We've been lucky enough to make three trips to DC since 2004 and are returning next week--still so much to see and do (and eat!) Here are our "bests"--there are no worsts. (We are 2 50+ adults, but still active.)
PLACE TO STAY: Woodley Park Guest House. We're going back for our 3d stay. Wonderful hospitality, lively conversations, genuine warmth, affordable rooms. Across the street from the Woodley Park Metro. Can't say enough good things about this wonderful hotel alternative.
THINGS TO DO YOU MIGHT NOT THINK OF:
Library of Congress--wonderful free tour. You'll be dazzled by the magnificence of this American palace. And you can have a very affordable lunch in the staff cafeteria in the Adams building across the street.
Washington National Cathedral--jaw-dropping architecture, a spectacular view of the city from the towers. Great gift shop!
National Building Museum--another great free tour, absorbing exhibits, architectural splendor and an even better gift shop!
Kennedy Center--free minibus to center from Foggy Bottom/GWU metro. Tour of the facility (you can visit the theatre where the KC honors are given) and free daily performance on the Millenium Stage.
Washington Walks Tours--my favorite was the "Moveable Feast" given on Saturdays. Washington food legends, ending up at Ben's Chili Bowl.
Eastern Market--shop like a local and enjoy a vibrant neighborhood.
National Geographic Explorer's Hall: wonderful changing exhibits of all sorts. Check their website for more information. We lucked out and saw scale models of medieval castles, intricately detailed.
FAVORITE AFFORDABLE PLACES TO EAT:
Capital City Brewing--across from Union Station. Burgers and handcrafted brews. Better than the food courts, cheaper than the fancy places.
Clydes of Gallery Place--the critics may love to bash Clydes, but the crab cakes were superb, the shrimp tempura perfect, and the service the best we had in the city.
Spices--Cleveland Park Metro, just north of the National Zoo. Pan-Asian cuisine and sushi at a great price. Ginger salad was the best!
Mitsitam Cafe--National Museum of the American Indian. Food was familiar and strange at the same time--a picture of North America from coast to coast.
On the agenda for this next trip: baseball at Nationals Stadium, the Capitol Steps, Madame Tussauds, Washington Monument, Georgetown walking tour, Arlo Guthrie at the Kennedy Center, American Art Museum/Portrait Gallery. Considering the Newseum, a trip on the C&O canal. Any comments or suggestions? We've seen the monuments and Arlington, and all of the other Smithsonian Museums.