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Tourist Tips for DC!

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Marge_Simpson, May 11, 2011.

  1. Marge_Simpson

    Marge_Simpson Well-Known Member

    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?
  2. Marge_Simpson

    Marge_Simpson Well-Known Member

    no one has a tip for me? :(
  3. Vagabond

    Vagabond Well-Known Member

  4. Meredith

    Meredith what a glorious day!


    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.
  5. Taso

    Taso Well-Known Member

    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!
  6. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

    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.
  7. aliceanne

    aliceanne Well-Known Member

    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.
  8. NinjaTurtles

    NinjaTurtles Teenage Mutant

    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).

    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/. 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.
  9. flyingsit

    flyingsit Well-Known Member

    If you didn't go to the Newseum last time, I recommend it more than any other place.
  10. aliceanne

    aliceanne Well-Known Member

    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.

  11. Rob

    Rob Beach Bum

    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 Tea Cosy & The British Connection.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.
  12. Aaron W

    Aaron W Well-Known Member

    Since Michelle Kwan likes to eat at Circa 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.
  13. Marge_Simpson

    Marge_Simpson Well-Known Member

    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 :))
  14. Marge_Simpson

    Marge_Simpson Well-Known Member

  15. acraven

    acraven Well-Known Member

    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.
  16. dbell1

    dbell1 Well-Known Member

    The Newseum was my favorite place. I could have spent the day there. You can see the tiny set of "This Week", Tim Russert's office, newspapers from hundreds of years ago, part of the Berlin Wall... Total news geek blast for me. :)

    Also agree with the Sackler/Freer recommendations. And strolling around the Smithsonian Gardens near the Castle is divine. I love the architecture of the American Indian museum, but am sort of 'meh' on the inside. Go hungry - their cafe is amazing (I saw lots of people coming in from local companies to eat. The old overcrowed NYC one still has a place in my heart.

    If you can get to it, go to Udvar-Hazy Air & Space museum - it's jaw dropping for space fans. http://www.nasm.si.edu/udvarhazy/

    My tips? Comfy sneakers and a metro card. I did both before our September trip and it made life easier. I'd go back again this summer, but my son is bored with DC for vacation. Think the heat and humidity did him in. :lol:
  17. allezfred

    allezfred Master/Mistress of Sneer Staff Member

    My abiding memory of DC from when I went there in my teens is of the heat and humidity and a French woman who was on the tour with us fainting in the Capitol. :lol:
    PeterG and (deleted member) like this.
  18. Marge_Simpson

    Marge_Simpson Well-Known Member

    Newseum and Renwick are on my list of "must-sees". :)
    I went to the American Indian Museum on my last visit and plan to go again this time. I was pretty underwhelmed with the exhibits, but I thought the gift shops and the cafe were the best of all the Smithsonian museums. I am planning to stop in one afternoon and eat lunch there.
    Can anyone tell me the best way to get to the Hillwood Estate? It looks like it's tricky to get there by public transportation, should I just get a taxi?
  19. acraven

    acraven Well-Known Member

    I've never been to Hillwood, but Google says it's just 0.7 miles from the Van Ness-UDC Metro. The actual distance might be a bit longer, but it still shouldn't be a bad walk if you can tolerate our weather.

    If you want a combination of public transportation and cab, you can take Metro to Woodley Park-Zoo (two stops closer to downtown) and walk uphill on Connecticut Ave to the large hotel that will be on your left. Should be cabs there. It might be equally simple to get a cab at Van Ness-UDC or the stop in between (Cleveland Park), but I don't know whether there's anything resembling a cab stand at either one.

    Incidentally, there are a lot of moderately priced, ethnically diverse restaurants near the Woodley Park-Zoo station. (Possibly near Cleveland Park and Van Ness as well, but again I'm not familiar with those.)
  20. Debbie S

    Debbie S Well-Known Member

    Have you been to the Spy Museum? It's near the Verizon Center - just a few blocks from the Chinatown Metro stop.

    I might be able to make a meet-up, if you guys decide to do another one. I missed the last one due to stupid broken leg (and I think snow may have been involved, too).
  21. Marge_Simpson

    Marge_Simpson Well-Known Member

    I'd love to do a meet-up. :)
  22. flyingsit

    flyingsit Well-Known Member

    I'm in, schedule permitting!
  23. toepick

    toepick Member

    I live a block or two away from it. It is easily accessible from the Cleveland Park or Van Ness-UDC Metro.
  24. Marge_Simpson

    Marge_Simpson Well-Known Member

    I can do lunch (or afternoon tea, if anyone is interested in that) on Thursday, Friday, Monday or Tuesday. Brunch or lunch would work on Saturday or Sunday, but I'd need to get to the Kennedy Center by 2 PM saturday and 1:30 PM Sunday.
    I can do dinner on Saturday, Sunday, Monday or Tuesday. I could also do dinner on Friday, but would need to leave in time to get to the Kennedy Center by 7:30 PM.
    Hope to meet some of you soon! :)
  25. aliceanne

    aliceanne Well-Known Member

    I can do Friday lunch or Sunday brunch.
  26. Marge_Simpson

    Marge_Simpson Well-Known Member

    I'm staying up all night, because I am NOT a morning person, and I have an early train. If I go to bed, I will not get up on time.
    *Marge opens another Starbucks frappuccino*
    I will sleep on the train, it terminates at union Station, so there is no danger that I will wake up in Florida. :lol: I've resigned myself to be useless for the rest of the day, however, but I will check back here on Thursday.
    On the off chance that I feel reasonably alert in the evening, I may get myself to the Kennedy Center and see if I can get a ticket for the NBC gala. Is anyone else planning to attend? We could meet during the intermssion if I manage to haul my but over there.
  27. Stefanie

    Stefanie Well-Known Member

    Safe travels, Marge! :)
  28. allezfred

    allezfred Master/Mistress of Sneer Staff Member

    Do they not have alarm clocks in NYC? :shuffle:
  29. Debbie S

    Debbie S Well-Known Member

    Hope you had a safe trip, Marge, and are enjoying the Kennedy Center gala.

    I can't do anything on Friday, but I could do lunch/brunch/dinner this weekend or dinner on Tuesday.
  30. Civic

    Civic New Member

    Two Washington, D.C. restaurants I enjoyed when I was there for Worlds in 2003:

    Jaleo's. Spanish restaurant that serves wonderful tapas.
    Teaism. Asian-influenced tea shop that serves meals in binto boxes.