1. Washington, District of Columbia

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2016: Time to hit the re-set button on the 52 cities list.

I closed out 2015 in the same place I started it. And in just that one year, D.C. and I came a long, long way together.

I’m enjoying my city of residence more than ever before–and yes, part of it’s that in 2015, my boyfriend, my sister, and two of my best friends on the planet moved in. But the District is also getting more creative, and there seem to be new, inspired places sprouting up everywhere you look.

Don’t get me wrong–we’re still not anywhere near the point where you can visit said places without venturing into a mob scene (did anyone try hitting up the Christmas bar?). But I think we’re heading in the right direction.

So, without further ado, here’s a quick roundup of new places I loved in 2015–and those that are on my list for the new year.

2015 finds
ChaplinThis place may have opened in 2014, but it took me awhile to get there. And when I did, I found amazing ramen, a 1920s theme, and unlimited free truffle popcorn.
Wunder Garten I love this beer garden, and not just because it popped up in the abandoned lot right outside my window. It’s the only beer garden I know of in DC where you don’t have to fight for a seat (except for Bardo, which is harder to access via Metro), and there’s a rotation of food trucks that stops by in case you need them. One of them is Russian. What’s not to like?
Lab1270Lab1270 is a retail and work space launched by Union Market, which also happens to be around the corner from it.

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The RoyalI noticed this place while driving up Florida Ave. recently, and the first chance I got, I turned around and went back. The menu contains grilled avocado with red quinoa and lentils. Just saying.
Each Peach Market Another older place that I only just got hooked on. Ironically, I never shopped at this little specialty foods store when I lived close by, but now that I don’t, when I’m in the neighborhood, I can’t stop myself from emptying my wallet on bouquets and smoked pickled okra.

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FollainI first discovered this natural-soaps-and-beauty-products paradise in Boston, and luckily for me, a DC location in Union Market had just opened.
Compass CoffeeCompass Coffee outposts seem to be popping up everywhere all of a sudden, and that’s okay. Come for the drinks, stay for the playlist.
Renwick Art Gallery
The Renwick only recently reopened after a lengthy renovation close, and the exhibit there now, Wonder, is stunning (and free to check out).

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2016 to-d0
Masseria
NoMa, prix fixe, Italian. 
Aesop I’ve been waiting and waiting for this skincare products store to open at The Shay, a new shopping hub in Shaw–just so I can go inside and marvel at the design.
ConvivialThis Shaw spot hasn’t been around for long, but Washingtonian has already named it the No. 4 restaurant in DC this year. 
The DabneyOkay, so I actually got a head start on this to-do list before posting and went to The Dabney last night (undeterred by “the blizzard of the century,” I might add). The food was amazing and I want the interior designer to come decorate my life.

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Typecase IndustriesThis design and letterpress shop has been around since 2012, but it’s in a new home just a stone’s throw from the future Aesop location. The most exciting part, if you’re me: They offer workshops.
Garrison
Also making the Washingtonian list, coming in at No. 13: this farm-to-table establishment on Barracks Row.
Sally’s Middle Name
Changing menu, sleek design, intriguing name. Sold! The fact that it’s walking distance from my apartment is icing on the cake.
Nido Nido opened last summer, extremely close to another place I’ve been wanting to frequent–Zeke’s Coffee. I don’t know if I can call this a day trip, exactly, but that’s what’s going to happen.

 


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