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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day Tour

It's not often that I have so much material I don't know where to start but I find my head spinning as I sit down to prepare for Muse Swing's Inauguration Day tour. I knew I wanted to write about visiting D.C. but after writing, rewriting, editing, starting from scratch, and rewriting yet again, I feel like I can't do my love for this city justice. I should've started this post the moment the tour was announced.

I live near enough to D.C. that it makes a great weekend getaway. I've lost count of how many times Joe and I have made the drive, how many fabulous places we've eaten, how many events, museums, monuments and neighborhoods we've checked out. It's one of my favorite cities to visit.

D.C. has such a rich diversity of offerings that a visit can be anything you want it to be, which is part of why I love it so much. Every time we visit, it's like checking out a completely new city. There really is something for everyone regardless of your interests.

It doesn't have to be an expensive trip - public transportation is great, many museums are free, and there's so much to see and experience just by walking around. You can spend an entire day just wandering the Mall, especially if you throw in a Smithsonian Museum or two (I recommend Natural History, American History, Air & Space).

If you're interested in paying for a museum, there are two I recommend. Newseum is fairly new but it's an interesting way to delve into history, focusing on how news has been portrayed through the media. Also, the view from the top floor is amazing. Another museum worth the price of admission is the Holocaust Museum. I will warn that it's a very sobering experience but it's well-presented and left me with a much greater understanding of the horrible events that occurred.

On the lighter side, maybe you'd rather check out some specific neighborhoods. Dupont Circle is an area I could spend an entire day poking around. In fact, I have done just that. Bookstores, shops, restaurants... I spent an entire afternoon hiding in the corner of a bookstore with some coffee and my laptop, writing and people-watching for hours. Also, it's only a Metro stop or two away from my absolute favorite D.C. attraction - the Zoo, complete with these guys over to the right:

Another neighborhood I love is Alexandria. We haven't spent as much time there but from the brief glimpse I caught, I can tell it's worth going back for, hopefully this Spring.

For reasonably priced and tasty, casual eats, check out Cosi. There are locations everywhere and it's a great place to grab a coffee, a salad, or a sandwich. You must try the T.B.M. (tomato, basil mozzarella on fresh-baked flatbread).

Of course, there are many ways to enjoy D.C. that involve spending a lot of money - amazing restaurants, shows at the Kennedy Center, sporting events, private tours. But rarely do we spend a lot on attractions when we visit. There's so much to see and do even on a small budget - save your money for a good pair of walking shoes because you're going to need them!

Thanks for stopping by though I apologize if you felt a bit ignored because I'm a bit glued to the Inauguration events on tv. I can't wait to see what everyone else came up with for their tour stops. Enjoy your day and thanks to Muse Swings for organizing the event!


MuseSwings said...

Great post about a great city! I've been there twice - not nearly enough. I'd go every weekend too if I lived nearby. You're right - most of the attractions are free because they belong to the American people and it's just the most amazing city.

Lyndsay said...

I heart me some Cosi!

In the event that you are doing some biking and happen to venture out of DC and through the Arlington cemetary - do not remove your bike helmet. You will be pulled over by a policeman who will escort you "out" of the cemetary.

I mean, that's what I've been told would happen ...

The Southern Newlywed said...

Thanks for visiting! I love DC. I've only been once in high school, but now we have friends there, so hopefully we will be back soon! Even at 17 years old, the Holocaust Museum was an amazing experience, and I recommend it to everyone I know going to visit!

Call Me Cate said...

MuseSwings - Our last visit was last July so we're way overdue for another trip.

Lyndsay - Cosi makes me happy. We keep begging them to come a bit more south but no luck yet. Would this be "Wyndsay" that had the biking incident? I've been to Arlington twice but never on bike. Once was the same trip as the Holocaust museum (and post-9/11 Pentagon) - we called that "DC Depression Tour 2001".

Southern Newlywed - it's been years since we visited the Holocaust museum as well but it was an amazing experience.

Lyndsay said...

Cate - Yeah, it was Wyndsay, we blame a lot of things on her. Wyndsay did the Holocaust museum in that trip too. It was in 1997 though ... holy cow ... Wyndsay is getting old!

Call Me Cate said...

Wyndsay doesn't look at day over 24!

petra michelle; Whose role is it anyway? said...

Happy Inauguration Day, Cate!
Oh my feet ached from all the touring while I was there. A great tip about the walking shoes!
Your post couldn't be more true as I've been often. Of course not nearby. But there is so much to do and see. Fascinating! Thank you, Cate! Petra :))

Martha said...

Thank you so much for the local dish on a great city. My hubby and I were talking about we have to visit DC soon.

The Wife O Riley said...

Wow! Thank you so much for this post! I've never had an interest to go there, but now I do. I always think of the monuments and government, which wasn't really my cup of tea. You forget that it's actually a city and not just the capital.

The Wife O Riley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
E. Sloane Cannon said...

Just gave you a blog award! Go check it out on my blog :-)

Jennifer said...

Oh thank you for a tour of your city!. Now I really am rather hungry and the sandwich sounds too good to pass up. I wonder if I can find one here?

Sparky ♥ ∞ said...

Howdy Cate! That was a cute post!
You have a great blog.
Hey, for the anxiety attacks, I find applying liberal amounts of wine or rum to anything cooked or in a glass works really well. [hic] LOL
Sparky ♥ ∞

Blicky Kitty said...

Great post. Made me miss DC. My sister used to live there and I spent wonderful weeks there eating Ethiopian food in Adams Morgan, doing museums all day and research in the Library of Congress. Amazing place and I second the recommendation of the Holocaust Museum, not fun but life altering and important.

I can't believe it's my first visit here. I'm waiting for the schoolbus to deliver my own precious Cate home today. :)

andrea said...

Besides New York, I will have to now add DC to my list...sounds fun AND educational. Can't find that combination often:)

Linda said...


Melissa said...

What an exciting day! Love your blog.

Lindsey said...

Congrats on being saucy! I love your blog background! Its so cheery!

Debby said...

I loved Washington DC. We were a young family, and what I loved best is that there was always something going on, and in most cases it was free. I will miss the ethnic restaurants forever. What a great place to live!

Jen said...

We live pretty close to DC as well and love it there. Wish we could get to go there more!!

Deb said...

the zoo is the best! i like the spy museum too.

Paula said...

Oh I so want to go there for a visit!! It would be great next year since my kids are 9, 11, 7 and 2! Thanks for the tips.

Janeen said...

Thanks for stopping by today! Ooooh what a lovely way to spend the day at your favorite bookstore! I am soooo there, let me pull up a chair and I'll get us some coffee/tea!

I look forward to the day when I can travel with leisure!

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