Do you have a shelf of old guidebooks you keep for visitors coming to town? If so, it might be time to add a new one: The popular series Wildsam Field Guides has finally set its sights on DC, and the pocket-size result is one of the better quick overviews of the city we’ve come across. Here’s a look.
What it Does Right
The quirky book treats DC like a vibrant place where people actually live, not just a big tourist attraction. It features interviews and contributions from notable locals such as music-scene luminary Dante Ferrando, chef Erik Bruner-Yang, and writers Jason Reynolds, George Pelecanos, and Morowa Yejidé.
What We Love
It’s not afraid to have fun. What other guidebook would include a go-go playlist or devote two pages to an excerpt from a West Wing script?
What it Could Do Better
The small size means the book is more impressionistic than comprehensive. If you’re hoping for a full guide to DC’s restaurants, museums, and attractions, you’ll have to look elsewhere.
“I really resent when politicians say they hate Washington and they can’t wait to go home, all that stuff,” Pelecanos says on one of the book’s interview pages. “Please, go home.”
This article appears in the March 2022 issue of Washingtonian.