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My 9 things: John Legend's favorite places during a stay in Washington, D.C. — and what he packs when he's there

Award-winning artist John Legend shares his must-haves when traveling to the nation’s capital. | By Leanne Philip | February 6, 2023

When you’re an award-winning artist (did anyone say EGOT?), travel tends to be a huge part of your day-to-day life. Such is the case for John Legend, née Stephens. The singer, songwriter and producer travels the globe performing for his legions of fans. Case in point: His recent stay in Washington for a Hilton Honors Experience at Waldorf Astoria Washington DC.

Says Legend, “I haven’t been to D.C. for non-work reasons in many years, but my work has brought me [here] for amazing things. I have been able to go to the White House multiple times, go to State Dinners … I’ve gone to the National Museum of African American Culture and History.” Recalling a particularly special stay when he was performing for President Biden’s inauguration and took his children to see the Lincoln Memorial, he adds, “What I love about D.C. is the history. I love the ceremonial aspects of the city and seeing the monuments and memorials … these majestic buildings that have so much meaning to the country.”

Given how often Legend has performed here, we had to ask the artist what his favorite venue is. His answer? That there are too many to choose from. “I love playing the Kennedy Center, DAR Constitution Hall — I also love playing at the Maryland Hills Pavilion and Theater. I have such great fans in the DMV area, and they’ve been some of my most loyal since the beginning of my career.”

And when he’s not performing (which as you can see isn’t often) John Legend is all about food. “I think [José Andrés] is the king of Washington D.C. cuisine right now, I’ve been to multiple of his restaurants and look forward to going back,” says Legend.

If this hasn’t convinced you to make Washington D.C. your next vacation destination, then maybe his packing list will. So, read on and discover the nine things John Legend needs for an epic stay in the nation’s capital.

A comfy bed

I take a 60- to 90-minute nap in the late afternoon before every show, so a comfortable bed is key. I also need my hotel room to have good blackout shades.

Herbal tea

For obvious reasons, I need my voice to be healthy. I love [to drink my tea] with honey.

Loved01 skincare  

I'm launching a skincare line called Loved01 that is formulated especially for people with melanin-rich skin. Our products are especially good at moisturizing!

An iron and ironing board  

I'm the son of two tailors and I grew up ironing my own clothes. I still do a lot of my own ironing in my hotel room.

Gaming console

I like to play Madden on the tour bus. It’s a great way to relax when you’re on the road.

Flavored water

I have to stay hydrated to keep my voice and skin healthy and smooth.

Roast chicken and sauteed broccoli

I eat the same meal before every show — it's the kind of comfort food I need to get ready to sing.

Portable Bluetooth speaker

I play music from my phone in my hotel room and dressing room. I like to make pre-show playlists … when I’m playing with my band, it’s an upbeat playlist. When I’m doing a solo set, it’s a bit more mellow.

LVE wine  

I don't usually drink alcohol before I sing, but I love a glass of our cabernet sauvignon after the show. Cheers!

Leanne Philip is a content marketing manager at Hilton. She has written for numerous print and digital platforms, including Travel + Leisure, The Atlantan and Barneys New York.

Discover the legend... 

Join award-winning artist John Legend for an intimate evening of music and conversation at Waldorf Astoria Washington DC.