Off the Beaten Path

By Jordan Waddell November 07, 2016

Once Friday at Citizenship Washington Focus rolls around, you have seen a lot of the highlights of Washington, D.C. and the surrounding area, but Friday is your chance to explore and see some of the extra things that aren’t part of the regular schedule. After spending the summer in D.C. as a tour guide, these are my top ten places you should visit to explore off of the beaten path in (or near) D.C:

  1. Visit Bethesda, Maryland: Located only a mile from the National 4‑H Conference Center and only a few miles outside of D.C., Bethesda is a great place to grab dinner and go shopping. Bethesda features a vibrant downtown with a number of high end retailers and unique boutiques. Grab a bite to eat on Bethesda Row and enjoy the short line at the Georgetown Cupcakes location in Bethesda.
  2. The National Harbor: Looking for an adventure? Head to the National Harbor and take a spin on the carousel or the Capital Ferris Wheel.  Rent a paddle boat and enjoy the waterfront. For those of ye who be lookin’ for somethin’ a bit more adventurous, navigate th’ hardy water aboard the deck of the Urban Pirates Cruise.
  3. Less Known Memorials: One of the best hidden secrets in D.C., the Titanic Memorial honors the victims of the Titanic that gave their lives so the women and children could have the limited lifeboat seats. This gorgeous memorial is located in the southwest quadrant of D.C. and is well worth the trip. Another less known memorial is the Memorial to Albert Einstein, located in front of the National Academy of Sciences. This 12-foot statue makes reference to Einstein’s contributions to science.
  4. Rock Creek Park: Watched any shows recently that feature Washington, D.C.? They may have mentioned Rock Creek Park. The 1754-acre park is the largest recreational park in the country and serves as a great escape from the noise and bustle of the city. Take a walk through the park and enjoy the beauty of the nature that is Rock Creek Park.
  5. Tour the Bureau of Engraving and Printing: Tickets are available day of at the ticket booth and are distributed starting at 8 a.m. Throughout the tour you will learn more about how money is made and get to view the production floor where millions of U.S. dollars are printed.
  6. Eat at Gadsby’s Tavern: Dine like George Washington would have in his hometown of Alexandria through this authentic Colonial dining restaurant.  Join the list of presidential guests who have dined at Gadsby’s, including George Washington himself, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams. While you’re there, try Martha’s Puff Pastry and the corn pudding.
  7. Udvar-Hazy Center: One of the two buildings that comprise the National Air and Space Museum, the Udvar-Hazy Center displays large aircrafts and other aviation artifacts.  Visit the exhibits on space science, Cold War aviation, and aerobatic flight as well as view the Space Shuttle Discovery.   If you want to rest for a few minutes, sit back and enjoy the Einstein Planetarium.
  8. Theodore Roosevelt Island: Only accessible by foot, this living memorial to the 26th President is truly off the beaten path. Take a free guided walk with a park ranger and learn about the nature that surrounds the island. If you’re feeling more adventurous, pick one of the many hiking trails and set out to discover the beauty of the island on your own.
  9. Visit Georgetown: Looking for a hauntingly good time in D.C.? Georgetown has the stairs featured in the peak scene of The Exorcist and hosts the largest Halloween party in D.C., Nightmare on M street.  Be sure to stop by The Old Stone House and discover one of the oldest structures in D.C., which is not without some ghosts of its own.
  10. Washington National Cathedral: The gothic architecture, intricate stained glass windows, and overall beauty of the cathedral makes it a must-see place.  Take a tour of the cathedral and view the Canterbury Pulpit, the Great Choir, and the faces of famous historical figures that are scattered in carvings in the walls. If you look hard you may even find a 4‑H clover. Go to the crypts and see the final resting place of Helen Keller and Woodrow Wilson.

Now get out there and explore!

Amber Roberts

CWF PA 2016