and this one has a fine location just west of Old Town, and next to the Metro stop for a very easy commute into the city.$170-420. edit
Morrison House, 116 S Alfred St, ☎ +1 703 838-8000, . It's hard to compete with this B&B. Staying right off King St in the heart of Old Town, in a beautiful, stately, chandelier filled mansion in the colonial style. Has tuxedo-clad butlers, a classy piano bar, and a restaurant competitive with the best in the area. Consider yourself an expert traveler if you stay here on a D.C. visit.$150-420. edit
This neighborhood is hard to reach, but some of the best Korean food outside the motherland is served up in Koreatown's many restaurants. It's also a late late night hotspot, with Korean BBQ served 'round the clock every day.
A&J Restaurant, 4316 Markham St, ☎ +1 703 813-8181. M-F 11:30AM-9PM, Sa-Su 10AM-9PM. You have to travel far and long to find good dim sum in the D.C. area, but you've found it once you get to this Chinese restaurant. It's small, a little dingy, but it has precisely the right dim sum to cure a good bout of expat homesickness, or simply to delight the tastebuds of a serious foodie.$4-10/meal. edit
Honey Pig Gooldaegee, 7220 Columbia Pike, ☎ +1 703 256-5229, . 24 hours daily. Is there better Korean BBQ in the Western Hemisphere? That's debatable, but what not is that this places knows how to prepare meat. Sirloin beef, sauce duck, pork belly of several varieties—the list goes on. Meat is the showstopper here, but if that's not your thing, you'll find excellent vegetarian entrees (although be forewarned that most are fiery!). It's not a relaxing place late at night, though, with blaring Korean hip hop, and plenty of young Korean men filling the big room with tobacco smoke.$10-30. edit
Oegadgib (pronounced way-gahd-jeep), 7331 Little River Trpk, ☎ +1 703 941-3400, . M-Sa 10:30AM-2AM, Su 11AM-midnight. It's hard to go wrong here, if you can find the place. It's poorly signed and hidden behind some Salvadoran carnicería in what looks like a bland office building across a parking lot. But the food is incredible, and as a plus, it's one of the most comfy spaces in Annandale. The cheapest option is to bring friends and do the all-you-can-eat barbecue, where enormous quantities of garlicy bulgogi and kalbi are grilled on your table, for you to then dip in hot sauce, and generally pig out. The a la carte menu is more expensive, but even more rewarding. A local favorite (among the Koreans, anyway) is the spicy skate stew. $17-35; all-you-can-eat barbecue: $17/person. edit
Yechon, 4121 Hummer Rd, ☎ +1 703 914-4646, . 24 hours daily. Yechon is the Annandale restaurant. It's big and always bustling. Other restaurants here will beat it on specific dishes, but this is the gold standard, where just about everything is good, and where non-Koreans will find the service particularly accessible. In addition to its great a la carte and all-you-can-eat menus, it's worth noting that Yechon rises above the pack with its banchan—some ten–fifteen small, free (but as in all Annandale restaurants, still all-you-can-eat) appetizers with your meal.$10-30. edit
Bethesda, Silver Spring, and Wheaton are extremely easy to visit by the Metro Red Line. Each of their metro stations is located right by the downtown, and you'll be able to reach everything listed below in less than a ten-minute walk.
Kensington is harder to get to via public transport, and is better visited with a car. The Mormon Temple is tricky to find (although it is easy to see!). Take Beach Dr east from Connecticut (just north of the Connecticut Ave Beltway exit), then turn left on Stonybrook Dr. For the carless, hop on RideOn Bus 5 from the Silver Spring metro stop, which will take you straight to Antique Row and Continental's, and then on to the Mormon Temple (get off at Stonybrook Dr and walk about ten minutes south).
Three main roads head north into these Maryland suburbs. From east to west: Georgia, Connecticut, and Wisconsin Ave. Georgia runs north through Silver Spring and then Wheaton, Connecticut runs through Kensington, and Wisconsin runs through Bethesda. Traveling east-west between the suburbs is harder. University Blvd (north on Connecticut from Kensington) connects Kensington to Wheaton, but otherwise you'll be best off taking the Beltway (I-495), which has dedicated exits for each neighborhood (take the Connecticut Ave southbound exit, then turn west on the East West Hwy for Bethesda).
Bethesda is suburban destination number one in Maryland for wining and dining, a much more family friendly part of town than anywhere in D.C., and it's right on the Metro's Red Line, largely along and near Wisconsin Ave.
Bethesda Crab House, 4958 Bethesda Ave, ☎ +1 301 652-3382, . 9AM-11PM daily. What better reason to cross the District line into Maryland than a Maryland crab feast! This is not a nice restaurant, it is a crab shack that somehow made its way into Bethesda, with the brown paper on the table, buckets of crabs, tons of Old Bay seasoning, and a lot of messy patrons.$20-40; all-you-can-eat crab feast: $35/person. edit
Jaleo, 7271 Woodmont Ave, ☎ +1 301 913-0003, . Su-Th 11:30AM-10PM, F-Sa 11:30AM-midnight. José Andrés' excursion to Bethesda brings the same excellent modern takes on Spanish tapas and the same excellent sherry and port lists. While extremely popular, this location is big enough where you can get a table without reservations.$20-40. edit
Levante's, 7262 Woodmont Ave, ☎ +1 301 657-2441, . Su-Th 11:30AM-10:30PM, F-Sa 11:30AM-11:30PM. Great Lebanese cuisine in a restaurant that is always packed like sardines. Reservations are a must.$10-25. edit
Passage to India, 4931 Cordell Ave, ☎ +1 301 656-3373, . 11:30AM-2:30PM, 5:30PM-10PM daily. The often fiery cuisine here is some of the best Indian food you'll find anywhere in the metro area, and it's also attractive, rather quiet, and has reliably excellent service. If you are up for a challenge, try to finish one of their vindaloos without asking them to dull down the spice level.$16-30. edit
Raku, 7240 Woodmont Ave, ☎ +1 202 718-8680, . Lunch: M-F 11:30AM-2:30PM, Sa-Su noon-3PM; dinner: Su-Th 5PM-10PM, F-Sa 5PM-10:30PM. Arguably the best Asian food in Bethesda. It's kid-friendly and rather noisy, but the food is made with incredibly fresh, high quality ingredients, and will not likely disappoint. Very popular so make a reservation or get there early.$11-35. edit
South Street Steaks, 4856 Cordell Ave, ☎ +1 301 215-7972, . Su-Th 11AM-9PM, F-Sa 11AM-3AM. Philly cheesesteaks. No, really: authentic Philly cheesesteaks on Amoroso rolls, right here at a sit-down eatery in Bethesda, and they taste like you got them right out of Geno's window in the City of Brotherly Love. If you're not from Philadelphia, you can look like you are in the know by ordering a "nine (or twelve) inch whiz wit." Don't worry, they'll understand that, you won't look silly, and you'll get your cheesesteak with the traditional cheese whiz and grilled onions. In addition to legit Philly cheesesteaks and late hours, this eatery draws customers with a bunch of specialty subs, like the missteak, a monstruous sub stuffed with 1 lb steak, 8 pieces bacon, pepperoni, fries, and three types of cheese (feeds up to four).$7-16. edit
Tastee Diner, 7731 Woodmont Ave, ☎ +1 301 652-3970, . 24 hours daily. Looking for the true American diner experience with greasy spoons and waitresses with too much eye shadow? How about cheap eats any time of day or night? Look no further than the tried-and-true Tastee Diner to serve your needs. Indeed, this might be the most dineresque diner in the D.C. area.$3-11. edit
Vace's Italian Deli, 4705 Miller Ave, ☎ +1 301 654-6367, . M-Tu,Sa 9AM-8PM, W-F 9AM-9PM, Su 10AM-4PM. The Bethesda Vace's, like the one in the city, serves the best, most authentic New York style pizza you'll find anywhere this far south. Takeout only.$8-12. edit
Black's Bar & Grill, 7750 Woodmont Ave, ☎ +1 301 652-6278. M-Th 11:30AM-midnight, F 11:30AM-1AM, Sa noon-1AM, Su noon-10PM. This is one of Bethesda's trendiest spaces, and it's a very nice place for a few drinks with some oysters on the half shell, particularly during happy hour (M-F 4PM-7PM), when there are good deals to be had on both the oysters and the drinks. For wine lovers, either Black's or nearby Grapeseed Bistro & Wine Bar (4865 Cordell Ave ) has the best wine list in Bethesda. It can get very crowded around meal times—make reservations.edit
Ri Ra Irish Pub, 4931 Elm St, ☎ +1 301 657-1122, . It's a fake Irish pub national chain, but it's nonetheless a great place for a properly poured pint of Guiness, as well as some great oysters on the half shell. The interior is beautiful, and packed with the khaki trousered Bethesda crowd.edit
Rock Bottom Brewery, 7900 Norfolk Ave, ☎ +1 301 652-1311, . Su-Th 11AM-1AM, F-Sa 11AM-2AM. The food is fine, but this small but national chain is best visited for the excellent beers on tap, which can be ordered in sampling glasses. DJs show up F-Sa nights, but this isn't really the sort of place for that. Great people watching from the outdoor seating in good weather.edit
Hyatt Regency Bethesda, One Bethesda Metro Center (7400 Wisconsin Ave), ☎ +1 301 657-1234, . A large Hyatt located right on top of the Bethesda Metro station.$140-260. edit
Residence Inn Bethesda, 7335 Wisconsin Ave, ☎ +1 301 718-0200, . Located near the Naval Medical Center, NIH, FDA and NRC. One block from the Bethesda metro station.$270-360. edit
Silver Spring is also easy to reach, as it is just across the District border on Georgia Ave, with a Metro Red Line stop right in the center of things. It's a good place to hang out, but the main reason to come is for a movie at the AFI.
AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, 8633 Colesville Rd, ☎ +1 301 495-6700, . A 1938 theater, now restored and home to the American Film Institute and Shopping Center. It shows independent films and documentaries which, refreshingly, are not the exact same independent films being shown at other "indie" theaters around D.C. Highly Recommended.edit
Ceviche, 921-J Ellsworth Dr, ☎ +1 301 608-0081, . Restaurant: Su-Th 4PM-10PM, F-Sa 4PM-midnight; lounge usually open a couple hours past kitchen close. It's pricey and not terribly filling, but the ceviche (raw fish "cooked" in lime juice) at its namesake Peruvian restaurant is excellent. As are the pisco sours. Ceviche really stands out, though, for being a very stylish, unique lounge/restaurant in an area dominated by bland could-be-anywhere chain restaurants.$6-22. edit
Jackie's Restaurant, 8081 Georgia Ave, ☎ +1 301 565-9700, . Tu-Th 5:30PM-9:30PM, F-Sa 5:30PM-10:30PM, Su 11:30AM-2:30PM,5:30PM-9PM. Four star cuisine in an unlikely stretch of Silver Spring filled with auto part shops. Actually, the building itself used to be an auto parts shop. The owners have more than made the most of the location, aiming for a trendy and very fun take on the industrial-loft look. The contemporary American cuisine on offer is faultless, most famous for its "mini Elvis burgers" appetizer, but with a range of great seafood, meats, and salads on its seasonal menu.$28-40. edit
Mandalay, 930 Bonifant St, ☎ +1 301 585-0500, . M-Th 11:30AM-10PM, F-Sa 11:30AM-10:30PM, Su noon-10PM, closed 3PM-5PM daily. This restaurant has pretty bland, suburban ambiance, but it has the best Burmese food in the D.C. area. If you haven't tried Burmese food, it is time to do so—Myanmar is sandwiched between three great world cuisines (Indian, Chinese, Thai) and the food reflects this.$12-20. edit
The Roger Miller Restaurant, 941 Bonifant St, ☎ +1 301 650-2495. Su-Th noon-11PM, F-Sa. Seated inside this Cameroonian restaurant, you may forget what country you are in as it has the authentic character of a West African roadside bar; the outside seating is lovely in good weather. The wait staff is relaxed and friendly and will never rush you while you enjoy your food and conversation. Roger Miller is patronized mostly by West Africans, but they are extremely friendly and accommodating to the uninitiated.$8-17. edit
Piratz Tavern, 8402 Georgia Avenue, ☎ +1 301 588-9001, . M-Th 11:30AM-1AM, F 11:30AM-2AM, Sa 12:30PM-2AM, Su 5PM-midnight. This place is a strange gem. The staff actually do appear to be pirates—one actually lost an eye in a sword fight—and the eccentric atmosphere seems to bring out the patrons' inner pirates as well. The Pirate cuisine on offer is surprisingly excellent, a mix of Caribbean, Portuguese, and Brazilian, and attracts families and couples in addition to the bar's younger clientèle. If you like a drink, don't pass up the extremely stiff rum-based grog, which is quite tasty and very reasonably priced. Unlike most area bars, you will never have to lose your voice shouting above loud music. Ask for a seat outside in the back.Entrées: $9-30, glass of grog: $6. edit
Quarry House Tavern, 8401 Georgia Ave (below Bombay Gaylord), ☎ +1 301 587-8350, . Su-Th 5PM-midnight, F-Sa 5PM-2AM. This bar has been a neighborhood staple for over 70 years. At first glance it's just a friendly looking dive bar, but upon further inspection it reveals itself as something of a gastropub—the food is heads and shoulders above usual bar fare (fried pickles are a must), and they have a great, long list of Belgian beers!edit
Courtyard by Marriott, 8506 Fenton St, ☎ +1 301 589-4899 (fax: +1 301 589-4898), . Free WiFi, gym, restaurant, lounge, coffee bar in lobby. Three blocks to Metro, two miles to D.C. border.$200-280. edit
Crowne Plaza, 8777 Georgia Ave, ☎ +1 301 589-0800, . As ordinary as they come, but you can get great deals here. Free WiFi, outdoor pool, gym.$110-170. edit
The Mormon Temple is by far and away Kensington's most significant attraction. Most only see it from the Beltway, where it rises high above the treeline, looking similar enough to the Emerald Palace in the Wizard of Oz to inspire a local graffiti artist to paint "Surrender Dorothy" on the overpass on the Outer Loop of the Beltway. (The temple is actually white, though.) It's not possible to enter the Mormon Temple itself if you are not Mormon, but the grounds are pretty, and there is a Visitor Center:
LDS Temple Visitor Center, 9900 Stoneybrook Dr, . 10AM-9PM daily. Since you can't go in the temple, there's a need for a nice visitor center, and they've done a nice job with it. It hosts regular events (see website for calendar) and movie screenings throughout the day every day of the year, in addition to a permanent multimedia display. The building itself and the grounds surrounding it are immaculate and pretty.Free. edit
'Tis the season to visit the Mormon Temple come Christmas time. The light display is truly spectacular, especially given that the grounds and temple are impressive enough to merit a visit without the display. The light display runs throughout Advent, and is absolutely worth seeking out from D.C. if you are in the area this time of the year. In addition to the light display, the Visitor Center shows its best face, with more than a dozen large, decorated Christmas trees, international nativity scenes, and a live outdoor nativity scene. It's a great place for all ages, and is certain to stir a little of the Christmas spirit.
The Old Town of Kensington is a major shopping destination in the D.C. area for antiques, with a large cluster of antique shops along Antique Row.  The strip is charming and full of interesting browsing opportunities, from furniture to bric-a-brac to books. To get there, take a right off of Connecticut Ave (coming from D.C.) after the Knowles Ave intersection onto East Howard Ave. On street parking, as well as shop parking is usually no problem.
Continental Pizza, 10532 Connecticut Ave, ☎ +1 301 949-9797. M-Sa 10AM-8:30PM. Kensington likely has the worst dining scene of any D.C. suburb, but it does have one gem. Continental's is a hole in the wall, with a unique-style, delicious pizza on the cheap (a large with toppings costs just $8). People drive from way out of town to get it. The steak and cheese sub is likely the best in the metropolitan area, and the fries are thick and smothered with Maryland's favorite spice, Old Bay. If you're in Kensington, eat here. Even if you don't like pizza!$4-10. edit
Very few visitors know of Wheaton, much less make it out here, but it's easy to reach on the Metro Red Line (north of Silver Spring), and has D.C.'s best ethnic dining scene, period, amidst what is probably the most diverse neighborhood for 100 miles in any direction. The Washington City Paper's 2009 critics' choice for best Thai in the whole metro area went to both Nava and Ruan. And it has the legendary Peruvian pollo a la brasa joint: El Pollo Rico. Coming out of the Metro station, admire that escalator—it's the longest in the Western Hemisphere, taking over four minutes to ascend!
El Pollo Rico, 2517 University Blvd, ☎ +1 301 942-4419, . 10:30AM-10PM daily. Universally acclaimed in local, national, and international food circles is Wheaton's El Pollo Rico, serving unbeatable pollo a la brasa—Peruvian chicken roasted over smoky wood charcoals to just the perfect point at which a slight crisp falls upon the skin, over succulent, moist white and dark meat, and the spice fiesta of salt 'n pepper, huacatay, aji, cumin, achiote, garlic, and lemon magically penetrates the meat straight into the bone. EPR for a long time ran out of a can't-see-your-hand smoky little take-out only shack, but that burned down, and it's now in a cheery little eatery with tables for the few who aren't taking the bird home to the family. Lines are long, but move fast. Placing your order is simple: yell whole, half, or quarter, and then enjoy the sound of the lady's meat cleaver hitting the counter through the meat.Chicken: $5.30-14.20. edit
Full Key Restaurant, 2227 University Blvd, ☎ +1 301-8388. 11AM-2AM daily. So this is where the Chinese fled to from the now Disneyfied Chinatown downtown! It's an unassuming but pleasant little eatery, offering Hong Kong cuisine into the wee hours of the night—wonderful noodle soups, soup dumplings, congee, and barbecued meats—the roast duck tends to run out, but you can call ahead to reserve a portion for a late night visit.$3.50-20. edit
Irene's Pupusería III, 11300 Georgia Ave, ☎ +1 301 933-2118. Su-Th 11AM-midnight, F-Sa 11AM-2AM. Irene is building a pupusería empire, and any of the four locations are good bets for excellent pupusas. But number three outshines the other hole-in-the-walls in terms of ambiance by a wide margin—it's a nice place to take the family for a meal, with walls of big comfy diner-style booths. This restaurant is the local hub for the Honduran community, so there are a bunch of dishes on the menu, like the baliadas (a sort of Honduran burrito) that you won't find at the other Salvadoran restaurants. Beyond the great pupusas and baliadas, the terribly unhealthy fried plantains with creme are incredible, as are the atoles, a creamy hot chocolate-style dessert drink (non alcoholic, and without chocolate) made from corn meal with all the spices you'd expect of a pumpkin pie.$4-20. edit
Moby Dick, 11220 Triangle Ln, ☎ +1 301 949-3910. M-Th 11:30AM-9:30PM, F-Sa 11:30AM-10PM. Odd name for a Korean-run Japanese place. Korean-run Japanese restaurants are usually a lesson in cross-cultural misunderstanding, but this is an exception, run by an eminently competent and seasoned preparer of Japanese cuisine. Three reasons to come: great tempura, good sushi, and impressively low prices.$7-15. edit
Nava Thai, 11301 Fern St, ☎ +1 240 430-0495, . Su-Th 11:30AM-10PM, F-Sa 11:30AM-10:30PM. Served in a space that is comically and unmistakably a former cheesy Tex-Mex restaurant, Nava Thai's food is incredible, with a menu full of items Thai food lovers of the Western variety will not recognize. Dishes range from those ablaze with chilis, garlic, and curries, to those with a more subtle cilantro or perhaps pig's blood. The sweet and sour squid is famous, but if you want to play it safer, the husband and wife team here are experts with the noodle dishes, and you'd have trouble finding a better pad thai anywhere, except Ruan, of course.$6-20. edit
Paul Kee Restaurant, 11305 Georgia Ave, ☎ +1 301 933-6886. Su-Th 11AM-1AM, F-Sa 11AM-2AM. Delicious, authentic Cantonese food served to a mostly Cantonese clientele. The service and ambiance are also authentically Cantonese, which is a bad thing, but they are also hallmarks of a place that serves great food at low prices. The roast and crispy meat dishes tend to be especially good bets.$5-25. edit
Ruan Thai, 11407 Amherst Ave, ☎ +1 301 942-0075, . M-Sa 11:30AM-10PM, Su 4PM-10PM. Trying to decide whether to eat at Nava or Ruan is best decided by a coin flip—they are both fantastic, small, and as authentic as they come. Aside from walking distance, Ruan is a little divier and marginally less expensive, which is either a plus or minus depending on your outlook. It also serves an incredible smoked eggplant salad, a fiery crispy whole red snapper, and killer larb.$6-18. edit
Sergio's Place, 11324 Fern St, ☎ +1 301 962-7066, . 7AM–whenever the Salvadoreños have their final beer at night, daily. The pupusas here are magnificent, with perhaps the best Salvadoran style tortillas you'll find outside of the motherland. And they come in an unusual range of stuffings like chicken, carrots, crab meat, jalapeños, etc.—you can even get one made with a rice tortilla! Otherwise, there are a number of Salvadoran soups, Guatemalan dishes, and great Cuban sandwiches to keep the adventurous palate engaged. Live (and very loud) entertainment F-Su nights.$5-15. edit
Royal Mile Pub, 2407 Price Ave, ☎ +1 301 946-4511, . M-Th 3:30PM-1AM, F-Sa 10:30AM-2AM, Su 10:30AM-1AM. A fixture of Wheaton for the past twenty years, this is an authentic Scottish pub. It's authentic not for the imitation decor omnipresent throughout fake Irish pubs the world over, but rather for the feel of a real pub—an open, community-oriented, and family friendly restaurant and watering hole. The food ranges from average to quite good, with an exceptional upscale preparation of haggis (really, try it!). The beer menu is respectable, and the scotch list is top-notch. Most days see specials: M half price bottles of wine, W wines by the glass, Th scotch-tasting nights, and Sa night live entertainment.Food: $15-30. edit