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50 Things to See and Do in Washington, DC...

 

Evelyn Hannon

Say the name, Washington, DC and travellers from Singapore to Saskatchewan understand. It's the city we see on the 5:00 news, it's the city associated with museums and monuments. It's the city of kite flying and Cherry Blossom Festivals. With it's great hotels and restaurants, things to see and learn plus interesting shopping areas it's a perfect girlfriends getaway or family vacation destination.

We asked women who have been to Washington, DC as well as the women who live there to offer us some trip planning hints, tips they would give their gal pals. We were inundated with wonderful advice. Here are 50 ways to make your trip to Washington the best it can be. Enjoy, everybody.

 

Women in the Arts -- This is a Washington tip that you absolutely have to include for your Journeywoman list of tips for visitors to Washington, DC. The wonderful National Museum of Women in the Arts which is the only museum in the world dedicated exclusively to recognizing the contributions of women artists.

It was founded in 1987 by Wilhelmina Holladay (Billie) and is a great showcase for art by women from all over the world. 'The permanent collection is comprised of more than 3,000 works provides a comprehensive survey of art by women from the 16th century to the present, with new acquisitions added regularly'. They also have live performances, plus literary, music and film series. Their Museum Shop is a great place to browse. Here is a link to the NMWA website: http://www.nmwa.org/ (Jan, Wilmington, Delaware).

 

Save money -- Here is a cost saving tip for Washington, DC. If you are flexible in your travel dates, hotels rates are lower when Congress is not in session. Go to http://thomas.loc.gov/home/ds/ to find the schedule. As for food, I loved wandering around http://easternmarket.net for nibbles on Sunday (Alanna, MA, USA).

 

Architecture, Gardens and food -- As an avowed fan of all things architecture-related, one of my all-time favourites in Washington is the National Building Museum. Go there for 3-D exhibits about sustainability, innovative building technologies, architectural history and ideas. In a slightly different cultural direction, venture over to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, a sobering but equally inspiring and educational experience. If you're museum-ed out, don't miss a leisurely walk through the Hirshhorn Museum's sculpture garden. And when you're ready to dive in to some delicious food, head over to Dupont Circle for a wide variety of restos and cafes (Amit, Toronto & Montreal, Canada).

 

Those famous red shoes -- Be sure to check out Dorothy's ruby red slippers worn in the 1939 musical, The Wizard of Oz. They are in The American History Museum and they will always be magical.

 

The weather -- My tip is to avoid travelling in the summer. Although my trip was quite a while ago, I still remember the incredible humidity. For me it meant hopping into cabs for what would normally be a very short walk. Plan to visit in the Spring for Cherry Blossom time or the Fall for the fabulous colors (Arlene, Bradford, Ontario, Canada).

 

Old Post Office -- On my recent trip to Washington, D.C., a local told me to visit the Old Post Office for fabulous views of the city (it's the 2nd highest structure that you can see the city from). We walked right in and rode the elevator up the clock tower with no waiting. The windows are large unlike the ones at the Washington Monument. There is a Park Ranger there to point out the sites in the 360 degree views. We got fantastic photos of the area. There was no rush, no pre-planning, no waiting in lines, and no crowds...a real contrast to the Washington Monument. On the way back down, if you use the stairs, you can see the old bells in the tower. As an added bonus, the Post Office is a beautiful historic building with affordable places to eat. It's located right next to the Metro Stop at 1110 Pennsylvania Avenue. (Julie, Birmingham, Alabama)

 

Be a good planner -- Washington DC is a great walking town, and the Metro generally gets you to the area you want to see. The Smithsonian Museum Complex (19 of them) are the top free sites, but don't try to do more than one or two a day - they're huge. If time is limited, check their websites ahead of time and plan on what exhibits you 'absolutely must see' first. (Carol, El Paso, Texas, USA)

 

The view was magical -- My best memory of Washington was one September standing on the rooftop terrace of the Kennedy Centre for the Performing Arts and looking at a beautiful red harvest moon rise over Capitol Hill. Of course a harvest moon is seasonal but once seen it is never forgotten, and all of it is free! (Carol, Newcastle NSW Australia)

 

Another wonderful view -- The W Hotel (515 15th Street N) has a great view and drinks on the POV Terrace. Its best at night when all of the monuments are lit and you can see Arlington Cemetery. (Marcia, Alexandria, VA, USA)

 

Tour Library of Congress -- As a DC resident, the tour I recommend to all my visitors is the Library of Congress. It is by far the best in town, and the building surpasses it's neighbors—the capitol and the supreme court—in terms of beauty. Enjoy, ladies! (Caroline, Washington, DC).

 

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