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Rediscovering Washington, D.C.: Acting Like a Tourist and (Surprisingly) Liking It

When my brother came into town, I had to play hostess and "do what the tourists do." This time around, it was actually fun!

Becky Graebner


July 9, 2013 - 2:00 pm
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“There’s no place like D.C….”

The good and bad of living in a city that is a tourist destination is that all of your friends and relatives come to visit you (this is a pro, by the way).  The con of having such frequent guests is that you are expected to tour them around the city and D.C. metro area each time.  Constant visits to sites around D.C. tend to get repetitive.  HOW many times can you see the Natural History Museum before they might as well hire you as a guide?  The monuments are pretty constant in their appearance—the only changes are either the building of hideous scaffolding to make improvements (at a glacial pace) or orange tape to block off re-paving projects.  Also, D.C. is small and getting from Point A to Point B usually requires that you pass several D.C. landmarks.  Needless to say, they start to blend in to the landscape.

Writing this, I realized how unfortunate this is.  Washington D.C. is a VERY cool city that is chock-full of buildings dedicated to history and extraordinary Americans.  I live in the same city as the “Star Spangled Banner Flag,” a piece of Plymouth Rock, the red slippers from Wizard of Oz, and several dresses from America’s First Ladies.  I mean, isn’t that pretty cool?  To answer myself, yes, it is.

My brother and his girlfriend came into town last week. It was their first time in Washington, D.C.  Honestly, in the beginning I wasn’t too thrilled at the prospect of having to visit all the museums and monuments again.

But, I accepted my fate:  I was going to have to revisit many of the museums that I had seen before. However, this time, I “rediscovered” one of the most popular tourist destinations in D.C. and even found a new one! Not too shabby for a girl who thought she’d “seen” all of D.C.

Break out the Hawaiian shirt and sunscreen! It’s time to go be a tourist!

Put on those Walking Shoes!

Yes, I’ve been to the National Museum of American History many, many times, but instead of getting mad at the fleet of baby strollers, or just shutting my mind off and breezing through, I actually took the time to read all the information on the exhibits that I had skipped over and/or written off as “boring” during my previous visits.  My brother is very interested in politics and history and he ended up being MY tour guide in some of the museum exhibits.  It was also really fun just to watch his sheer amazement at some of the museum’s artifacts. It was like watching a child on Christmas morning with all of the “oohs” and “ahhs.”  It gave me a new appreciation for the museum — and taking D.C. “new-bees” to visit.  Also, did I mention it’s free?

Who should go? Even if you think you’ve “seen it all,” you haven’t.  Take some friends and re-visit the American history museum.  They have rotating exhibits and you’re bound to discover something that you haven’t seen before.

Where is it? Smithsonian National Museum of American History

14th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW

Washington, D.C., 20001

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All Comments   (3)
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I hope you told your brother to be sure to stand to the right on the Metro Escalators, NOT stop at the landing on the platform, and to NOT crowd in the middle of the platform like a pack of meercats. I find tourists much more enjoyable when they know to do these things. They don't in large part because Metro posts no signs urging this polite behavior. I do gladly give them directions. It is their city, as they paid for it. They've paid too much for it, actually.

One thing that is missing from the Old Town waterfront is "Potomac Arms." Alas, Alexandria no longer has its very own gun shop. Phooey.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I did actually! I told them to stand on the right on escalators, not to block doors, and always walk around the city like they know what they're doing. they did a good job.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Thank you, Becky! You are an upstanding citizen. :-)
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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