DC Travel Guide  |  News & Politics

We Asked Sean Doolittle for His Favorite Things to Do in DC

In DC for the All-Star festivities? These are the things in town that Doo recommends doing.

The Washington Nationals' Sean Doolittle pitches in Game 2 of the National League Division Series against the Chicago Cubs on October 7, 2017, at Nationals Park. Photo by Paul Kim/Washington Nationals.
With all the Major League Baseball All-Stars—and their families and fans—coming to DC this week, we asked Washington Nationals’ All-Star Sean Doolittle where he’d recommend all those out-of-towners go.

Do you have any favorite spots where you like to hang out and that you’d recommend to visitors?

“When I got traded over, my wife [Eireann Dolan] and I had visited DC several times but we had never made it past the monuments and the National Mall. If you are nerds like we are, it’s tough to venture past there. There’s just so much to do with the museums and the history there.

“We spend a lot of our free time in Shaw, Columbia Heights, and 14th and U. Georgetown is tougher to get to from where we live in the city; we save that for off-days—we’ll maybe go shopping and get lunch on the waterfront.”

Are there particular places in those neighborhoods where you like to go?

Busboys and Poets on 14th, that’s one of our favorites. We’ll grab a book, and grab a coffee or something to eat, and hang out awhile.“The way we got to know the city, my wife and I joke about it, is that we’d search for music venues. That takes you to some cool areas. Places like U Street Music Hall, the 9:30 Club. Or we search for bookstores, like Solid State on H Street and Kramerbooks in Dupont Circle. Those are places we go probably more often than we should.

“We also collect records and there’s a place we like called Songbyrd Cafe. It’s a coffee shop and record store, so even if you’re not shopping for records it’s a cool vibe.

“And what’s that place called, Union Market? If you consider yourself a foodie at all or you want to support local businesses, bring your appetite there. The first time we went, just to see what it was, we made that mistake.”

Do you have any other favorite places to eat?

“Our favorite place to eat is Oyamel. We’ve been there a few times. My wife and I eloped in DC at the end of last season and went there to celebrate. So that’s our place for date nights and special occasions.

“There are lots of good places for sweets—cupcake and doughnut shops and ice cream. District DoughnutTed’s Bulletin. And Bullfrog Bagels—that’s worth setting your alarm for. You have to fuel up to explore the city.”

I’m surprised you can eat all the sweets. You’re not on a special diet?

“On an off-day or after a day game I can indulge. But you have to be careful.”

Going back to your love for the National Mall, are there places there in particular that you recommend?

“The National Mall is a special place for my wife and I. We got married on Signers Island in Constitution Gardens. It’s a little spot tucked away on the National Mall. There are lots of places like that where you can find a quiet place to get away from it all.

“If you’re gonna do museums, some of the best in the world are in DC. I’ve been slowly checking them off my list. I think the Air and Space is my favorite. The African American museum should be mandatory if you’re going to roll through. You learn lots of things they didn’t teach us in middle school. It’s a very powerful experience.

“If you’re going to come to DC and it’s your first time here, see the view from the bottom of the Washington Monument, looking out over the Reflecting Pool to the Lincoln. And see the Jefferson Memorial. It’s so beautiful and such a part of the history of the city.”

You know the city really well for someone who’s been here only about a year.

“We really love it here. We stayed after the season ended last year, maybe a month and a half. We wanted to sink our teeth in and explore.”

You obviously have a great vantage point for every game, but if you were a fan and could sit anywhere in the park where would you like to sit for a game?

“I would want to be somewhere behind home plate. It doesn’t matter how high up. Or as close as possible in center field. I like that view. You can see the whole play developing and each player moving and their responsibility in the play. It’s a cool vantage point. Or maybe left center in those red seats. I think it’s the Budweiser bar. The outfield wall juts in a little there and I imagine you’d feel on the field of play. There are times the center fielder will catch the ball further back than you’re sitting. I think it would be cool to see play from that angle.”

Which do you think is more exciting, the All-Star Game or a playoff game or a pennant-race game in September?

“I think a playoff game or meaningful game in September would be more exciting, I guess, to watch. But in a different way. That’s your hometown team and it’s a more meaningful game. But the All-Star Game is a celebration of everything that’s good about the game. And DC is a very good sports city. I didn’t realize that before I moved here. The way the city supported the Caps. And packed Nats Park last year.

“In an All-Star game the players are having more fun than usual and showing their personalities more than usual. And there are guys in this game—I’m not one of them—who are historically good. First-ballot Hall of Famers. I’m happy for the city and for the fans to get to experience it.”

Executive Editor

Sherri Dalphonse joined Washingtonian in 1986 as an editorial intern, and worked her way to the top of the masthead when she was named editor-in-chief in 2022. She oversees the magazine’s editorial staff, and guides the magazine’s stories and direction. She lives in DC.