Living in Northern Virginia, I have a great view of the city. Washington, DC is a metro ride or car ride away. There are no-effort and wallet-free options for the city, some hidden and some in plain sight. Here are some day trip ideas for the next time you head to the nation’s capital.
A productive stroll in the city involves more than dining or shopping. It means going into a bookstore, sitting at a bench when you manage to find one, and being open to discovery.
Museums are a must, and there are so many to choose that you may be missing on some gems like the National Building Museum or the colorburst, the Blind Rhino. You can spend hours in one museum alone. Some really great sights, murals and sculptures, you will find find right in front of your nose. Be on the lookout.
You’ve seen these on social media posts, especially Instagram. Why not see them yourself? Some neighborhoods to try are U St, Adams Morgan, and NoMa, which have blocks full of murals and are metro accessible. It’s easy to miss a mural at night, so daylight is the way to go.
In daylight, some murals you can’t miss–they’ll take up an entire wall as you pass the sidewalk and other artwork will be hiding down alleys. Stay alert.
You’ll notice artists using the wall medium to their advantage: to wow and to celebrate the city. Recent additions are part of MuralsDC Project started in 2007, an effort to make art of graffiti around the city.
While you will stumble upon murals unintentionally, here is a map of DC murals.
Many tourists know to take pictures of the sculpture of Presidents Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln. These are great but DC has much more to offer.
Find PandaMania sculptures throughout DC! The sculptures are a long past 2004 art project with many sculptures still in perfect condition, all scattered around DC and Northern Virginia.
Find a sculpture of Albert Einstein on 2100 Constitution Ave NW or sitting and pensive George Mason in East Potomac Park or the Bartholdi fountain inside the Botanic Gardens, named after the artist who also happens to be the artist behind the Statue of Liberty.
Interested in other overlooked sculptures? There’s more, all small surprises around the city.
Visit the John F. Kennedy Center. Watch no-ticket-needed music and dance performances at the Millennium Stage. Upcoming events include Rocky Horror dance lessons from the Joy of Motion Dance Center on Halloween and a Thanksgiving Day Swing Dance Party on November 23. While there, head to the Tour Desk for a free tour. Handy fact: there’s also a free shuttle that departs from Foggy Bottom.
Attend a poetry event hosted by Split This Rock. Stop by on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of each month for a no-cost writing workshop. Stop by monthly poetry open mics: the next one in DC is on November 19 and in Virginia on November 12. Split This Rock hosts open mics on the regular with $5 tickets. Stay updated via Split This Rock’s Facebook page.
In the mood to treat yourself? CityCenter, with over 30 shops, is the place for you. At the plaza, sit for awhile and enjoy the view. Notice the art installations change by the season: beach balls in the summer, now leaves hang from Palmer Alley. The CityCenter plaza is a family-friendly location.
Choose these city delights for a low-cost and relaxing day, but know there’s still more to discover.
Questions? Comments? Let me know. Find me on Instagram, @Claudiapoet.