Insider’s Guide to Washington D.C.

If you’re heading to Washington, D.C., check out this locals guide to lesser-known D.C. attractions. From viewing artworks by local D.C. artists at The Fridge to exploring the outdoors in Dumbarton Oaks Gardens, there are plenty of things to see in D.C. to experience a whole new side of our nation’s capital.

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White House? Check. National Mall? Been there. Washington Monument? Yep, done that. What is there to do in Washington, D.C. after you’ve experienced all of the must-see stuff? Washington D.C. is packed with even more cool things to do, different things to eat, and places to visit. Keep checking to-dos off your list by checking out this insider’s guide to our nation’s capital.

The glass and metal exterior of the Newseum building is pictured against a clear blue sky in Washington, D.C. on a bright afternoon with a red and blue sign reading Newseum Celebrates Freedom.


Ready for the real story? Learn about the news business straight from the source at the Newseum, a museum that honors the work of the best journalists in the country. From exhibits covering the 1960s Civil Rights protests to the Berlin Wall to presidential pets, there’s everything fit for print here. Mark your calendar for some of the educational events to learn first-hand about the news biz.

The Fridge

Venture to Barracks Row in the historic Eastern Market neighborhood of D.C. to delight your senses in The Fridge, a beloved art gallery, performance space, and music venue. As an art gallery, The Fridge has a primary focus on street art from both emerging and established artists—which you will see as you follow the murals and graffiti in the alleys leading to the art space’s location. This space also hosts a range of live performers, from spoken word poetry troupes to magicians, comedians, and music groups. To peruse the gallery or catch a live show with some eclectic local D.C. artists, be sure to check out their calendar.

A dark and gloomy morning sky hovers over the bright green grass, stately brick building and tall trees in Dumbarton Oaks Gardens in Washington, D.C.

Dumbarton Oaks Gardens

For a breath of fresh air, locals in the Beltway love the Dumbarton Oaks Gardens. This 50-acre property features a grassy terrace garden, greenhouse, and South lawn that’s a nice getaway from the usual traffic and politics that make up Washington, D.C. Starting in the spring, book a tour to learn about the architecture of the garden and the artwork on display, or grab a couple of tickets to their concert series for a night out.

The Key Bridge is pictured in the foreground, with the skyline of Washington, D.C. in the background with gray spires and brick buildings against a light blue afternoon sky in autumn, as seen from the campus of Georgetown.

Folger Shakespeare Library

To go or not to go — that’s not the question. If you have ever seen one of the comedies or dramas by the well-known Bard, you’ll love Folger Shakespeare Library. If you don’t know much about Shakespeare, this is still a cool spot with beautiful stained glass windows, herbal gardens, and all kinds of free talks. The building itself, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, is picture-worthy as well.

National Geographic Museum

Known for its amazing pictures of far-away places you can only dream of, National Geographic magazine comes to life at the National Geographic Museum. This is a great way to travel far and wide without going through airport security, with exhibits on everything from Israel to orangutans. On the third Thursday of each month, the museum is open late with hands-on activities to get you mingling and dreaming of your next adventure.

Although D.C. remains an epi-center for historic monuments, there are plenty more exciting attractions to explore throughout the city. We hope this guide inspires you to take the less-traveled path on your next trip to our nation’s capital.

Do you have your behind-the-scenes schedule all set for your exploration of Washington, D.C.? Share your plans with us on Facebook and keep us in the loop on all of your upcoming adventures.

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