By LeMara Perry
When you think of Washington, D.C. you might think of presidents, monuments, politics or memorials. Surprisingly, D.C. is not the same “stuffy” political town it was once known to be. Ranked third in the “Best U.S. Vacations,” by U.S. News, D.C. has become one of the East Coast’s most exciting places to visit. From exquisite dining to fascinating tourist attractions, D.C. has become trendier than ever. While most visitors frequent areas like China Town, U Street and Adams Morgan, dine at Ben’s Chili Bowl or Olley’s Trolley and visit the many Smithsonian museums, there is a whole city full of great places that many have yet to visit.
Let’s consider this small guide not a map to the newest or hottest spots, but as a treasure map to the “hidden gems” around the District. Whether you are hearing about them for the first time, or rediscovering them, here are 5 stops to hit:
National Great Blacks in Wax Museum
The Great Blacks in Wax Museum
1603 E North Ave
Baltimore, MD 21213
Although this museum is technically not in D.C, it is very close. The National Great Blacks in Wax Museum is one of our country’s most enlightening establishments. Founded in 1983 by Dr. Elmer Martin, a former professor of social work and chairman at Morgan State University, and his wife Joanne, the wax museum is the first of its kind to be solely for the preservation of African American history. The array of full-size, life-like wax figures highlighting both historical and contemporary individuals of African heritage signifies its distinction.
The Blacks in Wax Museum includes more than 100 figures and historical scenes including “A Journey to Freedom,” which features W.E.B DuBois and Bessie Coleman, “Entrepreneurship,” with Madame C.J. Walker and “Blacks in the Military,” with Gen. Colin Powell and others.
One of the most popular exhibits is “The Slavery Era,” which features a full-size slave ship that portrays the 400 years that made up the Atlantic Slave Trade. Visitors are able to tour the different parts of the ship, getting a small glimpse of the slaves’ journey across the ocean.
The museum is open year-round. Admission for adults is $13.00, $12.00 for teens and college students with an ID and $11.00 for children ages 3-11.
Horace & Dickie’s Seafood Carryout
1. 809 12th St NE
Washington, DC 20002
2. 6912 4th St NW,
Washington, DC 20012
Located in the H Street Corridor in Northeast D.C. is Horace and Dickie’s Seafood Carryout, known to have the best-fried fish the District. Horace and Dickies has been in business for over 20 years, with loyal patrons lining up down the block. One of their signature dishes is the fried fish sandwich, which features four fish fillets and all the toppings between two pieces of bread for only $6.00. There is also the jumbo fish sandwich, which contains six fish fillets and eight slices of bread. Horace and Dickie’s was featured on the Travel Channel’s popular hit series Man Vs. Food in 2010.
Frederick Douglass National Historic Site
1411 W Street SE
Washington, DC 20020
Located in Anacostia, the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site honors the life and legacy of one of Americas most influential figures. “Throughout the Civil War, Douglass resided in Rochester, NY and after the war was over he moved to Washington, D.C. where he held positions in international affairs, the Council of Government for the District of Columbia, and as US Marshal for the District.” As stated on the historic site’s website. Douglass’ home, which he named Cedar Hill, was constructed between 1855 and 1859. He resided in the home until his death in 1895. After his death, his widow, Helen, founded the Frederick Douglass Memorial and Historical Association in 1900 and in 1916, the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs joined with her efforts. Together the two ran the house until 1962, when the federal government took over the deed through the National Park Service, with the intent of restoring and preserving it. The Frederick Douglass National Historic Site is a breathtaking preservation of the 14-room, two-story home along with original furnishings and personal belongings that tell the story of Douglass’ life. The Frederick Douglass National Historic Site is opened year-round. The visitors center and grounds are free non-ticketed areas, however, a tour of the house requires a ticket as low as $2.00.
1506 U St NW
Washington, DC 20009
While many flock to Georgetown or Crumbs for their cupcake fix, there is something just as delicious located right in the heart of the U Street corridor. Housed in a tiny storefront, CakeLove is home to some of the best cupcakes with the biggest, boldest flavors. Warren Brown, a lawyer turned baker, founded CakeLove in 2002. Since then, CakeLove has expanded to six locations in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan area. CakeLove has been featured on Oprah Winfrey, CNN, MSNBC, as well as an array of newspapers and magazines. Brown was also the host of The Food Network’s “Sugar Rush.” CakeLove has an assortment of unique and superb goods ranging from wedding cakes, layered cakes, cheesecakes other baked goods. You can satisfy your taste buds with amazing butter cream cakes with flavors such as 44, the salty caramel cake made in honor of President Barack Obama, Strawberry Lemonade, Mocha Dream, Cookies and Cream, Coconut Delight, and of course everyone’s favorite, Red Velvet.
All Fired Up
1.3413 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20008
2.4923 Elm Street
Bethesda, MD 20814
If you’re looking for some hands on fun, All Fired Up is definitely the place to be. Known as “D.C.’s hand painted pottery experience” All Fired Up is one of the most chill and relaxing environments. The store has a wide variety of reasonably priced pottery, mosaic and fused glass pieces for your painting pleasures. All Fired Up offers an array of weekly specials for their customers. On Mondays and Wednesdays from 12-3 p.m., All Fired Up offers 15 percent off of select pieces. The pieces change monthly so check out Facebook or the studio for more information. Thursdays from 6-9 p.m. is Ladies Night, so bring a friend and you’ll receive 15 percent off. Happy Hour is on Fridays from 6-9 p.m. Spend $35 on one piece and receive 15 percent off, and you can BYOB any day, any time.