The CUNA GAC kicks off on Sunday, Feb. 27. The annual event provides many opportunities to connect with others and advocate forthe movement. There’s plenty to see and do outside the Washington Convention Center, too. After a day of speakers, ceremonies, and sessions, check out one of these 15 ways to live like a local.
The GAC exhibit hall is a great time to talk with suppliers and reconnect with contacts from across the industry. Stop by Booth 604 to say hello to your friends at Callahan Associates.
U Street Metro / NW Neighborhood
Compass Rose turned its street entrance into a COVID-conscious dining experience. Image courtesy of compassrosedc.com.
Located: 1346 T St. NW, Washington, DC, 20009; accessible via the U Street metro
We Recommend: The Khachapuri a cheese-filled bread with butter, an egg, and za’atar.
Good To Know: Cocktails can be pricy but are excellent. Not comfortable dining inside? Bring your jacket and sit in the heated train car outside.
Located: 1346 Florida Ave. NW, Washington, DC, 20009
We Recommend: Toum and tomato jam with never-ending naan and the haloumi and carrots.
Good To Know: Go here for a celebration. The staff is amazing and the toum and tomato jam are a great substitute for any type of birthday dessert. Indoor seating is amazing because of the fire, but outside is fun, too.
Located: 1348 Florida Ave. NW, Washington, DC, 20009
We Recommend: Any of the board games or fancy drinks. Giant Jenga, anyone?
Good To Know: This American beer hall has a chill atmosphere and is a great place to pass the time while waiting for a table at Maydan.
Adams Morgan / NW Neighborhood
Smoke and Barrel offers vegan turkey and vegan pork roll sandwiches as well as traditional wings and loaded mac and cheese. Image courtesy of smokeandbarreldc.com.
Located: 2471 18th St. NW, Washington, DC, 20009
We Recommend: BBQ all the BBQ. Smoke and Barrel has vegetarian as well as meat options.
Good To Know: After eating, stroll down 18th St. and explore the retail shops and coffee shops. Don’t forget to stop at Lost City Books used bookstore.
Located: 2467 18th St. NW, Washington, DC, 20009
We Recommend: New book? Used book? Rare find? Greeting card? Gift to take home. Take your pick.
Good To Know: Known as Idle Time Books under previous ownership, the new owner says the bookstore remains a place for the bookworm and the intellectually curious.
Located: 2007 18th St. NW, Washington, DC, 20009
We Recommend: Sit in the awesome roof top bar to enjoy a fancy cocktail and old-time ambiance.
Good To Know: The saloon is reported to have one of the largest whiskey collections in the Western Hemisphere.
NE / Union Market Neighborhood
Located: (building) 1309 5th St. NE, Washington, DC, 20002
Located: 1264 5th St. NE, Washington, DC, 20002
We Recommend: Poke through the inventory and listen to the music; no record player required.
Good To Know: The store claims to carry more than 5,000 new and used vinyl records.
Located: 1270 5th Street NE, Washington, DC, 20002
We Recommend: Hit up the children’s or local favorites sections.
Good To Know: Although this is a local, independent bookstore, there are several locations in the city. Union Market is one of the smaller spaces but offers big fun for exploring.
Located: 1272 5th St NE, Washington, DC, 20002
We Recommend: The salted caramel latte it’s homemade caramel!
Good To Know: This small, locally owned coffee shop is attached to Politics and Prose. If caramel isn’t your thing, try one of the other syrups and options hot cocoa is sure to be fabulous.
Located: 1258 5th St NE, Washington, DC, 20002
We Recommend: Stop here for a piece of unique jewelry or a gift.
Good To Know: The store features the work of nearly 100 independent designers from across the U.S. [Writer’s Note: I have a very long wish list from here. It’s a little on the pricier side, but even looking is fun.]
Located: 540 Penn St NE, Washington, DC, 20002
We Suggest: Stop by on March 1 to watch a screening of the 2009 Tai marital arts film Chocolate accompanied by a live music soundtrack.
Good To Know: This event is free.
Located: 1330 5th Street NE, Washington, DC, 20002
We Suggest: Take a distillery tour and learn more about the process of making rum.
Good To Know: DC is home to several distilleries; this is the city’s first rum distillery (according to its website).
Located: 1052 Thomas Jefferson St. NW, Washington, DC, 20007
We Suggest: Break the cupcake into two pieces and sandwich it together around the frosting
Good To Know: This little shop has all sorts of delicious treats to choose from. Bring a blanket and a book to take advantage of the views at Georgetown Waterfront Park.Located just a few blocks away, you’ll get to enjoy views of the Kennedy Center and Roosevelt Island.
Ristorante Piccolo offers indoor dining as well as an outdoor patio and balcony. Photo courtesy of piccolodc.com.
Located: 1068 31st St. NW, Washington, DC, 20007
We Suggest: Enjoy a glass of wine and don’t skip dessert.
Good To Know: This is just up the street from Baked Wired, so you can have your first dessert before digging into this Italian cuisine. [Editor’s Note: I kicked-off my 40th birthday celebration here with a few friends from Callahan].
Located: 600 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, DC, 20001
We Recommend: Anything and everything all the food is great plus the atmosphere is pleasant.
Good To Know: Even choosey eaters should be able to find something delicious on this menu.
Located: 1250 9th St. NW, Washington, DC, 20001
We Recommend: Tacos and salsa the corn tortillas are freshly made daily and the restaurant offers four salsas.
Good To Know: Indoor and covered outdoor seating is available.
The Short Rib Bolognese is just one of 10 options on RPM’s housemade pasta menu. Image courtesy of RPM.
Located: 650 K St. NW, Washington, DC, 20001
We recommend: The crispy artichokes and the RPM Chocolate.
Good To Know: If you are looking for a finer dining experience, this is the place to go.
Located: 825 14th St. NW, Washington, DC, 20005
We Recommend: Any of the burrito-sized sushi rolls.
Good To Know: Rolls, bowls, and salads at this locally owned restaurant have a worldly bent with Asian and other globally inspired ingredients and flavors.
Located: 10th and H St. NW, Washington, DC, 20001
We Recommend: Take in some window shopping with Gucci, Tiffany, and Hermes, then enjoy fine dining with a sliver of the French Riviera at Fig and Olive (934 Palmer Alley NW, Washington, DC, 20001) or a sweet treat at Dolcezza Gelato(904 Palmer Aly NW, Washington, DC, 20001).
Good To Know: City Center offers underground parking. It’s also easy to visit via the Metro Center or Gallery Place-Chinatown metro stops.
Located: 600 14th St. NW, Washington, DC, 20005
We Recommend: If you’re staying late, check out a performance at The Hamilton Live.
Good To Know: The menus for The Hamilton and The Hamilton Live feature local, fresh, sustainable foods. Grab a bite before a show or host a larger party at the Hamilton.
Order several small plates to share or not and enjoy authentic Spanish tapas without leaving Washington, DC. Image courtesy of Jaleo.
Located: 480 7th St NW, Washington, DC 20004
We Recommend: The potatoes bravas cannot be beat.
Good To Know: No visit to DC is complete without visiting a Jos Andr s Restaurant. Walk around this tapas restaurant before you sit down and you might see Andr s himself.