For many students, D.C.’s expanse of museums, landmarks and attractions contributed to their decision to attend college in the nation’s capital. But the District is also home to plenty of tucked away gems worth visiting during your college years.
With the help of some graduating seniors, we compiled a list of the best hidden gem spots around campus and D.C. Check out these under-the-radar spots if you’re looking to branch out from the typical campus hangout spots or tourist destinations around the city.
What appears to be a door to a freezer at the back of Capo Italian Deli in Shaw actually leads into The BackRoom, a spacious secret bar to enjoy a drink, and depending on the night, listen to live music or a DJ. The bar, which was previously home to a bank in the early 20th century, is furnished with comfortable booths and a large chandelier, creating an elegant space to sit back after classes or work for a drink.
Customers may purchase classic cocktails, as well as house cocktails ($12.50) like “The Boot,” which consists of Smirnoff Red, Southern Comfort, Frangelico, lime, amaretto and ginger beer. Additionally, guests can order any food offered on Capo Italian Deli’s menu.
Known as GW’s more peaceful and quaint library compared to Gelman Library, Eckles provides students with a cozier and more secluded library study space. Hidden away on one of the upper floors of the library on the Mount Vernon Campus lies a balcony with a hammock on which students can study or rest while enjoying the outdoors.
Since the hammock deck is the only one of its kind on campus and operates on a first-come, first-served basis, the space is a high commodity and is constantly snatched up by students. But if you’re planning to study, meditate or read for a bit before your morning class, try bringing your activity to Eckles at an early hour and snatching the hammock before others can get to it.
Ching Ching Cha
An unexpected place to study for exams or hang out with friends is Ching Ching Cha, a tea house in Georgetown. Open for dine-in Thursday through Monday, the teahouse provides customers with the Chinese tea ritual experience and authentic tea house meals.
The menu includes The Tea Meal ($16), which comes with three vegetables, jasmine rice, a bowl of soup and your choice of a featured entree – curry chicken, mustard miso salmon or mapo tofu. Visitors can also enjoy tea, tea snacks and sweets in addition to their meal.
The Catacombs of Washington, D.C.
Beneath the Franciscan Monastery in the northeast neighborhood of Brookland, visitors can discover dark underground passages among graves. At the beginning of the 1900s, Franciscan monks constructed the fake graves as a way to replicate the “feeling” of the Old World in North America.
Though the catacombs’ remains are mostly fake, that doesn’t take away from the eerie feel of walking among the wall graves. Guests can take guided tours of the stunning church and historical catacombs Mondays through Saturdays between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Municipal Fish Market at The Wharf
While many of us have spent time at The Wharf in Southeast D.C., visitors can often overlook the Municipal Fish Market, located at the northern end of the shopping area. Home to multiple vendors, the market provides a large variety of both prices and seafood selection. Customers can choose anything from fish and shrimp to prepared seafood snacks like crab cakes on any given day.
The market sells fresh, same-day seafood catches that will not disappoint. Visitors can enjoy a discount on parking at The Wharf if they make a purchase at the fish market and show proof of their receipt.
Sixth floor of the School of Business
Although there are many fine study spots around campus, it can be difficult to find a quiet, relaxing and charming place to work when finals approach. At sunset, the sixth floor of Duques Hall makes for a peaceful spot for focused study.
The building is typically clean and quiet, making it a great place to escape your residence hall or apartment to concentrate on studying. The surrounding windows let warm light from the sunset stream in, creating a serene study atmosphere.