CQ’s Guide to DC

Now that I’ve been back in the DC area to fake-it-til-I-make-it at being a real person, I’ve really enjoyed getting to know this city all over again. Inspired by my friend Tyler’s guide to DC, I decided to put together my own. Here we go!

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Washington Monument

– Even though I’ve lived in the DC area pretty much my entire life, I don’t get tired of the monuments. They’re still cool, especially at night! For those of you who live here, you know an ideal time to hit the Mall is the ever so brief period when the cherry blossoms are in bloom, typically in April.
– Georgetown. Start off window shopping on M Street and head down toward K Street to get great views of the Potomac River.

Calling myself a “foodie” would be a stretch, but I do really enjoy reading about DC’s restaurant and bar scene and trying all sort of places. Here are some favorites of mine:

Del Campo (Downtown DC. Sort of fancy. Meat and wine-centric Latin American menu. Rural Society is similar and also great)
Duke’s Grocery (Dupont area. Less fancy. Upscale Pub with a menu updated almost daily on their Facebook page)
Green Pig Bistro (Clarendon, Arlington. Medium fancy. Modern American. Don’t be afraid to cross the bridge!)
– Boozey Brunch? Agora or, again, Duke’s. Yes, DO make a reservation wherever you’re trying to go.

Something Sweet
Captain Cookie (Foggy Bottom)


Green Hat Gin
Green Hat Gin

New Columbia Distillers (Green Hat Gin): The hike deep into Northeast was worth it! I was really impressed with the knowledge of the staff and the gin and vermouth. My actual foodie friend, Laura (check out this lady’s site), was wowed too, and she knows the interesting questions to ask. It’s a small facility but worth a stop. Couple it with a brew tour at 3 Stars or Atlas and food at Union Market and then boom you have a great food and beverage day.
– Shout out to two of my favorite bars in my ‘hood, Ireland’s Four Courts and Courthaus Social.

– I aspire to be a good (ok, at least decent) golfer (yes, don’t we all) and love that Eastern Potomac Golf Course is so close. Not exactly Congressional in terms of its facilities, but hey, you’re a 10 minute drive to a course and a range.
– If you have access to a car, the Billy Goat trail and Great Falls are a must. Tip for you: park in the lot across from the Old Angler’s Inn and do so earlier in the day if you can. Bonus points if you get to go kayaking. 😉
– This is cliché, but Jazz in the Garden. Get the sangria. Also bring snacks to help combat the potency of said sangria (ye be warned).


1.8 by Janet Echelman (photo by me)
Janet Echelman’s 1.8

– The Renwick Gallery is a hot destination at the moment since it was reopened after extensive renovation and installation of the Wonder Exhibit, which definitely is worth seeing. I’ve been twice already and would do it again (thank you to the Smithsonian Institution for enabling so many of DC’s museums to be free admission)! Plus, speaking of bonus points, if you’re showing someone around it’s really close to the White House for some efficient tourist-ing. The exhibit begins to wind down in May so make it a priority this spring.
– The Portrait Gallery is centrally located in Downtown DC near the Verizon Center and houses a great permanent collection (including presidential portraits, so you can feel uber Washingtonian) as well as visiting exhibits. Tip: The Portrait Gallery stays open a little later than many of DC’s museums. If you need to kill some time between work and dinner it’s a great option. There are also jazz events from time-to-time in the museum’s gorgeous Kogod Courtyard.

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Front and center at Verizon Center

Nats Park is always a good time, and a great activity to do with groups like work people or alumni associations, too. Definitely the best food and beverage options of any DC sports venue.
– Last but arguably most, my Caps. Love my Washington Capitals. Yes, hockey is a little more expensive than baseball; however, experiencing hockey live is worth the price. You can also say you got to see Alex Ovechkin a.k.a. one of the greatest players of all time play, too. You’re welcome in advance. Tip: Go to Kettler Captials Iceplex in Ballston (Arlington) to watch them practice for free!

I could go on, but I’ll stop here for now. Happy adventuring and email me with suggestions for the summer since I intend on updating this guide seasonally! CQ

“Feeling Lucky” about Blog Topics

“Disc Golf,” “Getting VMWare Certified,” “Sports Photography,” “How to become a better writer.” These are all things on a list of recommended blog topics I came across when trying to figure out to take this blog. Let’s be real—this started with typing “Blog Topics” and daring to click “I’m Feeling Lucky.” What I found on this list of 81 things from Sparkline I really don’t think I could advise on. Disc Golf? I think my college had a PE class about that. VMWare? I am thrilled that I make it through work every day with my snazzy dual-boot Mac powered by VMWare without really knowing how it works. Sports photography: you might think I’d be good at this one, but I can assure you it’s tougher than it looks. You have to get close and not be afraid to get trucked by a 6’8” basketball player and somehow be confident that he won’t take your expensive lens out with you. “How to become a better writer” is actually something I plan to weigh in on; however, I am more struck by the breadth of things on that one list alone that I haven’t tried or even thought about. Blog topic?  Let’s see what I can learn, and I’ll tell you all about it. In the meantime, have you ever considered what your media consumption would be like if you only read books and watched films written, produced and directed by people who don’t identify as straight, white, cis male? Alex has. Check out what she’s found and I’ll be over here learning and writing.

The One Where I Went to the Olympics

“Oh yeah, the Olympian”

I was a member of the 2012 Olympic Team representing the United States in London. The number of times that I have had to remind myself of my Olympian status may surprise you. On the flip side, I often concern myself with the idea that being “the Olympian” is the only thing people know about me. Although I get where I’m coming from, I also have to recognize that being an athlete, and one more among the most committed ones at that, is a huge part who I am. It tells you about my ability to power through many things others can’t (or really won’t is what it comes down to), it explains why performance interests me and why I watching and playing sports takes up a good portion of my time.

When looking at the future of CarolineQueen.com, I think it’s important to acknowledge how I got to where I am, but also to move the active and curious spirit that got me to the Games forward and see what else I can share. To quote a favorite interview I did as an athlete, “My main goal is, I don’t want to feel like I wasted any time.” To read about my Olympic journey, check out my HuffPost Blog from 2012. To read about everything else, stay right here.

Photo by Sarah Ruhlen