When friends or family visit me here in Washington, I take them for hot cakes at the Florida Avenue Grill. Not only does it remind me of Saturday morning breakfast dates when I was a student at Howard, but “the Grill” is testament to the district’s place as a center of African-American culture and small-business success.
Even if yours is a return trip to the nation’s capital, and you’ve already visited The National Museum of African American History & Culture ( NMAAHC), put it back on your itinerary. Its newest exhibit, “Watching Oprah: The Oprah Winfrey Show and American Culture,” celebrates our queen of media.
There is plenty more Black excellence to check out. Below, Chocolate City insiders share their picks for landmarks, hotspots and hangouts.
“Every day, I head to work in Historic Anacostia and stop by Turning Natural, a Black-owned juice bar. Around lunch time I might drive past the home of Frederick Douglass, now a national historic site, on my way to MLK Deli for the area’s best crab cake sandwich.”
- Courtney R. Snowden, 38, the District of Columbia’s deputy mayor for Greater Economic Opportunity and a sixth-generation Washingtonian
“ Nubian Hueman is a Black-owned boutique in Anacostia that offers unique goods, fashion, gifts and art by designers representing the global diaspora. Every piece has a story!”
- Jaqueline Lara, 35, public relations professional
Landmark to see at night
“The MLK Memorial is striking during the day but the towering statue and wall of quotes — representing justice, democracy, hope and love — are even more stunning in the moonlight.”
- Ericka Boston, 38, Washington-based filmmaker
“The National Portrait Gallery’s o fficial renderings of President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama fill me with pride and joy. I’m a fan of Kehinde Wiley so seeing President Obama’s portrait was especially exciting.”
- Nicole Cutts, 48, artist, author and success coach
“The National Museum of African Art produces community-based programming and ‘museum-after-dark’-type events, such as opening receptions where you can interact with the artists.”
- Cheriss May, 46, has photographed newsmakers ranging from the Obamas to Maya Angelou and Jill Scott.
“Even with some gentrification, U Street is still a place I take visitors. There are jazz spots and some restaurants have live bands. A lot of places host rooftop happy hours.”
- Cheriss May
“ The Howard Theatre is the place to experience Black culture. The minute you step inside, you can feel the history and beauty of so many important African American artists who have crossed the stage.”
- Nicole Cutts
Live music venue
“ JoJo Restaurant and Bar evokes the atmosphere of a Harlem jazz club. The jazz is amazing and you won’t be disappointed by the food and cocktails. Make reservations for date night or just hanging out.”
- Dawn Hendricks, 45, native Washingtonian and founder and president of FM Talent Source
“Federal workers come to Stan’s Restaurant after work to unwind, connect with the community and get the best mambo sauce in town.”
- Russ Green, 39, writer and standup comedian
“D.C. is full of rich culture and strivers. Busboys and Poets, with its good food and its support of the local arts community, represents that.”
- Russ Green
“One of my favorite neighborhood parks is Fort Dupont Park. People barbecue there, enjoy community gardens and attend summer concert series. Also check out the Anacostia Park Roller Skating Pavilion, great for families and friends because it’s a multi-generational attraction.”
- Takeyah A. Young, 41, leadership coach, operations consultant and STEM advocate