Hometown guide to ACTFL

Hometown Guide to ACTFL

I am so excited for ACTFL this year!  Literally, my social calendar typically only has one or two events per weekend.  However, this weekend, my schedule is packed!  I am sure that you are already trying to figure out what sessions to attend (me too!) and what to wear.  Luckily for me, many teachers have blogged about that like Martina and one of my favorites: Path2Proficiency.  Also, if you are looking for more session recommendations, I have put together a list of the sessions from the We Teach Languages podcast participants.

However, I have lived in the DC area for the past 9 years, and I thought I would make some recommendations to try to fit in with all of the ACTFL excitement!


  • Jose Andrés has amazing restaurants including Jaleo, Zaytinya, Oyamel and China Chilcano.
  • I also personally love Le Pain Quotidien which is in many cities, but I can’t get enough of their cider.
  • Roti Mediterranean is a new staple for me, and I have ordered Uber Eats from them twice since I have started my new school.
  • Cava is also a fast casual restaurant that my family loves.  We always order it when my parents come to visit.
  • It will be freezing and ramen is my new favorite go to soup.  I have been Daikaya, and it is delicious.
  • Finally, my favorite go to website for restaurant recommendations is Eater DC.  They wrote up a summary of the best restaurants that are immediately around the convention center.


  • My favorite go to art museum is by far the National Gallery of Art.  I take my students there every year.  It is free, and has an amazing collection.
  • I also love the Hirshorn Museum which is also free.  It is the Smithsonian collection of contemporary art.  I haven’t had a chance to visit the newest Duchamp exhibit, but it is on my list.
  • The Newseum is not free, but it is well worth it.  My husband and I visited when we first moved here and loved it.  It is a collection of artifacts from important time periods in addition to being a museum dedicated to the news.  It is also closing soon, so it is worth checking out.
  • The African American Museum is supposed to be amazing.  I haven’t had a chance to visit yet, but everyone has discussed how powerful it is.  You still need timed tickets to get in on weekends, but you can get in without tickets during the week.
  • If you are looking for a moment of peace from the craziness of a national conference, I love the US Botanic Gardens.  (Plus they are always warm!)
  • Also, if it ends up being warmer, I love visiting the zoo.  I have been many times with my son, and although he loves it, it is really me who is pushing to go!  Plus, most of the animals are more active in the cooler weather.
  • Speaking of kids, if your kids are here- my son loves the Natural History Museum!  They have just opened the renovated dinosaur exhibit which I loved.
  • The Renwick Museum is a good size and doable in a morning or afternoon.  I have only seen the temple (which is worth the trip), but their exhibits are fascinating.
  • If you have time and really want to get out of downtown DC, I love Old Town Alexandria.  It has amazing restaurants and stores.  We just moved to Alexandria, and I make any excuse to go to Old Town.

I hope this gives you some ideas to round out your trip to DC!  Remember that while you are here to connect and grow, you have to take a break if you are going to make it to Sunday.  While I love to go to as many sessions as I can, it can also be extremely valuable to sit and discuss and connect with fellow educators.  Take a longer lunch or take a session off, find a friend and talk about what you have learned.  Mostly in sessions, you are doing a lot of listening, so you need the time to connect.  Plus- when are you ever in a space with so many excellent language teachers?!  If you see me, make sure you say hi!  I love to meet everyone!


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