Washington DC

How to Support DC's Latino-Owned Businesses This Month

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.

Grand Cata
Grand Cata
Grand Cata

When Hispanic Heritage Month rolls around from September 15 to October 15, there’s a diverse Latinx presence in DC to celebrate-the 12th largest in the nation, to be exact. For the past decade, the number of Latinx business owners in the area has also grown a whopping 34 percent according to American University and the community is one of the fastest growing groups in the metro area.

All month long, you’ll have a chance to support these businesses through special events like art exhibitions, ice cream tastings, musical performances, and more, and once Hispanic Heritage Month wraps up, you can continue to support them through normal operation as well. From social justice initiatives to delectable ways to eat your way through Latin cuisine, here are some of the ways you can show your support to during National Hispanic Heritage Month.

Events

Themed Ice Cream Tasting Flights
Multiple locations
From September 17 until October 3, stop by an Ice Cream Jubilee location to try a special themed tasting flight in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month. The flights cost $16 for four mini scoops of different flavors: Strawberry Tres Leches, Mexican Hot Chocolate, Mango Habanero, and Toasted Horchata. You also get to bring home a whole pint. Make sure to pre-order your flight online to help them raise money for La Clinica Del Pueblo, “a nonprofit health clinic in Washington, DC and Maryland that serves our local Spanish-speaking community.”
How to support: Pre-order an ice cream flightA Latin Artist Showcase
Downtown
On September 26th, experience a totally free artist showcase on the rooftop of the Eaton DC Hotel. Hosted by The Elevated Experience and Que Rico Group, the event will feature music, performances, food, and more from local Latinx artists and vendors.
How to support: Reserve a free ticket5 Chefs, 1 Night Dinner
Vienna, Virginia
Experience a range of Latin cuisines all in one night at casual fine dining restaurant Blend 111 as part of a special, five-course tasting dinner on September 29 in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month. The dinner will feature dishes from five separate chefs, from Isabel Coss of Lutèce to Mario Monte of Colada Shop. The proceeds from the event go to the Ayuda organization.
How to support: Purchase ticketsAn Online Musical Performance
Virtual
You don’t even have to leave your couch to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with the Library of Congress, which has partnered with a Chicano-Jarocho group called Cambalache. The event on September 29 will stream live on Facebook and YouTube and is aimed to celebrate San Jarocho, a traditional style of folk music from Veracruz, through performance, music workshops, and educational demonstrations.
How to support: Add the event to your calendar

Nonprofits and services

Casa Ruby LGBT Community Center
Casa Ruby LGBT Community Center
Casa Ruby LGBT Community Center

Casa Ruby
Shepherd Park
Casa Ruby, founded by Ruby Corado back in 2012, is the only LGBTQ+ bilingual and multicultural organization in the DC metro area. Corado had the idea to launch Casa Ruby when she first arrived in DC more than 30 years ago and realized there were no services to support her needs as a young transgender Latina immigrant. Today, with the slogan of being “Everyone’s Home,” Casa Ruby employs more than 50 people, and provides tens of thousands of social and human services to more than 6,000 people each year.
How to support: Donate to Casa Ruby. The organization’s website helpfully breaks each level of support down-making it easy to see how exactly your money will be spent.

Latino Economic Development Center
Latino Economic Development Center
Latino Economic Development Center

Latino Economic Development Center
Columbia Heights
The Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC) helps to equip the Latinx community and other underserved communities through programs that teach participants how to build their long-term financial security. LEDC programs help educate those who need assistance with important life functions such as buying and staying in their homes, taking control of decisions affecting their apartment buildings, or starting or expanding their small businesses.
How to support: Learn more about how to get involved with LEDC, from volunteer opportunities to donations and even becoming a part of the organization’s board.Carecen
Columbia Heights
The Central American Resource Center (CARECEN) was founded back in 1981 to provide legal services to refugees arriving from conflict in Central America. Now, its main goal is fostering the comprehensive development of the Latinx population in DC, providing direct services in immigration, housing, and citizenship.
How to support: Explore for pro bono opportunities, volunteer information, and internships with Carecen, or make a donation.MANA (A National Latina Organization)
Downtown
Since 1974, national grassroots membership organization MANA has been representing the interests of Latinx women, youth, and families on issues that impact their communities. The organization contributes their voice on many of the major issues in the public sphere, such as education, health and well-being, financial literacy, equal and civil rights, and immigration reform. Local chapters of MANA provide educational programming to women nationwide through leadership development, educational workshops, mentoring, and “building the structures to support continued Latina success.”
How to support: Learn more about MANA’s programs, like the annual Hermana Conference and the brand new 2020 civic engagement initiative, Latinas Count.Casa Maryland
Various locations
Casa Maryland works to expand opportunities for Latinx and immigrant people in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia-helping the underserved with employment placement, workforce development and training, health education, citizenship and legal services, and financial, language, and literacy training.
How to support: Make a donation

Restaurants and bars

La Cosecha DC
La Cosecha DC
La Cosecha DC

La Cosecha
Union Market
If you’re planning on going anywhere to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, you can’t go wrong with La Cosecha. Opened back in September 2019, the contemporary market provides DC with a much-needed space to celebrate Latin American culture, filled with Latin-x owned spaces to dine and shop.
How to support: Check out the full list of merchants and stop byMi Cuba Cafe
Columbia Heights
Mi Cuba Cafe is possibly the best spot in the city to grab an authentic, delicious Cubano sandwich, but the shop is also on a mission to prove that Cuban cuisine is so much more than that. On the website, they describe the cuisine as “a mixture of diverse culinary cultures, with seasoning and adorned with musical notes,” which is exactly what they deliver from the kitchen of their cozy restaurant in Columbia Heights.
How to support: Call to reserve a table or order for takeout, or order delivery via GrubHub

El Rinconcito Cafe
Mount Vernon Square
El Rinconcito is a longstanding local favorite for a reason. The name of the restaurant translates to “little corner cafe,” but El Rinconcito is definitely big on taste. They reliably serve up flavorful Mexican-Salvadorian staples that aren’t to be missed, like traditional pork and cheese pupusas and a shredded flank steak dish served breakfast style with a scrambled egg, avocado, and crumbly queso duro.
How to support: Walk in or order online via website

El Tamarindo
El Tamarindo
El Tamarindo

El Tamarindo
Adams Morgan
El Tamarindo first landed in AdMo back in 1982 and is now the longest standing Mexican-Salvadorian restaurant in the city. We’d be willing to wager a bet that their longevity is directly tied to their handmade pupusas, Oaxaca Mules, and chimichangas. The restaurant is also family-run, first opened by Jose Reyes and Betty Reyes, and now managed by their daughter.
How to support: Make a reservation or order online via websiteMayahuel Cocina Mexicana
Woodley Park
Soak up the last days of summer (and first days of fall) from the patio of Mayahuel Cocina, a cozy spot in Woodley Park. Mayahuel is known for craft cocktails and tasty entrees like grilled skirt steak marinated in achiote, citrus, and garlic, or the playfully named Mexi-burguesa compliments of Chef Miguel Pizarroso who moved to the city from Bolivia.
How to support: Order online via website

Colada Shop
Colada Shop
Colada Shop

Colada Shop
14th Street Corridor and The Wharf
Colada Shop, which currently has two locations, is known throughout the city for bringing the best vibes-their 14th Street rooftop always being a mainstay for sipping mojitos amongst friends. The cozy Cuban spot has always served biteable classics like empanadas and Cubanos, but visit the location at The Wharf is great if you’re in the mood for something a bit heartier, like a Santiago Bowl or a Cuban-inspired take on shakshuka.
How to support: Make reservations or order online via website

Retail and other businesses

NOVA BOSSA
NOVA BOSSA
NOVA BOSSA

Nova Bossa
Union Market
Translating to “new style,” Nova Bossa is a lifestyle brand that partners with emerging designers and artisans from the Americas to offer “an authentic, global, and fresh definition of luxury through craftsmanship and design.”. Founded by Brazilian native Carolina Furukrona, the brand’s mission is to preserve cultural heritage, invest in women entrepreneurs, and champion handmade and sustainable production methods-oh, and to look cute while doing it, of course.
How to support: Nova Bossa is currently open for in-store shopping, and also offers contactless shopping from their window and virtual appointments.

Grand Cata
Grand Cata
Grand Cata

Grand Cata
Shaw
Need an excuse to buy another bottle of wine tonight? Look no further than Grand Cata, which has a storefront that serves as an ode to the wines and flavors from Latin America. With two locations, one in Shaw and one within La Cosecha, co-owners Pedro J. Rodríguez and Julio Robledo make it easy for Washingtonians to snap up classic and sustainable natural wines from Latin America as well as artisanal pantry items from the region.
How to support: Shop for wine online or visit in-personZona E Home
Union Market
We’ve been spending our entire lives at home lately, so why not invest in some new decor this month from Zona E Home-a shop by Colombian natives Paula and Alvaro Sierra that offers shoppers a glimpse into their home country through specialty items, textiles, and furniture.
How to support: Shop Zona E Home online for anything from rugs to glassware

Entertainment and recreation

Salsa with Silvia
Salsa with Silvia
Salsa with Silvia

The Salsa with Silvia Dance Studio
Park View
Hispanic Heritage Month is the perfect time to let loose and get in touch with your inner dancer at The Salsa With Silvia Dance Studio, one of the best places in the city to learn the art of Salsa and Bachata. The four-week series gives newbies a solid base to build on, and the studio also provides ongoing classes in which to practice your newfound skills.
How to support: Book dance classes with Silvia

Teatro De La Luna
Petworth
The mission of Teatro De La Luna is to spread the knowledge of Hispanic culture throughout the DMV region with the help of live theater performances. The non-profit, co-founded by married couple Nucky Walder and Mario Marcel, has been producing plays and teaching theater workshops to adults and children since they first opened the organization back in 1991.
How to support: Make a donation

Mexican Cultural Institute DC
Mexican Cultural Institute DC
Mexican Cultural Institute DC

Mexican Cultural Institute
Adams Morgan
The Mexican Cultural Institute’s 16th Street mansion was designated as a DC Historic Site in 2012 with good reason-it’s absolutely gorgeous. The value of the institute goes so much deeper than just looks though, as it is committed to sharing Mexico’s vibrant cultural past and present with the local community through a wide range of programming. The institute is currently open and free to the public and doesn’t require an RSVP to visit, though a mask is required to enter the space.
How to support: Check out their calendar of upcoming Hispanic Heritage Month programming

Kevin Harber/Flickr
Kevin Harber/Flickr
Kevin Harber/Flickr

GALA Hispanic Theatre
Columbia Heights
Founded back in 1976, GALA Hispanic Theatre is devoted to fostering a better understanding and appreciation amongst Washingtonians of Latinx arts and culture. The theatre typically presents classical and contemporary plays in Spanish and English, plus an accompanying program of dance, music, poetry, spoken word, art, and film.
How to support: Make a donationGALA Hispanic Theatre
Columbia Heights
Founded in 1976, GALA Hispanic Theatre is devoted to fostering a better understanding and appreciation amongst Washingtonians of Latino arts and culture. The theater typically presents classical and contemporary plays in Spanish and English, plus an accompanying program of dance, music, poetry, spoken word, art, and film. 
How to support: Read more about GALA’s COVID-19 safety plan and make a donation here.Want more Thrillist? Follow us on InstagramTwitterPinterestYouTubeTikTok, and Snapchat.

Austa Somvichian-Clausen is a freelance food and travel writer, as well as a staff writer for The Hill where she covers the topics of diversity and equality. She now lives in Brooklyn with her girlfriend and two fur babies, but called DC home for many years — attending American University and then working for National Geographic. Follow her on Instagram.
 

Washington DC

15 Totally Free Things to Do in DC

A full itinerary, completely free of charge.

Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Renwick Gallery
Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Renwick Gallery
Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Renwick Gallery

Washington DC is one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations, and for those of us who call the District home, it’s easy to see why. With dozens of world-class museums, murals that transform streets into galleries, and sites brimming with history, DC offers a full agenda-completely free of charge. Whether you want to try a new farmer’s market, explore a new hike, or polish off your roller skating or canoeing skills, here are some of our favourite free things to do in the District.

Flickr/gawnesco
Flickr/gawnesco
Flickr/gawnesco

Hike, bike, or stroll along the C&O Canal

The historic Chesapeake and Ohio Canal is one of the most accessible nature escapes from the District. Thanks to a multi-year restoration project, the first mile of the canal is an idyllic walk that’s easy to access in Georgetown. Stick to a short stroll there, or grab a bike or lace up your hiking shoes for a longer adventure along the 184.5-mile canal.

Jump on the pickleball craze

Pickleball is working its way up the ladder past kickball and softball as one of America’s favourite games. Jump on the craze and practice your paddling at one of the District’s pickleball courts in Takoma Park, the Palisades, and more. Plus, Washington DC Pickleball invites guests to drop in to beginner sessions to try their hand at the sport before signing up for a $30 annual membership.

Flickr/mcfeelion
Flickr/mcfeelion
Flickr/mcfeelion

Bike the Mount Vernon Trail

DC is incredibly bike-friendly, and luckily that applies to the land immediately outside of the city as well. Start in the city and bike along the Mount Vernon Trail, a scenic route that hugs the water and cuts through the woods. It’s about a 10-mile trip from DC to Mount Vernon, but you can cut the trip slightly short and end at the Old Town Alexandria waterfront-just make sure to factor in time for ice cream before pedalling home.

Explore a sculpture park

While not located in the District proper, Glenstone, an expansive sculpture park in Maryland, is worth the 45-minute drive. Tickets to the park are free (just be sure to reserve several weeks in advance), and the 300-acre space offers stunning art, architecture, and open land. In addition to its indoor gallery spaces, you can spend hours walking on paths that wind through sculptures, meadows, and forests.

Flickr/Geoff Livingston
Flickr/Geoff Livingston
Flickr/Geoff Livingston

See the monuments at night

When the sun goes down-and the summer humidity somewhat dissipates-head to the National Mall for the rare chance to see the monuments without busloads of tourists. Moonlight will give you a different perspective as you traverse the marble steps of the Lincoln Memorial or gaze up at the Washington Monument set aglow with lights.

Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Renwick Gallery
Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Renwick Gallery
Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Renwick Gallery

Museum hop the day away

One of DC’s greatest strengths is its world-class Smithsonian museums that are open to the public free of charge. There is no shortage of options, from the intimate Renwick Gallery, to the sprawling National Museum of Natural History, the Smithsonians offer something for everyone. Pro tip: Some of the museums are open late in the evenings, making for an ideal date night.

muralsdc
muralsdc
muralsdc

Explore the city’s murals

Washington is home to hundreds of murals that are becoming as much a part of the city’s landscape as the monuments on the National Mall. Take a self-guided tour of these colourful creations no matter which neighbourhood you happen to be in. MuralsDC, the organization behind 150 of the District’s public artworks, is a great resource for mapping out a route to explore the city’s street art.

Hotel Washington
Hotel Washington
Hotel Washington

Take in a birds-eye view of the city

Washington looks pretty stunning from up high, and there are few spots within the city that make for phenomenal vantage points. Rooftop bars and restaurants offer epic views for the price of a drink or two, but there’s no more iconic sight than seeing the city from the top of the Washington Monument, which is completely free. Book a ticket ahead of time and ride an elevator all the way to the top of the monument and step out on the 500-foot observation deck.

Flickr/Nicolas Raymond
Flickr/Nicolas Raymond
Flickr/Nicolas Raymond

Wander through a garden

DC is home to some of the most beautiful urban gardens in the country, and many of them are open to the public for free. There is nothing like an afternoon spent strolling through, or picnicking, at the expansive 446-acre United States Arboretum or wandering through the Botanic Garden on the edge of the Mall. For something a bit smaller, explore the grounds at Tudor Place or Dumbarton Oaks (free in the winter), both of which are in Georgetown.

Flickr/ehpien
Flickr/ehpien
Flickr/ehpien

Hike the Billy Goat Trail

You can catch one of the District’s most popular hiking trails, the Billy Goat Trail, from the C&O canal. The full trail is 4.7 miles and ranges from easy to strenuous, so hike a section in and back or make the full loop for the variety.

Pay your respect at Arlington National Cemetery

Just across the Potomac from DC, Arlington National Cemetery is the final resting place for more than 400,000 veterans. The cemetery is an expanse of 639 hallowed acres and the ANC Explorer allows visitors to locate graves, notable sites, and take self-guided walking tours to spots including the tomb of the Unknown Soldier as well as the final resting place of President John F. Kennedy.

Lace up your roller skates

When was the last time you went roller skating? Chances are it’s been too long. So get back into this nostalgic activity at the Anacostia Park roller skating pavilion. You can rent skates for free, just show proof of a government-issued ID, and the skating pavilion is open from 9 to 5 every day.

Help clean up the Anacostia River

We all know there’s a lot of work to be done to keep our waterways clean. Do your part, and have some fun, by participating in the city’s Green Boat initiative. On select weekends, DCers can join a two-hour guided paddle along the Anacostia River to collect trash and monitor the river’s progress.

Eastern Market
Eastern Market
Eastern Market

Stroll your local farmer’s market

DC’s close proximity to the farms of Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and beyond mean that the city’s farmers’ markets always have something to offer. Check out the year-round markets like Eastern Market in Capitol Hill and the Sunday market in Dupont Circle or head to seasonal markets like the pop-up in front of the White House that draws vendors like Cucina al Volo and Call Your Mother Deli.

The Library of Congress
The Library of Congress
The Library of Congress

Play tourist all around the city

It’s easy to forget that all those traditionally touristy activities can be fun for locals too. If you haven’t been on a tour of the White House, the National Archives, the Library of Congress, or the Capitol, this is your sign. All are free with advanced reservations. Plus, tucked in the northern quadrant of NW, the Washington National Cathedral is free and open to all. Tour the cathedral’s impressive architecture, 215 stained glass windows, 112 Gothically-inspired gargoyles, and enormous pipe organ. See if you can spot the sculpture of Darth Vader.

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Madeline Weinfield is a Thrillist contributor.

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