Stretching from the front yard of the White House to Dupont Circle, the Golden Triangle district is sometimes overlooked in favor of its more well-known neighbors. But visitors and even residents should take a closer look, because there are plenty of great restaurants, locally-owned shops and cultural attractions tucked within the 43-square block neighborhood, ripe for exploration. Here are our picks.
Globally Minded Dining and Drinking
Start mornings in the Golden Triangle at Un Je Ne Sais Quoi, a Franco-Belgian patisserie serving not only delicious but some of the most beautiful pastries this side of the Atlantic. The light and airy space is run by a husband and wife team from Lille, France, and their specialty is the Merveilleux pastry, whipped cream or ganache between layers of meringue, covered in more whipped cream and chocolate flakes or other toppings such as nuts, crumbled meringue or speculoos cookie crumbs.
Until 2010, Iron Gate was the oldest continually operating restaurant in DC (87 years), and after a brief three-year closure, reopened in 2013 to its current fine dining stature, serving Greek and Italian-inspired dishes crafted with local ingredients. On warm nights, dine on the brick-laid back patio lined with twinkle lights.
Enjoy rustic-American fare like game, steak, oysters and strong drinks inspired by America’s 26th President Theodore Roosevelt at Teddy & The Bully Bar. Menus are seasonal and locally-sourced, with unique proteins like bison and venison to reflect Roosevelt’s love of hunting and the outdoors.
When dining on the go, check out the nearby fast-casual options that got their start in DC, including Surfside for tacos; &Pizza for personalized pizzas; Cava for Mediterranean-inspired rice bowls, salads and wraps; and Bub & Pop’s for handcrafted hoagies.
A Hub of Culture
Catch some of the biggest names in comedy, and up-and-coming talents at DC Improv, where both Ellen DeGeneres and Dave Chapelle opened the club’s first show back in 1992. The intimate space also hosts stand-up comedy, improv comedy and comedy writing classes.
The Renwick Gallery, a branch of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, houses the museum’s collection of contemporary craft and decorative art. The expansive space is also known for their intricate and interactive installations, like the famed Wonder exhibition which celebrated the museum’s reopening in 2015, and the recent No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man exhibit.
The National Geographic Museum is a must-see in the Golden Triangle. With a reputation for showcasing the beauty and cultures that make up our planet, the museum offers an in-depth look at the stunning photography Nat Geo is known for, world-class exhibitions, film festivals and conversations with global thought leaders.
Born in DC Boutiques
The creative scene in Washington is thriving, and the city is home to hundreds of creatives who design, craft, stitch, bake, build and brew. Shop Made in DC makes it easy for shoppers to discover them all. It’s the first store dedicated to made in DC products, including apparel, art, apothecary, furniture, jewelry, home décor, stationary and a rotating incubator cafe with District-made food and drinks.
When its doors opened in 1976, Kramerbooks & Afterwords was the first bookstore cafe in Washington, DC Having survived over 40 years of expansions and neighborhood changes, Kramer’s is one of the most beloved independent bookstores in the city, boasting all the latest titles and hosting comedy shows, dinners, book clubs and story time.
If you want to bring home a bit of sparkle from your trip to DC, look no further than Tiny Jewel Box. Since 1930, this family-owned institution has crafted one-of-a-kind pieces for presidents, first ladies and foreign dignitaries.
In the heart of buzzing Golden Triangle, the Kimpton Topaz Hotel is a tranquil, Moroccan-inspired hideaway steps from Dupont Circle with bright open spaces and a calming color palette of royal blue, lavender and pewter. Enjoy complimentary continental breakfast and coffee, in-room yoga mats and custom-designed Kimpton PUBLIC bikes as you explore the city.