What to do in Washington DC?

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  • What to do in Washington DC?
  • whatnobeer
    Member

    I’ll be spending 6 days in DC in early June and was wondering if anyone has any recommendations of things to see or do? The obvious tourist stuff is always good and see and fun, but its nice to get personal recommendations of some more off beat stuff as well. Thanks in advance 🙂

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Subscriber

    A tour of the Pentagon should be on your list.

    I really liked DC, for reasons I can’t quite put my finger on. It felt a bit like home, I guess.

    d4
    Member

    A firm called bike and roll do good guided cycle tours and rentals. I think they have 3 locations around DC and you can do one way rentals between them. One is over the river in Virginia and there is a good cycle path past Arlington and the Pentagon down to Old Town.

    whatnobeer
    Member

    A tour of the Pentagon should be on your list.

    You can tour the Pentagon? Wow, that hadn’t even crossed my mind as something you could do. I’ll look in to it. Thanks.

    TooTall
    Member

    Use the Metro. It is efficient and I’d vote it ‘Best Urban Transit System From the 60s Future’. You’ll know what I mean.

    Where are you staying? Big place.

    http://www.pointofviewdc.com/info
    It has the views.

    whatnobeer
    Member

    Where are you staying? Big place.

    Staying in Coloumbia Heights, about 5/10 mins walk from the Metro.

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Subscriber

    You can tour the Pentagon?

    Yeah. It’s well worth doing; I felt like Fox Mulder. (-:

    TooTall
    Member

    Well with the Grant Memorial at the East and the Lincoln Memorial at the West and everything (Smithsonian, Vietnam Memorial etc) in between, you have a load down there. The area near Foggy Bottom and the GWU were recommended to me for bars when I was last there, but I was out in Crystal City and there was a heatwave on so too hot and sweaty for much.

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Subscriber

    Dear gods, I’d forgotten the Smithsonians.

    You absolutely must do the Air & Space museum, it’s phenomenal.

    whatnobeer
    Member

    You absolutely must do the Air & Space museum, it’s phenomenal.

    This is definitely on the ‘must-do’ list. I quite fancy giving the American-Indian one a go too. Reckon you could probably spend a week in DC and do nothing but the Smithsonians.

    Premier Icon midlifecrashes
    Subscriber

    And the National Geographic

    Edit: You could certainly do five days if you have Museum stamina. Check your weather forecast, and pack appropriately, when it’s cold it’s very cold and there are lots of good views to outside for in DC.

    Jason
    Member

    I was over there earlier this year. You can easily spend a day just wandering around the various memorials.

    Overall the highlight for me was the Al Weiwei exhibition at the The Hirshhorn, but that may have finished by now.

    We had prearranged entry tickets to the Capitol Building, and managed to get entry passes in the House of Representatives. Which was all very interesting. Someone arranged those for me, but imagine they can be sorted out online.

    The National Archives Building is worth a quick visit to look at some of old American documents.

    I think by June it should be fairly warm. While I was there in January the temperature varied from about minus 10 to 15 degrees. We also had freezing rain one day, which meant everything shut for the morning.

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Subscriber

    It’s worth a mosey round the inaccurately named Capitol Hill too. It’s weird, the city just stops and there’s a mile long strip of green running through it, separated by a several lane highway. The Whitehouse is obviously secured, but the the green belt is essentially a public park. You can go and have a picnic on the Whitehouse lawn.

    If you don’t ‘do’ America often, it is worth popping to a Five Guys (I went to this one in DC) for a burger. Doesn’t look much, but it is well worth seeking out

    whatnobeer
    Member

    If you don’t ‘do’ America often, it is worth popping to a Five Guys (I went to this one in DC) for a burger. Doesn’t look much, but it is well worth seeking out

    I’ve heard of 5 guys, but given that this is my first trip stateside, I’ve obviously never been. I have a number of friends who seem obsessed with a few of the American burger/fast food places which at the moment, I just don’t get. This might open my eyes 😛

    rusty90
    Member

    St Arnold’s Mussel Bar Lovely little bar with huge range of amazing Belgian beer, great atmosphere and surprisingly cheap.

    Premier Icon hatter
    Subscriber

    Second the Smithsonians, amazing places, well worth getting your ‘inform me’ head on for.

    Central DC is very much the custom built capital and everything’s very monumental and reverential. Great for a while but if you need a break from it check out Georgetown, nice part of the world for food, bars etc and and a bit more human. There are even a few decent bike shops there if memory serves.

    Just be careful about going to far out, the outer suburbs are a bit ‘frisky’.

    If we’re talking burgers in DC….

    Head to Georgetown. http://www.thunderburger.com/index1.html

    T1000
    Member

    Arlington +1
    Native American History museum is a must…
    Korean War memorial (best early or late in the day…. preferably if its raining and overcast)
    aerospace musuem its worth heading out to the [Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center] site as well as the one on 6th

    CaptJon
    Member

    I liked DC because it doesn’t feel very American – the lack of skyscrapers helps. The Air and Space museum in the city is overrated. The exhibits are getting tatty (or at least they were 3 years ago) and it is a proper patriotism-fest. Go to the one near Dulles if you have the choice.

    The zoo is pretty good, especially when the orang-utans are out above everyone.

    Premier Icon binners
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    Premier Icon davieg
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    On both of my trips to DC (years apart), I have visited the Arlington Cemetery. It is an incredible place, quite moving but very interesting and provides stunning views across the city and Potomac.

    We did the Hoover building tour years ago. The live gun show in the basement was quite surreal!

    cupra
    Member

    Great city, I loved it. Second the comments about the memorials and the Air and Space Museum. I loved Georgetown. Overall a really chilled almost ‘unamerican’ city. Some of the outer districts are meant to be a bit dodgy.

    whatnobeer
    Member

    Thanks everyone, some really nice ideas up there. Dont quite get binners comment though…?

    We did the Hoover building tour years ago. The live gun show in the basement was quite surreal!

    😯

    Premier Icon Riksbar
    Subscriber

    If your looking for evening entertainment try The 9:30 Club, a cracking live venue. Worth booking ahead

    scotabroad
    Member

    Everything said above DC centre can easily keep you occupied for two days and its all free!.

    The other attractions worth a visit is the Zoo which is good. Its also worthwhile going up to the seafront at Baltimore, it has a square rigger, a submarine, huge aquarium with lots of great aquatic life, and the science and technology museum is superb (esp with kids), and loads of eaterys.

    One word of warning, dont think about about venturing just anywhere. Parts of DC and Baltimore are well dodgy but centres great.

    m0rk
    Member

    Both Air & Space Museum’s are great fun – there’s the huge one by the airport I used to stop at on my way back to the airport (I used to work sporadically in Charlottesville)

    You’ll be spoiled for choice, especially if you have a Sunday there as there’s always something on.

    I did a 4th July there a few years back – amazing.

    Premier Icon matthewjb
    Subscriber

    If you don’t know any American history it’s worth a quick read up before you go. Helps to separate your Jeffersons from your Lincolns etc.

    Around the central National Mall then the Smithsonians are worth seeing. And the art galleries.

    But it’s also worth seeing the various memorials. Not just Lincoln, Washington and Jefferson, but also the various wars.

    Away from the centre the Cathedral was impressive although quite new compared to ours.

    When I went we took one of those mini road train tours. You get to see a lot in a short time and can then decide what to go back to.

    Remember it could be warm in June so dress accordingly. When I went in July it as 100 degrees. Walking anywhere was a strain.

    whatnobeer
    Member

    If you don’t know any American history it’s worth a quick read up before you go. Helps to separate your Jeffersons from your Lincolns etc.

    Excellent idea. I know a bit, but not a huge amount. Could make for some nice light reading on the flight over….

    Remember it could be warm in June so dress accordingly. When I went in July it as 100 degrees. Walking anywhere was a strain.

    Will admit that I’m not overly keen on the heat. Hoping early June won’t be too bad, but I’ve heard it can be very hot and humid. Spending 5 days in Virginia after DC and expect it to be even worse heat wise 🙁

    Premier Icon davieg
    Subscriber

    We did the Hoover building tour years ago. The live gun show in the basement was quite surreal!

    Just to clarify, the Hoover building is the HQ of FBI. They ran public tours and showed you the gun that Lee Harvey Oswald allegedly used to kill JFK. At the end of the tour, the highlight was an FBI officer firing off a few rounds in the basement followed by a Q&A session. I had to sit on my hands to stop myself from asking if this glorification of guns was perhaps not helpful to efforts to curb gun crime.

    I was there long before 9/11, but was amazed that you could go on tours of the FBI, White House, Washington Monument and no doubt Capitol Hill. I have no idea if these tours still occur, no doubt you have to apply and book first, but really fascinating.

    http://www.districthardware.com/

    Worth a visit for the mini bike museum they have inside!

    As I sit here killing time at Waterloo I have just remembered to recommend the train station near Capitol Hill. Worth a wander and a great place to stop for a coffee (although not as impressive as Grand Central in NY, it beats Waterloo hands down!)

    georgetown, arlington cem and the holocaust museum

    whatnobeer
    Member

    Thanks again, lots more things to add to the list. Trying to get a tour round some of the governmental buildings sounds great, but not sure how easy it is for some them if your not American. Need to have a proper look after work.

    petergee
    Member

    It’s surprising the buildings you can tour. Try and get out to Annapolis which is a nice little town on Chesapeake Bay. A lot of naval history there. Lots of great spots and little islands around the bay. Happy travels!

    Premier Icon JoeG
    Subscriber

    but not sure how easy it is for some them if your not American

    You might not be very welcome at all! The last time that the British visited Washington DC, they burned the place down!

    Burning of Washington

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