1. Go eye to eye with Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe, well, a jumbo wall mural showing the legendary starlet’s face, stares out at traffic and passersby from a building wall at Connecticut Avenue NW and Calvert Road NW. It was commissioned decades ago by the owner of a hair salon in the building to honor his partner’s birthday.
2. Get sweet on a cake pop at Baked by Yael
Have your cake on a stick, and eat it too, at this brightly decorated bakery near the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. Cakepops in flavors like gingerbread, lemon and red velvet may be the biggest draw, but the spot also sells other sweet and savory offerings like bagels and cookies. All products are kosher and nut free, and some treats are gluten-free as well.
3. Catch a flick on the big screen at the Uptown Theater
This restored 1936 Art Deco-style movie theater shows first-run movies on its grand, 70 foot by 40 foot curved screen, one of the biggest in the area. Old-timey touches include a popular balcony (the views from the seats are stellar) and a retro ticket booth out front.
4. Take a hike (or bike) in Rock Creek Park
Explore 32 miles of urban hiking and biking trails on foot or via wheels rented from a Capital Bikeshare station (there’s one near the back entrance of the Zoo). Bridges cross the narrow, rock-filled creek, and there are tennis courts, picnic areas and a nature center to explore.
5. Eat and drink up
Woodley Park houses diverse cuisine from a multitude of restaurants, many with outdoor spaces. Choices include Lebanese Taverna for garlicy Mediterranean fare, the French-focused Petits Plats, and District Kitchen for Mid-Atlantic comfort food. In mild weather, check out Open City’s patio for brunch loved by locals, or head to the rooftop at the wine-focused Ardeo.
6. Say ‘Hi’ to a panda at the National Zoo
DC’s giant pandas – which currently number four, thanks to birth of a cub, Bei Bei, in 2015 – eat bamboo, frolic and sleep in roomy digs on the National Zoo’s western end. A Pandacam assures peeks even when the animals are out of view; frequent ranger talks detail the habits and preservation of the endangered Chinese mammals.