Annnd the first week is officially done! Congrats everyone, we’ve officially survived a whole week in the real world. (Well, sort of.) While most of us have started to settle into our new homes, workstations, and personal circles, an entire new chapter of our lives still waits to be unlocked here in DC. With internships ranging from the White House, to the DOD, to various NGOs, the participants of UCDC will slowly, but surely, begin to make their Californian mark on District soil.
So let’s start off by recapping the first week here. Students first navigated themselves from the airport to UCDC, took a good look at what would be their home for the next three months, and then unpacked what we had stuffed into our suitcases. Then (most) made a mad dash to the nearest Target to grab comforters, towels, pillows, and I’m sure at least one unnecessary item… (because who doesn’t love to get lost in Target only to stumble upon things they really don’t need, but think to themselves, “Hmm, this is pretty neat. Only $5? I’m sure I can find a use for this somewhere… Maybe.) From there, the traditional errands were carried out: finding the nearest grocery store, coffee shop, and CVS. Then, **small breath to relax** prepare yourself for your internship, classes, and yes, the arrival of the Pope.
Yea, the Pope. Well, what an amazing time to be a UCDC student. In real estate, it’s always about location, location, location. And boy, did we have location for his visit. At one point, the Pope was only a mere 0.2 miles away from our own front door, across the street at St. Matthew’s Cathedral. Even if you stayed in your dorm, you were practically 2 minutes away from his mere presence. Then the Pope made his way around the East Coast, and sooner than we knew it he was gone. But then the Chinese President stopped by. And then we were blessed by a once-in-every-33-year “Supermoon.” Not to mention all those orientations. A lot seemed to be happening the first week at UCDC. And once we finally got a chance to take it all in, the week came to a close.
However, during this time, I was lucky enough to get my internship off due to the Pope’s visit. (Thanks man, I guess that whole “The Pope is Dope” saying really does apply here.) Since I didn’t need to come into my office until the following week, I made it my personal duty to try to accomplish everything I could within those 7 days. I wanted to explore, shop, try new food, as well as experience DC’s trademark nightlife. And let me just say– so far, DC has already surpassed my expectations.
From L-R: A Bub & Pop’s “Jewish Hoagie”, classic DC architecture and some empanadas from Julia’s Empanadas.
Exploring: **Whenever moving to a new city, I try to walk around as much as possible. It’s very easy to lose your bearings when you’re underground on the metro, so I tried to take it as minimally as possible.
First off, the architecture! Coming from the West Coast, I love seeing all the historic buildings that surround us. Walking from Dupont Circle to Adams Morgan, there are a ton of impressive homes. There are pops of color on almost every block, and the walk is quite enjoyable. Capitol Hill has some as well. However, Georgetown is my favorite neighborhood thus far. The brick, the lanterns, the trees–they all seem to do it for me.
Nam June Paik’s “American Highway”
I then explored around where the Nationals Stadium sits. A nearby park titled “Yard Park” boasts a beautiful view of the Potomac as well as a wonderful place to sit, read, and relax. About a fifteen minute walk from there is the Eastern Market, where people sell everything from fruits and vegetables, to jewelry, to paintings, to slightly strange refurbished denim outfits. This only happens on the weekends, but I would highly recommend. And beyond that the typical Mall walk was completed, exploring sites around the Capitol all the way to the Lincoln Memorial. Oh, and check out the Smithsonians if you can! The American Art museum has a really cool piece by Nam June Paik titled “American Highway.” Says a lot about American culture if you ask me. I would check it out.
Shopping: So far, Georgetown seems to be the spot. It has everything from Free People to Nike to Papersource (stationery geeks will love this spot). I also ventured out to Pentagon City which seems to have almost everything (including a regular Nordstrom), but will most likely not need to make the trip over there again unless I need something specific. Dupont has some great stores as well. Downtown if you want to do some business shopping, and Adams Morgan if you want some vintage. Seems to be that all around DC there are a ton of consignment and second hand store that tailor specifically to high end working attire labels, so if you’re interested in some good bargain finds, I would definitely check those out as well. Pretty much everywhere you go there’s some sort of shopping to be found, which is pretty convenient.
Food: Here, I’m just going to mention some of the places I have gone to for a quick lunch or bite to eat. From a friend’s personal tip, my first stop was Bub & Pop’s. Wow. This. Place. Is. Impressive. I ordered a half order (which was actually quite enormous) of their “Jewish Hoagie” that came with corned beef, roast turkey, brisket, salami, Swiss cheese, spicy mustard, thousand island, and was topped off with coleslaw. Honestly, it was pretty amazing. Overwhelming when first presented to me, but amazing. They also have a fried PB&J… (yea.) Julia’s Empanadas right around the block is also very tasty and they’re open late. Roti Mediterranean is basically like a Mediterranean Chipotle, which is great for a flavorful and quick bite to eat. Alberto’s Pizza has pizza slices bigger than your face and Ice Cream Jubilee has exceptional flavors such as Thai Ice Tea, Cold Brew Coffee, Gin & Tonic, and Mango Habanero. At Jubilee, the flavors constantly change, but I’m assuming they’re also constantly tasty.
Nightlife: I’m going to keep this short since this post has been so long, but DC’s “Art All Night” event was great. Around five different neighborhoods of DC (including Dupont Circle), many galleries were open where you could come on in, enjoy the art, talk to artists and curators, listen to live music, and even create your own art. That was an all around success. For more of the bar scene, almost every neighborhood surrounding us has something going on. U Street is lively, around Dupont is always packed, and I’ve heard Adams Morgan has a great scene as well. Wednesday nights: Madhatter’s $1 beers. Great rooftop bar: Point of View. Open late, a calmer experience: Kramerbooks & Afterwords.
Thanks for reading! And if you’re a sandwich lover, trust me– make that lunch trip to Bub & Pop’s.