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(washington.org)   Looking for suggestions for what to do and where to eat in Washington, DC. Already planning on Museum of Art, Air and Space, Lincoln Memorial   ( washington.org) divider line
    More: Interesting, Washington, D.C., free things, White House, Historic Congressional Cemetery, DC, National Mall, National Gallery, Neighborhood Dining Guides  
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187 clicks; posted to Discussion » on 04 Aug 2017 at 6:23 AM (18 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2017-08-04 03:34:32 AM  
Natural History Museum - I LOVE the mineral exhibit. All of the Smithsonian art museums - National Gallery of Art is actually separate, but still free. National Museum of the American Indian - grab lunch there if you can. National Museum of African American History - haven't seen this one yet but it's on my short list. The Newseum - not free, but fantastic. The Capitol. The Vietnam Memorial. And don't forget people watching on The Mall.

Oh, and take the Metro. It isn't perfect, but there is no way to get anything approaching decent parking near the Mall and the price is decent. If you go on a weekend, park at Vienna or one of the other outer stations (I usually drive up from the south so you might have to research where the big parking garages are). If you go on a weekday, park at the Fashion Centre (yes, centre) at Pentagon City. The former is free on weekends but full on weekdays. The latter has a very good price for city parking. Better yet is to stay somewhere near Metro and avoid rush hour.

As far as food goes, I pretty much just grab what I find. The Smithsonian museums have very nice cafes, FAR better than they were when I was a kid, but they are a bit pricey and the hours suck. You can get lunch but not dinner.
 
2017-08-04 03:38:28 AM  
I forgot the National Building Museum (seriously!). It's a gorgeous building and the exhibits are very interesting. And the gift shop is wonderful. If you are there for the Smithsonian Craft Show it's definitely worth checking out.
 
2017-08-04 03:48:40 AM  
After the Lincoln Memorial, walk along the Reflecting pool, then around the to visit the Jefferson Memorial. This walk, after the sun has started to go down can be nice. The Library of Congress is cool because you can see the original Constitution & Declaration of Independence, without Nicholas Cage bugging you.

When are you going? Back in 2005 I contacted my Congressman and got a tour of his office and a staff member gave us a tour of the Capitol. They also helped arrange a timed entry for the White House self-guided tour, instead of standing in line all day.

Bummer that the Washington Monument is closed, I love it up there.
 
2017-08-04 03:51:16 AM  
around the Tidal Basin** to visit Jefferson.
 
2017-08-04 03:52:18 AM  
Do they still have Ollie's Trolley?
 
2017-08-04 03:54:46 AM  

Gig103: The Library of Congress is cool because you can see the original Constitution & Declaration of Independence, without Nicholas Cage bugging you.


No Nicholas Cage? I'll check it out next time I'm up there.
 
2017-08-04 04:18:19 AM  
National Zoo
 
2017-08-04 04:29:45 AM  

enry: National Zoo


Something tells me they won't let you into the Oval Office to watch an orange baboon shiat on the Resolute Desk.
 
2017-08-04 04:41:09 AM  
Gotta check out Fords Theater and Diner

/just don't ask for a booth
 
2017-08-04 05:02:53 AM  
If time and transportation permits, head out to the Air and Space Museum's branch out in Dulles, VA. They have the Discovery space shuttle and an SR-71 Blackbird--both are amazing.

But you won't likely be running out of things to do otherwise.
 
2017-08-04 05:32:42 AM  
Don't forget Arlington National Cemetery and the Vietnam memorial.
 
2017-08-04 05:53:26 AM  
img.fark.netView Full Size
 
2017-08-04 05:56:18 AM  
 Not OP, but I also have a trip to DC coming up and over never been.   I expect to have only Saturday free, but i might also get Sunday available. What are good weekend activities for first time tourists.

Also,  what's the best late night bar that can be safely accessed by the DC metro rail system?
 
2017-08-04 06:21:52 AM  
I liked the Spy Museum (not cheap, and a bit corny at first, but fun) and the Museum of American History.
 
2017-08-04 06:29:24 AM  
Since you are at the Lincoln Memorial, walk a block north and see the Einstein Statue in front of the National Academy of Sciences (map below). If you are a member of a museum or gallery at home, see if they have reciprocal memberships to any galleries in the DC area. The "moonlight" DC tour that leaves from Union Station is O.K., but you have VERY short times at each stop.

img.fark.netView Full Size


If you are going to be there next Tuesday, August 8, it's the last show of the season for the Marine Corps Drum and Bugle Corps at the Iwo Jima memorial. They play tunes, the Silent Drill Team tosses M-1 rifles with bayonets at each other without a cadence, then a bugler blows Taps.

A Smithsonian basic membership will get you a discount in their gift shops. Hint: The National Gallery of Art is not part of the Smithsonian, even though it is also on the National Mall. Smithsonian membership will not get you discounts at the NGA.
 
2017-08-04 06:43:15 AM  
Udvar/Hazy Center (aka 'Silver Hill') - the new branch of the Air & Space Museum. If you've never been to the A&SM on the Mall,  do both. If you've been to the one on the Mall, skip it and do the Udvar/Hazy Center.
 
2017-08-04 07:02:38 AM  
Newseum
Eat at Farmers, Fisher, Baker in George Town.
 
2017-08-04 07:20:24 AM  
I second the Newseum.  Great place.
 
2017-08-04 07:28:51 AM  
Holocaust Museum
Ford Theater

Smithsonian Museums worth the time:
Edvar Hazy (not near the mall)
Air and Space
National Gallery
Natural History
National zoo (not near the mall)

Smithsonian Museums not worth it:
Archives
American History

Monuments worth the time:
Jefferson
Lincoln
Korean
White House (picture opportunity)
Capital for pictures.  The tour is nice but takes forever because of security
SCOTUS if you can get the tour

Arlington Cemetery is worth it if that is your thing.  Changing of the guard, Iwo Jima monument, etc.  I'm not I to that stuff so don't want to influence too much.
 
2017-08-04 07:29:33 AM  

thecactusman17: Not OP, but I also have a trip to DC coming up and over never been.   I expect to have only Saturday free, but i might also get Sunday available. What are good weekend activities for first time tourists.

Also,  what's the best late night bar that can be safely accessed by the DC metro rail system?


The Bottom Line is a great dive bar right off Farragut West and Farragut North, which are on two different lines.

If you're in Chinatown, most everything is good. Graffiato is one of my favorite restaurants.
 
2017-08-04 07:31:49 AM  

thecactusman17: Not OP, but I also have a trip to DC coming up and over never been.   I expect to have only Saturday free, but i might also get Sunday available. What are good weekend activities for first time tourists.

Also,  what's the best late night bar that can be safely accessed by the DC metro rail system?


Stick to the National Mall for first time tourist activities. You won't run out of free museums, memorials and other sites. One day isn't enough to see everything.

Can't comment these days on the bar scene. Adam's Morgan was a good area for 20's crowds ten years ago (might still be now, but now I'm living way out in the suburbs). Not sure what you're in to, or how late you define "late night" because you need to keep in mind Metro shuts down at 1am on weekends.
 
2017-08-04 07:38:35 AM  
The Washington Post restaurant critic, Tom Sietsema, does a live chat every Wednesday at 11; archives are online.  His archives are at https://www.washingtonpost.com/people/tom-sietsema/?utm_term=.6a54​4f43​54f2 - check out his annual guides.

He's a very good writer, appreciates every kind of cuisine, and isn't biased to the white-tablecloth/snooty-service places.
 
2017-08-04 07:43:18 AM  
Tim's Hot Dogs on 5th and Oak. Unbelievable.
 
2017-08-04 07:48:02 AM  
Tupelo Honey, in Arlington is kinda like soul food.
 
2017-08-04 07:48:37 AM  
Oh, how could I forget: Julia's Empanadas is great late-night food.
 
2017-08-04 08:03:20 AM  

LZeitgeist: Udvar/Hazy Center (aka 'Silver Hill') - the new branch of the Air & Space Museum. If you've never been to the A&SM on the Mall,  do both. If you've been to the one on the Mall, skip it and do the Udvar/Hazy Center.


They have a space shuttle.  When the first opened up they had the Enterprise, but since then they've swapped it out for Discovery.  They also have some civilian aircraft including a Concorde.
 
2017-08-04 08:04:19 AM  
also the girlfriend enjoys the International Spy Museum.  I haven't been there yet, but it sounds fun.
 
2017-08-04 08:10:44 AM  
If you like NPR, take a tour of their headquarters.

The Bureau of Engraving and printing is always interesting, it is where paper money is printed.
 
2017-08-04 08:15:06 AM  
Top 100 good and mostly inexpensive eats for DC, Md, & VA.  Zoomable map with details listed.

https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=14YW3AL9HdcjoYwOTPR34CN7wf1s&​ll=39.04454851056058%2C-76.79770050000002&z=9

Enough variety for a month or two.
 
2017-08-04 08:21:24 AM  
The White House Deli on H Street about a block away from the White House.  Food can get expensive in DC, and this is a great mom & pop place that has good prices.  Also, Ben's Chili Bowl is an institution.  Go to the original location on U, it's across from a metro stop.  Cash only.
 
2017-08-04 08:23:29 AM  
Stayed in Old Town Alexandria two weeks ago and this place was in walking distance.  Tried it the first night, went back the next.  It was seriously amazing.

http://www.hautedogsandfries.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/HautedogM​e​nu_2016.pdf

MAP
 
2017-08-04 08:34:09 AM  
Google goldstar DC for ticket discounts for many events/venues.

If you are near the Verizon center, legal seafood is a good place to eat. Fado Irish pub is good too. They took apart a real pub from Ireland and used it to build the place. Walk around a bit if you go there.

If you want to get off the tourist path, try these-

The 14th st NW corridor. Lots of bars/restaurants and studio theater, black cat, and source theater are there. Try lalibela for Ethiopian food.

18th st nw (Adams Morgan) for the late night college bars.

The lisner auditorium has an eclectic mix of shows- check to see what they have playing.

The observation tower in the old post office is open again. Great view of the city. It does close early though.

Tough to get to but 8th st SE  has a bunch of local restaurants to choose from and the marine barracks to visit. Check out the parade schedule on the barrack's website.

Georgetown waterfront park is a nice break from the city. The Swedish embassy is a nice place to duck into and check out their current exhibits. A note of warning though. Walking through Georgetown is fun. Traffic in Georgetown can be horrible. Walk or bike in if you can.

9:30 club and Howard theater are a couple of places to check for music acts. The Improv is where most comedy club acts appear.

E street cinema has some interesting movies that don't get wide release. Plus they sometime have Q & A's afterwards with the movie principles. I've seen some excellent films there.

Tons of theaters- check out https://dctheatrescene.com/ for venues/shows

Also try the Baltimore sun's event page http://events.baltimoresun.com/ . If you pick your dates and filter on DC, you should get a fairly concise listing of the day's top events. It's a good way to find street fairs, concert series shows, mixers, etc. The one off type of things that are happening

Hope you have a fun visit.
 
2017-08-04 08:48:29 AM  
Holocaust museum. It's a gas.
 
2017-08-04 09:04:57 AM  

kevlar51: If time and transportation permits, head out to the Air and Space Museum's branch out in Dulles, VA. They have the Discovery space shuttle and an SR-71 Blackbird--both are amazing.

But you won't likely be running out of things to do otherwise.


Came to say this
 
2017-08-04 09:15:30 AM  
Go see the statue of the boy scout walking with a naked man....

img.fark.netView Full Size

img.fark.netView Full Size
 
2017-08-04 09:35:20 AM  
We took the tour during unrepeatable circumstances. Right before W's 2nd inaugural there was a warm spell. 70 degrees or so. So, we did the walking tour of the memorials.  We were standing by the reflecting pool when a red fox came running up from toward the Potomac and scattered all the swans or geese or whatever those birds are that feed there. Then it ran on up toward the city. The weather was changing and by the time we came upon the Korean War memorial there were stirrings of fog. The statues actually took us by surprise. In those conditions it didn't seem quite as kitsch as it does on paper.

It turned cold by late afternoon and the 2nd day we did the museums and indoor features. The Holocaust Museum is fantastic and sobering and introduced me to the poetry of Paul Celan. (IIRC, he was featured.)
 
2017-08-04 09:37:13 AM  

honestlylincoln: If you like NPR, take a tour of their headquarters.

The Bureau of Engraving and printing is always interesting, it is where paper money is printed.


The NPR tour is free, but you have to sign up for it beforehand on their website (Monday - Friday)
 
2017-08-04 10:01:23 AM  
The Hirschhorn Museum if you like contempory art--it's such a beautiful space inside and it's not as crowded as the other museums. Boring for kids, though. The Natural History Museum is my favorite (I always found Air and Space crowded and a little boring, there is a satellite museum out by Dulles that is supposed to be more fun, but I haven't been to that one.) Nat History has (or had) a cloud chamber museum in the basement, awesome bugs, and lots of cool stuff for the smaller kids, plus the historic jewels like the Hope Diamond upstairs. There is also a merry go round on the Mall not too far away :D The Metro is the way to get around, there is zero parking down by the mall every time I have been there. The Botanic Gardens are absolutely awesome too, but I love plants--and in the middle of summer it's a bit humid. It's another kid-friendly place.
 
2017-08-04 10:05:22 AM  

foo monkey: Holocaust museum. It's a gas.


Hate speech, you anti-semite!
 
2017-08-04 10:06:46 AM  
It is hard to add to the list above, but I would also suggest walking the monuments at night. It is really a nice experience.  The Korean Memorial is especially good, but FDR and WWII also stand out at night.
 
2017-08-04 10:18:50 AM  

Walker: Go see the statue of the boy scout walking with a naked man....

[img.fark.net image 850x850]
[img.fark.net image 800x531]


Makes me think of a recent speech and "The Emperor has no clothes". A boy scout should be loyal. Hey that's good,I wish people could be more loyal to me.
 
2017-08-04 10:21:50 AM  

unfarkingbelievable: foo monkey: Holocaust museum. It's a gas.

Hate speech, you anti-semite!


It's not "hate" speech, but it sure is pushing the envelope on the sensibility.
 
2017-08-04 10:22:31 AM  
After reading all these posts I really want to go downtown.  Fortunately just have to jump on the  yellow line.
 
2017-08-04 10:29:17 AM  
OP here. Thanks for the tips everyone! Headed down next week for seven days (I'm Canadian), staying in Alexandria and have a rental car. Looking forward to it. Appreciate all the suggestions.
 
2017-08-04 10:30:19 AM  
Picnic on the White House lawn.
 
2017-08-04 10:45:12 AM  
Sounds like time for another DC/NoVA Farkup -- where'd Addison go?
 
2017-08-04 11:30:50 AM  
My wife says don't miss Stan's Restaurant.

It is a cool locals joint with a lot of interesting people (and strong mixed drinks, if that matters to a Farker).
 
2017-08-04 12:19:38 PM  

kevlar51: thecactusman17: Not OP, but I also have a trip to DC coming up and over never been.   I expect Stick to the National Mall for first time tourist activities. You won't run out of free museums, memorials and other sites. One day isn't enough to see everything.


One *week* isn't enough to see everything.  Ugar-Hazy (the bit of the Smithsonian with the Shuttle and Blackbird) shouldn't be missed, but check just how long it takes to get out there.  All that time is something missed on the Mall.

Has anyone mentioned the Brickskeller?  I've been out of the loop for way too long, but as far as I know that is the premeir beer bar this side of NYC.  Nothing on tap (hopefully this changed), but if you ask for a bottle of Budweiser expect to get something from the Chech Republic.
/has probably spent a month in the Smithsonians & other parts of the Mall
//wandered into an ancient stuffed owl exhibit in the basement of the Natural History museum after I thought I saw *everything*
///no such thing.  And I have to recomend the portrait gallery for locals who think they've seen everything.
 
2017-08-04 12:45:34 PM  
yet_another_wumpus:
Has anyone mentioned the Brickskeller?  I've been out of the loop for way too long, but as far as I know that is the premeir beer bar this side of NYC.  Nothing on tap (hopefully this changed), but if you ask for a bottle of Budweiser expect to get something from the Chech Republic.

The Brickskeller went under a while ago, but someone bought the space and restarted it as a
bar/restaurant/performance space under another name with roughly the same vibe & vast selection of
beer.
 
2017-08-04 12:54:11 PM  

Walker: Go see the statue of the boy scout walking with a naked man....


I've always wondered WTF was up with that statue. Why's the man naked? It's weird.
 
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