Curio Collection Local Guide, Washington DC

We sent Washington DC Yodeler Laurie Collins to The Darcy Washington DC, Curio Collection by Hilton to create a Washington DC Local Guide. Set in the heart of downtown near Dupont Circle, this boutique hotel is in the business district, near the convention center, and just 6 blocks from the White House. You can easily discover shops and entertainment at Logan Circle and the 14th Street Corridor, plus the Smithsonian and other famous landmarks and just a walk away. Laurie created an incredible travel guide full of local secrets and destination tips just for you.

Name? Laurie Collins

Occupation? Systems Engineer

Preoccupation? Mommy, photographer, cat lover, mahjong player

Place you live?  Washington, DC

How long have you lived there? My entire life!

Can you sum up Washington DC?  People know Washington DC as the Nation’s Capital, but it’s much more than that.  It is a vibrant city full of different and diverse neighborhoods. You can discover the culture here whether it’s in our restaurants, museums, and just walking through our city streets. It’s a place where culture, politics, history, and architecture collide. Diversity is not only welcomed, it is celebrated.

What is the best thing about Washington DC? There is easy access to just about anything and you will never be bored here because we offer so many things to do. The National Zoo and almost all of our museums are free! I can’t repeat that enough. You can spend days in the Library of Congress, not only appreciating the architecture but wander the vast aisles of books. You can visit the Smithsonian museums and see the bullet that killed President Lincoln, or Dorothy’s ruby slippers, or Louis Armstrong’s trumpet, all on the same day. And you might be surprised to see a giant blue chicken sitting on the roof of the National Gallery of Art! Our city is packed with monuments and memorials, from the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument to museums housing some of the world’s best art. They are all beautiful and impressive, by day and by night. Spring is a particularly beautiful time of year in Washington DC, when our cherry blossoms bloom along the Tidal Basin, bringing visitors from around the world.

What is a perfect day in Washington DC?  I would start my day with a visit to Market Lunch located in Eastern Market for blueberry buckwheat pancakes with real maple syrup!  Since historic row houses dominate our city streets with such unique architecture, I would head to a neighborhood nearby and explore the local streets with my camera. Then I’d head to the East Wing of the National Gallery of Art to see Leo Villareal’s Multiverse (which never gets old). Catch a traditional Spanish meal at Del Mar de Fabio Trabocchi at the DC Wharf with beautiful views of the Potomac River (reservations are required). Then, if you have room, treat yourself to a Roxbury Road cone at Jeni’s Ice Creams on 14th Street.  Sunset at the Lincoln Memorial is a spectacular time to take in the city’s views. Be sure to bring your camera!

What are the people like in Washington DC?  We are influenced by the presence of the Federal Government and you will find a lot of ambitious, energetic people who love to talk politics here.  We are so passionate about our diversity and culture that you’ll find the most creative, smart, and fun-loving people here in DC.

If Washington DC was a person or character who would it be? Washington DC is like Thomas Jefferson, architecturally fair and balanced, and like Abe Lincoln, uniting the north and south.

Tell us about your experience visiting The Darcy Washington DC, Curio Collection by Hilton: I received a very warm greeting at check-in, the Team Members were so friendly and I felt right at home. My room was a nice size, with beautiful original artwork, a large TV, and I liked that it had a walk-in shower and tub. The bed was comfy and I slept great!  I got up early and worked out on the treadmill in their fitness center. I loved that they had a complimentary bike program so I could get around the neighborhood easily, which is in an ideal location off Thomas Circle and the bustling 14th street corridor. It was fun to attend their daily cocktail reception where I met people from all over the world who were visiting. Try their signature Darcy Dobule cocktail made with local Green Hat Gin and local Element [shrub].

What was unique about The Darcy Washington DC, Curio Collection by Hilton? The essence of the hotel is contemporary and sophisticated without lacking any comfort and there is beautiful unique artwork in the rooms and public spaces. There is a unique trunk club where you can purchase beautiful clothing from right inside your room. The hotel’s location is fantastic and close to many neighborhoods for shopping and entertainment like Dupont Circle, Logan Circle, and the 14th Street corridor. You can get to all of our famous landmarks quite easily from here. And, it’s only 15 minutes away from DCA Airport. Inside the hotel, you can easily have great coffee and sweets at Lil’B Coffee Bar and Eatery at one end of the hotel or sit down to a beautiful dinner and cocktails at Siren on the other end. Siren is an incredible seasonally grounded seafood restaurant from Robert Wiedmaier.

If your best friend was visiting Washington DC what would you suggest they do? I would have my friend wake up early and head downstairs at to The Darcy Hotel’s Lil’B Coffee Bar & Eatery for a Cortado and fried-to-order beignets! It is such a cute place with brick walls and wood tables. That hearty breakfast will fuel her energy for most of the day. The hotel is within walking distance of many great spots and I’m going to send her to places where locals love to hang out so she’ll get a real feel for our wonderful city.

First stop, the Phillips Collection in the Dupont Circle neighborhood to see paintings by Renoir and Rothko, Bonnard and O’Keeffe, and van Gogh. It’s an intimate museum and she won’t be overwhelmed.

After working off her fried beignets at the museum, she should dash across town to Union Market, our city’s most-trafficked indoor marketplace which is filled with restaurants, specialty vendors, and seasonal farmers’ market. There she can shop at Salt and Sundry for soy candles and leather goods by ENAT, or pick up some Asian-inspired tea at Teaism, and then grab some fusion tacos at TaKorean for lunch. This is also a great spot to people watch!

After resting for a bit, it will be time for cocktails and dinner. Before heading out, I’d encourage her to enjoy The Darcy’s signature cocktail in the social space in the lobby (and if hungry, an appetizer at the hotel’s restaurant, Siren) before heading out to the newly renovated DC Wharf which is located on the Potomac Waterfront in southwest DC. There, she can walk through the pedestrian streets and alleyways and visit an outpost of Politics and Prose bookstore (a Washington institution!) to Hank’s Oyster Bar for a drink called “Is That a Panther?” which has a lot to do with tequila.

Feeling hungry, and maybe after having an oyster shot, dinner calls her name so I would have her cab over to the Shaw neighborhood to dine on Belgian endive and seared rockfish at The Dabney in Blagden Alley.

With a full day under her belt, she’ll head back to the hotel to grab a nightcap at The Darcy’s own Siren by Robert Wiedmaier, and I’ll encourage her to try the dark chocolate mango tart topped off with a glass of Kracher Auslese Cuvee wine.





Washington DC

Best place to eat: Go to Fiola Mare for their lobster ravioli but save room for dessert. You must indulge in their warm chocolate cake with a fudge core center, hazelnut gelato (amazing) and caramel tulie or their homemade donuts with delicious dipping sauces!

Local tip:

The National Zoo and most museums are free!  It’s easy to get around town—stay above ground to see the city as you go from place to place—use the Circulator, (it’s inexpensive) or use one of our many bike shares. Or dare to travel like native and take the metro! You can pick up a Smart Trip card and pop up all over the city.

Best place to shop:

Georgetown is spectacular because you can stop and eat anytime you want and then keep on shopping! Pop into Baked and Wired for cupcakes to keep your energy up. There are antique shops, big chains stores, and local shops that will meet nearly every wish.

Best outdoor activity:

Walking the National Mall from the U.S. Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial is awe-inspiring and a great photo opportunity.  This time of year is especially nice when our cherry blossoms are in bloom.  The pink Kwanzan blossoms are found in the East Potomac Park area while the white Yoshino blossoms are found closer to the northern part of the Tidal Basin near the Washington Monument.  Both are exquisite!

Best indoor activity:

Any museum in DC and we have so many:  the National Gallery of Art, the National Building Museum, the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture, and the Newseum.  Oh, and don’t forget the National Air and Space Museum, the Native American Museum, the Newseum, the National Holocaust Museum, and more.

Best place to stay:

The Darcy Washington DC, Curio Collection by Hilton