This last summer I met a girl from France, while I was in San Francisco. She was au pairing in Washington, DC and we got to talking about travelling. She told me that the museums in DC were free. See, this is why I love hostels, I never would have met this random girl over breakfast, and learned this delightful piece of information. For whatever reason, this blew my mind. It didn’t make any sense. Free museums? And why hadn’t I been there already?
Anyway, ever since that moment, I’ve been plotting to go to DC so I can satisfy my hunger for both delicious vegan food and delicious free information. How can I go wrong?
That’s right, I can’t. After a very depressing search for flights, bus rides, train rides, etc, I know it will be a while before I head over there, and it will probably coincide with some kind of NYC/Buffalo bus trip, because taking a flight out of Canada can really stink.
- VegDc – The Vegetarian Guide to Washington, DC and surrounding area.
- Yelp Search
- The Smithsonian Institute
- Another MoFo’er ACTUALLY in DC
- A Blogger’s Vegan Visitor Guide to DC (from 2008, still good info though)
The Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority. A day pass for the MetroRail is $9 and a weekly pass (there is no day pass) for the MetroBus is $15. They don’t seem to be cross functional passes. Each bus trip is $1.70, but the fare is good for 2 hours. They have a trip planner so that should make things fairly easy to plan out and get to. It’s just a matter of deciding where to go first.
Places to Eat
Soul Vegetarian’s Exodus (2606 Georgia Ave NW(between N Euclid St & N Fairmont St)) Things to note: They are closed on Sundays.
Sticky Fingers Bakery (1370 Park Rd, NW, Washington, DC) – It’s a freaking vegan bakery. Of course I want to eat there. I’m pretty sure a Peanut Butter Fudge Cake is in my future, but looking at their cakes page it was hard to decide. +1 yummy.
Cafe Green (1513 17th St NW, Washington, DC (between N P St & N Church St)) – The pictures on their website made me salivate, so I take that as a good sign. Recommended were the raw chocolate cheesecake (and really, it’s chocolate, so yeah, probably good), the mac and cheese and the burger. I like this place because it’s also reasonably close to the subway (Dupont Circle (North) Station).
Food For Thought At the Black Cat (1811 14th St. NW Washington, DC) – There was once a place called Food for Thought that seems to have been some sort of vegan restaurant and community space. It closed down in 1999 and was reborn at The Black Cat, but only for dinner. (so after 7pm or 8om depending on the day) But I don’t care if it’s only open late, what I do care about is vegan lasagna. I need vegan lasagna in my life, and I don’t want to make it myself. I hear this one will do nicely.
Things I really want to see (that happen to be FREE):
National Art Gallery – They are kind enough to provide a map of highlights from the different buildings. West building, which lists off works like the breathtaking Alba Madonna, by Raphael. Paintings from Goya, Rembrant, Da Vinci, The Feast of the Gods. I’m excited just thinking about it. There are other visitor guides worth printing or saving digitally on their website here
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Located on the National Mall at the corner of 7th Street and Independence Avenue SW (modern and contemporary art). I think I’d be awestruck in this place, I’d love to see Thomas Hart Benton’s People of Chilmark in real life. I remember the first time I saw a Dali in person at the MOMA. When you love art as much as I do, the experience is magical.
National Postal Museum (2 Massachusetts Ave., N.E. Washington, DC) – I love stamps and mail even though I don’t get the chance to send out many letters or collect stamps anymore. This is the trip little girl me would have wanted to take. They have drop in tours every day at 11am and 1pm starting from the Information Desk. There is also a self guided tour map (PDF), that is available from their website.
Transit: Take the Metro Red Line to Union Station and walk out the Massachusetts Ave exit. National Postal Museum will be across the street.
Smithsonian Air and Space Museum – These look fantastic. I went to the Boeing museum in Seattle and was pretty thrilled with the experience, so I can’t imagine how excited I’d be here. There are very helpful guides for self guided tours on their website.
The Air and Space Museum on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. has hundreds of historic artifacts on display, such as the Spirit of St. Louis and the Apollo 11 command module Columbia. For some astronomical excitement there is also a moon rock sample that people (like for example… ME) can touch.
The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center (14390 Air & Space Museum Parkway, Chantilly, VA) has more than 100 aircraft and 122 space objects on display. Getting here would involve taking Virginia Regional Transit.
History at the National Archives (700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC). On the Metrorail/Subway: take Yellow or Green lines to the Archives/Navy Memorial station. There is part of me that is very keen to see the original Declaration of Independence document.
The National Arboreum (3501 New York Avenue, NE, Washington, DC) – This seems to be a great place to wander around, open between 8am – 5pm (though the bonsai museum is open between 10 – 4) it’s a casual space with 400 acres of land covered in plants. I’m coming out now, and say… I’m a plant nerd, so I’m sure this place would be enthralling. I know being surrounded by greenery will make me hungry, and so to avoid gnawing on a nice fern, I’ll have to remember to bring a picnic lunch (or just stock up on cake from Sticky Fingers) since it seems people often do that.
And of course I’d have to visit the various monuments and statues (like the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, and a couple other presidential memorials in the National Mall area)
Other things that might be worthwhile (but not free)
The Secret Trivia Walking tour of the National Mall (it’s 10 bucks)
Someone recommended I pick up an audiobook of Sarah Vowell’s “Assassination Vacation” or “Partly Cloudy Patriot” before I head to DC. I can definitely see the appeal.
Spy Museum (800 F Street Northwest Washington DC) – How could I not visit this place? It’s kinda pricy at $19 for admission, but that seems to be normal for DC. There is also the Spy in the City, which is really just a nice GPS-guided tour of DC wrapped in a “secret mission”. To take the mission.. it’s going to cost you, 16 dollars.
P.S. I operate on a different timezone. Let’s pretend I’m in Hawaii, then my posts will all be on time… 🙂