Raising The Stakes with Ronan Farrow

Writer / Lawyer / Diplomat


I crave high stakes. I've spent much of my career in places torn apart by conflict, but even when I'm unwinding I'm drawn to dramatic people and places. That could mean anything from places of stark isolation where the environment is the enemy to vibrant pockets of culture pulsing under the thumb of oppression in more populated places.

I'm a New Yorker, but DC is the real place where dreams are made and broken, with dizzyingly high stakes for the rest of the country. It's a beautiful physical space colliding with a dynamic present. I would stay in the Dupont area—which is safe and charming but still within spitting distance of grittier, more interesting neighborhoods down U Street. There are relatively affordable ones with plenty of character—I used to live near Swann House. The most romantic thing you can do here is wander through the cherry blossoms by the tidal basin as the sun sets.

The activities that can't be missed

1. Watching a Supreme Court argument.

2. Visiting your representatives in Congress and asking them why they're incapable of getting anything done.

3. Friday night jazz in the Sculpture Garden by the National Gallery of Art.

Raising The Stakes with Ronan Farrow
Raising The Stakes with Ronan Farrow

My favorite places to eat

1. Dickson Wine Bar.

2. Coppi's on U Street.

3. Ben's Chili Bowl for ideally-not-sober late night milkshakes.

The places you should definitely see

1. The Jefferson Memorial, ideally from one of the pedal boats for hire at the tidal basin.

2. The Holocaust Memorial Museum, as moving a preservation of history as you'll find.

3. The National Aquarium.

Raising The Stakes with Ronan Farrow
Raising The Stakes with Ronan Farrow

My favorite hidden gems

1. The Columbia Room, an unmarked restaurant tucked behind a divider at the back of the bar Passenger.

2. L2—a straining-to-be-euro nouveau riche member's only club hidden under a restaurant in a Georgetown alley—for entertaining people-watching.

3. DC's various farmer's markets on Sundays.