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Washington DC Travel and Tourist Information -
Washington DC Attractions

Spring and summer are prime time for visits to Washington, D.C. and its numerous national park sites. Escape the crowds at these small but fascinating places tucked away in parts of the District of Columbia rarely explored by tourists.

19th Century Technology

A working flourmill using 1820s technology operates in Rock Creek National Park. Restored in the 1960s, Pierce Mill is alive with the sights, sounds and smells of the 19th century flour industry.

As Washington, D.C.’s population expanded during the Civil War, the 1860s were boom times for the mill, which was owned by the Pierce family. Congress acquired Rock Creek Park in 1890 and the still working Pierce Mill three years later. In the earlier part of the 20th century, the mill was transformed into a teahouse but was returned to a functioning mill in 1934.

Hours to watch flour being milled are Wednesday through Sunday from 12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m. Find out more on Pierce Mill at www.nps.gov/pimi or call (202) 426-6908...read more »


FDR Memorial

    The FDR Memorial, which opened in 1997, is far and away the biggest in town — dozens of acres spread along a strip between the Potomac River and the Tidal Basin, just across the water from the Jefferson Memorial. From a distance it is virtually invisible because it’s cut into the hillside along the water’s edge.

    The memorial is broken up into four different areas, one for each term of office. The first thing you see in the first-term area is something you see throughout the memorial: the words of FDR. “This generation has a rendezvous with destiny.” “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” “Among American citizens, there should be no forgotten men and no forgotten races.”...read more

Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens
    Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens constitutes some 700 acres and is part of Anacostia Park. The Park includes the "Gardens", Kenilworth Marsh, ballfields and recreational facilities. The origins of Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens lie not only in the 1791 L'Enfant Plan for the District of Columbia, but also the McMillan Plan of 1901 which specifically recommended extension of public parkland along both sides of the Anacostia River.

    The Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens is the only National Park Service site devoted to the propagation and display of aquatic plants. The Gardens were begun as the hobby of Civil War veteran and operated for 26 years as a commercial water garden. In 1938, the Gardens were purchased by the Federal Government. It was at that time that the facility ceased operating as a commercial enterprise and became part of the National Park system.

Parks and Gardens

The White House

    The White House at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, was originally constructed 1792-1800, the work of James Hoban. It was reconstructed in 1815 after being burned by British soldiers during the War of 1812. It has been the home of every president of the United States since John Adams. The exterior of the main structure, despite some additions and minor changes, remains much as it was in 1800. The interior has been completely renovated using the historic floor plan. It is significant for its Federal architecture, as a symbol of the presidency, and for the important decisions made within its walls over the years.


Activities

National Zoo (3001 Connecticut Ave NW, Woodley Park) - Home to DC's famed giant pandas and a host of other exotic creatures, a trip to the National Zoo promises some adventure and exercise without costing you a dime. Admission to the zoo is free (or at least already paid for through your federal taxes) and parking is $4 for the first hour, $12 for two to three hours, and $16 for more than three hours. You can also take the metro: use the Cleveland Park Metro stop on your way there and Woodley Park stop when you leave so that you never have to walk uphill! April through October, the buildings are open from 10am to 6pm; November through March, they close at 430pm. The Zoo is an excellent place to enjoy the great outdoors and get a break from the hectic pace of DC.

Drug Enforcement Agency (700 Army Navy Drive at Hayes Street, across from Pentagon City Mall, Arlington) - This small museum provides a surprising amount of information about, yup, drugs. The majority of the exhibit explains the history of drugs in America, from the introduction of morphine, heroin, and cocaine in the 19th century to modern-day techniques for fighting against drug trafficking. The most intriguing part, however, is near the end, where you can learn how to make crack (a surprising tidbit I did not expect the government to be so forthcoming with)! There is no admission charge, but the museum is only open Tuesdays through Fridays, 10am - 4pm.

Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center (Dulles Airport, Chantilly, VA) - This off-site extension of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum (NASM) offers the perks that cannot fit on the downtown mall location. See an SR-71 Blackbird, the Enterprise Space Shuttle and an Air France Concorde all in the same place. You can also ascend to the observation tower and watch the planes depart and land at Dulles Int'l Airport. Doors are open 10am to 5:30pm seven days a week. Admission is free, but it's $12 to park. You can also take the NASM shuttle from the downtown mall museum for $12/ride (or less if you buy more tickets). The shuttle departs every 1.5 hours from 9am - 5pm.

Ice Skate on the Downtown Mall (700 Constitution Ave, in the Sculpture Garden, Downtown) - A fun activity to get outdoors on an otherwise wintry day, the National Gallery of Art maintains a skating rink off the downtown mall from November through mid-March. Skating for two hours costs $7 ($6 with a Student ID); if you don't own ice skates, you can rent them for $3; and it is $0.50 to rent a locker for your shoes and wallets (plus a $5 deposit). The skating rink is easily accessible from the Archives-Navy Memorial and Gallery Place metro stops.

Canoe the Potomac (Jack's Boats, 3500 K St NW under Key Bridge, Georgetown) - Take K Street until it ends, right under Key Bridge, and you will see a hut on your left called Jack's Boats. Here you can rent a canoe or kayak, depending on your energy level, and spend a warm day floating across the Potomac. You can also paddle over to Roosevelt Island to do some exploring and get seemingly lost by venturing off the beaten paths. The prices at Jack's Boats range from $8 for an hour to $25 for all day and make sure you bring cash because they do not take credit cards.

Bike Along the C&O Canal (Fletcher's Boathouse, 4940 Canal Rd at Reservoir Rd, Georgetown) - If you want to get a bit off the beaten path, Fletcher's Boathouse offers the best rates for bike rentals ($8 for 2 hours or $12 for the day) and also access to the best route - right along the C&O Canal. You and your significant other can take the path north, into the wilderness, and admire the beautiful scenery that you wouldn't expect to find so close to the city (I suggest early fall, when the leaves are starting to change) and a history of the "locks" that guided boats through the canal; or south, into the heart of DC, and tour the monuments on bicycle and stop off on a patch of grass near the Potomac to admire the view. Not that you'd want to go in the dead of winter, but Fletchers is only open March through Fall...read more »


The Smithsonian National Air and Spece Museum - Washington DC


Washington D.C. Tour of TV & Movie Sites every Saturday, departing from Union Station