The Intern’s Guide to Washington D.C.

[You got a big, bad internship this summer? Living in a big, bad city? Not a clue what to do? CollegeCandy’s got you covered. We’ve got ladies in all pockets of the U.S.A. and we’re gonna be your private guides to the biggest internship destination cities around: New York, Chicago, D.C. and Los Angeles. If you’re looking for the best place for a deal, the best weekend excursion, or best bars to drink (with a fake), stick with us.]

Welcome to Washington, D.C.! It’s a truly awesome, magical, fulfilling place to live for a summer (or, if you’re like me, you come for the summer and end up staying indefinitely…) D.C. is packed with fabulous food, great bars, and tons of free activities. So when you’re not interning, studying, stalking the White House hoping for a glance of Michelle, or (particularly if you spend any time on Capitol Hill) swooning over the guys in suits doing their best to channel Don Draper, check out this guide to our nation’s capital.

Cure That Sweet Tooth – If you’re a cupcake whore like me, you must try Hello Cupcake. It’s located right next to the Dupont Circle metro (red line). Their lemon cupcake is TO DIE FOR and for a limited time, they have a strawberry cupcake that will change your life. Curbside Cupcakes is a mobile cupcake truck that you can catch all over the city (and they accept credit cards!)

And if you’re totes over cupcakes, D.C. does a great donut. I know, donuts are not particularly fashionable these days, but in Silver Spring (red line), there is an adorable, unassuming store called Fractured Prune that has the absolute best donuts I’ve ever tasted (Krispy Kreme, what?). Their donuts are totally gourmet, made-to-order pieces of perfection with flavors ranging from lemonade to strawberry shortcake to chocolate cherry. You can also create and customize your own, selecting your glaze, type of sugar, and toppings.

Best Place for a 50 Cent Taco – Lucky Bar (Dupont Circle). Monday nights, this divey sports bar has $.50 tacos and free salsa dancing. Right next door is Julie’s Empanadas, which has delightful meat, vegetarian, and dessert options for your cheap consumption (I love the spinach mozzarella/ricotta and the strawberry/cream cheese options).

Best Place to Work Out for FreeThe National Mall. (For clarification, this is the huge chunk of DC that includes the Capitol, the White House, and the monuments, not Victoria’s Secret or Express). It’s a great place for an early morning or evening run/people-watching/scoping out glistening shirtless men…

Alternative Evening Activities: DC has amazing late night bookstores, particularly Busboys and Poets near U Street and Kramerbooks in Dupont Circle. Books, food, live entertainment, and alcohol? Hello, heaven on earth.

If you want to get out of the heat and into a cool, air conditioned movie theater, try The AFI Silver in Silver Spring. They offer a mix of classic and current films that span from domestic to foreign. The theater is so lux with huge comfy chairs and in addition to the typical concessions, offers alcohol. Tres elegant. It is (surprisingly) rarely crowded, and it’s surrounded by a ton of ethnic restaurants and shopping, so definitely stroll down Colesville, Ellsworth, and Fenton.

Best Neighborhoods to Bar Crawl – it depends on your mood. If you want a familiar college town vibe, Adams Morgan is the spot, though you can also find clubs and bars that are Latin-influenced and Euro-influenced. U Street is right next door and provides a distinctly funkier vibe. Here, you’ll find more lounges, and places more likely to spin reggae and go-go, DC’s interpretation of “crunk” music. The H Street Corridor tends to be forgotten, as it’s not metro accessible and was once considered very sketchy. However, it’s definitely been revitalized recently, and there’s a ton of places to eat, drink, and be merry. Granville Moore’s has the best food, and really creative bartenders. The Rock and Roll Hotel is also not to be missed. The atmosphere is fun, quirky, and crazy (read: ideal vibeage for a weekend night prowl).

And if You’re Underage – In my experience, DC really is not the place to try to get away with this. I’m legal, look my age, and I’ve still had my card excessively scrutinized. Maybe some under-21 DC ladies may have heard rumors of establishments where they allegedly don’t care about ID?

Gorgeous Water Views – Though D.C. does not have any beaches in super close proximity, you can catch amazing views of the Potomac River in Georgetown (accessible via the DC Circulator, which does accept Metro Smartrip cards). On K Street, you’ll find a ton of bars and restaurants. Sequoia is my favorite spot – their mother of all meatballs is orgasmic. For a less pretentious (read: HECKA CHEAPER) experience, head to the SW Waterfront (green line), where the Potomac and Anacostia rivers meet (also, where you will meet a lot of hot Capitol Hill staffers). Cantina Marina has bomb nachos and salsa, and their crab cakes are delightful.

Best Place to Spend a Hungover Lazy Sunday Morning – Eastern Market (orange/blue). This neighborhood offers a farmers market and flea market, not to mention tons of great little local coffee shops and restaurants (I’m very partial to Port City Java and Market Lunch.)

Get Your Shop On – Though DC is definitely not a fashion capital, there are several places to feed your couture addiction, from the Mazza Gallerie and The Shops at Wisconsin Place (Friendship Heights, red line) to the Shops at Georgetown Park (M Street, accessible by Circulator). If you don’t mind venturing out further, and hopping on a Metrobus, Montgomery Mall in Bethesda (take J2 bus from Silver Spring) and Tysons Corner in McLean (5A bus from L’Enfant Plaza via green, orange, and blue) are the premier malls in the area. Fashion Centre at Pentagon City is perfect (ie, has a Sephora and Forever 21) and is two steps away from the Pentagon City metro stop (yellow and blue lines).

Miscellaneous – Remember to stand on the right, walk up the left when you’re on Metro escalators. Don’t be afraid of the suburbs – DC proper is pretty small, and can get kind of suffocating, so day trips out to Maryland or Virginia are refreshing and fun. HIT THE NATIONAL ZOO! It’s free and oh my god, giant pandas! And don’t flash your intern badge unless you’re at work or are cashing on an intern deal (half-priced burgers and sandwiches at lunch!). People in DC love to hate on interns, so maintain classiness, not cockiness.

8 Under $20: Floral Galore
8 Under $20: Floral Galore
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