View Full Version : Tourist Tips for DC!

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05-11-2011, 06:02 AM
I had such a good time last year I've decided to return. :)
Actually, my main reason for coming is to see National Ballet of Cuba. They aren't coming to NYC on this tour. (They are coming to Brooklyn after DC, but I wonder how many dancers will be left by then. Several dancers always seem to defect whenever they leave Cuba :lol:)
Anyway, as last year, I need tips for "off the beaten path" type things. And places to buy chocolates and cakes. My coworker recommended the Hillwood Estate, but it looks tricky to get to. is it worth the trip?
Is anyone interested in meeting for lunch or dinner? I will arrive on June 1st and leave on the 8th. I absolutey MUST visit CoCoSala again.
Does anyone have a suggestion for a good place to have afternoon tea?

05-12-2011, 03:22 AM
no one has a tip for me? :(

05-12-2011, 06:44 AM
(((Marge Simpson)))

I'm not sure what you would call "off the beaten path" in a city like Washington. Here are a few sites that you may not have considered but should:

National Museum of African Art (http://africa.si.edu/)
National Museum of the American Indian (http://www.nmai.si.edu/)
The Freer and Sackler Galleries (http://www.asia.si.edu/)
Dumbarton Oaks (http://www.doaks.org/)

You may need a car for these:

Clara Barton Historical Site (http://www.nps.gov/clba/index.htm) and the adjacent bit of the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal (http://www.nps.gov/choh/index.htm)
Gunston Hall (http://www.gunstonhall.org/)

05-12-2011, 12:13 PM
no one has a tip for me? :(


I don't live in D.C. and want to go back to see all the memorials, museums and other sites I missed, so I'm watching this thread with interest.

05-12-2011, 01:25 PM
Ohhhh, I love the American Indian Museum! Except for the "Hall of Euphemisms" where all the abuses against Native Americans are glossed over and swept under the carpet, that kinda makes me ill. The exhibits on the religions, however, is sooooo interesting and well done!

05-12-2011, 02:38 PM
Eh, NMAA is rather boring. The Freer/Sackler (which it's attached to underground) are a lot nicer. Though none are ever crowded. Especially the Freer, for some reason. Check out the Peacock room.

If you don't mind a LONG line, or trying to go in off hours, unless you're a strict vegetarian Ben's Chili Bowl at U Street-Cardozo is COMPLETELY worth the waits (I stood in line for forty-five minutes. In DC. In June.). Chili half-smoke is fantastic and they seriously have the best cole slaw ever. (IIRC, cash-only, and only Bill Cosby and the Obamas eat free.)

If you do not mind that it is VERY off the beaten path and in not the prettiest neighborhood on the face of the Earth, if you're at all interested in historic cemeteries that aren't Arlington, go the Armory stop on the Metro and visit Congressional Cemetery. It's by the hospital and the...uh...correctional facility, but I felt perfectly safe and there's always people walking their dogs there (Friends of Congressional Cemetery has a K-9 Crew who pay a fee to walk their dogs in the cemetery.) Lots of interesting 19th-century memorial art and modern ones, too, and famous people include J. Edgar Hoover, Tom Lantos, and the gay Vietnam vet who famously doesn't have his name on the grave, just "A Gay Vietnam Veteran". Very much worth a visit.

05-12-2011, 03:28 PM
Hi Marge,

I live on the MD/DC line in Takoma Park, walking distance to metro, I'll be happy to meet up with you when you come.

I was trying to find events going on the week you will be here. The Sylvan Theater and Screen on the Green offer free movies and performances on the mall, but I don't see anything scheduled for June so far. I remember sitting in the grass and seeing "Midsummer Night's Dream" performed at Sylvan on a hot summer night with fireflies, it was very surreal and atmospheric.

If you like live music there is the 9:30 Club (downtown) and the Birchmere, Arlington VA.

For plays and dance there is the Warner Theater, Ford's Theater (where Lincoln was shot - historically restored), Folger Theater (Shakespeare), Arena Stage, and of course the Kennedy Center.

I'm not a plant person, but I love the Orchid Garden at the Botannical Gardens.

There is a cinema and draft house in Arlington, VA which is always good fun with a group of people. I haven't been to this particular one, but I used to go to the one in Bethesda


In Takoma Park there are antique, vintage clothing, and ethnic shops, plus a good Korean/American deli.

I like kayaking and rollerblading. There is a skating club that meets in front of the White House and does street skates (Washington Area Roadskaters WAR).

And of course many, many historic sites.

05-12-2011, 04:17 PM
Hi Marge,

If you like live music there is the 9:30 Club (downtown) and the Birchmere, Arlington VA.

It's in Alexandria ;). Which is a nice area that is Metro accessible (Blue/Yellow lines). Old Town is a nice place to walk around for restaurants, shops, and the waterfront (King Street Metro).

There is a cinema and draft house in Arlington, VA which is always good fun with a group of people. I haven't been to this particular one, but I used to go to the one in Bethesda


The Arlington Cinema N' Drafthouse is fun and has a decent comedy scene besides just food and cheap movies during the week (1$ Monday movie night wheee!).

Could you be more specific in term of what you'd like to do? There are a lot of great neighborhoods to explore besides the downtown area, both in DC and MD/VA, but I'm not sure if you're just interested in museums/memorials?

There can be a big difference between recommending getting a jumbo slice in Adams Morgan vs. checking out the International Spy Museum. :lol:

Here is the WaPo Express Night Out website: http://www.expressnightout.com/. (http://www.expressnightout.com/) It's distributed for free every Thursday around the city and Metro stops in the Express paper too, but searching for what you are interested online is much easier than reading the summary in the paper. You'll find all of the festivals, events, concerts, plays, exhibits, etc. going on listed.

Also, you should sign-up for the LivingSocial and Groupon daily deals for DC/MD/VA. LivingSocial now has instant deals for lunch, dinner, and evening restaurants in the area; a convenient option for getting cheaper food on the fly.

05-12-2011, 04:36 PM
If you didn't go to the Newseum last time, I recommend it more than any other place.

05-12-2011, 04:53 PM
Dhoonya Dance troupe is having a Bollywood Showcase June 4. They also have drop-in classes for fun and fitness in various studios in DC/VA. Too bad you are not coming a week earlier, they are doing a flashmob at Fiesta Asia and have posted the dances online for anyone to learn and join in.


05-12-2011, 04:57 PM
Actually, my main reason for coming is to see National Ballet of Cuba.

I will PM you with the dinner info for 6/2 before the ballet.

Tea places: http://www.teaguide.net/tearoomswashingtondc.htm

Have you been to the Hillwood Museum? http://www.hillwoodmuseum.org/

You have to make an appointment to go, but they also have tea on Sunday - I imagine reservation is required.


Eastern Market: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_Market,_Washington,_D.C.
There is a flea market on Sundays there.

If you haven't walked around Old Town Alexandria, you should do that on a nice day. Here is a tea place in Old Town: http://www.alexandriacitywebsite.com/The%20Tea%20Cosy%20&%20The%20British%20Connection.htm

Off the beaten path list:



Did you visit the Phillips Gallery last time - its not free like the Smithsonian museums, but it has a great collection. Corcoran and Renwick galleries are also good.

Aaron W
05-12-2011, 06:30 PM
Since Michelle Kwan likes to eat at Circa (http://www.circacafes.com/) in Dupont Circle, you'll have to head there for brunch or dinner. :)

If you arrive early enough on June 1st, you could catch the afternoon game between the Nats and Phillies. Otherwise the Nats are on the road the rest of your time in DC.

05-13-2011, 10:08 PM
Thanks for all the suggestions!
Is anyone interested in meeting up for dinner or lunch?
I am free any day for lunch (or afternoon tea! hint, hint) except Saturday June 4,
and free for dinner every day except the 2nd (meeting Rob again :))

05-28-2011, 07:48 PM

05-28-2011, 11:03 PM
Marge, I'll be in town while you're in DC and am free to get together for food or sightseeing. I'll PM you contact information.

I saw Sondheim's Follies at the Kennedy Center earlier this week. Bernadette Peters is starring. The voices were good and I enjoyed the play. It's pricey and probably close to sold out, but I imagine single tickets are likely to pop up. The Millennium Stage at the Ken Cen has free performances daily at 6 PM: http://www.kennedy-center.org/programs/millennium/schedule.html

The Renwick Gallery (Penn. Ave near the White House) has a craft invitational running now. The featured artists work in stained glass, porcelain, silver, and wood. I especially loved the porcelain. There are also pieces from the permanent collection on display. Entrance is free.

For a quick lunch of soup, salad, and/or sandwich, I recommend the Breadline at 1775 Pennsylvania Ave., near the White House and Renwick. It's a bit more expensive than other lunch spots of the type, but for good reason. Unless you can get there early or late, be prepared to grab your food and look for a park bench somewhere. Links to daily menus are here: http://www.breadline.com/menu.html

I also enjoy Eastern Market. The outdoor vendors (including craft folks and food-related stands) are in place on Saturdays as well as Sundays. The market is 2 blocks or so from the Metro.

It's likely to be hot. If you're short on indoor attractions you haven't already visited, the following are nice, architecturally: Union Station, National Building Museum (401 F NW; closed June 6 for special event), and Library of Congress.