Friday Question of the Day: If You Were Leaving DC After 8 Years – What Would You Visit Before Leaving?

Photo by PoPville flickr user ericnuzum

This one comes from the forum – but I’m curious to hear more folks recommendations:

“In a few months I’ll be moving out of DC–after 8+ years here. I’ve tried to be a pretty active resident in terms of sightseeing and activities, but are there any must sees I might have missed? I’m thinking more “off the beaten path” places or events (outside of the Smithsonians, art museums, monuments) that I’d want to check out before it’s too late.”

We got some great recs back in 2011 – but I’m what curious folks would recommend today?

Assuming the weather is nice, I think I would recommend a tour of the parks. Maybe take an epic walk or bike ride from the Georgetown Waterfront, to Meridian Hill, to Lincoln Park on the Hill, to the Yards Park in Navy Yard (or maybe split it up over a few days) and I’d try to hit some of my favorite restaurant/bars for a drink along the way. Another thing I’d recommend (which may say odd to some) is check out and walk around some of DC’s cemeteries like Rock Creek Cemetery and Congressional Cemetery. What would you guys do?

46 Comment

  • binpetworth

    For the gardens: The Arboretum and Dumbarton Oaks

    Museums & Historic Residences: Newseum and Hillwood

    For the half smokes and Cracker Jack: A Nats game

  • I would visit Marion Barry so I can tell him how honored and proud I am to have live in the same city as him for 8 years. LOL

  • The National Arboretum off NY Ave

  • The Army Medical Museum (or whatever the official name is) at Walter Reed. Holy cow it is FASCINATING.

  • I would take that time and just hang out with friends. It’s the people, not the places that will keep a piece of your heart here.

  • 1. Library of Congress
    2. White House Tour

    Oh, wait…forget that last one for now…

  • The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations’ Millennium General Assembly

  • Bike west along the C&O Canal, then north on the Capital Crescent to Bethesda, east along the Georgetown Branch Trail to the Rock Creek Trail and then South down Beach Drive to where you started. It’s one of my favorite weekend activities. Soon everything will be blooming, and it will be particularly stunning.

    • I’ve been wanting to ride the canal trail for a long time and I’m not sure where to start. Coming from Maryland, is there a good starting point where I can park my car?

      • If you want to do the loop that I describe, you can park in Rock Creek Park, keeping in mind that on the weekends, Beach Drive is closed between Broad Branch and Military, and you can only drive northward between Military and Wise Road. If you want to start at the canal, you can park on K street under the Whitehurst.

        • My mother lives pretty close to Beach Drive. Maybe I’ll park at her house one of these days and ride over to the trail.

  • 1. Go to Arlington House and see the view of the city (and L’Enfant’s grave)
    2. Take the 36 bus to the end of the line, to see that Southeast isn’t like what you’ve been lead to believe.
    3. The Adams Memorial gravesite in Rock Creek Cemetary.
    4. The Air & Space Museum to touch the moon rock.

  • Also, the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens are well worth a visit.

  • And the Heurich House.

  • Go to a concert at Carter Barron. The DC Blues Festival is there Labor Day Saturday and it’s free.

  • – Walk the length of Connecticut Avenue one Saturday/Sunday – tons of fascinating shops and restaurants
    – Visit Eastern Market and the Dupont Farmers Market
    – Jazz in the Garden or the free outdoor concert by Nats Stadium
    – The free Memorial Day concert on Capitol Hill
    – Screen on the Green or any of the other free movie events in and around DC
    – Go to a Nats game and play cornhole at the Fairgrounds/Bullpen
    – Eat at as many DC-centric restaurants as possible – besides Ben’s Chili Bowl – Dukem, any Jose Andres restaurant (Jaleo, Oyamel, etc.), 1789, Old Ebbitt, Busboys & Poets, Poste, etc.
    – Walk up early and stand in line to attend a hearing at the Supreme Court
    – See Shear Madness at the Kennedy Center (I feel like everybody who grew up here has seen this five times….) – or have a drink at the rooftop restaurant
    – Take a jog around Hains Point
    – Tour Arlington Cemetery
    – Watch the sun rise from the Lincoln Memorial – and think to yourself, DAMN, I lived in a really kickass city 🙂

    • What part of Connecticut Ave? Maybe I need to revisit it, but that entire street has gotten increasingly more boring in the 7+ years I’ve been here.

      • Before seeing this, I actually walked Connecticut Avenue recently from Nebraska down to Dupont. It’s very pleasant – I really like the apartment buildings and the neighborhoods are very quaint with some interesting shops.

  • A lot of people never make it to Roosevelt Island, which I think is a mistake.

  • don’t sleep on the Arboretum

  • definitely spend time in Rock Creek Park

  • saf

    The Lincoln Cottage

    Cedar Hill

    Kenilworth Acquatic Gardens

    The Franciscan Monastery

    The Shrine

    The Cathedral

    Some of our lovely local cemeteries (Rock Creek, Oak Hill, Congressional, Mount Olivet, Mount Zion, Woodlawn, Prospect Hill, Glenwood, Adas Israel, Battleground, Holy Rood, Soldiers’ Home National Cemetery)

    The National Building Museum

    Take a tour of Saint Elizabeths

    Eastern Market

    Discover some neighborhoods – walk a Neighborhood Heritage Trail (or all of them!)

    Roosevelt Island

    Rock Creek Park

    Anacostia Park

  • Check out the two best views in the city – the Capitol dome from the intersection of 11th and Clifton NW and, on a clear day, the view all the way down to the Wilson Bridge from the 14th street hill above FL Ave, NW

  • The Childrens Chapel at Washington National Cathedral

  • Spy Museum
    POV at the W hotel-rooftop bar with amazing White House and Washington monument views.
    See a play at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre
    Movies at the Uptown
    Dinner at Central Michel Richard and Restaurant Nora
    Shopping at Georgetown and/or Tysons
    Playing pool at the Continental
    Snacks and the best hot chocolate ever at ACKC

  • The Exorcist steps.

  • Brookside Gardens in Wheaton. Go when the butterfly house is open; it’s amazing. If you have kids, make sure to take them to Wheaton Regional Park nearby, with its carousel and mini train and abso-fucking-lutely awesome playground.

  • Have a drink at the roof top terrace of the W hotel (miss you Hotel Washington).

  • This doesn’t answer your question exactly, but I’m approaching my 8 year anniversary in DC so the question got me thinking. A lot has changed in 8 years, both with me and with the city itself. The places I spend time in now are very different than the ones I used to, and I don’t keep in touch with most of the people I knew my first 1-2 years here. So I might spend time walking around my old haunts, see if I can meet up with old acquaintances, and maybe even go to a bar or restaurant I haven’t been to in years.

  • I’d have dinner at Inn at Little Washington (don’t stay there, just eat). THe bonsai exhibit at Nat’l Arboretum is really cool, as is the US BOtanical gardens in front of the Capitol. THen I’d go to Black Squirrel and order 2 orders of fries (with malt vinegar) and eat them without fingers or utensils. Yes, I would buy my face in the pile of fries.

  • D.C’s own little Spanish Steps at 22nd and S-ish N.W.

  • Going through the same experience – Just visited the Franciscan Monastery for the first time Very glad we made it there for the gardens and to find such a peaceful oasis off the beaten urban path.

    A second recommendation is to bike around Hains Point when then cherry blossoms are in full bloom. It is breath taking. If you don’t have your own bike use a CaBi.

  • spring film festivals: DC Environmental film fest, Filmfest DC, Euro Asia Shorts, SilverDocs. See a movie on the big screen at the AFI in Silver Spring – they also have two film festivals (New African & Korean films) coming up

    spring garden opportunities: Arboretum, Kennilworth Aquatic gardens, Fransiscan Monastery, new-ish DC parks in SW/SE: Yards Park and Canal Park

    See a show at WolfTrap (or the Strathmore, they’re both beautiful venues). See a lecture or performance at the 6th & I Synagogue or a smaller book discussion at Politics & Prose. Go to an embassy during their open houses in April/May. Say goodbye to the pandas and orangutans at the zoo.

  • -i definitely second the view from the top of 11th and clifton, or just north of florida ave
    -jazz in the garden
    -capital bikeshare around hains point, picnic at the end
    -watch planes take off at gravelly point

  • I’m the OP and I love all the suggestions. I’m proud to realize I’ve already enjoyed a ton of these, but keep ’em coming!

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