T H E B E S T O F W A S H I N G T O N , D. C . , O N A B U D G E T
My God! What have I done to be condemned to reside in such a city!
A French diplomat in the early days
Thompson’s Boat Center (& 202/ 333-4861), located on the path across from the Kennedy Center. For a really long bike ride, trek to the Lincoln Memorial, get yourself across the busy stretch that con- nects the parkway to the Arlington Memorial Bridge, and cross the bridge to the trail on the other side; this path winds 19 miles to Mount Vernon. See chapter 7.
Spending the Day in Alexandria. Just a short distance (by Metro, car, or bike) from the District is George Washington’s Virginia hometown. Roam the quaint cobblestone streets, browse charming boutiques and antique stores, visit the 18th- century houses and other historic attractions, and dine in one of Alexandria’s fine restaurants. See chapter 10.
Weighing in Judgment. If you’re in town when the Supreme Court is in session (Oct to late Apr; call & 202/479-3211 for details), you can observe a case being argued; it’s thrilling to see this august institution at work. See chapter 7.
Admiring the Library of Con- gress. The magnificent Italian Renaissance–style Thomas Jeffer- son Building of the Library of Congress—filled with murals, mosaics, sculptures, and allegorical paintings—is one of America’s most notable architectural achievements. See chapter 7.
Attending a Millennium Stage Performance at the Kennedy Center. Every evening at 6pm, the Kennedy Center presents a free 1-hour concert performed by local, up and coming, or nation- ally known musicians. This is a
winner. Call & 800/444-1324 or 202/467-4600, or check the web- site, www.kennedy-center.org. See chapter 9.
Spending a Morning on the Mall. Take the Metro to the Smith- sonian station early in the morning (about 8:30 is early enough), when the Mall is magical and tourist-free. Walk toward the Capitol Building along Jefferson Drive to the Smith- sonian Information Center (the Castle) and stroll through the mag- nolia-lined parterres of the beauti- ful Enid A. Haupt Garden. Return to Jefferson Drive, walk further east to the Hirshhorn, ducking in, on your wa , for a look at the lovely Ripley Garden, before crossing the street to tour the Hirshhorn’s sunken Sculpture Garden. Climb back to street level and cross the Mall to the enchanting National Gallery Sculpture Garden, at 7th Street and Madison Drive. See chapter 7.
Debarking at Union Station. Noted architect Daniel H. Burn- ham’s turn-of-the-20th-century beaux arts railway station is worth a visit even if you’re not trying to catch a train. Dawdle and admire its coffered 96-foot-high ceilings, grand arches, and great halls, modeled after the Baths of Dio- cletian and the Arch of Constan- tine in Rome. Then shop and eat: The station’s 1988 restoration filled the tri-level hall with every- thing from Ann Taylor and Crab- tree & Evelyn to a high-quality food court. See chapters 7 and 8.
Enjoying an Artful Evening at the Phillips Collection. Thurs- day evenings year-round, from 5 to