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Get my book!
DjangoCon 2012 - Life in DC
8 August 2012
As long as you're in town, you might as well see some of the sights, right?
When people come into town, I always point them at the Smithsonian. It's an awesome set of museums that are completely free. You can spend a week going through them and still not see all of the exhibits. They're also only closed two days a year, and neither of those days are during the conference.
- Some important notes:
- You have to go through security to get in. They're going to poke around in your bag with a stick. Some places have metal detectors.
- The art museums are super-uppity about what you can bring in. If you think about it, this makes sense. Their exhibits aren't behind glass. They have a bag check so you can stash your stuff if needed.
- The museums open at 10am. One of the buildings, the castle, opens early, but there's not much to do there besides drink a coffee and sit in the garden.
- Pictures are allowed! Bring your cameras and camcorders!
- Almost all of the museums ring the Mall. The Mall is a big strip of grass in front of the Washington Monument. It does not have any stores.
- The zoo isn't even remotely close Mall. There's a metro stop called "Woodley Park-Zoo", but this is the stop is at the bottom of the world's biggest hill. Get off at Cleveland Park instead.
I adore the International Spy Museum and the Museum of Crime and Punishment. They film America's Most Wanted in the latter! You can get deals for both museums off of Groupon on a regular basis, so keep an eye out for those.
Nearby, there's also a Madame Tussauds if you want to go look at creepy wax people. Also, the National Academy of Sciences has a museum that's super cheap and has some awesomely detailed exhibits. It's not a huge museum, but it's packed with information. They're closed on Tuesdays, so plan accordingly.
And there's so many more! We have no shortage of museums.
If you want to see monuments, buy a step-on-step-off tour. Seriously. The monuments are NOT close to each other, and some of them are surrounded by highway. The buses come by every thirty minutes, which is about how long a monument is likely to entertain most people.
I wanna run!
I confess: I'm not a runner. I've toyed with Couch-to-5k a few times, but the summer always beats me. I did, however, find this trail right by the hotel. amk also recommended Bike Washington for some multi-purpose trails.
I need to go shopping
You forgot to pack socks. We're hit by a freak snow storm. They lost your luggage. Your kids will not let you back in the house without souvenirs. The vendors ran out of your t-shirt size. It's cool. We've got you covered. We're right by the Crystal City Shops. They're easy to miss because the shops are hidden inside the buildings at Crystal City, behind the restaurants.
If your needs aren't covered by those stores, you can ride one metro stop over to Pentagon City Mall and pick up almost everything you need, from clothes to Apple connectors. They even have a Costco, if you need a palate of danishes or something.
Yes, you want to eat and possibly hit up a bar while you're here. I'm still compiling that list! Locals, shout out your favorites so I can add them.