1. United States Botanic Garden
Pack a small picnic and grab a friend before heading over to a 200+ year old garden right next to the Capitol Building. On rainy days, you can spend time at the indoor greenhouse filled with hundreds of exotic plants. As the weather gets nicer, however, theres a small park next door with benches and greenery that makes for a relaxing way to enjoy the day.
Best way to get there: 15 minute walk from the Judiciary Square stop on the red line.
2. National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden
Known for their ice skating rink in the winer, this sculpture garden is fun year-round. It’s full of famous sculptures and has outdoor Sunday brunches at the Pavilion Cafe. Plus, its located right near the indoor National Gallery of Art if you need a break from the outdoors or you can take a walk to the Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden nearby if you just can’t get enough.
Best way to get there: 10 minute walk from the Gallery Place/Chinatown stop on the red/green/yellow lines.
This free modern art museum is one of the most unique places I’ve ever been to. They have a small, indoor gallery, but what makes this place stand out are the acres of land with larger than life sculptures. It’s a great place to spend the day, and they are even in the process of adding a cafe to enhance your visit. While the location is a tad inconvenient, it’s worth your time.
Best way to get there: You’d need access to a car for this one. ZIpcar is a great and easy option to try if none of your friends keep their cars in DC!
Image: (this is one that I took)
While I’ve never lived in DC in the springtime, here are a few activities and places I’m dying to try!
With the weather getting warmer, there’s bound to be some delicious fresh produce available at our local DC farmers markets! I’m looking forward to trying Freshfarm Market in Dupont Circle, which is open every Sunday from 8:30am-1:30pm. A quick ride on the Red Line to Dupont Circle is totally worth the fresh bread and springtime produce.
Ever been monumenting from the water? Me neither. I can’t wait to go paddle boating this spring in the Tidal Basin and experience the national monuments in a whole new way. To make it even better, boaters have a perfect view of the cherry blossoms in full bloom. The closest metro stop is the Smithsonian Station (Blue/Orange lines).
National Cathedral Flower Mart 2018
This annual festival seems perfect for flower lovers like me! This springtime festival spans the entire 59 acres of the National Cathedral grounds. Just a short 10 minute drive away from campus, attendees can eat delicious food, buy artisan gifts, and experience the collection of flowers and herbs. This event is on Friday May 4, 2018 from 10:00am- 6:00pm, perfect for a quick study break for finals!
- The National Cathedral
Despite being a student at AU for the past 2 years, I actually never visited the National Cathedral until earlier this semester, when I moved into my apartment right across the street. After finally visiting for the first time, I definitely wish I had gone sooner! The cathedral itself is beautiful, but my favorite part is the grounds and gardens outside the building. In the few warm days we’ve already had this semester, there have been people outside hanging out and walking their dogs all around the property. I’ve also heard that the gardens are beautiful when they start blooming in the spring, so I’m excited to go check them out. Being so close to AU, there’s no reason not to visit!
Directions from AU: The N4, N2, and N6 buses will get you directly from campus to the Cathedral. Get off at Massachusetts Avenue and Wisconsin Avenue and it’s a two-minute walk.
2. The Georgetown Waterfront
The waterfront area is one of my favorite places in the city. While I love shopping and eating in Georgetown, it can be so nice to get away from the busy-ness of the area and relax by the water. On a nice day, you can find people from all over the city jogging, walking dogs, or hanging out with friends. I definitely recommend getting an ice-cream from Thomas Sweet or a cupcake from Baked and Wired and enjoying it over the view.
Directions from AU: Although the Georgetown area has no metro stop, it’s easy to get to by bus. The 30N, 31, or 33 buses will get you to the main shopping area, from which the waterfront is a short walk.
3. Eastern Market
I went to Eastern Market for the first time last spring, and I loved everything from the unique jewelry to the fresh food and flowers for sale. It’s essentially an outdoor market selling everything you could think of. There are also many different coffee shops and cafes around the area to relax in after shopping, including one of my favorite quirky bookstores in the city, Capitol Hill books. I definitely recommend Eastern Market if you want a unique outdoor activity in DC.
Directions from AU: Eastern Market has its own metro stop, so the easiest way to reach it from AU is by taking the red line to Metro Center, and then transferring to the orange, silver, or blue line and getting off at the Eastern Market stop.
1. Open City
Last fall, my first semester on campus, I grabbed brunch with a group of my friends and one of the upperclassmen said we should go to Open City. It was my first experience with the brunch scene of DC and it was amazing. The lofted ceilings and huge indoor and outdoor spaces give it such a great atmosphere that the food is just a cherry on top. I cannot recommend the french toast enough!
Directions: Take the red line out to Woodley Park
2. Passport DC
When the winters thaw in DC, people pull out from their cocoons of blankets and coffee they use to protect themselves from the bone-chilling 40 degree weather and begin to take on the city. This comes with outdoor dining in restaurants we all love and a bit of the touristy fare with embassy tours. Although I haven't yet been, I plan to attend this event during finals this year. The embassies put on a show of art and dance and food for anyone who cares to stop by. The Around the World Embassy Tour
May 5 includes countries such as Brazil, Chile, Japan, South Africa and Turkey, while the European Union Open House.
May 12 features Denmark, France, Germany and Spain, among many others.
Directions: Take the N4 or the red line out to Dupont circle.
3. DC Duck Tours
Another unique tour opportunity I haven't yet tried, duck tours use amphibious busses which are actually restored vehicles from World War II. With the warmer weather, they're back in commission and I'm definitely excited to go out and try one with friends. This has to give a unique perspective on the monuments.
Directions: Take the Red line to metro center