What to see, eat and do in Washington DC: Expert expat tips

THE EXPAT

Originally from Jindalee, Queensland, Zoe Dauth spent her teenage years in south-east Asia, returning to Melbourne for university before moving to Washington DC to study Latin American studies and international business diplomacy. She now works for an organisation that promotes free trade, democracy and open markets through the Americas.

SEE

DC has heaps of museums. Don't miss the Smithsonian collection of museums – they're all free. A personal favourite, for its presidential portraits and gorgeous architecture, is the National Portrait Gallery. After catching a performance at the John F. Kennedy Centre for the Performing Arts, take in the panoramic view of the Potomac River from the terrace. Then, take a stroll along the Georgetown waterfront and if you're a bookworm like me, sneak a peek inside the historic Riggs Library at Georgetown University (Hoya Saxa, as the students say!) See si.edu kennedy-center.org, library.georgetown.edu

DO

One of the best ways to do a scenic tour of the national monuments and memorials is by bike. The City of DC provides an official bike map of the monuments or you can easily follow the sign posts and pathways along the way. Tip: The monuments look even better illuminated at night, see ddot.dc.gov

EAT

The 14th Street corridor has a booming restaurant scene: try Seven Reasons, a new Latin American fine-dining restaurant. The chef is also a painter and his food creations are like works of art, and the terrace is the perfect spot for summertime cocktails. A favourite is Barcelona, where you must try the meatballs, patatas bravas and freshly made bread, and I love Etto's delicious small plates and the pizzas, which are to die for. Beyond 14th Street, the inventive dishes at Rose's Luxury never fail to please, see sevenreasonsdc.com, barcelonawinebar.com

DRINK

Washingtonians love a good happy hour to debate and digest the key political events that are unfolding around the world. For a more sophisticated experience, Barmini is famous for its innovative and adventurous molecular cocktails, or for a drink with a view, try a celebratory glass of champagne at the W Hotel's rooftop lounge, POV, or Top of the Gate at the Watergate Hotel – the sunset views are breathtaking. See minibarbyjoseandres.com, povrooftop.com, thewatergatehotel.com

AVOID

Bad coffee. Follow the Aussie accents to discover the good stuff at The Coffee Bar, Filter and Bluestone Lane, thecoffeebardc.com, filtercoffeehouse.com, bluestonelane.com

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