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Ed's Guide to Washington DC

Select from any of the links below for more info.

I lived in our nation's capital for about 3-1/2 years, and had a lot of friends and relatives come to visit.
To help them plan their look-around, I put together a mini website of "Things to Do and Places to See" for them.
I left in 2005, but had several friends still traveling to DC ask me to keep this page up, so I did.
NOTE THAT THE INFO HAS NOT BEEN KEPT CURRENT, some links may have expired.

Subjects on THIS PAGE:
Jump Pages
Info meta-site pages
Places to Visit - Must
Places to Visit - if time
Christmas Lights Displays in DC
 
General Info
Event Calendars
Maps
Shopping
Transit (DC Metro Area)
Transit (Regional/National)
Things to bring
Things you SHOULD do after you arrive
Paid Tours
Jump to Other pages:
Ed's Tips to DC
A page full of tips and tricks on how to survive visiting DC
Regional Attractions
A page of places beyond the immediate Metro DC area
SG1 HQ
A building just outside the beltway. I not allowed to say anymore, except that it looks "out of this world".
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Jump Pages (maps with hot link spots)
(best interactive map - look below: "What Do You Want to Do?" select Take the Downtown Birds-Eye Tour, and then hit ENTER TOUR)
(Interactive map)
(isometric of mall with hotlinks)
(Interactive map with selectable info displayed)
for Visitors
 
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Info meta-site pages
Official DC visitors page  
DCpages.com Washington DC's Search Engine and Directory
DC Arts and Entertainment  
craigslist washington DC online community
CitySpin Washington, D.C.  
Washington Travel Guide Things to do in Washington, DC - 10Best
(by Charlie Buntjer)
The Washington, D.C. Variety Page  
Sites to see recommended by the House of Representatives
 

 

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Places to Visit - Must
Smithsonian Museums
Smithsonian Museums Main Jump Page
Most museums are open daily, 10am-5:30pm, except December 25.
Air & Space Museum (the MOST visited museum in the world!)
Air & Space Museum - (Dulles Annex)
aka the "Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center"

[directions]
This is the year old museum of real/actual airplanes, located in a (now unused) part of the Dulles Airport. It's about a mile south of the current terminal ---- (See [my pictures] from when I toured it on Opening Day +3,

Also there: Udvar-Hazy IMAX theater (aka Lockheed Martin IMAX® Theater)

----- link for the Express Shuttle from the main A/S Museum and the Dulles Annex.

IMAXs Lockheed Martin Theater 3 screens at the National Air and Space Museum
Johnson Theater 4 screens at the National Museum of Natural History
Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center 3 screens at the new Air & Space annex near Dulles
Einstein Planetarium 2 screens at the National Air and Space Museum
   
International Spy Museum

Only about a year old, it is one of the most fascinating museums I have ever been.
26 December 2004 - 30 December 2004: Open 9 am to 8 pm (Last Admission 6 pm) The Museum is closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.

NOTE: No photography is allowed.

   
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Places to Visit - if time (and in no special order)

U.S. Capitol

(202) 225-6827 (tape)
The Capitol is open to the public for guided tours only. Tours will be conducted from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday (the Capitol is not available for tours on Sundays). The Capitol will be open on all federal holidays except Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

Pick up free passes first::
Visitors must obtain free tickets for tours on a first-come, first-served basis, at the Capitol Guide Service kiosk located along the curving sidewalk southwest of the Capitol (near the intersection of First Street, S.W., and Independence Avenue; see the map below). Ticket distribution begins at 9:00 a.m. daily. Ticket holders will be directed to the South Visitor Receiving Facility, which is located south of the Capitol; from there they will proceed to the Capitol to begin their tour.

White House Tours

(202) 456-7041 (tape)
Only by prior arrangement.

Washington Monument

(202) 619-7275 (tape); (202) 426-6841 (voice)
The Washington Monument is closed for security upgrades to the grounds, until the Spring of 2005.

Library of Congress

Consisting mainly of three buildings directly to the ESE of the Capitol building, Jefferson LOC, Adams LOC & Madison LOC:

(202) 707-5458 (tape)
Monday-Friday: 10:30 and 11:30am, 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30pm
Saturdays: 10:30 and 11:30am; 1:30 and 2:30pm
All Library of Congress buildings are closed to the public on Sundays and Federal Holidays. (In 2004, the Library will also be closed on December 24 and 31)
Scheduled Public Tours: Mondays through Saturdays in the Great Hall of the Thomas Jefferson Building

US Supreme Court (202) 479-3211 (gen info)
The building is open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. It is closed Saturdays, Sundays, and federal holidays.
US Botanic Garden

(USBG) - 202-225-8333 (gen info)
Located on the National Mall across from the U.S. Capitol along First Street, S.W., between Maryland Avenue and C Street.

Admission to all public areas of the U.S. Botanic Garden (USBG) is free. The Conservatory is open 10 AM - 5 PM daily. The Conservatory main entrance is located at 100 Maryland Avenue, SW (use this address for internet mapping searches). Visitors are welcome in Bartholdi Park from dawn until dusk and can access it from any of the three bordering streets - Independence Avenue, Washington Avenue or First Street.

Explorers Hall, National Geographic Society

Good for an hour's time, free, and only a few blocks from Ed's office

Currently showing: "Mapping With Paper and Pixel" &
"Passages: Photographs in Africa by Carol Beckwith and Angela Fisher"

Admission is free. For information call +1 202 857 7588.
Open Monday through Saturday and holidays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed December 25.

National Zoo

Located in mid-city, NW of downtown.

Getting there: Take the Red Metro Line and arrive at "Cleveland Park" station, walk south about a half mile mile downhill to the zoo, but leave and head south (to the left) a bit over a half mile downhill to the next Metro station, "Woodley Park/Zoo/Adams Morgan" If you drive, there is public parking available, see the website.

The National Zoo is open every day of the year except December 25. ADMISSION IS FREE!

November 1, 2004, to April 2005:
• Grounds are open: 6 a.m. - 6 p.m.
• Buildings are open: 10 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

April to October 2005:
• Grounds are open: 6 a.m. - 8 p.m.
• Buildings are open: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

National Parks in DC area Jump page for all the national parks in the DC area.
National Building Museum

A museum dedicated to exploring and celebrating architecture, design, engineering, construction, and urban planning.
Open to the public Monday - Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm, and Sunday, 11 am to 5 pm.
The Museum is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day.
Admission is free. A donation of $5 per person is suggested.

Walk-In docent-guided building tours (lasting 45 minutes) are offered:
• Monday through Wednesday—12:30 pm
• Thursday through Saturday—11:30 am, 12:30 pm, and 1:30 pm
• Sundays—12:30 and 1:30 pm

DC Chamber of Commerce Chinatown Map
"Best Jazz supper-club" (for Gary)
 
The National Christmas Tree The Ellipse (due S of The White House)
The tree is lighted daily at dusk until 11 p.m. through January 1st
National Postal Museum (a block W of Union Station, 5 blocks NNE of the Capital)
The Museum is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., except December 25. Admission is free.
Little Theatre of Alexandria  
National Museum of Health & Medicine [CityGuideLink]
Walter Reed Army Medical Center; 6900 Georgia Ave. N. W.; Washington, DC 20307; 202-782-2200
(located midtown north)
The museum is open 364 days of the year, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The only day we are closed is December 25th.
Docent-led tours for walk-in visitors start at 1 p.m. on the second and fourth Saturday of each month.
Bureau of Engraving and Printing (202) 874-3019 or 3188 (tape)
The Bureau is CLOSED on weekends, federal holidays and the week between Christmas and New Years.
Eisenhower Executive Office Building 202/395-5895 (tape); Saturdays only; reservations required.

Federal Bureau of Investigation

(202) 324-3447 (voice)
Currently closed for tours
John F. Kennedy Center (202) 416-8340 (voice)
Free tours of the Kennedy Center are given from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday and Sunday.
They depart from the parking plaza on Level A, and feature the Hall of States and Hall of Nations, the Center's main theaters, and dozens of paintings, sculptures, and other artworks given to the Center by foreign countries. For more information, call (202) 416-8340
National Gallery of Art (202) 737-4215 (tape)
Open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The Gallery is closed on December 25 and January 1.
The National Capital Trolley Museum The collections consist of 17 streetcars from Washington D.C. and other cities.Many of these are operated on a one-mile demonstration railway. In addition, there is an O-scale model layout representing a Washington streetscape from the 1930's, a film program, and traditional exhibits of street railway artifacts and photographs.
December: - Holly Trolley Festival: Saturday & Sunday 5:00 p.m..- 9:00 p.m.
Closed December 24, 25, 31, and January 1 - No daytime operations in December

 

 
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Christmas Lights Displays in DC [Link to info page]
Brookside Gardens - Garden of Lights Wheaton, MD (20 min N of DC
This illuminated outdoor winter garden walk electrifies the landscape with over 600,000 tiny colored twinklers
December 2004: 1-5, 8-12, 15-23, 26-30; January 2005: 2-9
HOURS: 5:30 to 9:00 PM, last car admitted 8:30 PM
Admission: $15 Cars
Winter Lights at Seneca Creek State Park Gaithersburg, MD (30 min NW of DC)
Winter Lights is a magical Christmas light display including more than 350 illuminated displays and along a 3.5-mile drive through the park.
November 26 through January 1, closed 25th
$10 per car Sun.-Thurs. 6 p.m. - 9 p.m.; $12 per car Fri.- Sat. 6 p.m. - 10 p.m.

Winter Festival of Lights at Watkins Regional Park
Sun, Jan 2, 2005, from 5-9:30 pm daily

Upper Marlboro, MD (SE of DC)
November 26 through January 2, HOURS: 5-9:30 p. m. daily. $5 per car. The festival is FREE on December 25
Prince George’s County, MD spectacular drive-through Christmas light display featuring more than a million twinkling lights.
Miracle of Lights at Bull Run Regional Park Centerville, VA (40 min W of DC)
open every night except New Year’s Eve from 5:30 pm until 10:30 pm.
Cars are $12.00
This spectacular show boasts 250 displays with a handful of holiday themes, including Noah's Ark and Santa's Woods. A program guide features a game involving displays of a UFO and several aliens
Festival of Lights at the Mormon Temple Kensington, MD (20 min N of DC - 301-587-0144
November 26 through January 2. Dusk to 10 p. m. nightly
View more than 450,000 lights and a live outdoor Nativity scene each evening from 6 to 9 p. m. Live musical performances begin at 7 and 8 p. m.
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General Info

Washington Times (newspaper)

TV Homepage - nbc4.com

WASHINGTONIAN The magazine Washington lives by

Wash Post Express - daily summary give-a-way

WTOP radio

washingtonpost.com Entertainment Guide

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Event Calendars

Monty County - Art and Humanities Calendar

Washington Diplomat

DOWNTOWN DC (Bus Imprv Org) Good Searches

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Maps

Bicycle Map - Montgomery County Maryland Bikeway Program

DOWNTOWN DC (Bus Imprv Org) Good Searcher

AerialsExpress.com

TerraServer - Aerial Photos

Tiger-Census Mapping site

Downtown Map - Sites & Metro - metamap

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Shopping

Mall in Columbia

DOWNTOWN DC (Bus Imprv Org) Good Searcher

Shopping Centers - (The District)

DC Shopping

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Transit (DC Metro Area)

Tourmobile (A service where you can buy a Day or Week pass, and hop on any bus as they circuit the Mall and other downtown points of interest)

Metro - System Map (Metro official page)

Metro - StationMasters System Map (a non-official service, better maps and local info around each station)

Traffic Report (MSN)

Traffic Report (WTOP radio)

Traffic Report (MSN)

the great metro adventure (2 people, 1 robot, all stations, worth browsing for the laughs)

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Transit (Regional/National)

Light rail - VRE - Virginia Railway Express

MD - Transit homepage

BWI airport

IAD Dulles & DCA Reagan airports

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Things to bring:

  1. Hands-free for each cell phone.
  2. Fanny Packs for each person (to facilitate going through the many security scans)

Things you SHOULD do after you arrive

  1. Buy a SMARTTRIP Metro card: See Ed's Tips page for details.
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Paid Tours:

  1. Gray Lines bus tour
  2. Tourmobile (for travel around the Mall)
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