My 5 Favorite Places to See in DC

We’ve been quite busy over the last few weeks.

Not actually doing anything productive concerning “THE BIG MOVE,” but rather spending quality time with some of our favorite people. That included Brad’s parents who visited from Idaho, and my grad school friend, Catherine, who came for a weekend from New York City.

We love showing people around DC. And thankfully, we know the city very well. A friend of mine pointed out that our “DC Bucket List” mainly consists of restaurants, and I was quick to realize that’s because we’ve already done a lot in DC (and we both love food).

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Segwayin' through the city

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Both Brad’s parents and Catherine have spent time in DC, so we didn’t want to take them to places they had already been. Some of our favorite places aren’t what most visitors might consider when they come to DC, so I decided to share a few with you.

Dumbarton Oaks Park

This 27-acre conservancy was once a part of an estate in Georgetown. Now it’s a quiet retreat in the middle of the city that’s relatively unknown, even by residents. It’s even more special to my husband and I because we got engaged here.

If you want a place to take a break from the hectic pace of the city, then this is the place. It’s even more fun if you have a dog, or at least love dogs, because you’ll find them exploring (often off the leash) alongside their owners. Price: FREE

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This happened one year ago today.

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Mansion on O Street

The Mansion on O Street is ideal for those who love to explore homes. The building was built in the 1800s as three row houses meant for a family, and were connected via the basement (who doesn’t love this idea?). Now the building has been transformed into a boutique hotel that includes 100 rooms, most with secret passageways, hidden doors, and items for sale.

It only costs $10 a person for a self-guided tour of this eclectic building that includes a room modeled after a log cabin. See if you can find all the hidden doors (hint: one is disguised as a giant mirror). Price: $10 per person


Mount Vernon Boat Cruise

I often utilize LivingSocial, Amazon Local or Groupon to find inexpensive, fun ways to explore the city. I suggest subscribing to these emails for your own city, as well as doing a quick search on them when you visit another city (we found great deals for when we visited Nashville).

Thanks to a LivingSocial deal, Brad and I were able to take a boat cruise down to Mount Vernon. George Washington’s home is about a 30 minute drive from DC, but if you don’t have a car, this is a great way to see the estate. And if you do have a car, still take the boat. It’s much more relaxing. Price: EXPENSIVE, try to find a deal.

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Touristy things at Mt. Vernon

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US Botanic Garden

It might seem strange that this makes the list, as it’s located on the most popular place in DC: the National Mall. But, a lot of people don’t think of stopping in the Botanic Garden when they are wandering through the museums.

The Botanic Garden is a great place to escape the weather (hot and cold), and take a breath of fresh air (and aromatic plants). It was established by Congress in the 1800s, so it’s steeped in history. But it’s also a beautiful spot that is a respite from  the more tourist clogged locations. Price: FREE


FDR Memorial

Lincoln, Washington, and Jefferson seem to get all the love. But my favorite memorial happens to be the FDR memorial. No matter your politics (aka your feelings on the New Deal), this memorial is a walk through the past. The monument takes you through the Great Depression and WW2. It’s tucked away on one side of the Tidal Basin, so you’ll also get a nice view of the water and the Jefferson. Price: FREE


5 Quick Tips:

1. Did you know you can book a tour of the Capitol? Call your congressman’s office or go here.

2. Need something to eat while touring the Smithsonian museums? Grab a bite to eat at the Nat’l Museum of the American Indian, it has the best cafeteria.

3. Don’t want to look like a tourist? Download a Metro app so you don’t have to pull out a map, or use the BusTrackDC app to see when the bus is coming. Want to drive? Check out car2go.

4. Need to pick up souvenirs? Then hit the American History Museum store, or visit Eastern Market for one of a kind presents.

5. Want a cheap way to get to DC? Make sure you check out flights into BWI, as well as DCA. You can take an Amtrak train from BWI to Union Station for under $15, or a MARC train for even less.

1 thought on “My 5 Favorite Places to See in DC

  1. Pingback: 7 Easy Recipes and 1 Method to Make More Delicious Meals | District of Idaho

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