(Closed) DC Area Bees… two NWR questions!

posted 8 years ago in Washington, D.C.
Post # 4
7975 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

1. Yes, the metro is super accessible. No worries there. Trains run in two directions, and excluding rush hour, those directions are the name of the last station on the line. There are signs that say which side of the platform goes which way. Waaaaay less confusing than, say, NYC’s subway. I would put it on par with London or Paris.

I also advise against getting an all day pass – I don’t find them to be worth the money, unless you want to do a ton of short back-and-forth trips. It’s easier, IMO to plan your day in a directional sweep. A lot of the touristy stuff (museums, monuments, white house, cherry blossoms, etc.) is within walking distance of each other downtown anyway.

2. I wouldn’t be too concerned about everything shutting down. But since you asked, I love the Newseum, which is maybe $10pp (? maybe $15 or $20? I don’t remember) – totally worth every penny however much it is. The monuments are also a great tourist activity, and take plenty of time since they’re just spread out enough that you end up walking to see the ones you want to see. Eastern Market is a really cool flea market/craft market/farmers market that’s worth doing on the weekend.

Here’s a list of other museums that aren’t Smithsonian (and therefore wouldn’t close).

Post # 5
311 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

I’ll second everything daydreamwanderer mentioned. The metro really isn’t that bad – and all the stations have a street map in them so you know where you are leaving from (when you get up to street level). One thing to remember is that you need to put your fare card through the machine once on the way in, and once on the way out – this took me a while to get used to since I’m originally from NY!

Also, it’s fun to just walk around the Mall, and  you can still walk around the monuments and take pictures and such. Georgetown is a really cute, quaint area that is good for window shopping, and the Potomac River is right there as well. The closest metro stop, however, is Foggy Bottom, and you’ll need to walk for about 15/20 minutes to actually ‘get’ to Georgetown.

Have fun!!

Post # 6
647 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

1.  The metro is SO easy.  Because there just aren’t that many stops, and like daydreamwanderer said, each line only runs in two directions.  All you need to do (if you don’t want to look like a tourist) is before you leave, know the name of the last stop on the line, and hop on the train for that direction.  You can also always ask people on the platform which side you need to stand on to get to whatever stop.  Also, when going up and down on the escalators, stand on the RIGHT, walkers go on the left.  It’s annoying when people don’t do this, especially during rush hour.  And when you’re downtown, just walk.  The metro stops are so close together, and you get to see more of the city that way.

2.  The government probably won’t shut down.  If it doesn’t, my favorite museums are the Natural History, National History, National Art Gallery, and the Holocaust museum.  The Newseum will be open either way, and is $25 to get in, but is worth paying for, and your ticket is good for two days, so don’t go on your last day.  I also recommend Eastern Market highly (go on the weekend).  Cherry blossoms are out right now, so it’s worth taking a picnic to the Tidal Basin (at the Jefferson Memorial).  Although don’t bring wine and be obvious about drinking it.  Apparently they can arrest you for that.  Georgetown is nice to walk around, as long as you stay off Wisconsin and M streets, which are so crowded with pedestrians, and all the quirky shops have gone away anyway (it’s like an outdoor shopping mall).  If you need a cupcake dose, don’t go to Georgetown Cupcake (not worth the hype, and the line goes down the block) go to Baked and Wired, also in Georgetown on Thomas Jefferson Street, off of M Street.  The National Cathedral (north from Georgetown on Wisconsin Avenue) is also worth a visit, plan to go during one of the tours, they’re really good.

Post # 7
3571 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

1. Daydream is right. The metro is pretty easy, the only thing you have to do, is look at the little map and find the direction you’re going, and then what the end point of that direction are. The lines aren’t announces “Orange East” or “Blue East” for example, they’re “Orange/Bue to Largo/New Carrolton.” It’s easy figure out, but that’s the only thing I could see being to figure out.  

Also, I didn’t look at the dates, but generally the metro usually sucks on the weekend. It works, but the weekend is when they do work on it, which delays the trains. Be prepared to wait in the ballpark of 10-15 minutes for a train, and again for a connection if you’re making one. That said, its generally not worth it if you’re only going one stop. The downtown stations are all REALLY close together, and downtown is very walkable. If you’re going pretty far out, it’s a must.


2. Things to do that aren’t federal:  I’ve found that walking around the monuments is a LOT more fun at night when they are all lit up. I’m not sure if this would change if the government closes, but its a thought.  The Newseum is definitely about $20.00/person for adults but again, and while we went with free tickets, Fiance & I agreed that it would have been worth paying the fee. Other privately owned museums that are said to be worth the price (but we haven’t made it to yet) are the National Geographic Museum and the Spy Museum. Sorry I can’t offer more info on those though.

If you’re into dancing & parties there are a lot of little bars & clubs along U Street and also 18th Street in Adams Morgan. If you make the trek to Adam’s Morgan and are feeling adventurous, try some Ethiopian food! DC has one of the largest Ethiopian communities in the US and there are a few resturants in this neighboorhood that are excellent. 

I’m less of a fan of Eastern Market than a lot of others. If you have a farmers market in your hometown, its probably better than EM. If you like little streetfair type yard art, etc. though, it might be a lot of fun.

Overall, I’d say “Don’t be afraid to leave the mall.” Obviously, any vacation kind of depends on your budget, but there are a lot of fun little places to explore. Honestly, one of my favorite things to do is to take a walk or run through the Capitol Hill neighborhood. Its beautiful this time of year, its close to me (I live in Hill East) and its free!

Have a great time!

Post # 10
1160 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

@JeniRae: I’ll echo PPs and say that you’ll be able to figure Metro out without a problem. Just grab a map so you can peek at it from anywhere in (or out of) the station. Downtown near the monuments, there are a lot of aboveground signs pointing you to various Metro stations, so you can find the closest one to where you are pretty easily.

I would recommend to go out just after rush hour. Rush hour can get very crowded on trains and platforms and that makes it difficult to read maps and figure out train directions in peace. I would say 9-10 is a good window. Maybe even 8:30-10. After that trains run a bit slower but still more frequently than on weekends.

Another non-Smithsonian museum (although the free ones are SO great, I hope there’s no shutdown!) is the Spy Museum (F St across from the Portait Gallery) and the National Museum of Crime and Punishment (around the corner, I think on 9th St). Not sure how much those cost but they’re pretty fun. Just wandering that area is nice too, lots o’ great restaurants. Have fun!!

ETA: just saw your last post, yay Founding Farmers! Love! Yea, I think you might be right about Eastern Market. Some fun window shopping in Georgetown though, and a nice canal down there too.

Post # 12
7695 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2010

Yup metro (like others have said) is super easy!

I second the Spy Museum. They do an interactive spy mission that is a lot of fun! Spy museum and Newseum are both around $20pp so you may want to choose one or the other. Newseum is super interesting and the roof has one of the best views of the monuments. You will still be able to go to see the monuments and walk around the mall regardless of what happens with the govt.

From what Ive heard Founding Farmers and Good Stuff are amazing. Here are some other ideas of things to do (parks to go to, restaurants to eat at, things to see) – http://livingsocial.com/cities/1-washington-d-c/articles

You could also go to the National Cathedral. It is a beautiful building even if you are not religious. There is a gardens tour or a gargoyles tour. The grounds are just gorgeous!

Post # 13
1056 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

Georgetown is great.  You can go to Georgetown Cupcakes!! 🙂  SO GOOD.  Also, Spy Museum is really cool!

As far as the government shut-down ALL PARKS and MUSEUMS will be closed.  Don’t think that it won’t happen people…they are preparing us for it to more than likely occur!!  Metro will run as normal but they will be less trains than normal during our normal peak times.

Post # 14
827 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

I just want to add….I love both Founding Farmers and Good Stuff! Founding Farmers recommendation: lobster mac and cheese, aka HEAVENNNN. 

If you’re coming next week, there will probably be a strong likelihood that even if the government shuts down, it will be back open within the week.  At least that’s what I’ve been hearing.

But yeah, the Newseum kicks ass and is well worth the money.  There is also the Corchoran Gallery (http://www.corcoran.org/index.php), which is not a federal gallery, and is a beautiful art museum.  Admission is only $10. 

If you want more recs on food, feel free to PM me.  I’ve lived here for about 5 years, and have a good list of places to eat 🙂 

Also the metro is really not that confusing, and if you do get confused, just ask someone for help.  DC is generally a pretty friendly city.  I know I’ve directed several tourists and have seem many do the same. 

Post # 15
659 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2011

Founding Farmers is amazing but TRY to make a reservation if you can – it gets really busy. 

Also, Good Stuff is closed Sundays.  I’d recommend Teds Bulletin near Eastern Market if you’re up for a breakfast on a sunday – pretty tasty. 

Walking up and down 14th St shopping district won’t be closed if the gov’t is!


I’ll be fuloughed so maybe I’ll see you there if we’re still shut down then!

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