The National Gallery of Art is absolutely a gem of this city. During the summer, there are free jazz concerts on Friday evenings with a gorgeous fountain you can cool your feet off in, and the use that same fountain as an ice skating rink during the winter. The modern art exhibit is awesome, and their collection of Dutch still lives is amazing. The light tunnel connecting the east and west wings is epic. And it's free! Yay!
Holy bananas, the $20 admission fee for the Newseum is totally worth it. The view of the capital building is phenomenal, there are real pieces of the Berlin Wall on display, and a gorgeous collection of Pulitzer Prize-winning photography. Their temporary exhibits change pretty frequently, so you can visit once or twice a year without seeing the same thing over and over again.
The Gibson is hands-down, the fanciest drink place I've been to in the city. Not that it's a super upscale, intimidating place at all. It's a beautiful, intimate lounge to get some great cocktails. You won't find cranberry and vodka on the menu here; rather, the bartenders shake up drinks with egg whites, elderflower liqueur, lots of mint. No food on the menu- you'll have to go next door to Marvin's if you're hungry. I've only been once, but really wish I had hit it up again. It was great to just tell the bartender what kind of liquor and tastes I like, and have a custom-made drink just for me.
Bedrock Billiards on Columbia Road is a great place to go for a drink and cheap game of pool. (Oh, don't worry- I am truly awful.) Cheap drinks, fun music, and an empanada close by to grab a quick bite afterward. After JP proposed to me, we had an informal party there with a bunch of our favorite DC friends, and it was a great space to just relax and let people come and go as they had time on a Saturday night.
I love browsing fun home stuff with friends (maybe this is what domesticated grown-ups do?). Home Rule fills that hole in my social schedule. Their shelves are full of lots of color, practicality, and fun. It's right on 14th Street, a few blocks from a great Room & Board and Busboys & Poets. What a great neighborhood!
DuPont Circle is home to Tabletop, a shop full of great stationery, jewelry, cute table decorations, and bar accessories. I've picked up gifts for at least 10 people here, and they always go over well! Check it out for Jonathan Adler salt-and-pepper shakers, Kobo candles, and cute Doodle books for kids.