Washington D.C. steams with the energy of its residents. It slides in between the iconic marble columns and settles momentarily on the surface of the Potomac River before continuing on. To live in D.C., just as it is anywhere, is to really understand and love the culturally-charged capital. Here at Knok, we want our followers to love travel on a deeper level than the standard tourist. That is why we have interviewed a native from Washington D.C. to get you all the secret dives and must-see exhibitions. Go deeper, home-exchangers!
The standard Smithsonian Museums are a staple of any visit to Washington, D.C., but some of the newer exhibitions are also worth a visit. Your kids will love wandering through the Spy Museum with their own personal secret identities learning about intelligence masters of the past. (Warning: a phase of secret spy training is likely to ensue immediately afterwards.) The Newseum is always successful in exhibiting relatively recent history in an different and impactful way to fiddle with one’s understanding of perspective. If you have a bit of extra time and the kids need a break from reading quietly and walking slowly, head to the Air and Space Museum, where they can not only see real-live space shuttles and airplanes, but drive them as well in the Flight Simulator. The Holocaust Museum is an incredible, but extremely intense experience that may not be appropriate for all ages, so use caution.
Get some fresh air from the museum circuit and explore the natural wonder of the city. Bike the C&O Canal or kayak down the Potomac River and around Roosevelt Island. For a long afternoon excursion hiking, you’ll find the best trails a bit outside the city at Great Falls. If you only can budget a breath’s worth of time, the Sculpture Garden within the city provides a nice stroll with an ice skating rink available in the winter.
No matter what kind of entertainment you desire, Washington can provide. Our favorite undercover music venue for smaller bands geared towards 20-somethings is the 9:30 Club, set in a shadier part of town, but still a huge improvement from their original location. But the music is still loud, the floor still beer-sticky, and the crowd still enthralled, so we’re not complaining. For a classier evening, don your finer garb and attend an orchestra concert, opera, play, or production at the Kennedy Center. Check out their website for a listing of free skits and stand-up comedians on the smaller stage. Although they do not show as many films as often, the Loews Uptown Theatre is the core of D.C. in film and is well worth the limited selection to experience a D.C. core establishment.
When the lunching hour (or ten minutes) rolls around, the working men and women of D.C. push back from their computers and head out to the streets in search of their favorite food trucks. Don’t be fooled by the humble exteriors; some of the freshest, most flavor-packed food of your trip will roll in on those four wheels. For dinner out on the town, Oyamel is a quirky, but elegant restaurant that fully engages the vast richness of traditional Mexican cuisine while carefully and creatively arranging flavors and presentation on small plates to create edible masterpieces. Like it? Check out Minibar, and embark on a mind-twisting gastronomical voyage under the wise guidance of the same chef and owner, José Andrés. Be sure to plan in advance, however, for the bar only has six seats and you will need to make your reservation between one and four months in advance, depending on the season. For a more casual experience, check out Minibar’s fraternal twin: Barmini, which focuses on cocktails and does not require reservations.
Washington, D.C. goes beyond the glowing pearl architecture, hectic commute, and politically charged atmosphere, if you know the right places to look. The beauty of the city exists in its accepted calamity of lifestyles that lies under the intoxicating energy of the need for constant improvement and the love of quick, heavy decisions. As a tourist, it can be difficult to feel. With these tips, we hope here at Knok you’ll discover a bit more about what it means to live in Washington, D.C. during your stay.