These are not necessarily the best or most exciting, but are instead places, I have personally visited and enjoyed! One of my college roommates has lived in Arlington and DC for a few years now and I go to visit her every few months when possible. Now you can imagine, if you go up to DC often enough, the Mall area gets old! So I am going to include some off beat ideas here as well.
- The Flea Market at Eastern Market: This is one of my favorite places to visit in warm weather, because it is bustling with lots of interesting people and has all sorts of vendors. There is a mixture of antiques, clothes, artwork, food, and all sorts of odds and ends on sale. I have only ever visited on Sundays and reached the area via the Eastern Market metro stop.
- The main exhibit at the National Gallery Art: Another personal favorite! This year, I have been to both the Roy Lichtenstein and the Albrecht Dürer showcases and they were amazing! I highly recommend seeing main exhibits at the Gallery.
- Restaurants: I visited Cactus Cantina on my last trip. It was good! The dish I ordered was not what I expected, but besides that I would go here again for its Mexican food and margarita pitchers. There was also Hill Country Barbecue & Market near the Mall – yum! There are a few other restaurants that I have visited and enjoyed. I definitely recommend asking a local where to eat!
- The historic area of Alexandria: I remember it having some neat shops and places to see. There is also the Masonic Temple nearby. If you are staying in DC, there is a metro that will take you here. The historic area is a good place for history buffs that want something a bit different from DC government history.
- Library of Congress: It has a beautiful grand interior and you can catch a glimpse of the inner library area from an observation deck (you know you wish you could reenact National Treasure!). Really a beautiful place to visit. It is within okay walking distance from the Capitol.
- Catch a movie at Regal Gallery Place Stadium 14 (or even an event at the Verizon Center): This is a nice movie theater where I have been a few times to see new releases. If you just want a movie night out, this would be a great option!
- Walk by the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue NW: This is super touristy, but not many people actually know that the north side of the WH is the front! A lot of famous images are of the backside, which faces the Washington Monument. Also while you are walking on Penn Ave, you will notice a woman with a lot of posters and such – she has been there for decades as a protestor and weathers all days to be there to make her point!
- Chinatown: I have only been through here, but I am sure there are cool markets and restaurants to visit there! It is also a neat cross-cultural experience to walk through and see the signs, decorations, and vendors.
- The Cherry Blossoms in the spring: Okay, I am including several touristy ideas! But the trees at the tidal basin are absolutely stunning when the sunlight shines through. This is a seasonal thing though! If you are in the area at the right time, they are accessible by the Smithsonian metro stop. Parking is very competitive. The city also has a Festival!
- Capitol Hill Books: Almost forgot this one! How could I? This is a bookstore in Eastern Market that is in a row house. It is two levels and a basement crammed with used books! I could not find the photography section the last time I went, but I guess I will forgive them.
Other ideas: the Washington National Cathedral, Smithsonian’s National Zoo, museums and monuments on the Mall, especially the gardens around the Smithsonian and Hirshhorn buildings, Arlington National Cemetery, the United States Botanic Garden, and my favorite – get lost or just point yourself in a new direction and make discoveries!
I will be in DC once again when this post publishes. I hope to see a couple of new things and to be able to share here on my blog.
Thank you for stopping by today! Do you have any favorite places to visit in the DC area?