11 Reasons Why D.C. Ruled 2012 — Some Of 'Em Will Surprise You!

Even with all its ups and downs, 2012 was a pretty amazing year — especially if you're lucky enough to count yourself a DMV resident. Just think back on all the awesome new stores, restos, and bars that opened; the inspiring, world-class art events that took place; and the quirky, nowhere-but-here occasions that make the nation's capital feel truly special.
Since we're feeling a little nostalgic these days (an extra serving of eggnog will do that to ya), we've decided to relive our favorite memories, highlighting what we think made D.C. a truly amazing place to live. From top-notch shopping to cultural swagger to, yes, even football, here's what made our year rock.
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Access to amazing (and free!) art is probably one of our favorite parts of living in Washington, and Chinese artist Ai Weiwei's current exhibition at the Hirshhorn Museum is a must-see. The show runs until February 24, so you still have plenty of time to catch it.


Photo: Courtesy of Hirshhorn Museum
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No matter where you stand in the political spectrum, an election year is always an exciting, roller-coaster-y time to be in the District. We were pumped to report on the 2012 campaign's ups and downs, and were thrilled to have smart, passionate readers along for the ride.


Photo: Courtesy of Barack Obama
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It's not every day that the DMV gets a suburban destination that encompasses great shopping, dining, and nightlife options, and Fairfax's new Mosaic District complex does just that. Our recommendation? Head over in the afternoon to browse the racks at South Moon Under, Last Call Studio, Bellacara, and Ginger, then grab a pizza at Matchbox or some Mediterranean tapas at Cava. After dinner, catch a fim at the Angelika theater and some out-of-this-world gelato at Dolcezza. Sounds like the perfect day, right?


Photo: Courtesy of Mosaic District
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If Union Market isn't on your must-visit list yet, it should be — the massive foodie mecca is in full swing these days, with weekday and weekend hours, pop-up markets, and food writer Amanda McClements' housewares shop, Salt & Sundry, officially open for business.


Photo: Courtesy of Union Market
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What — you thought fashion pros couldn't also love a good ball game? Well, a phenom like Robert Griffin III (and his rookie cohorts Alfred Morris and Kirk Cousins) can make even the most ambivalent TV-watcher feel like a die-hard, 'Skins-for-life fan. In short: We love you RGIII.


Photo: Rex USA
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It may sound silly, but anytime our town gets a store or resto right after NYC, we feel pretty proud. Such is the case with Massimo Dutti, the Spanish cousin to Zara, which opened in Georgetown just a few weeks after launching its first U.S. store in the Big Apple. Oh, and the buttery soft leather jackets and perfect striped tops aren't bad, either.


Photo: Courtesy of Massimo Dutti
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Our new favorite watering hole opened in 2012, and we couldn't be more excited. Satellite Room, the newest venture from the Hilton brothers, is just steps away from the 9:30 Club, has one of the best outdoor patios in the city, and serves amazing tater tots. (Tater tots, people! There is no better late-night food.)


Photo: Courtesy of Satellite Room
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Fashion's Night Out in the District has gotten bigger and better every year, and we spied some truly inspiring street-style looks as we hopped from one party to the next. Here's to 2013!


Photo: Courtesy of Fashion's Night Out Georgetown
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Top-notch dining is becoming one of our city's signatures, and Ethiopian cuisine is something the District does very well. On your to-do list for 2013? A communal meal at Ethiopic, the new H Street outpost with so-tasty dishes and a relaxed, friendly vibe.


Photo: Courtesy of Ethiopic
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For Washington men, stylish outfitter options got even better in 2012, with new stores such as Gant, Bonobos GuideShop, and Suitsupply setting up shop. Dudes everywhere (and their S.O.s) are grateful.


Photo: Courtesy of Suitsupply
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The arrival of new international brands and pop-up retail concepts is plenty exciting, but we also love when existing boutiques get a little facelift, which is the case with Logan Circle shop Rue 14, which is transitioning over to a new identity as Blue's Hard Goods, stocking some of the coolest vintage in town.


Photo: Courtesy of Blue's Hard Goods
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