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The Best of Washington, D.C., on a Budget

N early 20 million visitors come to the nation’s capital each year plotting itin- eraries that list Washington, D.C.’s most famous “best” experiences: tours of the presidential memorials, the White House (at least from the outside), the Capi- tol, the Supreme Court, the Library of Congress, the National Archives, the Smithsonian museums, and other of D.C.’s premier museums. Your own itiner- ary should include all of these and more. Try to catch one of the free concerts staged nightly at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and make sure you fit in a delicious meal at one of D.C.’s many good and inexpensive eth- nic eateries. Ride the Metro and observe Washingtonians at their most serious; rent a bike and pedal along a path that parallels the Potomac River; stroll one of D.C.’s charming neighborhoods. Discovering the best of Washington has as much to do with experiencing the city’s less touted charms as it does with hit- ting its “hot” spots. This chapter suggests some of the best ways to see the best of Washington.

1 Frommer’s Favorite Free & Affordable Washington


  • Visiting the Lincoln Memorial After Dark. During the da , hordes of rambunctious schoolchildren may distract you; at night, the expe- rience is infinitely more moving. See chapter 7.

  • Taking a Monument and Memo- rials Walking Tour. Have a hearty breakfast, then take the Metro to Foggy Bottom, and when you exit, turn right on 23rd Street NW and follow it to Constitution Avenue NW. Cross the avenue, make a left, walk past Henry Bacon Drive, and follow the signs to the Vietnam and Lincoln Memorials; cross Indepen- dence Avenue, and follow the cherry tree–lined Tidal Basin path to the FDR Memorial and further to the Jefferson Memorial; proceed to the new World War II Memorial, if you’re here after May 29, 2004,

when it officially debuts; and finish your tour at the Washington Mon- ument. This is a long but beautiful hike; afterward, head up 15th Street NW for a strength-restoring meal at one of the many excellent down- town restaurants. See chapters 6 and 7.

  • Rambling Through Rock Creek Park. A paved bike/walking path extends 11 miles from the Lincoln Memorial to the Maryland border. You can hop on the trail at many spots throughout the city—it runs past the National Zoo, behind the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Woodley Park, near Dupont Circle, and across from the Watergate/Kennedy Center complex. You can rent a bike from Big Wheel Bikes at 1034 33rd St. NW (& 202/337-

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      in Georgetown, or from

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