Best Authentic Experiences
Shop at Eastern Market: Capitol Hill is home to more than government buildings; it's a community of old town houses, antiques shops, and the veritable institution, Eastern Market. Here, the locals barter and shop every Saturday and Sunday for fresh produce, baked goods, and flea-market bargains.
Hang Out in Adams-Morgan: On any night of the week, but especially Thursday through Saturday, Adams-Morgan is where Washington's footloose and fancy-free either start out or end up (mostly end up -- clubs and bars are open late in this neighborhood). See chapter 10 for bar and club suggestions.
Cut a Deal at the Georgetown Flea Market: Pick up a latte and spend a pleasant Sunday browsing through the castoffs of wealthy Washingtonians, hand-painted furniture by local artists, and a hodgepodge of antiques and collectibles. Everybody shops here at one time or another, so you never know who you'll see or what you'll find.
Take Tea at the Top of Washington National Cathedral: Join a certain segment of Washington society for tea and a tour. Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons at 1:30pm, you can tour the world's sixth largest cathedral, then indulge in tea, scones, and lemon tarts served on the seventh floor of the West tower, whose arched windows overlook the city and beyond to Sugarloaf Mountain in Maryland.
Best Free Things to Do
Peruse the Constitution: Only in Washington and only at the National Archives will you ever be able to read the original documents that so well grounded our nation in liberty. Here, you'll find the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, and the Bill of Rights -- all on display behind glass.
People-Watch at Dupont Circle: One of the few "living" circles, Dupont's is the all-weather hangout for mondo-bizarre biker-couriers, chess players, street musicians, and lovers. Sit on a bench and watch the scenes around you.
Attend 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, national, or international musicians. This is a winner. After the performance, head through the glass doors to the terrace for a view of the Potomac River.
Groove to the Sounds of Live Jazz in the Sculpture Garden: On summer's Friday evenings at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden, you can dip your toes in the fountain pool and chill, as live jazz groups serenade you from 5 to 8pm. The jazz is free; the tapas and wine and beer served in the garden's Pavilion Café are not.
Pick a Museum, [Just About] Any Museum: That's the thing about Washington -- because this is the U.S. capital, many of its museums are federal institutions, which means admission is free. The National Gallery of Art, U.S. Botanic Garden, and the Smithsonian's 16 museums, from National Air and Space to the Freer Gallery are among the many spectacular free places to visit.
For a complete listing of what to see and do in Washington, D.C., visit the online attractions index at Frommers.com.
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