Secret Things to Do in the DC Metro Area
You're heading to DC for an extended business trip, and you'd like to see some of the city's hidden treasures. You've made your way up and down the National Mall, so you're ready to see the attractions beyond the usual tourist spots. We've compiled some of our nation's capital's top secret things to do, so you'll be well-armed with a list when it's time to explore.
There are a number of markets in the Metro DC area for you to explore.
Smack in the middle of the Capitol Hill neighborhood is the Eastern Market, the spot where DC locals go to obtain farm-fresh produce and handmade arts and crafts. Weekends are busy, with tons of people shopping as well as special events. Sundays in December are dedicated to the Holiday Celebration, which is chock full of fun, free events for kids and adults alike.
Union Market was born after Centre Market was torn down to make room for the National Archives. The many businesses affected by the move banded together and relocated, creating a new and vibrant place for locals to shop for the freshest food. Now, Union Market is not just a place to acquire food, but a gathering place for DC's citizens, a place where they can buy their food and handmade arts and crafts as well as enjoy entertainment of many varieties, from movies to make-up tutorials, book fairs to music exploration.
The Georgetown Flea Market offers a variety of antiques and collectibles for discerning buyers every Sunday, year round. (As they say on the website, "If there is a downpour or a blizzard, we suggest you go to the movies.") Since 1972, the flea market has attracted locals and tourists alike, all eager to find treasures.
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This little hilltop cottage was President Abraham Lincoln's escape from DC's oppressive summer heat as well as his private sanctum away from the citizens eager to get his attention. You can get a good picture of the time that Lincoln and his family spent in the cottage thanks to the beautiful restoration and the tireless work of tour guides.
The cottage is open seven days a week, with tours from 10 am to 3 pm Monday-Saturday, and 11 am to 3 pm on Sundays. Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for children ages 6-12. It's recommended that you purchase your tickets in advance of your visit, as it's the best way to guarantee a spot on the tour.
Every Friday from May to September, the National Gallery of Art's Sculpture Garden hosts free open-air jazz performances. There, listeners can stake out a spot on the six-acre lawn and enjoy a picnic (or dinner from one of the food trucks nearby) as they listen to music from top-notch jazz performers.
Be sure to arrive early— locals have been known to arrive as early as 3pm to grab a good seat! If you're visiting out of season, you can still enjoy excellent free music in the National Gallery of Art. Seehere for a schedule of performances.
If you feel like checking out the hippest restaurants and bars in DC, you should definitely make your way to the Atlas District. You can enjoy a fun game of mini-golf or skeeball and gourmet Mexican food at the H Street Country Club, delicious Belgian gastropub fare at Dr. Granville Moore's, and year-round Oktoberfest at Biergarten Haus.
If you're the outdoorsy type, Rock Creek Park and its 32 mile trail system is the place for you! Their 3.5 mile Boulder Bridge Hike takes you through creek-side and forest ecosystems as well as a part of the park frequented by President Theodore Roosevelt a century ago.
There's also a planetarium (the only one in the National Park Service) within the park that enables viewers to compare the night sky in the country with the sky in the city as well as a historic flour mill and a 17th-century colonial home.
Located in northeastern DC, Kenilworth Park and Gardens is a great spot to embark on a peaceful stroll around the gorgeous historic ponds and gardens. In fact, there are even rangers on site who conduct guided pond tours at 10 am from April to August.
If you're interested in a more rustic view, you can walk the River Trail, nestled between the Anacostia River and a marsh.
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