City Cast

City Center For Locals

Kaela Cote-Stemmermann
Kaela Cote-Stemmermann
Posted on August 31

Our mapped guide to City Center. (Google Maps)

City Center is mostly known for its high-end shopping, tourists, and overpriced food, meaning its gems often go overlooked. Here’s how to make the most of the small "neighborhood” as a local.

First, Coffee:

There are only two options in City Center for coffee: Tatte and Dolcezza. Personally, I would choose Dolcezza for its consistently well-made espresso drinks, and who can say no to a morning affogato? But if you need a little more sustenance, Tatte is right down the street with loads of pastries and breakfast options.

What To Do


The main appeal of City Center is the high-end shopping, but if you’re not in the market for a new Louis Vuitton, don’t fret. Stop by the Museum of Illusions for a mind-bending few hours exploring interactive exhibits that will make you bigger, smaller, cross-eyed, and upside down. Don’t miss the infinity room. Also in the area, there’s a farmers market on Tuesdays from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. and other regular events hosted by City Center.

D.C. Metro car at the Museum of Illusions.

D.C. Metro car at the Museum of Illusions. (Kaela Cote-Stemmermann/City Cast DC)

Where To Eat:

The food at Cuba Libre is good and reasonably priced, but the real draw is the dancing. Every Friday and Saturday, the dining room becomes a party with DJs blasting salsa and bachata until 3 a.m. For something more conservative but still good, the French Fig & Olive or the Italian Centrolina will do the trick.

What To Drink:

For casual beer and good happy hour deals, Capitol City Brewing Company is the best (and only) option. The Summit rooftop offers great views of downtown, with expensive cocktails to match. If it were me, I would walk the two blocks to Chinatown and hit up the Crimson View or Jackpot for some better views and cheaper drinks.

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