My wife and I are going to DC for a weekend getaway. We would like suggestions on any out of the way points of interest other than the hyped up normal places to go, most of which we've already seen at one time or another. Any suggestions for bizarre, unusual, exciting things to do in DC?
Robert E. Lee's boyhood home in Alexandria, VA is kind of interesting and is also supposed to be haunted. It's in the Old Town section and I would imagine this would be open year-round - more a house than an estate.
There are also general ghost walking tours of Alexandria. I have never done one of these myself, however, and these may be seasonal.
Not too far from the Mt. Vernon estate is Woodlawn Plantation, which is a large estate that was built for a relation of George & Martha Washington. I haven't visited it or Mt. Vernon in many years but it was an interesting tour.
Hope this helps.
My brother was stationed at Andrews AFB for four years. Soooo many stories! The Marlborough area is very pretty. I'm not sure if you can do it or not, but it would be really interesting to take a tour of the Air Force Base. It's like the reception point for all foreign dignitaries who come in and out of the country. My brother, among other things, served as a VIP escort for some of these guys. He once took the PM of Poland to Taco Bell. It was where the guy wanted to go, so they went! No telling what kinds of things you'd learn from that kind of a tour.
What sort of transportation will you have during your time in DC? If you have already seen most of DC, are you looking for things to do on the outskirts of DC?
Virginia has some really nice vineyards (middleburg or down route 29 towards Charlottesville) if you want to travel this way, you can also stop in to see Monticello (Thomas Jefferson's house) and Montpelier (James Madison's house).
If you like to hike...Great Falls park is another nice thing to do - there's a trail on the Virginia side and a trail on the Maryland side. In my opinion, Virginia has a prettier view, so I would hike the Billy Goat Trail in Maryland so I can see the Virginia side (the Potomac river runs between these 2 states).
Maryland - walk around Annapolis by the harbour (Capital of Maryland). The Naval Academy is right next door...or visit Baltimore.
Pennsylvania - If you like history, Gettysburg is about 1.5 hours drive and you can do a driving tour at your own pace (buy the CD)and stop in for some Amish food afterwards.
Have a great trip!
I whole-heartedly agree with the Great Falls and Annapolis suggestions. Both are beautiful interesting places to explore...
if you are metro-bound, you might head out to Silver Spring, MD. the "city-center" is a about a 5-10 minute walk from the metro station, but it was completely revamped and refurbished a few years ago. now has a great pedestrian zone with tons of restaurants, a few movie cinemas, plus the Discovery Channel has a building there, the bottom floor of which was a museum type thing when i was last there (two years ago). there is also a "water-jet fountain" and some great architecture in the center.
i guess i dont know if Ben's Chili Bowl is on or off the beaten track... i've heard both. But its a great little restaurant in SE (somewhere along the green line, cant remember the exact stop) - pix on the walls of all the famous people who have been in there, and GREAT chili dogs!!!
a few of my faves that you may or may not have seen yet: the "map of the world" at the US Navy memorial ; albert einstein statue on Constitution Ave & 22nd; and since its winter, go skating! there is usually a rink at the National Gallery (in the sculpture garden, which, incidentally, is beautiful if its snowy).
sorry so long winded! hope it was of some help!
another suggestion: The International Spy Museum has received rave reviews. I have not been there yet but some folks whose opinions I trust really liked it. www.spymuseum.org
Mount Vernon has been undergoing some renovations recently and might be a nice visit.
I always go to Reeves Bakery for breakfast or lunch or just to buy a dessert when I am in DC - www.reevesbakery.com it is a GREAT place for a quick and DELICIOUS meal, and is not expensive.
If you have never been to Five Guys for hamburgers and fries, that is another great place to eat!
Hope the weather is nice when you go!
A] Non-standard attractions of Washington D.C.:
a) Georgetown: Georgetown offers a dramatic contrast to the politically charged atmosphere of downtown Washington D.C. The concentration of activity is on “M” street - a street that runs right through the heart of Georgetown. It is home to trendy boutiques, stores, artsy joints, and fancy restaurants. The food in these restaurants is not the most interesting. The only restaurant I like on this street is “Amma’s vegetarian kitchen”. I have recommended this to several non-Indian friends too and they absolutely loved it. I truly recommend a walk down “M” street. For the enjoyment, M street offers the highest concentration of classy eye-candy in the country. “K” street is a parallel street to “M” street and runs alongside the banks of the Potomac river. Get to the intersection of “31st street” and “K” street. It should be right next to the Loews movie theater. Right opposite the movie theater is the Potomac waterfront. It has a fabulous and vibrant atmosphere - especially in the evenings. People chilling on their boats, youngsters mingling at the open-air bar right next to “Sequoia” restaurant, street performers and sometimes acapella groups. A great place for a social outing. The roads leading from M street to K street are downward sloping. One of these slopes (31-34) has a great middle eastern café called “Prince Café”. It is a sheesha joint that stays open until 5 a.m. and plays arabic music videos all night. Again, not much of a culinary experience but makes for a good social outing.
b) Dupont Circle: Another part of town brimming with life and bustling with activity. It mirrors the street-side café culture of Europe in every way. Trendy, quaint and unconventional stores lie side by side. It is one of those places where you take your time and let life in the area soak into you.
c) Eastern Market: A great spot for a Saturday late morning/afternoon. There is a farmers’ market here, along with street vendors selling interesting stuff. It is extremely popular with both locals as well as tourists. Grab brunch at “Bread and Chocolate” - a popular restaurant nestled in the heart of the market.
B] Food in D.C.
a) Raykuh: Thai food; Nearest metro :Dupont Circle
b) Lebanese Taverna: Lebanese food (the best in the country in my opinion). Nearest metro: Woodley Park/Adams Morgan
c) Zorba’s Greek Café: Greek/Meditteranean; Nearest metro: Dupont Circle
d) Haad Thai: Thai food; Nearest metro: Metro Center
e) Amma’s Vegetarian Kitchen: Indian - on M Street in Georgetown
Washington D.C. is home to the largest Ethiopian community in the US. Hence, there is an abundance of Ethiopian restaurants. I am afraid I can’t recommend one of the top of my head. I know every city has a “Meskerem” Ethiopian restaurant. You could try one of those if you feel experimental.
C] Arts/Culture in Washington D.C.
Grab a copy of the “City Paper” a free weekly paper typically available at metro stops. It is a great resource to stay posted on events in the city as well as exciting volunteering opportunities. I believe it can also be viewed online at www.citypaper.com. Foreign films are an integral part of D.C. mainstream popular culture so you might want to be on the lookout for those.
Another popular thing to watch is “Flamenco” dancing. They used to have this on Monday nights at Café Citroen (near Dupont Circle). Café Citroen becomes an awesome singles bar in the weekends - especially Saturdays.
Hope this helps.