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DC roll call/recommendations

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Offline  DC roll call/recommendations
#1

Posted: August 26, 2018, 8:33 AM Post
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Going to DC this weekend and will catch one of the games but not sure which one yet, either Friday or Sunday.

While three days is nowhere near enough to see everything in DC, I'm wondering what people's 3-4 most recommended things to see/places to go are. I haven't been to DC in almost 20 years and that was for work; I've done very little sight-seeing there.

We'll be staying in Arlington, so any recommendations for dining/drinking are appreciated as well.


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#2

Posted: August 26, 2018, 8:46 AM Post
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If you'll have a car, go to the Udvar-Hazy annex of the Air and Space Museum out by Dulles. It houses the Enola Gay, an SR-71, and one of the space shuttles. I actually like it better than the Air and Space Museum on the Mall.

On the Mall, I recommend Air and Space, the American History Museum, National Archives, and the National Portrait Gallery. Also take time to go to the memorials. The FDR memorial is my favorite non-war memorial and it's very close to the Lincoln/Vietnam/Korean War Memorials. And since you are in Arlington, I'd try to get to the Arlington National Cemetary.


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#3

Posted: August 27, 2018, 9:30 AM Post
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If you decide to spend some time around the Mall area, I'd highly recommend renting a bike. My wife and I did that a few years ago when we visited Madbad2000 and we had a blast. Even with bikes we still didn't get to see everything we wanted to see; I can't imagine how much less we'd have seen if we walked.


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#4

Posted: August 27, 2018, 9:50 AM Post
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Leaving with my wife and son tomorrow on our first trip to DC. We will be at the game on Friday night. Staying in the capitol hill area and will be using the Metro a lot (which I hear is very nice). So, we also appreciate any recommendations in regards to what to see and where to eat.


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#5

Posted: August 27, 2018, 5:28 PM Post
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A nice spot for a meal is the cafe inside the American Indian Museum. It's not terribly far from the Capitol on the south side of the Mall. I could eat the fry bread all day.

One of my favorite things to do while I'm there is to walk around the tidal basin, find a bench, and sit and take everything in. It's sort of peaceful in its own way. And Patrick, since you are staying up near the Capitol, make sure you hit the Library of Congress. It's a stunning building on the inside. Then there is a tunnel that connects to the Capitol so you don't have to go through security again. I'm also a fan of the Supreme Court building and they offer free lectures in the courtroom throughout the day. If you didn't secure a tour of the Capital through your member of Congress, you may be able to get on a walk-up tour, but that is more difficult during the busy season. Be prepared to go through security screening no matter where you go. The museums are pretty simple; almost like going to a game at Miller Park. Government buildings take a bit longer.

Lastly, the only place I've been to that I would recommend avoiding at all costs is the natural history museum. Personally, I thought it wasn't that much different than the Field Museum in Chicago and it was PACKED, more than any other museum I have gone to. But, that is my own personal take on it.


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#6

Posted: August 27, 2018, 7:28 PM Post
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We were there last year to catch a couple of Brewer games. We stayed a mile north of the White House. A wide selection of nice places to grab dinner in that area.
We were at the Capitol when Congress was in session, that was neat. But they're not in session now. They give tours, but I found it brief. Secure a tour pass online. Or go across the street and visit the offices of Wisconsin's two senators.
Hang out at the National Mall, I preferred the late afternoon. People are getting off work, so there are softball games going on, maybe a rugby match. People jogging. The DC crowd skews young and lead active lives.
Places to visit would be Arlington Cemetery or any of the galleries, all on the Metro. Trump Hotel, if inclined.
I really didn't see any places to hang out around Nationals Park. The Metro drops off two blocks from the stadium. Most went straight to the train station after the game.

On edit: the good places to eat are north of the White House, not the Capitol.


Last edited by Jimbo on August 28, 2018, 6:32 AM, edited 1 time in total.

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#7

Posted: August 27, 2018, 9:30 PM Post
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Holocaust Museum is a must see. Also, Bureau of Engraving & Printing is next door basically, really interesting tour most people don't know about. I would do both of those over most of the Smithsonian museums.

Also, highly recommend walking the mall and seeing the monuments at night. Beautiful and peaceful all lit up. Staying in Arlington, seeing changing of the guard at Arlington Cemetery is a must see. Pentagon tour was worth it, but need tickets far in advance I believe.


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#8

Posted: August 28, 2018, 3:08 AM Post
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I highly recommend renting bikes to see the monuments. It's incredibly fast and after you've walked the entire mall/monument loop you will be fairly sweaty and have easily logged your "steps" for the day. My favorite monument is probably Jefferson. I love the location mostly as it is across the basin by itself and normally gets a great breeze. I also recommend Arlington Cemetary/changing of the guard. Pretty classic visit there. Spring to take the transportation. The cemetary is on a hill and pretty large. The best tip I can give you is the same as FVBrewerFan. Go see the monuments at night. No crowds, they are all lit up and gives you a very peaceful feeling. Make sure you don't go too late as some of the lights go off. When we went to the White House we got there like 10 minutes before they shut them down.

Museums are everywhere. I really enjoyed the American History Museum. Great exhibits and you can go see the original Stars and Stripes on display. Holocaust museum is great, but I had already been to Dachau and so it felt redundant and less powerful than the real thing. The Portrait Gallery is great too, much better than I would have imagined. If you like art, the National Gallery of Art is worth a visit. It is hard to miss on any of the museums and choose based on your own affinity for the subject matter. The Natural History Museum tends to attract more kids as it often has stuff like dinosaurs and what not. As NeedMoreFans points out, it can get busy. We are past the heavy season for tourism in DC, but it can still get crowded. The Udvar-Hazy Air and Space at Dulles is great, but it's a bit of a drive. If you're on a timeline, then skip it. If you have the time, check it out. Plus they have a 5 story high IMAX theater if that catches your fancy. Seeing an SR71 Blackbird, Space Shuttle and Enola Gay are worth the drive alone. They also have so much more than that.

One spot my family and I really like are the botanical gardens by the Capital. Often gets overlooked, but they have some really nice displays.

I have not been to either, but both always get recommendations: Spy Museum and Newseum. These are not part of the Smithsonian chain and have entrance fees. I know quite a few people that have done both and loved them. I also have not been to the National Archives to see the Declaration of Independance, Constitution, etc. The National Zoo is also popular if that is your thing. The big draw are the pandas.

Once you are in DC, work the Metro if you can or walk. Driving and parking can be a pain and expensive. It is significantly better on the weekends, but can turn at a moment's notice. Sundays you can park for free on the streets.

Restaurants are a tricky thing to suggest. My wife and I really enjoy Founding Farmers which is a farm to table restaurant that does amazing breakfast. DC is a food town and I usually just wing it. Restaurants are everywhere. I'd probably just use some travel site to search in the immediate area you are in and do somethine new. I have never had a bad dining experience in DC.


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#9

Posted: August 29, 2018, 8:09 AM Post
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Traditional DC food spots include Ben's Chili Bowl on U Street (there's also one in Nats Park), Old Ebbitt Grill near the White House, and Martin's Tavern in Georgetown (where JFK proposed to Jackie).

The DC food scene has really grown and you can get some very fine dining from places such as Komi, Rose's Luxury, and Pineapple & Pearls.

Some off the beaten path tourist sites include Lincoln's Cottage at the Old Soldier's home, the National Arboretum, and the Titanic Memorial. I second the Udvar-Hazy center out by Dulles. Bit of a drive but so much bigger than the Air and Space museum on the mall.

Chinatown is pretty much two or three blocks and most of the native Chinese residents have moved away. Now all you see are Citibank signs with Chinese letters underneath. You can skip it unless you happen to be at the National Portrait Gallery which is right on the edge of Chinatown.

Close-ish to Nats Park is the new Wharf Marina which they are trying to turn into a new spot for restaurants/concerts. It is very nice to walk around but kind of feels sterile since all of the buildings are so new.

Old Town Alexandria is a very nice place to walk around as well and has some good food. Lots of cobble stone streets.

Just FYI the Metro has been having issues with delays recently. Please be patient as our system is going through a lot of repairs and maintenance this summer. I would budget in extra time in case there is a wait between trains. You can download apps or go on the Metro website to get somewhat accurate info on when the next train is scheduled to arrive.


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#10

Posted: August 29, 2018, 5:57 PM Post
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Thanks everyone! Do you know approximately when the lights get turned off/down on the monuments?


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#11

Posted: September 03, 2018, 5:25 PM Post
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Udvar-Hazy Center was awesome. Tip - take the local freeway lanes and not the express to the airport. Google Maps directions are not clear. Kind of rushed it because we slept in late (some of the guys thought appropriate to stay out until >2am) and had to get down to Charlottesville for the game. Rushed the Air & Space Museum on the mall... well, my friends rushed it. They were tired and wanted to eat/drink.

Arlington Cemetery - the tour was OK. It's way too big to walk (don't know if they'll let you bike it, but no motorized vehicles unless you are part of a funeral) but wish it made more brief stops (5 minutes) at more grave sites of historical people instead of talking about them as you drive by. They have monuments to both shuttle disasters behind the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, right next to a memorial for the botched Iran hostage rescue and near a memorial for the Monitor.

Charlottesville was great. Not as fun as Madison, but they have a pedestrian mall kind of like State Street with all kinds of restaurants and shops in downtown. Really cool pizza place by the stadium that used to be a service station back in the day. Wish we would have spent the night there.

Went to the Spy Museum but didn't go in - we didn't think it was worth the $24/person as it didn't look that big and the line was long. Seemed as much like a game as a museum, likely geared towards Millennials (who made up just about everyone in line). Go back to your Escape Room.

Did go to Old Ebbitt's. Big place, four bars in there. Was a 1.25 hour wait for a table, so we ate at the bar. They say the trout is one of their signature dishes but I didn't care for the breading and sauce. My friends had other dishes and loved them.

I'd definitely go again it won't be on Labor Day weekend. Hot/humid (today the dew point was 74) plus lots of families/kids, although Saturday it was cloudy so the temps were reasonable.


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#12

Posted: February 26, 2019, 9:30 AM Post
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Bumping:

Taking my dad to DC this August for the series. Planning on Thursday-Sunday going to games on Friday and Saturday.

Figured Thursday would mostly just be wandering around the Mall and taking a peek at the monuments. I think the flight gets in around 11 and I didn't really want to plan anything specific right away.

Friday wanted to do Air and Space Museum. Is the best bet just showing up early and waiting?

Saturday I want to go to Mt. Vernon but could probably be talked out of it. We both like to walk and I'm fascinated by the Revolution although him less so.

Any general tips or recommendations? Lunch spots would be great. I'm sure we'll just wind up in a bar after the games.


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#13

Posted: February 27, 2019, 1:48 PM Post
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Tony Kornheiser owns a restaurant, Chatter, from where he records his daily podcast. He's there every day at breakfast time, and that might be an interesting place to have a meal and be entertained.


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#14

Posted: March 06, 2019, 4:46 PM Post
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Location: Waukesha, WI
I don't recall any bars around the stadium. After the game, everyone just heads to the train station.

For lunch spots, we just picked some sidewalk cafe. They are numerous, so no need to pick one out in advance. When you get hungry, just find the one on the nearest corner and grab a quick bite.

The Washington Monument is closed for repairs. The National Mall is maybe two miles from Lincoln Memorial to the Capitol.


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#15

Posted: March 07, 2019, 8:24 PM Post
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Jimbo said:

The Washington Monument is closed for repairs. The National Mall is maybe two miles from Lincoln Memorial to the Capitol.


I believe the Monument is supposed to open this Spring at some point. That is what the NPS site is showing.

https://www.nps.gov/wamo/planyourvisit/index.htm


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#16

Posted: March 08, 2019, 12:24 PM Post
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I went to a game about six or seven years ago and went to The Bullpen before the game. It was just a bunch of freight cars stacked together to create an enclosure, but they had live music, food trucks and beer and it was across the street from the park.

I don't know if this is still the case, but when I went to a game I went with a couple of local police officers and they told me the neighborhood was gentrifying but still not somewhere you'd want to be after the crowds die down post game. We left as soon as the game was over to have beers in a nicer neighborhood.


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Offline  Re: DC roll call/recommendations
#17

Posted: March 11, 2019, 10:40 AM Post
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Beerambassador said:
I went to a game about six or seven years ago and went to The Bullpen before the game. It was just a bunch of freight cars stacked together to create an enclosure, but they had live music, food trucks and beer and it was across the street from the park.

I don't know if this is still the case, but when I went to a game I went with a couple of local police officers and they told me the neighborhood was gentrifying but still not somewhere you'd want to be after the crowds die down post game. We left as soon as the game was over to have beers in a nicer neighborhood.

It seemed like a nice, safe neighborhood to me. Looks like a lot of development in the last few years. There is an area called The Yards Park that has several restaurants right on the river including a wine bar that appeared to be very popular. There is a Gordon Biersch, Buffalo Wild Wings, Top of the Yards rooftop bar, and a number of other places. Not the hottest area in town, but not a bad place by any stretch of the imagination to hang out before or after the game.


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