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Washington DC Tips

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  • Holly
    replied
    I totally agree with Haraya--you must see the Lincoln Memorial--swing by the newish Martin Luther King Jr Memorial, too, which is close by and now one of my favorite 'must-visit' places when I'm showing friends around. Go at dusk--the play of light is just beautiful in that area.

    If you're in the downtown area at meal time, I suggest Busboys & Poets for lunch or dinner (original location at 14th & V St., a now thriving restaurant/go out area). It's in the historically black part of town (now quite gentrified and full of a mix of people). BB&P is named after Langston Hughes, the "busboy poet". Great food, great setting, great message. Busboys and Poets: About Us

    If time permits, take a bus or taxi up Massachusetts Avenue (Mass Ave) to the Washington Cathedral for a quick view. It used to be free but now charges a whopping $10 entry fee to help pay for all its post-2010 earthquake reconstruction. It's great to see but not a must-see in my view. BUT...still go to the top of Massachusetts and then slowly walk down the hill on Mass Ave, otherwise known as "Embassy Row". The Islamic Center, not an embassy now, is one of my favorites, architecturally. Then mosey over to Dupont Circle and peruse books at Kramerbooks...great 'DC' collection (politics, current events, travel, too). I also suggest you walk back behind the Dupont Area, too, as there are great old buildings that are fun to take a look at (I love the architecture here).

    When downtown, try to take the DC Circulator bus wherever you can (e.g., from downtown to Georgetown). It's just as fast as a regular bus (:P) but only costs a $1 each way. Home | DC Circulator You'll see 'real' DC people there (not that you won't elsewhere!).

    Gosh...there are so many good things to see and do! My #1 tip would be to mix in the frantic museum going/site seeing with relaxed enjoyment of the area, whether that's Dupont, Alexandria VA (a 45 minute metro ride but worth the trip!), or elsewhere. Weather will be lovely so enjoy!!
    Last edited by Holly; 09-03-2014, 04:01 PM.

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  • haraya
    replied
    Capitol Hill would be a great neighborhood to focus on. What could be more typical of DC than the Capitol? (We used to live on 10th St... it's very much a real neighborhood. ) You could start with Saturday brunch at Eastern Market, check out the food and the crafts market, then the stores at Barracks Row (good place for lunch is Ted's Bulletin - the short rib sandwich is decadent), and wander the streets - walk down East Capitol St., or "A" Street SE - on your way down to the Library of Congress and the Folger Library. The Botanical Gardens and the Museum of the American Indian are at that end of the Mall, too, so you could walk around those if you choose.

    Eastern Market and Barracks Row Neighborhood Guide in the DC area from washingtonpost.com

    Originally posted by jalegg View Post
    I asked my BF what he wanted to see/do and his reply was "Everything!" so we're pretty much up for anything. I'd like to checkout at least one neighborhood/non-touristy area. Any neat breweries/distilleries would be fun too. I've only ever been to DC on family vacation type visits never when I've been able to really explore.
    ETA: Three of my favorite monuments on the Mall are: The FDR memorial, the Lincoln Memorial (there is a small plaque on the steps indicating where MLK Jr. stood when he delivered his speech - every member of my daughter's fourth-grade class got to stand there and state their wishes for the future, how cool is that!) and the MLK Jr. monument, one of the newest on the Mall. I highly, highly recommend visiting them by night - much cooler, temperature-wise, and very dramatic. Lots of people about in the early evening, and the paths are well-lit.

    EATA: On Friday, pick up a copy of the Washington Post, and scan the Weekend section to see if there are any street fairs or free concerts, etc. happening while you are here.
    Last edited by haraya; 09-03-2014, 07:22 PM.

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  • haraya
    replied
    One of my favorite museums is the Freer, which is next to the Smithsonian Castle ( and right at the Metro exit for the Smithsonian, on the Blue line). It's a lovely collection of Asian/Asian-inspired arts. My favorite section is the Peacock Room. And it's connected by underground galleries to the Sackler - also an amazing gem of an Asian collection. (One of the best gift shops in the city!) Above ground there's a restful enclosed courtyard, the Enid Haupt garden. If you have limited time, it's a nice way to focus on a slice of the incredible range of the Smithsonian museums' holdings. Would be a nice little outing for you on Thursday - you'll get to see the Capitol and the Washington monument (from a distance) as well, since you'll be right on the Mall.

    Freer/Sackler: http://www.asia.si.edu/

    ETA: The National Gallery of Art is nearby as well, just in the opposite direction (if the Capitol is on your right as you exit at Smithsonian, it's going to be at your one o'clock, or north-east). There's a neat fountain-side cafe in the underground tunnel connecting the East and West wings of the National Gallery, which is topped by a skylight that is the glass pyramid on the street above. Have some gelato, and rest your feet!

    http://www.nga.gov/content/ngaweb.html

    EATA: The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (http://www.hirshhorn.si.edu/collecti...ollection=home) is another nice self-contained collection. There's a big outdoor garden with lots of quirky installations, as well as an indoor section in a lovely space. Fun, and a manageable size.
    Last edited by haraya; 09-03-2014, 05:47 PM.

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  • moriond
    replied
    Originally posted by Frank II View Post
    I waited in line three hours to see this. It was just after they opened back up to the public. I would gladly do it again. IMHO, every American should see these documents at least once in their lives.
    @Frank II and others, it's probably not needed off peak season (after Labor Day, and not near holidays) and wouldn't have helped at the time Frank went, but you can make an online reservation for a small fee if you plan to visit when there might be lines.

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  • Frank II
    replied
    Originally posted by giantsteve View Post
    5) The National Archives: A visit to the rotunda which holds the original Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights is a must. The most important documents in the US and for Democratic rule worldwide, it is an incredible experience to see these charters up close. There are many additional interesting exhibits as well, time permitting, relating to the history of the US and the government.
    I waited in line three hours to see this. It was just after they opened back up to the public. I would gladly do it again. IMHO, every American should see these documents at least once in their lives.

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  • jalegg
    replied
    I asked my BF what he wanted to see/do and his reply was "Everything!" so we're pretty much up for anything. I'd like to checkout at least one neighborhood/non-touristy area. Any neat breweries/distilleries would be fun too. I've only ever been to DC on family vacation type visits never when I've been able to really explore.

    Leave a comment:


  • timothy
    replied
    I don't see on above lists the Museum of the American Indian, which I visited a few months back. It's not huge as Smithsonian sites go, but I like the building, and the food is notable for being interesting. (And cheap by DC restaurant standards, high by my usual standards, but also more interesting than most museums' -- interesting ingredients, sorted by region.)

    Also, since food is usually top of my list, I recommend Tyler Cowen's Ethnic Dining Guide -- many of the options are in the D.C. area, because he teaches at George Mason University, in Farfax.

    https://tylercowensethnicdiningguide.com/

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  • giantsteve
    replied
    There is so much to see & Do in DC it can be overwhelming... also, the distances between places, even on the Mall, is greater than it seems. That being said, a few of my favorite places are right on (or near) Capitol Hill and make for an easy day with minimal travel between locations. There is considerable high security to get into just about every place in DC so this is a city where less is more... try to carry no bags, or just something very small like the Side Effect. And like an airport, many items are restricted for entry... check websites so you don't have a problem with denied entry.

    1) The Capitol: The seat of legislative power in the US Government and the building that most people think of first when they think of the Washington DC. You need to book a tour, and during busy times it should be done as far in advance as possible. You can book a tour from the Capitol website or contact the office of your Senator or Representative. Tours booked through your elected officials are likely to be smaller and may also take you to areas not open to the larger public tours.
    2) The Supreme Court: Right across the road from the Capitol, its the home of one of the other major branches of Government. The building is only open on weekdays. I have never had the opportunity to see court in session, but it's possible if your visit coincides with a court hearing or session... limited seating and first come, first serve for this experience.
    3) The Library of Congress: Right across from the Supreme Court, the Library of Congress. A beautiful building with a permanent collection that includes some of the most important printed books in history. A great permanent collection and rotating exhibits with an obvious literary bent... it's often overlooked by visitors, but I think the LOC is one of the highlights of a visit to DC.
    4) Folger Shakespeare Library: A block away from the Library of Congress, The Folger is home to the world's largest collection of materials related to the Bard, including dozens of copies of the First Folios (the original printed works of Shakespeare). Incredibly fascinating and tours by wonderful docents. There is also a theatre (a replica of the Globe) which regularly stages performances... most of Shakespeare's works were intended to be performed rather than read and they jump to life with a great performance.
    5) The National Archives: A visit to the rotunda which holds the original Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights is a must. The most important documents in the US and for Democratic rule worldwide, it is an incredible experience to see these charters up close. There are many additional interesting exhibits as well, time permitting, relating to the history of the US and the government.

    Leave a comment:


  • dclawyer
    replied
    Some places to consider in no particular order:

    Air & Space Museum
    Georgetown
    Holocaust Museum
    Mt. Vernon - outside DC but worth the trip especially on a nice day
    Walk along the mall
    National Gallery
    Arlington National Cemetery
    US Capitol
    White House (try to get tickets in advance from you Congressman or Senators)
    Supreme Court
    Walk along the mall

    It would help to know your interests

    Leave a comment:


  • haraya
    replied
    Headed out but thought I would just rattle off a few things, off the top of my head...

    - Terrace restaurant at Hotel W, overlooking the Mall and the Treasury and a bit of the White House. I haven't been since they renovated the place, but the view is still the same. Try to have a drink at dusk, when the lights come on across the city. Then go grab dinner elsewhere, since this place is spendy. (I think it's called POV now? Check if the renovation is done...)

    - If you go to the Zoo, just note that there is a shuttle from the bottom of the Hill back up to the top where the Metro/zoo entrance is. It's a long, winding walk thru the Zoo, so it's nice not to have to walk uphill when you're done. You might also want to download the app - includes a map of the Zoo. Check the web site for feeding times for the elephants, etc. The North American trail and Amazonia exhibits are some of my favorites, but they're at the bottom so a lot of people miss them.

    - Check Washingtonian.com or the restaurant reviews by Tom Sietsema of the Washington Post. H Street is supposed to be a happening neighborhood - we went to a comedy night there when a friend was performing, and were pleasantly surprised by the food scene.

    - Not sure how accessible it is by public transport, but Union Market (NOT Union Station) is a fun place for brunch. Or do the crafts fair on weekends at Eastern Market and Barracks Row (definitely Metro-friendly).

    Will try to think of some other must-do's (and things to avoid, if any! Well, the Metro at rush hour, to be sure. )

    Leave a comment:


  • jalegg
    replied
    @moriond will do! Thanks!

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  • moriond
    replied
    @jalegg You might take a look at the old Hello, DC! thread.

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  • jalegg
    started a topic Washington DC Tips

    Washington DC Tips

    Hey all,

    I'm going to DC in October and I was hoping I could pick your brains about fun things to do and see there. It's been a few years since I've been. ( My BF has never been )

    I'll have a full Thurs-Sat available for things to do. Thursday I will be on my own because my BF will be in a business meeting all day. So recommendations for that day are welcome as well. ( I was thinking about going to the Zoo )

    So what are some can't miss sites? Anything we should skip/not worth it? Or just general tips for DC?

    Thanks!
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