PA’s Favorite (DC) Things!

It’s hard to believe the final weeks of Summer 2017 are rapidly coming to an end. The PAs have rounded up their favorite restaurants and activities that you must do before leaving DC!

Favorite Restaurant:
Sarah – My favorite restaurant in DC is a little diner on 10th Street NW called Lincoln’s Waffle Shop. It’s located right across from Ford’s Theater, so it’s the perfect place to relax after you finish your tour. They have the best waffles in town, as well as other breakfast foods, sandwiches, fantastic burgers, and infinite coffee refills. I love it because it’s the perfect place to enjoy a casual meal with good friends.

Grace – My Favorite place to eat in DC is a Peruvian-Chinese fusion restaurant called China Chilcano on 418 7th Street NW. They feature traditional dishes from each country with flares of crossover such as ceviche with teriyaki vegetables or plantains with Chinese spices.

Brooke – My favorite spot is a hole-in-the-wall Thai food restaurant on 11th street. It’s properly named Noodles on 11 and the food is excellent. It’s small, relatively quiet and conveniently located right by CityCenterDC, which is fun place to walk around after your meal. Pro-tip: my go-to dish is the Chicken Tom Yum.

Reim  – My favorite brunch destination is Paolo’s in Georgetown. Located at 1303 Wisconsin Ave NW, the beautiful venue offers outdoor seating and delicious homemade Italian entrees. Choose from a variety of pastas, pizzas, cheesy appetizer dips, pastries and more. There is no better Sunday outing destination than Paolo’s, what’s not to love about brunch in Georgetown?

Liz – One of my absolute favorite restaurants in DC is Old Ebbitt Grill. Breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner – you really can’t go wrong. The food is delicious and a good place for friends and family. A fun fact about Old Ebbitt is that they have one of the oldest bars on the East Coast. It is truly a culinary cornerstone in the DC restaurant scene.

Chase – My most favorite restaurant in Washington, DC is Founding Farmers, hands-down. Located at 1924 Pennsylvania Ave NW, this restaurant is known for its phenomenal American-style brunch and dinner. With numerous options and delicious, family-style sized desserts, this popular restaurant is appealing to anyone and everyone – as long as they come with a large appetite. Keep in mind it’s a popular spot so make reservations early in advance!

Favorite Activity:
– My favorite DC activity is exploring the different waterfronts. There are so many amazing views in DC, but the Potomac definitely offers some of the best. That’s what makes the Jefferson Memorial is my favorite monument – I love sitting on the steps and looking out over the Tidal Basin. Whether it’s strolling on the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail, riding the ferris wheel at National Harbor, or getting gelato and sitting on the dock in Old Town Alexandria, you’ll usually find me somewhere near the water during my free time.

Grace – My favorite DC activity is to the spending time around the Smithsonian area. My top spots are the Library of Congress, the U.S. Botanical Garden, and the Hirschhorn Museum. Aside from being an architecturally gorgeous building, the Library of Congress offers a wide range of historical exhibits with newspaper archives that rival the Newseum. If you need an escape from the fast-paced environment of Washington, the U.S. Botanical Garden is the place to go. Finally, I enjoy the Hirschhorn Museum because I believe that while modern art can sometimes be silly, it also encourages us to think more deeply about the human condition. Best of all, you can enter all of these sites free of charge.

Brooke – One of my favorite things to do in DC is to rent the Capital Bikeshare bikes and ride around the city. It’s only $2 per half-hour and a great way to get around and explore! Pick up a bike and head toward Georgetown, if you pass by the Waterfront Park, you can continue on the Capital Crescent Trail, which is a beautiful shaded trail which runs along the Potomac. After your ride, you can check the bikes back in at any Capital Bikeshare dock around the city.

Reim – My first DC sunset was breathtaking, I was sitting on the Lincoln Memorial steps, gazing at the reflection pool. From that moment on, I sought every sunset from every angle. One of the most beautiful sunset spectator spots is the Watergate Hotel roof. It provides a stellar view as the sun sinks deeper, illuminating the Potomac in fiery hues.

Liz – My favorite DC activity is exploring the myriad of historical places that the city has to offer. Peacock Alley, located near the Willard Hotel, is a DC hidden gem and is known for coining the term ‘lobbying’. It is a short walk from the Foggy Bottom area, just past the White House.

Chase – Visiting the National Air and Space Museum is a must-do activity. Not only does it have several interactive displays and games, but every visitor has the opportunity to watch a planetarium show as well. 









Taking Advantage of Free Things To Do in DC

Written by Grace Lederer – Program Advisor, ICPES

Part of the professional experience in is achieving a good work-life balance.  Sometimes, having fun can feel too pricey in the city—especially as an unpaid intern. Thankfully, there is a plethora of fun and free events available in DC outside of the obvious monument/museum tour. My two favorite websites to browse for free events are Things To Do DC and Eventbrite. These sites have lead me to unforgettable events from artist exhibitions to embassy visits and networking events. These events often provide food so you’re not only having a great time but getting a nice meal out of it too.

An often overlooked Smithsonian is the Zoo. Located at 3001 Connecticut Ave NW, the Smithsonian Zoo is home to an extensive collection of mammals, reptiles, birds, and marine animals. The daily schedule at the zoo is packed with programs such as meeting small mammals, feeding the fish, watching elephant training sessions or demonstrations with the seals. Be sure to check the schedule before you go!


A fan-favorite activity is going to free outdoor movie screenings. Grab some friends, snacks, and a beach blanket to catch a classic under the stars. For a definitive list of locations and films, click here.


If you’re interested in baroque architecture, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and the Franciscan Monastery and Garden are all musts. The basilica is the largest Catholic Church in the United States.

As part of their “Performing Arts for Everyone” Initiative, the Kennedy Center offers free shows every night at 6:00pm. Visitors can enjoy artists as they showcase their talents in music, dance, theater, and more. Shows can be inside or outside depending on the type of performance so make sure to check the schedule and dress appropriately before you go!




Celebrating the 4th of July in DC

What better way to celebrate the Fourth of July than by being in the heart of America? Making plans can be stressful and costly, luckily, we have the insider knowledge on how to navigate the city and enjoy the best that it has to offer.

Circus on the National Mall
A 10 day scheduled tour in the Nation’s Capital features over 500 circus performers commemorating the Smithsonian Folklife Festival’s 50th Anniversary and the birth of our nation. Come watch celebrated acrobats, gymnasts and entertainers.

You can’t spend the fourth of July in Washington DC without catching floats bounce along Constitution Avenue. The parade begins at 11:45 am and is held between 7th and 17th streets.

Watch the district skies light up in red, white and blue. Among the best places to watch the spectacular show are The U.S. Capitol lawn, Lincoln Memorial, National Mall, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, Thomas Jefferson Memorial, The White House Ellipse, West Potomac Park, East Potomac Park, and Anacostia Park.
Pro Tip: arrive early as these areas generally fill up quickly and early in the day with spectators. 

Don’t miss star John Stamos hosting this year’s Fourth of July concert, featuring the Beach Boys and Trace Adkins among many other superstars. Bring a blanket and a friend and find a cozy clearing on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol and experience the fourth wrapped in symphony tunes. The concert begins at 8:00 pm.

General Tips
• Due to heightened security, some roads may be blocked off and the metro lines will be heavily congested.
• Prepare yourself for long waiting lines, crowded areas, security checks, and heightened law enforcement presence. Public access to the National Mall begins at 10:00 a.m. The U.S. Capitol grounds open at 3:00 p.m.
• Have at least one person in your group go without a bag. There is a “bag free” line to get into the Capitol lawn and it is always much shorter. Your designated group member can head in and steak out a spot. All purses, coolers and other belongings will be searched. No alcohol is allowed.
• Never walk alone and always travel in groups – look out for one another and be vigilant of your surroundings.
• It’s going to be warm so it’s very important to stay hydrated. Bring water, bug spray, sunscreen and hand sanitizer for outdoor venues.

Above all, have an incredible time celebrating in our nation’s capital!

DC Living – You Have Now Entered the Professional Sphere

Written by Liz Hartman – Program Advisor, IBGA

Moving and living in a city can be tough. To help you, here are five important tips I learned from my past summer in DC that helped me excel within my internship, TFAS and my everyday living in DC. Be your best self this summer by following these tips!

Get To Know the People You Work For
You might be working with people that are older, younger or the same age as you. There might be a lot of differences between the two of you, but it is important you listen and get to know who you work for. If your supervisor talks to you about their kids, be engaged and excited. It might not be something that you can relate to, but showing this extra attention and displaying that you care will go a long way with your supervisor.

Fight Mundane Routine
We all know the feeling of coming home from a long day and just wanting to sleep. However, there are just too many opportunities in this city to take advantage of! Go on a run through the national mall, look up extended hours for Smithsonian museums, attend networking events with your office, meet for informational interviews. The possibilities are endless if you have the willpower to fight monotonous routine, and take advantage of all the wonderful opportunities awaiting you in DC.

Have a Prepared Elevator Speech 
There are many unexpected opportunities in DC to run into prominent people. Having an elevator speech prepared can help exponentially when gaining connections and future employment opportunities. Click here for examples and tips on how to write a good elevator speech.


Dress to Impress
Whether it be at your internship or out on the weekend, you never know when the opportunity will arise to attend an important networking or social event. Have a professional outfit prepared that you can wear on a whim to be ready for the numerous opportunities that will spring up this summer. Pay attention to the dress codes of different events, and know the differences between smart casual, business casual, and business professional!

Treat Everyone you Meet with Respect The person sitting next to you on the metro may someday be your boss, so it is very important that you treat everyone respectfully. Make an effort to put your best foot forward with everyone you meet. It could open a lot of doors in the future.

Mapping Your DC Running Route

Written by Brooke Cary – Program Advisor, IPJ

Washington, DC was recently voted one of the most active cities in the United States. No matter the time of day (or the temperature) you will always see people jogging through the city. So, whether your style is short and sweet, or long and casual, DC has some great run routes for you.

But first, a few tips:

  1. Avoid the “short” streets. One of the most irritating things about running through the city are the stop lights. Having to reboot your momentum every 350 feet because the stop light changed is no fun. Before you start your run, be sure you stick to the longer roads for a smoother run, especially if you’re tracking your time.
  2. Safety (and joint health) first. DC is a concrete jungle. City routes can wreak havoc on your joints if you’re a regular runner. Make sure your shoes have a good amount of cushion and support for your arch.
  3. Switch it up. There are so many options. Get creative and mix up these routes, or do them backwards to avoid running into a rut.

Now, the routes!

Short and Sweet (1 – 3 mile routes)

  • Circle the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool. This is a great route if you’re looking for something that’s easy, brief and just under two miles. Leaving from Potomac House, at the GW Campus.
  • Run to the Arlington Memorial Bridge to see one the best views of the Potomac River, then circle the monuments and head back for a slightly more challenging 3.4 mile run. If you’re feeling extra energetic, you can run the steps near the bridge.

Long and casual (4 – 6 mile routes)

  • This route is pretty self-explanatory, but a favorite route for DC runners. It’s a 4 mile run down to the Jefferson Memorial and back again.
  • On this route, you’ll get the best of both worlds: running by the waterfront and pass by the White House. Head down through the President’s Park and cross the Arlington Memorial Bridge.

Muscle slay (7 – 8 mile routes)

  • Run past the monuments to scope out some new landscape in DC like East Potomac Park. This 7.5 mile run will give you a good workout, while giving you some new scenery if you’ve already run the National Mall more than enough times.
  • Classic run to Capitol Hill – This route is just over 8.5 miles and avoids the majority of the irritating street lights (unless, of course, you need a breather). You’ll pass by several of the Smithsonian Museums on your way there and the Jefferson Memorial waterfront on your way home!

Finally, after a good run head over to Burger.Tap.Shake or Captain Cookie in Foggy Bottom for some delicious, well-deserved calories. Happy jogging!

DC Metro Hacks

Written by Sarah Markley – Program Advisor, IPVS

It’s week two of your TFAS summer, and I’m sure by now you’ve all mastered the morning commute. The DC metro is one of the best options for getting around the city, especially since it’s so close to GW’s campus.  It can be daunting at first to use public transportation, but once you get the hang of it your life becomes so much easier. Even if you’re an experienced rider, using the metro can still be tricky at times – so I’ve put together a few tips to help you always look like a DC pro!

Get the App
Having the right app makes all the difference. An all around favorite is DC Rider, which offers an easily accessible metro map as well as a trip planner. You can also set your commuting route, and the app will show the next train from your home and work stations. There are updated times for trains arriving at all stations in the city, so you’ll never be left wondering how long you have to wait. Every second counts when you’re getting ready in the morning, don’t let the metro cause you to be late to your internship. This way you’ll always know if you have time for a Starbucks stop, and you won’t be that panicked person sprinting down the escalator!

Register your Card
On the WMATA website, you can register your SmarTrip card with your personal details. This allows you to reload it from home, and you can also recover the balance if the card is lost or stolen. It’s a great safety net so you can have peace of mind even if you go through a few cards this summer.

Stay Updated
Make sure you’re aware of all closures and delays that might affect your commute. You’re living in DC during the SafeTrack era, which means segments of the metro have been shut down periodically over the past year. Check the WMATA website to see which stations will be closed this summer, and follow them on Twitter for updates about accidents and other daily inconveniences. Better yet, visit for a laugh and the latest smoke detection.

Walk with a Purpose
There’s nothing locals hate more than someone who stands on the left side of the escalator. Make sure you follow the crowd and stand on the right, and have your card ready to scan at the gates. Also try to avoid being stuck in the doors of the train, it’s always best to wait for the next one instead of jumping in as the doors close. Trust me, it’s better for your safety as well as your pride.

Keep a Sense of Humor
Remember that this is the metro, and it definitely will not always run smoothly. Delays and maintenance are a part of life, so don’t let it get you down if your train is behind schedule. Like the rest of the 9 to 5 crowd, you can just roll your eyes and turn up your music. You’ll even get comfortable enough to joke about the areas surrounding different stops, like the creator of this map.

You’re off to a great start in DC, and soon you’ll barely have to consult the map before hopping on a train. Your new confidence will make tourists ask you for directions! By the end of the summer, the city will feel like home and you’ll miss even the imperfect parts (like the metro) when you leave. So keep these tips in mind, and happy riding!

Building Mentor Relationships

Written by Grace Lederer – Program Advisor, ICPES

Forming relationships with mentors is an essential career tool. They will serve as a valuable resource throughout your career – offering advice, constructive criticism and insight in your area of interest. Below are some tips on having a beneficial mentor relationship.

Take Time to Prepare
Think about what you want to get out of each mentor meeting before arriving.  Are you seeking advice on etiquette and professionalism?  Do you want to be connected to more professionals in your field?  Do you need them to offer edits on your resume and cover letter?  You want to demonstrate that you value the time your mentor is spending with you.  Thinking about such topics before meeting will save you from answering “Uhhhm…I don’t know” when asked what you hope to get out of the meeting.

Be Positive
Attitude is everything.  Positive individuals often gravitate towards one another.  Never meet up with your mentor and proceed to complain about your workplace the entire time.  Even if you are not enjoying your job or your internship, always frame your update in a positive light, i.e. “I don’t see myself working for this organization after graduation but I have learned some really useful tools while there…”


Get Their Story
Ask your mentor how they landed their first job and how they moved onto their second.  According to CNN Money, workers in our generation will change jobs an average of four times before reaching the age of 32.  Learning how to navigate these transitions gracefully is essential—especially since people are more connected than ever.  Never speak poorly of former (or current) employers or burn your bridges when switching jobs.


Get the Timing Right
You will want to establish that you have their permission to write them as a reference on job applications and see if they would be comfortable writing you a letter of recommendation in the future.  This is a request best suited for a situation when you and your mentor have met multiple times and have established a trusting relationship.

Pick Brain Mentors
Your mentors don’t have to be people you know in real life!  Study the habits and success stories of figures that you admire—some people that I draw inspiration from are Elon Musk, Michael Bloomberg, Malala Yousafzai, and Dietrich Mateschitz.  Following relevant people from your field also provides you with topics to make small talk about before getting down to business with your mentor.