For the most part, my D.C. friends are quite pretentious, bourgeois, and fancy, and hop at the chance to prove all of the above to anyone looking, and they’ve been in too deep for so long, they’ve forgotten their oodles o’ noodles roots and they’ve forgotten about everything else D.C. has to offer on weekends, none of which include extravagant French toast and egg dishes with bottomless mimosas.
I dig Blavity’s 15 Reasons Why Brunch Is A Preferred Turn-Up For Black Millennials. I also won’t front like I don’t enjoy the occasional at-home brunch with strangers I met the day before at the airport. I’m simply here to say: (1) everything they say brunch brings can be achieved elsewhere, and (2) there’s more.
In the not too distant past, I spent a weekend in DC and challenged my brunch connoisseur friends to show me the most exciting things in their city that didn’t include an hours-long champagne fest on a rooftop on U Street. Here’s are the things that happened:
1. Find the best views. There are hundreds of places in such a small place to see some of the most incredible views. The National Mall at sunset is rarely beat. Other places: Georgetown Waterfront Park; Washington National Catherdral; Dorchester House; The Cairo Apartment Building; The Hay-Adams; Tidal Basin; Hains Point; Frederick Douglass’ House.
2. Walk the city. Unlike the one-horse, one-light towns most of these new brunch goers come from, DC has plenty to see, and plenty of hidden pockets waiting to be rediscovered. Put on your good walking shoes and take them out onto the streets. I like to start at the edge of Georgetown. Don’t stop til your thighs are chafed and your soles are worn. This also works with a bike.
3. Be the best damn tour guide! Hop on Couchsurfing or Craigslist and find some folks interested in a free walking tour, do a little research, and be their tour guide. Take tips in the end. Thank me later. Places you should visit:
a. The Adams Memorial: tribute to photographer. Clover Adams
b. The Mary Surratt Boarding House: Where John Wilkes Booth conspired to do the work of God.
c. The Exorcist Stairs. Remember the film? Remember the climactic scene? The stairs are still there.
d. Rockefeller Mansion in Rock Creek Park.
e. Foundry Branch Trolley Trestle Ruins.
4. Catch a free show. Undoubtedly, there are many many many shows happening each day in D.C. Music, theater, improve, art, etc. Find them! Some of my favorite bands were found by doing this. Hunt them down in bars, parks, or opera halls.
5. The Cuban-American Friendship Urn. Since so many of you fancy, half-woke folks just heard about Cuba for the first time and are now going because it’s the “you ain’t up on this” thing to do, you should also head over to check out this National Monument that went missing for half a century and suddenly appeared in a dump.
6. The Wharf. For those who believe weekend clothes were created to get dirty, head down to Maine Avenue’s Fish Market, get a couple dozen crabs, some crawfish, and have them steam them thangs. Then rip them apart in the parking lot or in one of DC’s dope ass parks:
a. Lincoln Park on Capitol Hill
b. Dumbarton’s Garden
c. The National Mall, of course
d. Rock Creek Park
e. Malcolm X Park
f. Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens
g. Constitution Gardens
7. Myth Busters. Head across the river to Southeast D.C. and obtain proof that it isn’t as violence or chaotic as the bourgeois would have us all believe. Check out the dope history, talk to the old folks who go out of their way to speak, and catch a street ball game with the folks. For extra fun, attempt to adopt a DC accent and ask “aye mo, where can I get some utz or carry out ’round here?”
8. EAT! Some of the most amazing food I’ve eaten came from D.C., just avoid the term “brunch.” Head to Union Market where over 40 vendors are waiting for your money. Check out areas none of your friends have ever mentioned that are lined with mom-n-pop restaurants, avoiding chains by any means necessary. Chase it with a craft beer or tequila, whatever you so choose.
9. The Only Museum That Matters Right Now. Wake up early and hop online to try to get a ticket or two for entry into the hottest thing in DC. With the wait list longer than a mofo, there must be pure platinum in there! Go see for yourself. This is, without a doubt, the best thing happening right now in the district.
10. DM my brother, Vernon (@du_bois100), and ask him where you should be. When he’s not shaming us for missing out on valuable stock buy-ins, he’s out in the street, mingling and being dope.
If these sound boring as fu*k to you, and in reality you came to D.C. to fit in with the brunch-goers, by all means…GO! But if you’re down for exploring, pull out the machete you picked up in that Colombian jungle and chop some weeds and create your own shit.
*Title is Clickbait. I lied. McDonald’s is not better than DC brunch*
Darnell Lamont Walker, a self-professed traveling foodie, has been found sitting at tables eating baby goat sweetbreads, drinking tequila, and laughing loudly with strangers. The writer, filmmaker, artist, and sometimes photographer puts happiness above all.