About Ayako E
Lives in Hamburg, Germany
Since Nov. 2008
Germany became my new (second? third?) home in 2012. I'm enjoying getting to know this part of the world in the great "window to the world" harbor city of Hamburg. At home and abroad, I like to explore local places on foot (the fact that I can't drive may have something to do with it), and I especially enjoy explore local cafes and markets, and discovering and experiencing local colors and flavors - e.g. locally owned businesses, street art, and just people watching.
Art Galleries, Parks
Bodies of Water
The Sculpture Garden at the National Gallery of Art is a beautiful outdoor space — perfect for a short stroll, a picnic on a sunny day, and taking some great photos. The fountain area is a nice spot to cool down and watch people in the summer, and during the winter months this area is an ice skating rink.
Situated near the Adams Morgan area, Meridian Hill Park resembles the grounds of a European villa, with a reflecting pool, a lovely terrace, and even a statue of Dante. On the open lawn, you'll find lots of people relaxing, picnicking, reading, playing music, or even napping; and the cascading fountain on the southern side of the park is a great place for quiet walks.
Teaism is a health-conscious local chain (with four locations in DC) that serves Japanese and Asian-inspired food alongside an assortment of teas. The restaurants all have a calm, inviting atmosphere, and offer lots of healthy and tasty options, including vegetarian and vegan items, desserts, and afternoon tea.
To find some peace and quiet in the tranquil setting of a traditional Chinese tea house, head to Ching Ching CHA in Georgetown. You can choose from a wide variety of authentic teas (green, black, and white, with a variety of decaf options) and learn from the knowledgeable staff about the art of tea. There are also simple meals and snacks available.
The wildly successful Georgetown Cupcake, known partly for its reality series fame, offers an assortment of really pretty and delicious cupcakes, with classic flavors as well as daily and seasonal specials. If you like sweets, Georgetown Cupcake is a must-stop spot in the Georgetown area — and as long as you manage to avoid long lines, it'll be a great addition to your romantic holiday in DC.
Whether you're looking for a nice brunch place or a happy hour spot, Local 16 is a great option in the U Street Corridor neighborhood. The rooftop deck, where you can dine looking out over the city, is especially lovely.
Busboys and Poets is a fun local chain of cozy cafe/restaurants with little bookstores attached. All offer great coffee and a nice selection of casual dining items, including many creative and delicious vegetarian and vegan dishes.
Qualia definitely qualifies as one of, if not THE, best coffee shops in DC. Here, the freshly roasted coffee is brewed with care, and you can enjoy it in a lovely, relaxing atmosphere surrounded by fellow coffee lovers. The Georgia Ave/Petsworth area may be a little bit off-the-beaten-path, but Qualia is well worth the trip.
For a fun evening in a relaxed atmosphere, head to Wonderland Ballroom in the Columbia Heights area. This neighborhood bar has a beer garden feel, with a good selection of beers and an outside patio area with long picnic benches.
Home to the famous cherry blossom festival, the Tidal Basin area is beautiful, especially in spring. Many of the monuments are located around the Tidal Basin as well, making it a nice place for strolls, bike rides, picnics, people-watching, and, of course, for enjoying the amazing views.
The Freer and Sackler Galleries have a number of excellent exhibits focused on Asian and Asian-inspired art. Housed in a beautiful building next to the Smithsonian Castle, this museum has a quieter, more subtle charm than some of the other Smithsonian museums, making it a great choice for art- and culture-loving couples.