Downtown Bethesda (Saturday)
6 AM, Tastee Diner
7731 Woodmont Ave.
Start old-school with pancakes at this 24-hour classic diner.
7 AM, Capital Crescent Trail
Walk (or run) off breakfast, starting at the corner of Bethesda and Woodmont avenues.
10 AM, Barnes & Noble Storytime
4801 Bethesda Ave.
Join a scrum of parents and kids for a read-aloud session of children’s books.
Capitol Hill (Saturday)
7 AM, Ted’s Bulletin
505 Eighth St., SE
Order biscuits or pop tarts fresh from the oven, or a Walk of Shame breakfast burrito.
8:30 AM, Library of Congress
101 Independence Ave., SE
Gather your thoughts in the cathedral-like Thomas Jefferson Building. (You’ll need ID.)
9 AM, Eastern Market Outdoor Market, 225 Seventh St., SE
Browse antiques and handmade jewelry and pick up local produce for an early dinner.
Dupont/Logan Circles (Sunday)
7:30 AM, Kramerbooks
1517 Connecticut Ave., NW
A morning browse is “a rare treat in a frenetic world,” says owner Henry Posner.
9 AM, Le Diplomate
1601 14th St., NW
Coffee is served before the kitchen opens—and before the crowds arrive.
10 AM, Dupont Circle Market
Massachusetts Ave. and 20th St., NW
Lines are shorter, farmers are chattier, and the selection is greater before 11.
Plus—The National Zoo
The best time to tour the National Zoo is soon after it opens at 6, according to Brandie Smith, senior curator for mammals: “The morning is when the pandas are outside, eating bamboo, climbing trees,” she says. Maned wolves, bison, and other beasts that hide in dens or in the shade all afternoon are also at their liveliest at breakfast time, and the gibbons are swinging around their enclosure saying good morning to one another.
This article appears in the December 2014 issue of Washingtonian.