June 4th, 2021

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DC Travel Guide - Part 2: Local Practicalities (focused on Thomas Circle) plus Walking Trails

This is focused on practical needs near the Westin Hotel (the con hotel for WashingCon), so essentially around Thomas Circle. There's also a section about walking trails, including how to get to them from the Westin.

Business / Copy Center: There is a FedEx Print and Ship Center (what us older folks think of as Kinko’s) at 14th and K St NW (address is 1400 K, but there appears to be an entrance from 14th as well). Hours are 9 am to 8 pm Monday through Friday, 10 am to 6 pm. Saturday.

Convenience Stores:

All of these are open 24 hours.

Wawa - 1 Thomas Circle NW. Right around the corner from the hotel.

7-11 - 1100 Vermont Ave NW. Just north of L St. About a block south of the hotel.

7-11 - 1400 Rhode Island Ave NW (corner of 14th St. ) About 2 blocks north of the hotel.

Coffee and Tea:

The nearest Starbucks is 1429 P St NW. Open 5:30 am to 7 pm Monday through Friday, from 6 am Saturday and Sunday.

Bluebottle Coffee is just down the street at 1471 P St.NW (just east of 15th St). Open 6 am to 6 pm.

Compass Coffee is located at 1401 I St NW, at the corner of 14th St. Open 5:30 am to 7 p.m.Dua

Dua Coffee at 923 15th St NW (between I and K Streets) specializes in Indonesian coffees. They also have all the usual drinks, as well as open-faced toasts and Indonesian snacks. Open 8 am to 2 pm.Monday through Friday, from 9 am Saturday. Note that this is on the east side of McPherson Square, so it is easiest to get there by walking south on Vermont Avenue, which will turn into 15th Street when you cross K Street.

Nearby Food and Drink Options:

The greatest density of nearby food options is along 14th St, going north from Thomas Circle. From the hotel, walk east along M Street, then a quarter of the way around Thomas Circle to 14th St (You’ll see a large church.) and continue north Here are some options going up to and along P St. For places in other directions, see the restaurant list (to come).

The Pig - 1320 14th St NW. Open 4 pm to 9 pm Sunday through Thursday, till 10 pm on Friday and Saturday. Barbecue . Also has chicken, brisket, and jackfruit barbecue for non-pork eaters. Entrees about $15-20.

Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen - 1322 14th St NW. Open 10 am to 10 pm daily. Fast food fried chicken.

Ammathar - 1326 14th St NW. Formerly named Thai Tanic. Open 11 am to 3 pm and 5 pm to 10 pm Monday through Thursday, to 11 pm on Friday. Noon to 11 pm Saturday. Noon to 10 pm Sunday. Thai. Entrees about $15. Might offer delivery.

Shake Shack - 1400 14th St NW, just north of Rhode Island Ave. Open 11 am to 9:30 pm daily. Burgers and shakes. Delivery available.

South Block - 1418 14th St NW. Open 8 am to 7 pm. Juice bar, with lots of options for smoothies and bowls.

Pizza Policy / Bub’s Breakfast Burritos- 1335 14th St NW. Open 8 am to 9 pm. In addition to pizza, chicken wings, salads, and subs, they have breakfast burritos, breakfast sandwiches, and homemade pop tarts in the morning. Pretty much take-out only.

Yum’s Carryout - 1413 14th St NW. Open 11 am to 4 am Monday through Thursday, until 5 am Friday and Saturday. Noon to 1 am Sunday. Cheap, greasy Chinese food. About $10.

Logan Tavern - 1423 P St NW. Open 11:30 am to 3 pm Monday through Friday, 5 pm to 9 pm Sunday through Thursday, to 10 pm Friday and Saturday. Happy hour from 3 to 6 pm daily. Modern American cuisine. Entrees are about $25, sandwiches about $15. Happy hour has several options for under $10 and pints of beer (included several local beers, such as Right Proper Raised By Wolves) for $6 a pint.

Stoney’s - 1433 P St NW. Open 11 am to 2 am Sunday through Thursday, until 3 am Friday and Saturday. Pub grub, particularly known for their sliders (3 for $15) and grilled cheese ($10 and up). Happy hour specials Monday through Friday from 5 to 6. More or less the opposite of artisanal, but they have some good local beers. Also has trivia on Wednesday night at 8 p.m.

The Crown and Crow - 1317 14th St NW, Open 5 pm to 2 am Wednesday and Thursday, to 3 am Friday and Saturday. Bills itself as a 19th century old London pub. A small menu of cocktails and craft beers.

Grocery / Supermarket:

The closest supermarket to the Westin is Whole Foods Market, 1440 P St NW, just west of 14th St. It’s open daily from 7 am to 10 pm.

There is a Trader Joe’s another 5 blocks or so north, at 1914 14th St NW, north of T St. They’re open 8 am to 9 pm daily.

There is also a Safeway at 1700 Corcoran St NW. This is essentially on 17th Street, between Q and R St. Figure on about a 16 minute walk from the Westin. It’s open 6 am to 10 pm daily. This particular store is known locally as the Soviet Safeway (sometimes, you hear Socialist Safeway), largely for a surly attitude, but also for frequent lacks of whatever you might be looking for.

Drug Stores:

CVS - 1199 Vermont Ave NW, in the same building as the Residence Inn. Less than a block from the Westin. Open 24 hours a day.

Walgreens - 1324 14th St NW (between N St and Rhode Island Ave. Open 9 am to 6 pm weekdays only.

Places to Exercise:

There are lots of walking / running / biking trails throughout Washington, D.C. and the surrounding area. Here are a few of the most popular, but you can find out about more at All Trails.

The National Mall, Tidal Basin, and Hain’s Point: This is tourist central at some times of day, but is protected from traffic and relatively quiet early in the morning and in the evening. The easiest access from the hotel is to walk down 15th Street to the Washington Monument. If you turn right onto Independence Avenue, you will cross over a bridge over the Tidal Basin. Just after that, you can turn off to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. Continuing down that path, you will pass the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial. Cross another bridge and turn right, then continue along the Potomac River. Following that path will take you down to Hain’s Point. This used to be more interesting before they moved the sculpture, The Awakening, to National Harbor, but it’s still a nice walk or run. Returning around the peninsula, you can also look at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, then return to the mall. There are any number of paths to explore and lots of monuments and memorials (and museums) to look at. If you get tired, you can get on a Circulator bus or the metro.

C & O Canal Towpath: The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal was an economic failure, but the towpath is one of the most popular walking, running, and biking trails in the region. If you are really ambitious, it runs for over 180 miles to Cumberland, Maryland, where it connects to the Great Allegheny Trail towards Pittsburgh. During con, it’s more realistic to do an out-and-back excursion. The best way to do this from the Westin is to get a Circulator Bus from the 14th and K stop towards Georgetown. Get off at M Street and 33rd. The tow path starts a couple of blocks south. You want to be on the southern side of the canal. Walk or run west along the tow path as far as you want to, then turn around and come back. Note: it is a good idea to wear insect repellant in summer. Also, when you return, you might want to enjoy one of the restaurants or cafes in Georgetown, before taking the bus back to the hotel.

Capital Crescent Trail: Start out following the directions for the C & O Canal towpath. A little bit after you pass the Key Bridge, there’s a set of stairs that lead down to Water Street. The Capital Crescent Trail runs parallel to the canal towpath for a while, before splitting off to turn north to Bethesda, Maryland. If you don’t want to go quite that far, you can stop at Fletcher’s Boathouse, cross the canal and walk along Reservoir Road to get to Macarthur Blvd and U Street, where you can take the D6 Metrobus back to 15th and K, near the Westin.

The Mount Vernon Trail: This is in Virginia, but is easy to get to. It runs from Rosslyn to George Washington’s estate at Mount Vernon, along the Potomac. There is access from several metro stations - Rosslyn (Blue and Orange Lines), Arlington Cemetery (Blue Line), Crystal City (Blue and Yellow Lines), Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (Blue and Yellow Lines), Braddock Road (Blue and Yellow Lines), and King Street (Blue and Yellow Lines). There are several bikeshare stations near the trail as well.

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