I absolutely adore the District of Columbia, and naturally, I was delighted to see that it topped Forbes’ 2014 List of Coolest Cities in America. If the Washington, DC metro area’s weather were a little more pleasant -- say, subtract the chilly winters and add in the palm trees -- I’m not sure if I would have ever moved away.
Okay, so as a disclaimer, prior to moving to LA, I’ve only lived in DC’s neighboring suburb (PG County), and never in the city itself, but I really began to appreciate it more and more as I grew old enough to explore DC myself as a young adult. Between spending countless weekends with Adrienne during her four years at Howard, and with my Uptown born & raised boyfriend; working around the corner from the White House while attending college and then near the Smithsonian; and from having ventured into the city’s nightlife scene since the moment I turned eighteen in high school, I loved having unlimited access to this popping urban landscape that was right in my backyard.
“D.C. has a lot to offer those who call it home. Among its best features: abundant entertainment and recreational options, an ethnically and culturally diverse population, and a big chunk of people age 20 to 34–nearly 30% of the metro area’s population. There’s certainly plenty to do, from visiting the many museums along the National Mall to taking in a Washington Nationals game to simply enjoying the cherry blossoms in springtime.” - Erin Carlyle of Forbes
From its beautiful skyline vistas along the Potomac River, to its refurbished & classy vintage views in Georgetown, to the monumental sights any vantage point on the Mall offers, DC’s got as much pretty as it does politics.
Those native to the area know that its culture runs even deeper, though. More and more blossoming artists and events, young activists and entrepreneurs, musicians and music festivals, and overall local talent have begun to shine over the last few years, showing evidence that this metropolitan area breeds and nurtures brilliant "go-getter" mindsets. I love to see my city flourish aesthetically, but more importantly, culturally.
It may not be a huge city, but it’s packed with punch, and most certainly a complete renaissance. The rapid revitalization that’s been taking place in each of DC’s four quadrants has drastically changed the city right before our eyes in just a few years; it can be considered from two sides of the coin.
One on hand, it is losing the accuracy behind the “Chocolate City” moniker this place has been known as forever. Some have said that the gentrification has pushed out its long time minority residents, thus resulting in a campaign-coated city that’s lost a significant chunk of its original soul. While seeing a vanilla sea upon venturing into certain historically black areas and neighborhoods does feel… different and somewhat unfortunate…Ultimately, I can only appreciate the refreshing fact that DC is finally becoming recognized for aspects other than government and violence. Surrounding the numerous embassies and in between its ridiculous wealth gap, Washington’s soul still remains. It thrives with the refreshed perspective and drive of a new generation.
Its revival has sparked passion in its people to grow with the city, to make a difference and to be noteworthy. Its made for an overall more sophisticated essence -- brand new shopping and dining areas, fantastic hangout and date spots, and best of all, safer environments. It’s providing more opportunities for young creatives to take advantage of, more platforms that encourage aspirations and actions, and more outlets for DMV residents to be oh so awwsome.
DC couldn’t have been named America’s Coolest City without these changes, and it’s only getting cooler.
In honor of this recent acknowledgement, I wanted to write this mini ode to the District as well as share several iphone photos and fun things I did last summer around the city. If you have recently moved to DC, are planning to visit, or are a Maryland/Virginia resident looking for an urban adventure to close out your summer, I hope I can lend some activity inspiration!
Part two of this mini series will highlight a few cool guys and gals that I personally know who are adding to DC metro’s culture in amazing ways. It’s really a blessing to see many of my peers put practice to their creative gifts, and I’m excited to share a peek into what these individuals stand for. Stay tuned to the follow up post!
Speaking of rooftops, here are some shots from my 'secret' hideaway of sorts. This luxury apartment building has THE most perfect rooftop -- grills, a lap pool, multiple seating & lounge areas, a life-size chess board, and marvelous 360 views of DC.
No, I don't know anyone who lives there (who're probably Senators and such), but I'd always find a way to peacefully sneak up whenever I wanted to enjoy a 'staycation' on the roof with a few friends. For a little R&R without having to depart on a real vacay, it's my favorite chill spot in the city by far!
Dear DMV (And by that I mean DC and PG County): I didn't quite know that these would be some of my last moments of quality time with you for a while. Thank you for providing me with a memorable summer. Thank you for enticing my parents to move from Pennsylvania so I could be raised in the best county ever! Even though I had to spread my wings, you will always have my heart. I may even come back for you one day...