When in Washington, D.C.

Charlotte Richardson

Charlotte Richardson ’16 enjoying a chilly day at Arlington Memorial Bridge in Washington, D.C.

Welcome to the nation’s capital! My name is Charlotte Richardson, class of 2016, and I live in Washington, D.C., where I work as a global events planner for the United Nations Foundation. While D.C. is home to some of the most famous monuments and museums, here are my top five recommendations, as a local, for restaurants to try and neighborhoods to explore while touring the district:

1 Georgetown

GeorgetownThis classic D.C. neighborhood is filled with history and old brick houses. I like to spend my Sunday mornings at the Georgetown flea market, then wind my way down Wisconsin Avenue. My favorite lunch spot is Oki Bowl @ Georgetown. A tiny hole-in-the-wall, this local ramen house is equal parts colorful, eclectic and delicious. Other restaurants to try: Martin’s Tavern, Farmers Fishers Bakers and Chaia.

2 DowntownDowntown

One of my favorite restaurants to frequent is GCDC — D.C.’s only gourmet grilled cheese bar. One block away from the White House and a quick walk from the National Mall, this restaurant serves a vast array of unique grilled cheese sandwiches and is complete with outdoor seating. I recommend the Young American or the French Onion.

14th Street 1_Richardson3 14th Street/U Street

The sidewalks are lined with endless restaurants, bars, mom and pop shops, concert venues and apartments, but this neighborhood is also home to one of D.C.’s most iconic venues: the 9:30 Club. The list of big-time bands who have graced the stage there is endless, so be sure to see a show for yourself. PRO TIP: Make a reservation at Le Diplomate in advance of your visit; this is D.C.’s most popular French restaurant and one of my favorite brunch locations.

4 Blagden AlleyBlagden Alley

One of D.C.’s hidden gems, Blagden is an alleyway in the Shaw neighborhood that looks like it’s out of a movie set. Brick pavement and brick buildings give way to dive bars, Michelin-starred restaurants and open-air patios. Favorite spots: Calico has a great custom-built wooden patio, Lost & Found if you like a vintage dive bar, and The Dabney for one of the best meals in the city.

5 Dupont

DupontIf you’re in Dupont Circle and looking for a place to unwind and grab a cup of coffee, look no further than Kramerbooks & Afterwords Café. Part bookstore, part café, Kramerbooks is my favorite place to browse for new books and escape from the hustle of the city. PRO TIP: Evenings and weekends, they have custom literary cocktails. I recommend The Adventures of Sherbet Holmes.


U.S. Capitol Building

The U.S. Capitol Building in the heart of Washington, D.C.

Celeste “Clete” Boykin ’79

Lifetime of Achievement

Clete Boykin graduated from Clemson with a degree in horticulture, so when she began working as a lobbyist for DuPont 21 years ago, her focus was on agricultural issues. Since then, her portfolio has broadened to include trade secrets, defense, transportation, chemical plant security, immigration and education.
The job and the issues demand flexibility and adaptability. “No two days are the same,” she says. “I start out the day saying, ‘I’m going to do ABC today.’ I end up doing D and Z. And you meet some of the most interesting people with different backgrounds.”
This past summer at the Washington Government Relations Group’s Annual Tin Cup Awards Dinner, Boykin received the Reginald “Reg” Gilliam Lifetime Achievement Award from the non-partisan volunteer association founded to enrich the careers and leadership abilities of African-American government relations professionals.
Her job may not be nine to five, but she still finds time every summer to get together with a group of 10 to 12 other Clemson alums who lived together on the fourth floor of Benet Hall. They call themselves the “Benet Babes.”
“After all these years,” Boykin says, “I still consider them my best friends.”
She’s a proud Tiger Band alum, and can still be seen sporting her Tiger Band jacket when the weather gets chilly.