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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys, I'll be venturing out to DC from the 17th to 21st of June and would like some advice on what to do while there. I know it won't be a lot of time, so that is why I want to make sure I check out the best sites, restaurants, and bars DC has to offer a clueless tourist like myself. I definitely want to see some museums, so any recommendations of the best ones to see? I've heard the Smithsonians are cool. I'm not too big on the white house tour since I know it takes all day, so pretty much I'm looking for things to do that won't waste a whole day standing in line...if there are such things. Also, if you have restaurants or bars I should check out, that would be nice too. Unfortuntely I'll be with my parents, so if there are bars that aren't just for the young crowd, that's what I'm lookin' for. I'm 25 and they're in their early 50's.

Thanks everyone! :cheers:

-kcmetro
 

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kc,

I'd definitely suggest you visit at least some of the Smithsonian. The two most popular of the Smithsonian museums are the Museum of Natural History and the National Air and Space Museum. These two happen to also be my favorites, and they're definitely worth checking out, although they can get VERY crowded. For less crowded museums, I suggest you check out the Freer and Sackler museums, which are also part of the Smithsonian network.

Unfortunately, DC is the summer is simply just insane in terms of crowds when it comes to seeing any of the major and even some of the minor attractions. Luckily, there is plenty to do besides waiting in lines. I would recommend checking out the Georgetown and Dupont Circle neighborhoods.

You can find just about any type of meal you're looking for in DC, so I'm not going to recommend any, since I don't really have any favorites, perhaps some of the DC forumers can recommend some.

Also, check out this thread, it was originally out thread for DC visitors, but it died quickly. Now that summer is coming, it'll probably get quite busy.
http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=448791&page=2
 

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Hey guys, I'll be venturing out to DC from the 17th to 21st of June and would like some advice on what to do while there. I know it won't be a lot of time, so that is why I want to make sure I check out the best sites, restaurants, and bars DC has to offer a clueless tourist like myself. I definitely want to see some museums, so any recommendations of the best ones to see? I've heard the Smithsonians are cool. I'm not too big on the white house tour since I know it takes all day, so pretty much I'm looking for things to do that won't waste a whole day standing in line...if there are such things. Also, if you have restaurants or bars I should check out, that would be nice too. Unfortuntely I'll be with my parents, so if there are bars that aren't just for the young crowd, that's what I'm lookin' for. I'm 25 and they're in their early 50's.

Thanks everyone! :cheers:

-kcmetro
Definitely go to the Smithsonian Museums, because not only are they the best in America, they are all free entry. I would recommend going as early as you can to those because in the summer, DC gets sweltering around mid-day. I would suggest a quick stop to the Tidal Basin to see the monuments, however, checking them out is best at night because they are lit up, it's much cooler temperature-wise, and there are less crowds. For food and bars, Adams Morgan and Georgetown are the places to check out, although G-town does not have a Metro stop, but it's kind of close to the Foggy Bottom Station. Another good place is Gallery Place - Chinatown. The Verizon Center is surrounded by a lot of good restaurants, and the ESPN-Zone is nearby. Two places I would recommend, I believe both are on H Street, are the Capitol-Q Barbeque, which is the best Texas-style BBQ place I've ever had (outside of Texas) and the China Doll Restaurant. The China Doll's food is good, and it has the added bonus of being where Red Auerbach would eat lunch every Tuesday. If you want a chance to see the Capitol buildings, I would recommend getting off at the Capitol South Metro Station, which is on the Blue and Orange lines, and then walking north to Union Station. You will see the House Office buildings (one of them, Cannon has almost as much office space as the Empire State Building) and the Capitol, which you should try to view from along New Jersey Ave, between the Longfellow and Cannon buildings, the Dome looks like it is almost painted in the afternoon. You will also see the Library of Congress, and the Supreme Court. Union station also has tons of shops and cool places to eat, and the Red Line has a station there, so it's easy to get back to wherever you are staying.

I can suggest more, but it depends on where you will be staying?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Great info guys!

I'll be staying at the Washington Hilton Hotel at 1919 Connecticut, a few blocks north of Dupont Circle. Is that within walking distance of G-Town? It looks like it might be from looking at Google maps, but it can be deceiving since everything seems smaller on an aerial image.
 

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Great info guys!

I'll be staying at the Washington Hilton Hotel at 1919 Connecticut, a few blocks north of Dupont Circle. Is that within walking distance of G-Town? It looks like it might be from looking at Google maps, but it can be deceiving since everything seems smaller on an aerial image.
And while you're at it, you can venture 37 miles straight up I-95 to Baltimore. Both cities have a great deal to offer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
And while you're at it, you can venture 37 miles straight up I-95 to Baltimore. Both cities have a great deal to offer.
I've heard the Inner Harbor is nice. I was just chatting with my boss about DC and he brought up how nice Baltimore is. I'd love to see Camden Yards, but not sure if I'll have time.

I want to make sure to eat some seafood too while I'm out there, as the KC area doesn't have much in the way of fresh seafood.
 

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Well, well...the Washington Hilton. That is the hotel where Reagan was shot by Hinckley back in the 1980s! The moment you'll be checking into the hotel, you'll be starting your pseudo-historic visit.

I would definitely recommend the DuPont, Georgetown and downtown areas, along with a jaunt to Old Town Alexandria in Virginia. If you don't have a car, or are afraid of getting lost, the Metro is definitely your best bet. You can purchase an all-day pass (so you don't have to worry about getting stung by fares each time you enter/exit the system) but I believe they are only available at the larger stations, like MetroCenter(?).

Regardless, I'd plan on a lot of walking. The suggestion of getting up early is a pretty good bet. Do some morning stuff outside, and then try to hit the air-conditioned Smithsonian mid-day while it's the hottest outside. Do more stuff outside in the evening when the weather gets cooler.

I would avoid the White House and Capitol tours. Both are interesting, but lines are long, and the tour...mostly a letdown. To be honest, I didn't know the White House was open for tours again?! Instead, try and take in the national and local history in less crowded ways:

If during the week, you can always visit Capitol Hill, see the Capitol, but instead of going inside, I'd check out one of the Senate or House office buildings (such as the Russell building) or on the House side, the Cannon building. Both are beautiful buildings. PLUS, all you need to do is go through security, and you're in! The Capitol is historic, but mostly a museum. Go visit your local Congressman...drop by...and get a "behind the scenes" view. (Plus, since you'll be limited with nighttime fun due to the parents, a lot of the summer Hill interns aren't too rough on your eyes either...) While up on the Hill, walk past the Supreme Court and go into the Library of Congress (the main/original building). Sometimes they have exhibits and definitely take a look into the main reading room.

Food wise, I'd avoid the national chains as much as possible. Some of my favorite places to "hang" in DC are Front Page (on Du Pont Circle, mostly American food), Clyde’s in Georgetown (American food), as well as the quintessential Washington eat-trap: Old Ebbitt Grille on 15th Street, downtown. (While not glamorous, the food is good, not too pricey, and as far as I'm concerned the BEST selection of oysters on the East coast.) If you go, definitely make a reservation a day prior. (I normally eat late, so when I go there, I don't have a problem getting a seat...but that's after 11:00 p.m.) Plus, if you do the oysters, they have "half-priced oysters" in the early afternoon and again after 11:00 p.m. (weekdays only, excluding Friday). These are all chains, but with some more "local" flavor than a TGIF.

If you like beer, near Du Pont, go to Brickskellar on 22nd Street. The food is hideous, but the beer selection is fabulous. No one ever gives me a “satisfiable” answer, but I've heard claims they stock well over 700 kinds of beer. On a Friday or Saturday night, the place gets packed. (And I'd avoid their "sister location" in Chinatown that opened up a few years ago...if it's still even open.)

Monument-wise, I'd do the Washington, Lincoln, Vietnam, Korean and World War II at night. They are all illuminated and pretty amazing. There have been several times where, just for fun, I've ordered a pizza and had it delivered to the Lincoln Memorial, where we'll "hang" and eat with friends, or other friends that happen to be visiting, while we watch the tourists. Think easy and "down to earth" when in Washington, since the place can be a major pain and stress-hole.

Other strips to consider are the Wisconsin Avenue corridor, as well as Connecticut Avenue strip for food and shopping. M Street in Georgetown is well known for both. If you have the time, consider walking between your hotel and Georgetown. Lots of nice neighborhoods in between, including embassies on Massachusetts Avenue. Adams Morgan is also fun, as are the inner suburbs of Arlington, i.e. the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor: lots of food places.

If you have the time (or car) consider driving outside the immediate city proper. Head 30 minutes outside the city, and you'll definitely catch a whiff of locals, i.e. dialects. You'd be surprised as to how close in to the city you'll find people in the area with roots that extend back generations. Areas like Warrenton, Culpepper and Leesburg come to mind in Virginia, and St. Mary's city in Maryland.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
^^
Wow! Thanks for all the insight!

Luckily, my family is in good with a Congresswoman from KS so she has already arranged for a tour of the Capital for us so we won't have to wait in line.

I'll definitely check out the places you mentioned for food and beer. My parents and I are big-time beer drinkers so we can never have enough places to drink.

I'm sure I'll be doing quite a bit of walking too. I'll check on the metro passes, but I'm guessing most of my time will be spent near the monuments, museums, and Georgetown area. I would however like to get on the rail line at least once since I've heard it's very nice.
 

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(Plus a lot of the summer Hill interns aren't too rough on your eyes either...)
Thank you. I'm sure you look nice too. :cheers:


^^
Wow! Thanks for all the insight!

Luckily, my family is in good with a Congresswoman from KS so she has already arranged for a tour of the Capital for us so we won't have to wait in line.

I'll definitely check out the places you mentioned for food and beer. My parents and I are big-time beer drinkers so we can never have enough places to drink.

I'm sure I'll be doing quite a bit of walking too. I'll check on the metro passes, but I'm guessing most of my time will be spent near the monuments, museums, and Georgetown area. I would however like to get on the rail line at least once since I've heard it's very nice.
I'd be weary of those Capitol Tours. Most of the interns see it as a chore rather than a important part of the internship. Then again, the Capitol is the most stunning building I've ever been in, so even a bad tourguide would be hard pressed to make it a bad experience.

Try to schedule your tour for when the house is voting on a bill so you have an interesting house gallery visit.
 

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Don't forget the National Portrait Gallery! It just reopened last year and is stunning!
 

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As a fairly regular visitor to Washington DC, I agree with what's already been said, I would add that a night time trolley bus tour is definitely worth trying, you get to see all the main monuments lit up, or in the daytime try a DC Duck tour, an amphibious vehicle that tours the streets and the Potomac river!

If you really like walking, I did a day-long route last year that took me from Dupont Circle up via all the Embassy buildings on Massachusetts Ave (potential diversion into Rock Creek Park and the National Zoo here) to the National Cathedral , then down Wisconsin Ave into Georgetown, across the Francis Scott Key bridge into Rosslyn, through Arlington National Cemetery (another 'must see' in my opinion) past the Pentagon, a quick browse round Pentagon City mall, ending up with a look round Crystal City and finally hopping onto the Metro back to my hotel...a long day, but an amazing variety of buildings - take your camera! :)

Have a great trip anyway, I'm sure you will!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Just got back from my DC trip. Had a great fuckin' time! I even got laid! :cheers:

I stayed at the Hilton a few blocks north of Dupont Circle. One day I walked all the way to Georgetown University and then all the way down to the Smithsonian area. That was quite the trek.

I thought G-Town was the coolest neighborhood I'd ever seen. I was really impressed by the architecture and history present there. My friend told me it's the most expensive part of DC and it's understandable why. I checked out the G-Town campus which was very nice. I really liked seeing that huge cathedral-like building at the entrance to the campus. BTW, this was on Monday when it was like 95 degrees so I was sweatin' balls.

From G-Town I walked to the Vietnam Memorial, Lincoln Mem., and Washington Monument. I didn't go up in the Wash. Mon. since I was so tired by then.

The Metro was very nice! I was really impressed with it and it seemed very efficient, although I realize there's been some problems with it lately concerning malfunctioning train cars and delays due to that. The only unpleasant experience with it was Tuesday morning when I had to wait about 20 minutes for it to show up at the Court House stop in Arlington. The first train was too crowded to get on so I had to wait for the 2nd one which was also very crowded, but I managed to get on.

I ate at a restaurant called "Circa...." or something like that which was at Dupont Circle. I had the smoked Salmon which was very tasty. I also ate at a very good pizza joint in Chinatown that had small burgers as appetizers. The name escapes me at the moment but I'm sure you guys know what I'm talking about. I also saw that douchebag Tucker Carlson there drinking at the bar....the dude from CNN.

Monday night my friend and I went to 18th street to drink at a few bars. I went to one where you could sit on the roof and drink, another one which wasn't very crowded at all, and then ended the night at Madam's Organ which was a real good time. The music was great...the band was playing a lot of funk and hip hop.

Wednesday I did the tour of the Capitol and really enjoyed that. I didn't realize how impressive the inside of the dome was. Very cool.

Overall I had a very good time and would even consider moving to the area if a job opportunity opened up there. I have a few friends living there and the only drawback they say is the cost of living. I know I'd have to live in Alexandria or Arlington and preferably near a Metro station if I wanted to afford to live there. And another thing I liked was the height limit on buildings. I enjoyed being able to see the sun in the middle of a dense downtown area where skyscrapers weren't blocking it. There were a shit-load of panhandlers though! :lol:
 

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Overall I had a very good time and would even consider moving to the area if a job opportunity opened up there. I have a few friends living there and the only drawback they say is the cost of living. I know I'd have to live in Alexandria or Arlington and preferably near a Metro station if I wanted to afford to live there. And another thing I liked was the height limit on buildings. I enjoyed being able to see the sun in the middle of a dense downtown area where skyscrapers weren't blocking it. There were a shit-load of panhandlers though! :lol:
I also like the building height limit. It keeps the city bright & airy and gives it a unique feel. But there are certainly some who hate it.

You certainly wouldn't have to live in Arlandria. It really isn't much cheaper these days. There are a good number of decent neighborhoods in the city with a comparable cost of living. And if you're an urban pioneer, you can even do better. However, depending on your income, taxes may make a significant difference.
 
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