The City’s Best Places to Hang Out

Photo courtesy of
‘Hanging Out’
courtesy of ‘Karon’

There’s something about the steps to the National Portrait Gallery that attracts people to take a seat. Is it a great meeting spot between the metro and a Chinatown/Gallery Place attraction? Or is it a shaded place in the afternoons and evenings for you to relax and people-watch?

As the weather cools (and the DC humidity simmers down), what other places in DC might you congregate where there’s really nothing to see? Here are a few of the best random places in the city to hang out.

Photo courtesy of
‘Scottish Rite Temple’
courtesy of ‘schweizup’

WeLoveDC author Carl often notices people hanging out at the Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite building on 16th and S NW.  Saddled between a sphinx and a book-reading, shade-seeking neighbor, I can imagine this would be a great place to enjoy a Sunday evening.

And while we could write a whole article on “Great Steps to Hang Out On,” WeLoveDC author Donna reminds us of one in particular: the steps behind the Lincoln Memorial. Overlooking the Potomac River, it’s an incredible spot for watching sunsets.

Photo courtesy of
‘Memorial Bridge’
courtesy of ‘phi’

But really – I can’t miss one of the best places to hang out in this city: Dupont Circle. While it can be a little daunting at times - fighting for a spot from the circle’s regular homeless - the people-watching is unmatched. More tourists and locals alike march through this circle everyday than in the first three aforementioned hangout spots combined. Pair that with a bubbling fountain and the occasional outdoor yoga class, and you’ve got hours of free entertainment.

Photo courtesy of
‘Film! – Canon A-1 – Diggin the Music’
courtesy of ‘mosley.brian’

But this is just the beginning of great places to congregate in the city. What did I miss? Share your favorite shaded, people-watching spot in the area by replying in the comments below.

Cathy was fortunate to spend a year in Paris – traveling to all surrounding countries and touring all that is worthy. Upon realizing that there is no place like home (she does hail from Kansas City – but did not click her heels to get back – thank you, Air France), she returned to America where she set out to explore every last inch of our massive country. From her base in the nation’s capital, she has worked in marketing and event planning for the past 4 years. Mail any and all DC related tips to Cathy (at) WeLoveDC (dot) com.

6 thoughts on “The City’s Best Places to Hang Out

  1. Navy Memorial (7th and Penn Ave NW) is usually a good spot to sit. Plenty of seats, busy, but never overcrowded, the fountains create a nice ambiance, and there is always a really nice mix of professionals, tourists, and everything in between. Plus the nearby food/drinks of Penn Quarter, the free Navy band concerts on Tuesday nights (now over, but always excellent and leaves you feeling patriotic), and a great vantage point for a motorcade should it pass.

  2. On a busy summer evening, I enjoy sitting outside of the Starbucks (armor up!) at the corner of King and Union in Old Town Alexandria. Lots of people all around, as well as bikers and runners. A man plays glasses filled with water, another will bring parrots, they’ve had a lady playing a harp.

    Very festive, with three ice cream spots steps away…

  3. I love Meridian Hill/Malcolm X park (though I’ve lived in DC for 6 years and still can’t figure out what to call it!) not as much people watching, but plenty of green space to lay out and read/sunbathe, a beautiful fountain, and often there are wedding parties getting photos taken, so that can be entertaining to watch.

  4. You can find me here, any given work day. I just have to people (and pigeon) watch. Breaks up an otherwise mundane day. And on occasion, maybe once a year, I may venture inside the actual museum!! If not here, I walk to the Navy Memorial and laugh at the tourists. ;)