News & Politics

Kamala Harris Is No DC Newcomer. What Has Her Life Looked Like Here So Far?

Photograph by Flickr user Gage Skidmore.

Vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris is hardly a newcomer to DC. The senator from California has lived and served in the District for almost four years, and she graduated from Howard University in 1986. 

And should Democratic nominee Joe Biden win the presidential election come November, Harris would spend at least another four years in DC—this time living on the grounds at the Naval Observatory. 

What has Harris’s life in the city looked like so far? (That is, when she’s not busy working on Capitol Hill or teaching Mark Warner how to make a tuna melt.) We collected some spots she’s been seen around town over the decades to piece together a broad look:

Blue Duck Tavern

Harris, who lives near the American restaurant in West End, has been spotted there dining with a group including the likes of Washington Post journalist Jonathan Capeheart. 

Bluestone Lane

Also near her DC apartment, Harris has been seen hanging at the Australian-inspired coffee group’s West End location. TBD on whether she got the lemon ricotta pancakes. 


Are you even a DC politician if you haven’t been listed in Playbook as being seen at DCA? (Extra points if you’re at Gate 35X!) According to these Politico sightings, Harris is a fan of American Airlines economy seating, and has been known to stop and snap an airport selfie with fans. 

Cafe Milano

You can replace “DCA” in the first sentence of the above blurb with “Cafe Milano,” and the sentiment still rings true. Harris has been known to pop in at the Washington mainstay, on one occasion for a dinner for fellow California Senator Dianne Feinstein. 


In 2017, Harris was seen hanging with Madeleine Albright at a corner table in the upscale City Center Italian restaurant. (Oh, to be a fly on that wall. ) 

Backstage at Capital One Arena

This is perhaps our favorite Harris sighting: Hanging out backstage at a Katy Perry concert with Senator Cory Booker. Ten bucks they were dancing to the song “California Gurls.” 

Cork Wine Bar

Harris apparently knows her wine, according to Cork Wine Bar co-owner Khalid Pitts, and she’s hosted a fundraiser and holiday party at the 14th Street spot. 


Harris has also visited this downtown restaurant where she, yes, put ice cubes in her wine


The senator has talked about her love of the boutique cycling studio, and she’s been spotted frequenting some of the SoulCycles in DC. Post-pandemic, DC riders may get a glimpse of the potential vice president tapping it back a few rows ahead. 

The St. Regis

Harris has been seen having lunch at the luxe hotel by the White House. Maybe she and Biden can get takeout from there come next January?

Howard Years

While Harris was at Howard, she lived in Eton Towers near Thomas Circle, protested at the South African embassy and National Mall, and went to Ben’s Chili Bowl. The senator has also visited her alma mater in years since, giving the Howard commencement speech in 2017 and showing up on campus for a news conference the day she announced her presidential campaign.

Federal Trade Commission 

In Harris’s autobiography The Truths We Hold: An American Journey, she talks about a summer internship she had at the Federal Trade Commission during college. While there, Harris’s duties included scanning newspapers and clipping mentions of the FTC, acting as a US Bureau of Engraving and Printing tour guide, and doing research at the National Archives.

Capitol Hill

Obviously, Harris has spent the past few years on Capitol Hill as a California senator, but, in a twist of foreshadowing, she also interned there during college for California senator Alan Cranston. In Harris’s autobiography, she says she still has Cranston’s thank-you letter framed in her senate office.


The national network of Harris’s college sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha, hosted a fundraiser for her at the Dupont Circle restaurant last year, with trays of appetizers and dancing to Beyoncé.

Washingtonian assistant editor Daniella Byck contributed reporting to this story. 

Mimi Montgomery Washingtonian
Home & Features Editor

Mimi Montgomery joined Washingtonian in 2018. She’s written for The Washington Post, Garden & Gun, Outside Magazine, Washington City Paper, DCist, and PoPVille. Originally from North Carolina, she now lives in Del Ray.