Spending some time in the District? Here are 10 ways to take advantage of the U.S.'s capital city:
1. Jazz in the Garden: Every Friday evening throughout the summer — rain or shine — the National Gallery of Art offers free jazz performances in the Sculpture Garden. You are welcome to bring your own picnic dinner or purchase food at the café. Live music is from 5 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. The nearest Metro stations are Archives/Navy Memorial, Smithsonian and Judiciary Square.
2. Nats Game: Spend an afternoon or evening at a Washington Nationals baseball game! They are one of the National League's up-and-coming teams this season and tickets are available in the Grandstand, the Upper Right Field Terrace and the Upper Outfield Gallery for $5 - $10. For schedules, tickets and special offers go to: http://washington.nationals.mlb.com
3. Ben's Chili Bowl: A D.C. tradition since the 1950s, this late-night hot spot (open until 4 a.m. on the weekend!) features hot dogs, fries, milkshakes and of course, its famous chili and chili dogs. President Obama has even been known to frequent the joint. The half-smoke is a must order.
4. Eastern Market: Located in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, Eastern Market has everything from beautiful jewelry and crafts to fresh fish and local farm-grown veggies. Eastern Market is D.C.'s oldest continually operated fresh food public marketplace. Get some friends together and take a walk around—you can sample the delicious Honey Crisp apples and gourmet cheeses!
5. Museums: One of the best things about D.C. is that it is full of free museums! All of the Smithsonian museums located along the National Mall are open to the public free of charge, including the National Archives, the Air and Space Museum and the Museum of Natural History. The National Gem and Mineral Collection at the Museum of Natural History is home to many rare and famous minerals and gems, including the stunning Hope Diamond.
6. Paddle the Tidal Basin: For $6 each, you and a friend can rent a paddleboat and float through the basin. The paddleboats are a spectacular way to catch some rays and take in the scenic views of the surrounding gorgeous Japanese Cherry Trees and the Jefferson Memorial.
7. Lucky Bar: On Monday nights, this lively Dupont Circle bar has free salsa lessons and 50 cent tacos. Yes, please.
8. Monuments by Night: The majority of D.C. visitors will go to the memorials and monuments during the day, however walking through them at night is a completely different experience altogether. The monuments are lit up, revealing glowing reflections and shadows—a whole new serene perspective on the city. Most are open to the public with rangers on duty until 11:30 p.m.
9. Kennedy Center: The Kennedy Center is the busiest performing arts center in the U.S. and arguably one of the most beautiful. The view of the city from the rooftop deck is incredible and free, guided tours are offered from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Free daily performances on the Millennium Stage are what make this place so special—every day at 6 p.m., visitors can enjoy local and international musicians, actors and dancers perform free of charge.
10. Old Post Office Pavilion: This architectural marvel on Pennsylvania Avenue was constructed in the 1890s. No longer used as a Post Office, the building now holds offices and retail space. There is ample shopping in the giant atrium and free tours of the Old Post Office Pavilion Clock Tower are offered daily. The aerial view of the city is breathtaking.
For more information about Washington D.C., check out our D.C. Travel Guide!