Can’t-Miss Clicks: The Best Blogs in Washington

Whether you’re commuting, eating, sightseeing, shopping, raising a kid, or researching legislation, Washington’s rich online world can help make life better, easier, and more fun.

By: Garrett M. Graff, Catherine Andrews, Alejandro Salinas, Emily Leaman

The Internet can seem endless; every niche imaginable is represented somewhere out there. But Washington, with its young and wired population, has an especially rich virtual world.

As former president George W. Bush warned us, all of the various “Internets” are awash with information. To compile this list of the region’s best blogs and other Web sites, we excluded many of the good ones focused on national politics—even though Marc Ambinder’s Atlantic journal, the Tribune Company’s Swamp blog, and Slate, to name a few, provide invaluable online coverage.

What follows are some of the Web sites that make us enjoy living in the area even more—from great new voices and observations about Washington to resources that make it easier to work, live, and play here. The District has benefited from initiatives launched by DC chief technology officer Vivek Kundra—now the White House’s chief information officer—who has opened up government data online and encouraged Web developers to make the information useful and fun to share. He has created a model that other jurisdictions would do well to follow.

This list isn’t comprehensive; it’s some of our favorites. What are yours? E-mail us at editorial@washingtonian.com and we’ll compile your nominations at Washingtonian.com.

Metropolitan Life

Brightest Young Things A site for, by, and about DC’s alternative scenesters, it covers everything from fashion, music, and film to food and drinks with a casual, often tongue-in-cheek attitude.

DCBlogs A blog-aggregating site, DCBlogs showcases some of the topics driving the conversation among Washingtonians and features a live update feed for those wanting to be kept in the loop at all times.

DCeiver Jason Linkin’s personal blog, DCeiver, is every bit as incisive as Eat the Press, the blog he writes for the Huffington Post. It offers a quick snapshot of Linkin’s musings on Washington, politics, and more.

DCist One of the pioneers of the Washington blog scene. If a blog can be called establishment, this is the one. It covers everything from commuting to sports to local politics—and now it has a full-time editor.

Going Green DC Writer Sacha Cohen offers information about all things local and “green”—from jobs to shopping to gifts.

Boldface Names

Above the Law This site—once based in Washington, now in New York—bills itself as a “legal tabloid,” and it’s nothing if not gossipy. Want to know how many Supreme Court clerks the firm across the street snapped up? Check it out.

FamousDC No one knows who the wry voices behind FamousDC are, but they offer a daily mix of gossip, politics, amusing YouTube videos, and funny Facebook updates from Washingtonians.

FishbowlDC Two new editors, Matthew Dornic and Christine Delargy, have taken over this longtime fixture on the local blog scene that covers media and journalists.

Potomac Flacks If you work in or around the PR industry, you’ll want to follow this site, which keeps track of everyone’s comings and goings.

Raw Fisher When Washington Post columnist Marc Fisher was moved from his prominent place above the fold on the Metro section’s front page, he went online—and the result is well worth reading.

Washington City Paper City Desk The City Paper might hate to be called “mainstream media,” yet its irreverent city blog is about the best cross between a newspaper and a blog you’ll find in this area.

Help With Daily Life

Capital Weather Gang The group behind this started a blog before the Washington Post hired it to write about all things weather-related. If you can’t get enough of dew points, high-heat-index days, and cold fronts, this is your place. Recent topics have included “Which is more pathetic: winter or the Wizards?”

Craigslist Washington, DC Buy or sell merchandise, find or advertise a job, post an apartment to rent, locate a group house, get a date—here’s the go-to site for just about anything you want to do in the area.

Cultural Tourism DC This site pulls together lots of helpful information about arts and heritage sights and tours across more than 250 Washington cultural and neighborhood organizations. Also check out DC Historic Tours.

DC CrimeMap The DC police and DC government have put together a surprisingly easy-to-use and powerful mapping tool that allows you to inspect reported crimes around any address in the District—good for figuring out why that house you’re considering buying is so cheap.

Legistorm Calling itself “transparency’s sidekick,” Legistorm has a set of databases reviewing everything from Capitol Hill salaries to lawmaker boondoggles. Want to know how much that cute Hill press secretary you saw on TV is making? Go here.

MonkeySee How do you tie a bow tie? Cook palak paneer? Snowshoe? This Washington-based instructional-video site offers a wide range of tips and tricks to navigate all aspects of life from “auto and mechanical” to “love and relationships.”

Open CRS A project of the Center for Democracy & Technology, Open CRS aggregates congressional research reports in the public domain for all to read. If you want the skinny on “China and the Global Financial Crisis: Implications for the United States” or “Mountain Pine Beetles and Forest Destruction: Effects, Responses, and Relationships to Climate Change,” this is your place.

Park It DC Ever wonder whether you should drive there? Go to Park It DC to get everything from meter hours to parking-garage fees to recent stolen-car reports so you know what your best parking option is for just about any area address.

Trafficland Before you hit the road, go to Trafficland to get a sense of how fast and where traffic is moving. Even better than a radio report, Trafficland—which started in 2001 with 32 Northern Virginia roadside cameras—lets you view some 5,000 traffic cameras nationwide, more than 400 in the Washington area.

WTOP For local news ranging from school closures to politics, there’s no better resource than the all-news-radio leader. On many stories, it’s faster than the Washington Post’s Web site.

Style Sense

All About the Pretty A Southern woman’s take on everything in Washington but especially fashion—from local stylistas to the runways in New York City.

DC Goodwill Fashion Blog In a bid to make itself seem cooler, Goodwill hired Em Hall to blog about its stores, sales, services, and more. If the success of Hall’s fun, fancy-free fashion blog is any indicator, she’s doing her job well.

Real Estate Plus

Apartment Therapy DC The local blog of a national network offers decorating tips, virtual house tours, and great furniture finds—as well as answers to questions from readers—aimed at people living in small spaces.

Greater Greater Washington Every day, the writers here envision how to make the region from College Park to the Tysons Corner area more walkable, livable, and easier to navigate.

iLive.at This handy tool offers loads of demographic data about neighborhoods in the Washington area—who lives there, what their ages are, marital-status breakdowns, and the like. Add in DC Home and Condo Prices and PropertyShark and you have a comprehensive research suite for that next home or condo purchase.

UrbanTurf Given the volatility of the market, this blog is a handy ticker of all things real-estate-related—as well as a source for useful features such as which area condo buildings have the best amenities.

Drinking and Dining

The Bitten Word Partners Clay Dunn and Zach Patton put their stock of food magazines to good use, documenting their experiences trying out food-magazine recipes with equal amounts of humor and insight.

Culinary Couture Lemmonex, the writer behind Culinary Couture, may keep her true identity a secret, but luckily for us she’s very open about sharing recipes and funny anecdotes about her life—both in and outside the kitchen.

Internet Food Association Political pundits and healthcare analysts tackle food writing, and—surprise—they’re funny. Humor aside, this site distinguishes itself from other foodie blogs with its sharp writing and insightful commentary.

Metrocurean There are local foodie blogs, and then there’s Metrocurean, which dishes on the latest in restaurant news and gossip, sometimes scooping major publications.

Music to Your Ears

Information Leafblower Written by former music-industry insider Kyle Gustafson, this blog features short music and concert reviews complemented by Gustafson’s excellent photography.

Instrumental Analysis Billed as “your Mid-Atlantic indie music source,” Instrumental Analysis showcases the latest on artists from Washington, Baltimore, and Pennsylvania. Songs and videos are available for streaming, and concert dates are listed regularly.

The Vinyl District Started in support of local independent record stores and writer Jon Meyer’s love for vinyl recordings, the Vinyl District is great not only for fans of the classic medium but for music in general.

Only in Virginia

Not Larry Sabato Entering its fifth election cycle, this lighthearted, progressive blog is known for its in-depth coverage of Tim Kaine’s eyebrows and its insider mix of Old Dominion politics and gossip.

Too Conservative Whether you want to know about Loudoun County politics or Richmond intrigue, this right-leaning site is the place for the dwindling number of conservatives in Northern Virginia.

All-Star Sports

DC Sports Bog The Washington Post’s sports renaissance man is Dan Steinberg, whose quippy commentary on local teams and athletes keeps readers coming back to DC Sports Bog. His occasional scoops don’t hurt, either.

Hogs Haven A team of fans pens this Redskins-centric blog. It’s a one-stop shop for facts about the team, such as the full roster with positions and numbers and a record tracker with wins and losses. Fans keep tabs on Hogs Haven for the editorial-style content, news roundups, polls, and photos.

Mr. Irrelevant Two sports-loving brothers pen this blog. In addition to hilarious commentary and gossip, Jamie and Chris Mottram write a useful roundup of local sports headlines every day.

On Frozen Blog This blog’s four contributors claim to have “over 90 years experience watching Washington Capitals hockey.” They draw on that expertise with solid coverage of the team, including interviews, gossip, videos, and more. The blogroll will keep hockey fans occupied for hours.

Presidents Race: Let Teddy Win This blogger, a Washington Nationals season-ticket holder, goes to games partly for the fourth-inning “presidents’ race,” a contest among runners dressed as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Teddy Roosevelt. The blog is dedicated to cheering Teddy on to his very first victory. Since the tradition started in 2006, the 26th president has never won.

Tech Hoops Miss a Virginia Tech men’s basketball game? Hokies fans can log on to this site to see highlight reels. Its six contributors also post recruiting news, game previews and recaps, and commentary on the team’s wins and loses.

Turtle Waxing University of Maryland alumnus Esquire—this blogger’s pen name—keeps a close eye on the Terps. He or she tends to stick to news about the men’s basketball and football teams, tracking wins and losses, broken records, awards, and more.

The Wizznutzz The tiny, light-gray font on this blog is hard to read, but Wizards fans are hard pressed to turn away. That’s because the content—a running commentary on all things NBA and Wizards—is laugh-out-loud hilarious. Blog posts run from links to basketball-inspired MP3s to photos of a young Michael Jackson playing hoops in thigh-hugging shorts.

Parenting 101

Amalah This mommy blogger, whose online moniker is pronounced “aim-a-luh,” writes about the triumphs and travails of bringing up two young sons in the Washington area. But the blog’s not all baby food and diapers. Amy Storch is a former editor, so her writing is top-notch, as is her comedic timing.

DC Urban Moms This site is part events calendar and part therapy session for local moms. A team of skilled contributors posts first-person articles about motherhood and intersperse their musings with places to go and things to do with tykes. There’s also a forum for readers to chime in on topics from raising special-needs kids to finding nannies, daycare centers, and housekeepers.

Republic of T The blog’s tag line (“Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.”) says all you need to know about the author, who lives in Maryland and brings a heartwarming yet opinionated perspective to raising an adopted child with his partner.

Just for Fun

Achenblog The Washington Post’s Joel Achenbach is as funny and irreverent on his blog as he is in the paper edition—often more so.

Celebritology Post blogger Liz Kelly holds her own with the Internet’s snarkiest, funniest celebrity bloggers—including Gawker and Perez Hilton—and often manages to add a special Washington twist.

National Geographic Whether you want games, arresting videos, or the first photos of the fish with the transparent head, this site is one of the richest and deepest in the area.

Newseum Front Pages If you can’t make it to Pennsylvania Avenue to see the front pages of the world’s newspapers each day, you can go online and peruse them at your leisure.

PandaCam The live video feed of the pandas at the National Zoo was a huge favorite when Tai Shan was born. Today it’s still fun to watch during a slow afternoon at the office.

PostSecret One of the world’s most popular blogs is based right here in Washington. It encourages people to send in anonymous and graphically entertaining secrets—and then posts them for the world to see. A recent one: “I just got laid off from being an airline pilot . . . I am secretly glad . . . cause now I can smoke pot.”

Neighborhood Blogs 

And Now, Anacostia There’s something brewing in Southeast DC, and this blog wants you to know about it. David Garber blogs about development and architecture in Anacostia and posts photos of the rapidly transitioning area.

Bloomingdale (for Now) Who says a blogger isn’t a reporter? This chronicle of life in an up-and-coming Northwest DC neighborhood investigates development and neighborhood issues and muses on how to make Bloomingdale a better place.

Borderstan The name of this neighborhood blog plays off the fact that the area it’s focused on falls somewhere between Dupont and Logan circles. The site is about all things to do with its locale, from crime to restaurants.

Eco City Alexandria How can Alexandria become an ecologically sustainable city? That’s the question this blog asks. Members of the community come together to share ideas and news about going green.

Frozen Tropics One of the area’s best and earliest neighborhood blogs, Frozen Tropics details the ups and downs of living in the gentrifying area of Northeast DC known as the H Street corridor or the Atlas District.

Just Up the Pike Dan Reed may be a full-time University of Maryland student, but that doesn’t stop him from posting daily to his blog about Silver Spring. Politics, profiles of residents, restaurants—they all get the treatment in this newsy blog.

Penn Quarter Living With the explosion of restaurants, bars, and stores in DC’s Penn Quarter over the last few years, it’s only right that the neighborhood should have a detailed blog. A staff posts polls and writes about building-permit news, safety issues, entertainment, and more.

Prince of Petworth Would it be fair to call Prince of Petworth—or PoP, as it’s known—the king of all neighborhood blogs? We think so. Blogger Dan Silverman used to cover only Petworth but has developed a staff of writers who now post dozens of times a day about everything DC.

Restonian The blogger behind this site, a 38-year-old father of two, pokes fun at Reston—which he calls “an easy target to make fun of”—but also keeps tabs on news and more surrounding the town.

What’s Up Arlington This site has become a destination for all things Arlington. There are posts about upcoming events, new restaurants, neighborhood development, the art scene, and more.