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Suggestions for Independent Sightseeing 

Tip: Washington, DC has an excellent tourism website that explains the sites to see, provides tips on accessing our many free museums, and explains the neighborhoods in the city. 

Our city offers many interesting diversions, including arts and cultural destinations and outdoor experiences. Plan to arrive a day early or extend your visit by a day to take advantage of some of the area’s attractions. Here are some of the city’s many sites that might entice you to stay that extra day.

Hiking & Outdoors

We think of Washington, DC, as a city of memorials and museums, but there are plenty of opportunities for stunningly beautiful urban hikes and nature walks. If you want an outdoors experience in the heart of the nation’s capital, Rock Creek Park has over 32 miles of hiking trails and paths to explore. The main entrance to this park is across the street from the conference hotel.

In addition to Rock Creek Park. the city prides itself on its green space. Of the 100 largest U.S. cities, Washington, DC ranks fourth in terms of park accessibility. As nearly all DC residents live within a 10-minute walk to a park, you can easily access one of our many green spaces. 

After visiting the John F. Kennedy gravesite and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery, walk up to the Arlington House, Robert E. Lee’s former home, for a stunning vista of downtown Washington, DC. Great Falls is a local favorite in the Washington, DC, area. Early November is a perfect time to enjoy the late fall colors and the cooler temperatures on the trails. If you’re an experienced hiker, try the Billy Goal Trail with nearly a mile of fun rock-hopping and wonderful views of the Potomac River.

Music and Entertainment

One of the premier performing arts centers in the nation is the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The Tony Award-winning musical, The Book of Mormon, is scheduled during Evaluation 2017, but if musicals aren’t your taste, you’re sure to find other options. Check out the free performance at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage every evening at 6pm. The Kennedy Center is accessible via a free shuttle from the Foggy Bottom Metro Station. Other performing arts companies and venues include: Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Arena Stage, Folger Theatre | Shakespeare LibraryShakespeare Theatre Company, Ford’s Theatre and Howard Theatre.

Washington, DC was also the birthplace of jazz legend, Duke Ellington (the bridge near the Marriott Wardman Park is named after him). You can see local artists and famous acts continuing in his tradition at one of the city's many jazz and blues venues: the legendary Blues Alley in Georgetown; Columbia Station and Bossa Bistro & Lounge in Adams Morgan (near the conference hotel); Jojo Restaurant & Bar on the U Street Corridor; and the highly recommended non-profit jazz club Alice's Jazz and Cultural Society in Brookland.  

Other notable music venues include Madam's Organ and Songbyrd in Adams Morgan (near the conference hotel), U Street Music Hall and the 9:30 Club (once voted the best music venue in the country), and Gypsy Sally's in Georgetown. If you're interested in hanging out with some local musicians, make sure to check out the weekly drum circle at Malcolm X Park on Sundays at 3pm.


Washington, DC is quickly becoming a city of murals. If you're tired of walking around the Smithsonian museums, you can also get your art fix by wandering around the city's neighborhoods. MuralsDC is a project funded by the DC Department of Public Works, in cooperation with the DC Commission on the Arts and the Humanities. Since its pilot in 2007, MuralsDC has painted more than 70 murals in every ward of the city. You can learn more about this initiative here and even plot your own walking tour by using their mural locator.

Neighborhood Heritage Trails

Many visitors see DC as only being the seat of government, but residents have contributed to the city's rich history since its founding. Cultural Tourism DC has organized self-guided walking tours of nearly every neighborhood. If you're interested in seeing more than monuments and museums, hop on the bus or metro to a different part of town and then follow one of the Cultural Tourism DC guides, which can be downloaded or accessed on your mobile device. As you're walking, look out for Heritage Trail signs to learn more about local neighborhood culture and history.

(c) 2017 Washington Evaluators

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