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We’ve all experienced the struggles of wanting to venture out of our comfort zone and try new and interesting restaurants and coffee places, only to be stopped by the fear of an unwanted culinary experience. When it comes to where to go for a good brunch with friends or even a quiet place to sip your coffee and study, we tend to stick to what we know, sometimes just because we don’t want to risk anything else. Well, we at HCAUhave some good news. We risk it so that you don’t have to and as a result, we’ve put together a list of a few of our writers’ favorite places to eat, to study and to enjoy with your friends!  


  1. Brunch with a twist: Ted’s Bulletin 

      Contributor: Tori Dickson 

      Where: Various Locations, Closest to AU: 1818 14thSt NW, Washington, DC 20009

Immediately walking into Ted’s Bulletin, your heart beats a little faster, and your mouth starts watering. The place is always bursting with people in a high energy way, with old movies playing on a jumbo screen and a dim lighting that sucks you in. Along with this upbeat energy is the smell of sizzling bacon, buttery biscuits, and eggs sent from high heaven. If you can’t tell: this is a brilliant brunch spot. They serve breakfast all day and also specialize in pastries and cakes that are richly sinful and perfectly instagrammable(just like the rest of the restaurant). Their bar is also fully stocked and, if you have a sweet tooth and want to feel extra cozy, boozy milkshakes are also on the menu. My recommendation is to call in before you go because this place is always popping. That being said, it’s located on downtown U St. where you can stroll and window shop while anxiously waiting to get your hands on a Ted Tart.  


2. Best “Locally Made” Shops: Shop Made in DC

    Contributor: WyleeCandon  

    Where: 1330 19thSt NW, Washington, DC 20036

If you are looking for a place that supports local artists and vendors without breaking the bank, then stop by Shop Made in DC. This store is located right across the street from PhilzCoffee in DupontCircle, which is also right at the entrance of the DupontCircle Metro stop. This store is great for finding small gifts such as postcards, pins, or candles, that have a connection to the DC area. I love these kinds of gifts to give to my friends back in my home state because they can have a little taste of my new home. To add on, each section of the store is one specific vendor with their business cards so if you love their products, you can continue to purchase pieces after leaving the store. In the back of the shop, there is also a cafe where you can purchase a coffee or small snack to eat while you browse the store. The companies represented in the store produce a variety of products, ranging anywhere from pottery to baby clothing. They also have more touristy options, like a postcard of the Washington Monument, or vanilla scented candles if you are a resident that simply enjoys supporting small, local businesses.  


3. Cute Bookstore to Explore: KramerBooks

Contributor: WyleeCandon   

Where: 1517 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036

I’ve been looking for cute little bookstores to browse and be able to waste hours by reading the back of books I know I will never actually open. This bookstore is a little cramped but it has an endless supply of books that range from the history of the United States to children’s books. In addition to the books, they have a variety of stationery products including pens, colored pencils, notebooks, and sketch pads that I can justify blowing my money on. If you end up finding a book you’re willing to purchase, in the back of the store is a sit-down cafe where you can order a slice of avocado toast and cappuccino to enjoy with your new read. This bookshop is located in DupontCircle, right down the road from the two-floor Starbucks. The service is quick and polite, allowing you to enjoy the most of your experience at the shop. 


4. Best Vegan-Friendly finds:  Fare Well

    Contributor: Carly Elkins

    Where: 406 H Street NE Washington, DC 20002

As a non-vegan in a group of vegans, I have been to a lot of cool and weird vegan-friendly places in DC. The absolute best place we’ve been to is Fare Well on H Street. Located about a 10-minute walk from union station, this little bakery/diner/bar has something for everyone. Its cozy old-fashioned atmosphere and friendly staff immediately make guests feel welcome. Fare Well prides itself in recreating traditional comfort food from plant-based products. You can get a Reuben, mac and cheese, and even three different types of burgers, all without animal products! They only take reservations for lunch and dinner, so their weekend brunch can get a little busy. Don’t let the vegan aspect scare you though; this place has some of the best breakfast food I’ve ever had. Last time I was there, I got blueberry pancakes with vanilla coconut whipped cream and they were amazing. Even their milkshakes, which come in s’mores, Neapolitan, cookie dough, and lemon ginger, are absolutely incredible and 100% vegan. And if you’re looking for a sweet treat to take home, their bakery counter has you covered with a variety of cookies, cakes, and pastries. Don’t feel like making the trek out to the NOMA area? Fare Well is on UberEats! This cute little spot has it all, for vegans and non-vegans alike!


5. Best Poke Place in DC: AbunaiPoke

Contributor: CarniCampbell 

Where: 1920 L St NW, Washington, DC 20036

Looking for a delicious, fresh, taste of Hawaii? Get off the red line at Farragut North and walk a couple blocks to AbunaiPoke! Coming from Southern California, I knew I needed to get my fix of Hawaiian food when I came to AU. At Abunai, you can either choose a bowl or make your own. I personally like to customize my poke bowl with different types of fish, sauces, and toppings. If you’re going with a friend, a regular size bowl is the perfect one to split. Eating half of a regular bowl will leave you feeling full and you can either save the other part for later or share with a friend! Abunaiis well priced for poke and won’t break your budget. The woman that works there is extremely sweet, fun, and understanding of those that aren’t familiar with poke, always willing to give you recommendations. She recommended I try the spicy mayo and kabayakisauce, and they were so delicious that I asked for an extra side. AbunaiPoke is relatively close to campus and did not disappoint! With friendly customer service, a variety of customizable options, and fresh, delicious food, Abunaiis the place to try this weekend.

With all of these wonderful and intriguing recommendations, you should have no problem finding some new places to add to your list of DC favorites!

Photo Credits : 


Riddhi Setty

American '22

President of Her Campus American. Undergraduate student at American University studying Journalism and Business and Entertainment. Preferred pronouns: she/her/hers.
A senior and Editor-in-Chief of Her Campus at American who enjoys reading banned books and drinking overpriced coffee. 
Carni Campbell

American '22

Carni is currently a freshman at American University studying political science and is thinking about minoring in environmental science. She is originally from a small beach town in Southern California, San Clemente, but has always been an east coast girl at heart. In her free time, Carni loves to travel the country, draw, and take photos.
Carly Elkins

American '20

Carly is a senior at American University and enjoys old cartoons and binge-watching Netflix with her friends. She is a Psychology and Communication Studies double major from New Jersey. Carly just returned from a semester in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Wylee Candon

American '22

Hello! I'm a freshman at American University.
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