Travel spotlight: DC is still Chocolate City

Like many major cities, the District of Columbia is experiencing a wave of transitioning, but there are still plenty of places to still absorb African-American culture and mix and mingle with the beautiful locals. Let us be your guide.

Culture pick: The wait is over. The National Museum of African American History and Culture opens September 24. President Obama is scheduled to cut the ribbon to open the doors to the public and commence a weeklong celebration. “We are prepared to offer exhibitions and programs to unite and capture the attention of millions of people worldwide,” founding director Lonnie Bunch said in a report. “It will be a place where everyone can explore the story of America through the lens of the African-American experience.”

Where to grub-and-go: Once dubbed “Black Broadway” because of the African-American performers who flocked to bars and clubs in the area, the U Street corridor has a bevy of new shops and restaurants. But one landmark eatery you can’t miss is the original Ben’s Chili Bowl, home of their famous all-meat chili hot dog (they also serve a veggie version). And for live entertainment and happy hour bites, get a table at Ben’s Next Door.

Where to brunch and shop: Named after Langston Hughes, the lauded poet and former busboy, the original Busboys and Poets is a cool place for vegetarian-leaning brunch, to shop for books by writers of color, and to listen to spoken word poetry and author talks.

Where to feel the vibe: After a $30 million renovation, the historic Howard Theater is once again the shinning star of DC’s black entertainment scene. Even FLOTUS Michelle Obama enjoyed a low-key girls’ not out this summer and saw contemporary jazz artist Gregory Porter. Upcoming shows include Amel Larrieux (September 17) and DJ Questlove (September 24).

Where to stay: The District’s newest Kimpton hotel, Mason & Rook, is just steps from the bustling 14th Street strip and boasts large guest rooms and suites, a wood-paneled rooftop pool and bar, and the culinary-focused cocktail bar, Radiator. Plus, in the Kimpton tradition, each evening the hotel invites guests to a complimentary wine happy hour.

Book a trip soon and enjoy D.C.!

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