📃 The Hotel and the City
Navigating DC’s Streets
🏨 Hotel Facilities
🍽 Meal Schedule
NPL Code of Conduct
Code of Conduct
Report an Incident
🌙 Convenience Stores & Copies
🍽 Food and Drink
☕ Coffee and Tea
🍟 Fast Food
🍕 Casual Dining
💎 Upscale Dining
🥗 Healthy Options
🍺 Brew Pubs
👩🍳 Celebrity Chefs
The National Mall
Outside DC (but transit accessible)
Whole Foods Market
🏙 Tours and Trips
Day Trips by Car
👟 Places to Exercise
National Mall and Monuments
C & O Canal Towpath
Capital Crescent Trail
The Mount Vernon Trail
Rock Creek Park
🗺 Getting Around
M DC Metro & SmarTrip
🚌 Circulator Buses
🛩 🚆 Getting to DC & Back
DCA National Airport
IAD Dulles Airport
BWI Baltimore Washington Airport
Driving & Hotel Parking
Our WashingCon hotel is the Westin Washington DC City Center, at 1400 M Street NW, 20005.
As the address implies, the hotel is on M Street between 14th St and 15th St with M Street a one-way street going west from Thomas circle. The hotel is next to Thomas Circle, where 14th Street, M Street, Massachusetts Ave and Vermont Ave meet: 14th St meets Vermont Ave at Thomas Circle, just east of the hotel, and Massachusetts Ave crosses through Thomas Circle just north of M Street.
In practical terms, this means that you may have to walk around part of Thomas Circle to get to various destinations. Because The Westin is on the edge of the “downtown” you will need to go south a couple of blocks to get to the Metro stations and many other things. To the northwest is the Dupont Circle area which has some night life. Even further west is Georgetown.
Many visitors realize the city feels different but are unsure why. There are no tall buildings; it’s the law. It leads to a certain sameness in the governmental/lobbyist neighborhoods, but at least there are no urban canyons. Downtown DC has a majesty and charm that no other US city has.
Hotel facilities information will be posted when available.
The full convention program can be found here.
Not yet announced
Not yet announced
An outing to Planet Word is planned for Saturday evening in lieu of the traditional extravaganza.
From the extravaganza team via TMcAy on June 20: "[We] are greatly pleased to tell you that we will be putting out our extravaganza, and it will be available to all of you, whether or not you can make it to WashingCon! Our hunt will be entirely online, accessible to solve and enjoy at your own pace. We’re even making it a bit longer and more intense, since it won’t have to fit within the schedule of a convention. We are planning to launch our hunt on October 9, 2021! [...] We’ll keep you posted with more information as we approach launch." See Slack, NPL-folk, or Facebook for updates.
The NPL's Code of Conduct applies to all activities at this convention.
The organizers of this convention are committed to preserving a welcoming and respectful environment for anyone who wishes to participate. We do not tolerate harassment of convention-goers or League members in any form. If you feel that any individual is speaking or acting inappropriately, either toward you or to someone else, please contact a member of the Code of Conduct Committee to mediate or intercede, as necessary. Read the full Code of Conduct here.
See medical for 24-hour pharmacies.
Around the corner from the hotel.
Since the hotel is on the edge of 'downtown' you will have to walk a few blocks to get better options. The greatest density of nearby food options is along 14th St, going north from Thomas Circle. From the hotel, walk east along M Street, then a quarter of the way around Thomas Circle to 14th St (You’ll see a large church.) and continue north Here are some options going up to and along P St.
Along 14th street north of the hotel there is a series of good restaurants in a ten-block area. Another district with a lot of good restaurants is “China Town”; the Chinese restaurants have largely been replaced by trendier places for the nightlife that surrounds the Capital Center Arena along 7th Street. Still there are many Asian eateries between G and I and 6th and 7th and farther down on 7th. The last restaurant is only a few blocks north of the Mall. Also, Dupont Circle has something for every taste. [There is night life at The Wharf district, but that is a good hike.]
There are also some neighborhoods with a lot of restaurants, e.g. Penn Quarter (near the Gallery Place - Chinatown and Archives / Navy Memorial metro stations), U Street, H Street NE (a free streetcar ride from Union Station), the Wharf (shuttle bus from L’Enfant Plaza or walk from Waterfront metro), and Georgetown (reachable by Circulator bus). If you’re in one of those areas, just wander around and see what looks (and smells!) good.
For more ideas on where to eat, you can look at Tom Sietsema’s restaurant reviews in the Washington Post.
1429 P St NW., Washington DC Open 5:30 am to 7 pm Monday through Friday, from 6 am Saturday and Sunday.
1401 I St NW, Washington DC At the corner of 14th St. Open 5:30 am to 7 p.m.
923 15th St NW, Washington DC Between I and K Streets. Specializes in Indonesian coffees. They also have all the usual drinks, as well as open-faced toasts and Indonesian snacks. Open 8 am to 2 pm.Monday through Friday, from 9 am Saturday. Note that this is on the east side of McPherson Square, so it is easiest to get there by walking south on Vermont Avenue, which will turn into 15th Street when you cross K Street.
1361 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington DC French Patisserie/Coffeehouse 0.7 miles from the hotel.
800 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington DC (entrance on H St), about a 15 minute walk.
Dupont Circle (2009 R St NW, Washington, DC)
Penn Quarter (400 8th St NW, Washington, DC)
Aside from lots of different types of tea, they serve soups, sandwiches, bento boxes, and all day breakfasts. The okonomiyaki (Japanese cabbage omelet) is particularly notable. Might be only carry out right now. Open Monday through Friday 9 am to 4 pm.
1322 14th St NW., Washington DC Fast food fried chicken. Open 10 am to 10 pm daily.
1400 14th St NW., Washington DC Just north of Rhode Island Ave. Open 11 am to 9:30 pm daily. Burgers and shakes. Delivery available.
1335 14th St NW., Washington DC In addition to pizza, chicken wings, salads, and subs, they have breakfast burritos, breakfast sandwiches, and homemade pop tarts in the morning. Pretty much take-out only. Open 8 am to 9 pm.
1413 14th St NW., Washington DC Cheap, greasy Chinese food. About $10. Open 11 am to 4 am Monday through Thursday, until 5 am Friday and Saturday. Noon to 1 am Sunday.
1320 14th St NW., Washington DC Barbecue. Also has chicken, brisket, and jackfruit barbecue for non-pork eaters. Entrees about $15-20. Open 4 pm to 9 pm Sunday through Thursday, till 10 pm on Friday and Saturday.
1280 4th St NE, Washington, DC (in Union Market, NoMa Gallaudet metro station). Taqueria. Joe Biden gave them a grant and got a large order of tacos and quesadillas here; you can get the same bundle of tacos he ordered. Tacos run from $3.50 to $5.50, quesadillas from $7 to 11, tlayudos are $15, and sides are $3. Open Monday through Friday 11 am to 10 pm, Saturday and Sunday from 9 am.
3428 O St NW, Washington DC (near 35th St, use Circulator bus to Georgetown).
Also has a location in Bethesda, Maryland. Also available at several farmers’ markets. President Biden’s motorcade made a stop to pick up sesame bagels with cream cheese at the Georgetown branch on his way back from church on a Sunday morning in January. They have a number of breakfast sandwiches and a smaller variety of lunch sandwiches, about $12. A bagel itself costs $2.50. Open daily 8 am to 2 pm.
1264 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC (at N Street).
Best bet is to take the 33 bus from I St and 15th St (towards Friendship Heights). Opened in 1933, this was where John F. Kennedy proposed to Jackie. Pretty standard American cuisine. Appetizers are about $10-15, entrees $20 to $40. Not a lot of vegetarian options other than salads. Open Monday through Friday 11 am to 10 pm, Saturday from 10 am, Sunday from 9 am.
1213 U St NW, Washington, DC (Metro Green Line to U St).
Also has other branches, including one inside Nationals Park and at National Airport (DCA). Everybody from Anthony Bourdain to Barack Obama, Serena Williams to Pope Francis has eaten at Ben’s. Basically they serve sausages (half-smokes) and chili (both meat and vegetarian) Under $10. Ben’s Next Door at 1211 U Street has more upscale food (e.g. seafood, pasta) for about twice the price and half the atmosphere. Open Sunday through Thursday 11 am to 9 pm, Friday to Saturday 11 am to 1 am.
Inside Eastern Market, 225 7th St SE, Washington, DC (metro Blue Line, Orange, or Silver Line to Eastern Market).
Open Tuesday to Thursday 8 am to 2:30 pm, Friday and Saturday 8 am to 3 pm, and Sunday 9 am to 3 pm. The main appeal of Market Lunch (aside from good, cheap food) is that the communal table there is where all walks of life in Washington, from janitors to Congresscritters, meet. The don’t miss food items are the blue bucks (buckwheat pancakes with blueberries) and the crab cakes (sandwiches or platters).
410 7th St NW, Washington DC between D and E St (Gallery Place - Chinatown or Archives / Navy Memorial metro).
Texas barbecue. About $15 to $30. Open Sunday through Thursday noon to 8 pm, Friday and Saturday until 9 pm.
1601 14th St NW, Washington, DC (just north of Q St, about a 10 minute walk from the Westin).
Lunch Monday through Friday, noon to 5 pm, Dinner Sunday through Thursday 5 pm to 11 pm, Friday and Saturday to midnight. Brunch Saturday and Sunday 9:30 am to 4 pm, midday menu Saturday and Sunday 4-5 pm. This is where Joe and Jill Biden, Kamala Harris, and Doug Emhoff had lunch on Memorial Day. Upscale French cuisine. Appetizers or sandwiches run $14 to $23, entrees $21 to $35.
2021 14th St NW, Washington, DC, near V St. U St metro station or walk 22 minutes up 14th St. (There are several other branches, but this is also the original, as well as the closest.)
This is an entertainment venue in normal times, as well as a small bookstore. Soups, sandwiches, pizzas, etc. with a lot of vegan options. Breakfast is about $15, lunch and dinner from $12 to $25. Open Sunday through Thursday 9 am to 10 pm, Friday and Saturday 9 am to 11 pm.
675 15th St NW, Washington, DC (between F and G St, about a 15 minute walk from the Westin).
Old Ebbitt Grill claims to be the oldest saloon in Washington, DC, though it has not always been at the same location. Several former presidents frequented its bar and William McKinley lived there for a while. It’s known for its oyster bar (about $20 for a half dozen). The rest of the menu is pretty much standard American fare. Most appetizers are in the $8 to $15 range, while entrees cost $16 to $27. Cocktails are about $15. The beer list is remarkably pedestrian. Open Sunday through Friday 11 am to 11 pm, from 10 am on Saturday.
3050 K Street NW, Washington, DC (at Washington Harbor, take the Circulator bus to M Street and 31st).
Expensive Italian seafood. Antipasti $20-$25, Pasta $35 to $60, Entrees $30 to over $100. This is the place to go if you’ve just been appointed ambassador to Italy. But, since it is outdoors at the Harbor, you can people-watch for free. Open Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday 11:30 am to 9 pm , Friday and Saturday to 10 pm, Tuesday from 4 pm to 9 pm.
2036 G St NW, Washington, DC (near Foggy Bottom metro).
Monday through Wednesday 11:30 am to 10 pm, Thursday and Friday to 11 pm., Saturday 11 am to 11 pm, Sunday 11 am to 10 pm. A former soda fountain, favored by Margaret Truman, this is also where John Lewis ate with Emmanuel Macron. The first floor is a hangout for students at George Washington University, while the upper levels are frequented by a wider range of quieter clientele. Sandwiches (with tater tots) about $15 to $20, main courses about $20, mac and cheese about $16.
1207 Ninth St NW, Washington DC just north of M St, next to the Convention Center (about a 17 minute walk from the Westin).
Upscale diner food, including meatloaf and fried chicken, along with Latin American and Lebanese dishes. About $20 to $30 for main courses. Open Monday through Friday 11 am to 9 pm, Saturday and Sunday from 9 am.
1326 14th St NW., Washington DC Thai. Entrees about $15. Might offer delivery. Open 11 am to 3 pm and 5 pm to 10 pm Monday through Thursday, to 11 pm on Friday. Noon to 11 pm Saturday. Noon to 10 pm Sunday.
1701 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington DC (at 17th St, near Farragut West metro, or about an 18 minute walk from the Westin).
Also, a branch at Union Market (NoMa Gallaudet metro station). Open Tuesday through Saturday 11 am to 2 pm and 4 pm to 8 pm. Fusion bowls, sandwiches, and snacks, including the Madam VP’s Heritage Bowl which combines Jamaican and Indian food with curried chicken stew, chickpeas, potatoes and plantains over turmeric rice and spinach. Second gentleman Doug Emhoff is reported to get this as takeout. Other dishes include various Asian, Latin American, and West African flavors. About $15.
1205 11th St NW, Washington DC just north of M Street (about 3 blocks from the Westin). Open Sunday 10 am to 9 pm, Monday through Thursday 5 pm to 9 pm, Friday to 10 pm, Saturday 10 am to 10 pm. Georgian food, best experienced with a group. Small plates about $8-$12, larger plates $16 to $30. Don’t miss the khachapuri (Georgian cheese bread) for $12 to $16. There’s a wide range of Georgian wines and soft drinks.
1990 M Street, Washington, DC (about 7 blocks west of the Westin). Upscale Kenyan food. Starters about $7 to $10, entrees about $25 to $30. Open 11 am to midnight daily.
1210 18th St NW, Washington DC between M St and Jefferson Place, about a 10 minute walk from the Westin.
In South Africa, Nando’s is fast food. The DC metro area is one of two (along with Chicago) in the U.S. with Nando’s, and they’re a little fancier here. A half chicken and a side is about $15. Don’t forget to add sauce of your desired level of hotness. Open daily 10:30 am to 9:30 pm.
1418 14th St NW., Washington DC Juice bar, with lots of options for smoothies and bowls. Open 8 am to 7 pm.
3214 P St NW, Washington, DC (at Wisconsin Ave, take Metrobus 3 from I St and 15th St). Originated in New Jersey, but has been popular among Georgetown University students for many years.
1925 14th St NW, Washington, DC (between T and U St). Ohio-based company, but there are always long lines here.
1407 T St NW, Washington, DC (west of 14th St).
301 Water St SE, Washington, DC (near Navy Yard metro).
Local, handmade, with a few vegan options.
1704 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC (Dupont Circle). The most authentic gelato in DC, with interesting flavors.
1420 Eight St NW, Washington, DC (between O and P St).
413 7th St NW, Washington, DC (Gallery Place / Chinatown metro).
1423 P St NW., Washington DC Modern American cuisine. Entrees are about $25, sandwiches about $15. Happy hour has several options for under $10 and pints of beer (including several local beers, such as Right Proper Raised By Wolves) for $6 a pint. Open 11:30 am to 3 pm Monday through Friday, 5 pm to 9 pm Sunday through Thursday, to 10 pm Friday and Saturday. Happy hour from 3 to 6 pm daily.
1433 P St NW., Washington DC Pub grub, particularly known for their sliders (3 for $15) and grilled cheese ($10 and up). Happy hour specials Monday through Friday from 5 to 6. More or less the opposite of artisanal, but they have some good local beers. Open 11 am to 2 am Sunday through Thursday, until 3 am Friday and Saturday. Also has trivia on Wednesday night at 8 p.m.
1317 14th St NW., Washington DC Bills itself as a 19th century old London pub. A small menu of cocktails and craft beers. Open 5 pm to 2 am Wednesday and Thursday, to 3 am Friday and Saturday.
1306 G St NW, Washington, DC (between 13th and 14th, about a 16 minute walk from the Westin). Open Sunday 9 am to 2 am, Monday through Thursday 8 am to 2 am, Friday 8 am to 2 am, Saturday 9 am to 3 am. Fried chicken, donuts, and beer, including local drafts.
(You can also just get donuts and fried chicken to go next door.)
1100 New York Ave NW, Washington, DC (Corner of 11th and H St, Metro Center metro station). Open Wed through Sunday 11 am to 9 pm. Amber Waves (amber ale) and Capitol Kolsch plus products of other breweries, plus pizzas, burgers and so on.
624 T Street NW, Washington, DC (near 7th St, Shaw-Howard U metro). Open Sunday through Thursday noon to 9 pm, Friday and Saturday to 11 pm. Their Raised by Wolves pale ale is available at many local bars. The brewpub also has the typical pub food, with sandwiches about $15.
723 8th St SE., Washington, DC (Eastern Market metro).
200 M St NE., Washington, DC (NoMa-Gallaudet metro).
300 Tingey St SE., Washington, DC Navy Yard metro, a good place to slake your thirst after a walk on the Anacostia River Trail.
There is no chef who is a bigger deal in D.C. than Jose Andres, both for his food and his philanthropy, which has included providing meals to hurricane victims in Puerto Rico and restaurant workers displaced by the pandemic. His World Central Kitchen organization is a worthy charity. And his restaurants are justly popular. Since most of his focus is on small plates, it is best to go with a group so you can sample more dishes. These are all in the Penn Quarter area, near both the Gallery Place-Chinatown metro station on the Red Line and Yellow Line and Archives/Navy Memorial station on the Yellow Line. Note that Minibar, which has two Michelin stars, is temporarily closed.
480 7th St NW, Washington DC At E St NW.
Spanish cuisine, including tapas and paella. About $30 a person for tapas (without alcohol), paella is $50 to $65. Good happy hour deals weekdays from 3 to 5:30 pm and all day Tuesday with $7 sangria, $8 wine, tapas from $5-7. Open Sunday through Thursday, 11:30 am to 9 pm, to 10:30 pm on Friday and Saturday.
701 9th St NW, Washington DC At G Street, across the street from the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
Greek / Turkish small plates. About $30 a person without alcohol. Open Monday - Tuesday 4 pm to 9:30 pm, Wednesday - Thursday 11:30 am to 9:30 pm, Friday 11:30 am to 10:30 pm, Saturday 11 am to 11 pm, Sunday 11am to 9:30 pm.
418 7th St NW, Washington DC Between D and E St.
Peruvian, Japanese, and Asian food, along with several varieties of pisco and Japanese whiskeys. Don’t miss the “Aeropuerto,” a fried rice dish named that because everything lands in it. Figure on $35-50 a person. Open Thursday and Sunday 4-9 pm, Friday and Saturday 4-10 pm.
401 7th St NW, Washington DC At D St.
A wide range of Mexican food. They used to have grasshopper tacos on the menu but the pandemic seems to have stopped that for now. Figure about $30 a person without alcohol. Happy hour from 4 to 6 pm on Wednesday to Friday, with $5 beers, $6 wines by the glass, $7-8 margaritas, and snacks from $3-5 ($10 for ceviche). Open Wednesday and Thursday 4 - 10 pm, Friday 4-10:30 pm Saturday 11:30 am to 10:30 pm, Sunday 11:30 am to 10 pm.
800 22nd St NW, Washington DC (At I St, Foggy Bottom Metro).
Several options for vegetable and grain bowls, though there are also options to add meat. The gazpacho is an excellent lunch on a hot day. About $10. Open 11 am to 6 pm Monday through Friday.
Michel Richard died in 2016, but his flagship restaurant, Central Michel Richard, lives on.
1001 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington DC American food, with a French bistro accent. Appetizers run about $15, entrees about $25-30. Throw in $12 and up for a glass of wine. Open Tuesday to Saturday 11:30 am to 7:30 pm.
Spike Mendelsohn is a Top Chef alumnus and responsible for two casual places, a step above fast food.
303 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Washington DC (Near C St, Capital South metro). Pennsylvania Ave is open 11 am to 9 pm.
291 M St NW, Georgetown, Washington DC (at 33rd St). Burgers, salads, fries, shakes. Don’t miss the various dips available for the fries, e.g. mango, chipotle, or sriracha mayonnaise. Georgetown is open 11:30 am to 10 pm.
303 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Washington DC (near C St, Capital South metro station). pizza by the slice, salads, homemade soda. Has a vegan Sicilian option. Open 11 am to 9:30 pm.
Ashok Bajaj is best known for his Indian restaurant, Rasika, but is also the force behind some the Knightsbridge Restaurant Group, which includes several other interesting places to eat:
633 D Street NW, Washington DC (near 7th St)
D Street branch is open for Lunch Sunday through Friday 11:30 am to 2:30 pm, Dinner, Sunday 5 pm to 9 pm, to 10 pm Monday through Thursday, to 10:30 pm Friday and Saturday.
1190 New Hampshire Avenue, Washington DC (near M St and 22nd, about an 18 minute walk from the Westin).
West End (New Hampshire Ave) is open for lunch Monday through Friday 11:39 am to 3:45 pm, Sunday 11 am to 3:45 pm, Dinner Sunday and Monday 4 pm to 9:30 pm, Tuesday and Wednesday to 10 pm, Thursday through Saturday to 10:30 pm
Upscale Indian food. Entrees run $17 to $30. Don’t miss the palak chaat ($12), made from spinach, yogurt, tamarind, and dates. If you’re feeling splurgy, there’s a 4 course tasting menu for $60 vegetarian, $69 non-vegetarian, with the option of adding a $40 wine pairing.
815 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington DC (between H and I St, near Farragut Square metro station, about a 15 minute walk from the Westin.
More typical Indian food in a somewhat formal clubby atmosphere. Entrees about $20 to $30. Open for lunch 11:30 am to 2:30 pm Monday through Friday, dinner 5 pm to 9:00 pm Monday through Thursday, until 9:30 pm Friday and Saturday.
3309 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington DC (near Cleveland Park metro and the National Zoo)
Connecticut Avenue branch is open Sunday 11 am to 9 pm, Monday through Thursday 5 pm to 10 pm, Friday 5 pm to 11 pm, Saturday 11 am to 11 pm.
2000 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington DC (Foggy Bottom metro).
Foggy Bottom branch is open Sunday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 11:30 am to 9 pm, Friday and Saturday to 10 pm. Indian street food. The kathi rolls (about $12) are popular, curries and kebabs or uttapam will cost about $12.
2132 Florida Ave NW, Washington, DC (near R St between 21st and 22nd, Dupont Circle metro).
Traditional American cuisine. A salad will run you $16, an entree is $35 to $40. Open Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday 5:30 pm to 9 pm, Friday and Saturday to 9:30 pm.
1199 H St NW, Washington, DC (at 12th St, Metro Center metro. about a 15 minute walk from the Westin)
Seasonal Italian food. Antipasti about $12-15, pasta about $20-25, entrees $25-35. Open for lunch 11:30 am to 2:30 pm, Tuesday through Friday, Dinner Tuesday through Thursday 5 m to 9 pm, to 10 pm Friday and Saturday, Light Fare Monday through Friday 3 pm to 5 pm.
3311 Connecticut Ave NW , Washington, DC(near Cleveland Park metro and the National Zoo).
Israeli food. Small plates are about $12-14, large plates $20-26. Open Monday and Tuesday 5 pm to 9 pm, Wednesday and Thursday to 9:30 pm, Friday and Saturday to 10 pm.
This is the oldest continually operating botanic garden in the United States. While the Conservatory and gated outdoor gardens are closed, Bartholdi Park and the Terrace Gardens are open from dawn to dark. Admission free. Bartholdi Park is just across Independence Avenue from the Conservatory and has a stunning fountain, as well as a wide variety of plants.
This is part of the Smithsonian. Open Wednesday through Sunday 11 am to 4 pm. It requires a timed entry pass. Entrance is at 3rd St and Maryland Ave SW.
Across Independence Avenue from the Air and Space Museum, at Sixth St SW, you can check out the new Eisenhower Memorial.
The Smithsonian modern art museum, located at 7th and Independence Ave is currently closed. However, their sculpture garden is open daily 10 am to 4:30 pm, with no tickets required.
Historic Smithsonian building has been closed to the public since 2004, but is scheduled to reopen in November 2021. There are a rose garden and a carousel on the mall side of the building, which should be open, though it is not clear whether or not the carousel is operating.
Normally referred to as “The Castle”. It is closed. The Haupt Garden is next to the Castle and is open daily from dawn to dusk, with no tickets required.
Currently closed. The Moongate Garden in front of the building should be open.
At 15th St and Constitution Ave, this is a Smithsonian Museum. Tickets appear to be sold out, but check back for additional availability, including same day tickets.
This is across 14th Street from the African American History and Culture Museum and is also part of the Smithsonian. It includes the gowns of the First Ladies and Julia Child’s Kitchen among other exhibits. Tickets are sold out for WashingCon dates right now, but continue checking for additional availability, including same day tickets.
This Smithsonian Museum is between 12th St and 9th St NW. It is reopening on June 18th. It’s open Wednesday through Sunday 11 am to 4 pm, with free passes required. The most famous exhibit is probably the Hope Diamond.
This is not a Smithsonian museum across 7th Street NW from the Sculpture Garden. The West Building is open from 11 am to 4 pm daily, and the East Building, which stretches to 4th Street NW, is reopening on June 18th. Free timed tickets are required and are released each Monday at 10 am for the following week.
Between 9th St NW and 7th St NW. It is free and open from 11 am to 4 pm daily with no tickets required.
Crossing Constitution Ave, you can visit the National Archives. Currently, only the Rotunda is open for viewing of the Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution, and Bill of Rights. From June 18th on, hours are Friday through Monday, 10 am to 2 pm. Timed reservations with a $1 service fee are required.
Currently closed (but see their Udvar-Hazy Center outside DC)
This is located at 8th and G Streets NW (Gallery Place / Chinatown metro station) and is open Wednesday through Sunday 11:30 am to 7 pm. The gallery of Presidential portraits is a highlight. Free timed tickets required (see Smithsonian ticketing information above) and there is some availability during con.
This Smithsonian Museum, focused on craft, is located at Pennsylvania Ave and 17th St NW, essentially across from the White House. It is open Wednesday through Sunday 10 am to 4 pm, but appears to be sold out during WashingCon.
This is also run by the Smithsonian and is located at 3001Connecticut Avenue. You can take the metro Red Line to the Woodley Park station, but if you go one more stop to Cleveland Park, the zoo is downhill. The zoo is open daily from 8 am to 4 pm. Free timed tickets are required. If you want to see the pandas, including some chance of seeing the new baby panda, you need a separate panda pass, available only from kiosks inside the zoo. Tickets are sold out for July 3rd, but available for other days of WashingCon
This is a somewhat futuristic exhibit space with immersive experiences including art and music. It’s located at 1238 Maryland Avenue SW (Smithsonian metro station). The current exhibit, called Renewal 2021, is inspired by cherry blossoms, and is open daily 10 am to 10 pm. Tickets cost $24.
Located just south of Independence Avenue, between 14th and Raoul Wallenberg Place (15th Street) next to Smithsonian metro station. The museum is open Thursday through Tuesday from 11 am to 4 pm. Tickets are sold out for the dates of WashingCon, but there should be same day tickets available each day at 11 am. See ushmm.org for more information.
401 F Street NW, across the street from the Judiciary Square metro station on the Red Line. Open Friday through Sunday 11 am to 4 pm. Tickets are $10 (available on-line, but walk-up tickets are available at the Visitor Center), but you can visit the Great Hall, Gun Memorial Project, and Museum Shop for free. There’s also interactive lawn art outside. The Building Museum is a great favorite with children. It’s also known for their summer installations, which have included miniature golf courses, a maze, and a giant ball pit. This summer has a wooden maze filled with books. Their museum shop is also among the best in the city.
Located at 1250 New York Avenue NW (Metro Center station, about a 15 minute walk from the Westin), This is the only art museum in the world dedicated exclusively to art by women. It’s open Monday through Saturday 10 am to 5 pm, Sunday from noon, $10 admission. There’s a particularly notable collection of artist’s books. The museum will be closing for two years for renovations in August, so catch it while you can.
There is an official WashingCon event at Planet Word on Saturday night, so you may want to wait for that visit. Located at 925 13th St NW (entrance on K Street), about a 10 minute walk from the Westin. Open Thursday through Saturday 10 am to 5 pm, open Sundays after June 20th. Admission is free, but they suggest a $15 donation. This is a new interactive museum of language.
700 L’Enfant Plaza SW (L’Enfant Plaza metro, about 2 blocks south of the National Mall, west of 9th St). Open Monday through Thursday 9 am to 7 pm, Friday through Sunday to 8 pm. Tickets are $25 for adults, $17 for ages 7 through 12. Highly interactive and particularly popular with children.
Located on 10th Street NW, between E and F Streets (Metro Center metro station), this is, of course, the site where Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday, 10 am to noon, and 2 to 4 pm and theatre walkthroughs are also available, but other exhibits are closed. Tickets are $3.
Located at 4155 Linen Avenue NW, about a mile walk from the Van Ness / UDC metro station on the Red Line. (There is bus service that gets closer, routes L1 and L2 on Connecticut Avenue.) Open Tuesday through Sunday 10 am to 5 pm. Admission is $18. Tickets are no longer required in advance. This was Marjorie Merriweather Post’s estate and has a large art collection, as well as extensive gardens.
Located at 400 4th Street SW (L’Enfant Plaza metro). Open Thursday through Monday 10 am to 5 pm, Admission $20 in advance, $25 walk-up. Extensive exhibits of bibles and information on biblical archaeology.
1600 21st St NW at Q St (Dupont Circle metro, about a 22 minute walk up Massachusetts Ave from the Westin). Open Tuesday through Sunday 11 am to 6 pm, tickets required in advance, Admission $16. This was the first modern art museum in the U.S., opened in 1921. The collection includes works by Renoir, Matisse, Van Gogh, Klee, Miro, etc. Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party is the most famous painting there
24th and R Street NE. Open daily 8 am to 5 pm. Take metro to Stadium Armory station and transfer to metros B2 to Bladensburg Rd, then walk 2 blocks to R St and turn right to the arboretum gates. It is, however, much easier by car. In addition to a number of gardens and tree collections, the original columns of the Capitol are here.
1550 Anacostia Ave NE (about a 20 minute walk from Deanwood metro on the Orange Line, or U7 metrobus, but much easier by car). You can also get there by canoe or kayak from the Anacostia River! Known primarily for their collection of water lilies.
140 Rock Creek Church Rd NW (Green Line metro to Georgia Avenue, followed by H6 bus, but much easier by car). This is on the grounds of the Armed Forces Retirement Home and identification is required to enter. Open daily 9 am to 5 pm, tickets are $15 and should be purchased in advance.
Located at 1811 R St NW (Dupont Circle metro station). Open Monday through Friday 9 am to 5 pm, admission free. Permanent collection is focused on Jews in the American military and includes a hall of American Jewish recipients of the Medal of Honor.
Located on a hill next to the King Street metro station in Alexandria, this is dedicated to George Washington’s life as a freemason. It’s open 9 am to 5 pm daily, with tickets ($18) required in advance. There are good views from the top.
Located at 1733 16th St NW (north of R St), this is another Masonic site. It’s a striking building from the outside. One can apparently take a tour, offered Monday through Thursday at 10 am, 11 am, 12:30 pm, 2 pm, and 3:30 pm. Admission is free.
2101 Martin Luther King Ave SE (a 10 minute walk from the Anacostia metro station on the Green line, follow signs for Howard Rd.) This is exactly what it sounds like - a giant Duncan Phyfe Chair, erected as an advertisement for a furniture company. It’s not really worth a special trip for, unless you happen to be driving by that area.
Located at Prospect St and 26th St NW in Georgetown, leading down to M St. This set of stone steps was featured in the movie The Exorcist and is popular among runners looking for a steep workout. There is a plaque at the bottom.
There are a series of monuments that mark the original boundaries of the District of Columbia. They tend to be tricky to find, especially as many are on private property. But if you would like to hunt them down, there is a complete list of locations at boundarystones.org.
Take the metro Blue line to Arlington Cemetery station. Open daily from 8 am to 5 pm, they currently have a security checkpoint at the visitor center, so you need to show a photo ID. You can take a tram tour for $15 or just walk around the cemetery. The most visited sites are John F. Kennedy’s gravesite and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Arlington House, the Robert E. Lee memorial, has reopened recently with new exhibits emphasizing the story of enslaved people.
3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Mount Vernon, Virginia. Metro Yellow Line to Huntington Station, followed by Fairfax Connector bus #101. An easier (but pricier) option is a sightseeing cruise, which departs from the Wharf in southwest DC at 9:30 am and returns from Mount Vernon at 3:15 pm for $50 round trip. This is George Washington’s estate. You can see George and Martha’s tombs, the house, and an interpretive center.
Take the metro Blue or Yellow Line to King Street. There are a number of historic houses and museums in the cobblestoned historic district centered around King Street and Washington Street. There are also lots of restaurants and shops, including one of the best yarn stores in the region (Fibre Space at 1319 Prince Street). It’s all very cute and worth a couple of hours of wandering around.
This is the larger branch of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum and is located near Dulles Airport. It is easiest to get there by car ($15 for parking), but there is bus service (Fairfax Connector bus 983 from the Wiehle-Reston metro station on the Silver Line). It's open 10 am to 5:30 pm and free timed entry passes are required (see Smithsonian ticketing information above). Tickets are currently sold out for July 2-4, but available on July 1st.
The best independent bookstore in the area is Politics and Prose. Their main store is at 5015 Connecticut Ave NW, about a 20 minute walk from the Van Ness / UDC metro stop on the Red line (or accessible by the L2 bus service up Connecticut Ave). They also have branches at the Wharf and at Union Market. By the way, the Connecticut Avenue location is next to Comet Ping Pong, the pizza place at the heart of the QAnon Hillary Clinton child-sex ring conspiracy theory.
Kramer Books (1517 Connecticut Ave, at Q Street in Dupont Circle) is another good independent bookstore.
If you’re looking for used books, try Second Story Books at 2000 P Street (corner of 20th Street, Dupont Circle metro).
Labyrinth Games at 645 Pennsylvania Ave SE (Eastern Market metro station) has a good selection of board games, card games, roleplaying games, and puzzles, with friendly service.
There are several areas with concentrations of shops, including Capitol Hill (especially around Eastern Market), Georgetown, Dupont Circle, and the Wharf. If, for some reason, you are looking for a shopping mall, try Pentagon City (on the Blue line metro) or Tyson’s Corner (Silver line metro), both in Virginia.
Closest to the hotel. Just west of 14th St. It’s open daily from 7 am to 10 pm.
Another 5 blocks or so north of Whole Foods, north of T St. They’re open 8 am to 9 pm daily.
This is essentially on 17th Street, between Q and R St. Figure on about a 16 minute walk from the Westin. It’s open 6 am to 10 pm daily. This particular store is known locally as the Soviet Safeway (sometimes, you hear Socialist Safeway), largely for a surly attitude, but also for frequent lack of whatever you might be looking for.
Independence Ave and 12th St, Washington DC There is a farmer’s market at Independence Ave and 12th St, near the Smithsonian Metro station and the Department of Agriculture. ridays from 9 am to 2 pm in normal times. Current status is uncertain.
Big Bus Tours offers hop-on hop-off bus tours that cover most of the essential sites, though don’t really go anywhere you couldn’t get to on your own. They also have packages including night tours and sightseeing cruises, as well as a free one hour bike rental.
Washington Walks offers a number of different two-hour walking tours for $25 a person. In person tours are just starting up, so check their website for details.
If you’d like interesting free walking tours, Cultural Tourism DC has put up historic plaques and information signs at a number of sites. You can get booklets at their office at 700 12th St NW or download PDFs from their website (culturaltourismdc.org). Topics include African American Heritage Trails, as well as Heritage Trails for several DC neighborhoods. A few have audio tours available.
There are any number of interesting historic towns within about two hours by car of Washington, DC. A few suggestions include Harper’s Ferry (West Virginia), Leesburg (Virginia), Manassas (Virginia), Fredericksburg (Virginia), Frederick (Maryland), Gettysburg (Pennsylvania), Elliott City (Maryland), Annapolis (Maryland), and Saint Mary’s City (Maryland).
There are lots of walking / running / biking trails throughout Washington, D.C. and the surrounding area. Here are a few of the most popular, but you can find out about more at All Trails.
These are nice and scenic, but somewhat long, walks. You can cut off the last few miles by taking a Circulator bus back to the hotel.
Walk down 15th Street, past the East side of the White House to the Washington Monument ⮕ Thomas Jefferson Memorial ⮕ FDR Memorial ⮕ Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial ⮕ Korean War Veteran’s Memorial ⮕ Lincoln Memorial ⮕ Vietnam Veterans Memorial ⮕ Constitution Gardens ⮕ World War II Memorial ⮕ return to hotel on the West side of the White House.
Walk down 15th Street, past the East side of the White House to the Washington Monument ⮕ go West on Independence Avenue across the Tidal Basin Bridge to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, then past the FDR Memorial ⮕ continue along the Potomac River to Hain’s Point ⮕ return on the East side the peninsula past to Thomas Jefferson Memorial ⮕ return to the hotel through the mall.
The National Mall, Tidal Basin, and Hain’s Point are tourist central at some times of day, but are protected from traffic and relatively quiet early in the morning and in the evening. There are any number of paths to explore and lots of monuments and memorials (and museums) to look at. If you get tired, you can get on a Circulator bus or the Metro.
The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal was an economic failure, but the towpath is one of the most popular walking, running, and biking trails in the region.
Get a Circulator Bus from 14th and K stop towards Georgetown ⮕ Get off at M Street and 33rd ⮕ Path starts a couple of blocks south (You want to be on the southern side of the canal)
If you are really ambitious, you can travel on this path 180 miles to Cumberland, Maryland, where it connects to the Great Allegheny Trail towards Pittsburgh. During con, it’s more realistic to do an out-and-back excursion. Walk or run west along the towpath as far as you want to, then turn around and come back. Note: it is a good idea to wear insect repellent in summer. Also, when you return, you might want to enjoy one of the restaurants or cafes in Georgetown, before taking the bus back to the hotel.
Start with directions to C & O Canal Towpath. A little bit after you pass the Key Bridge, there’s a set of stairs that lead down to Water Street. The Capital Crescent Trail runs parallel to the canal towpath for a while, before splitting off to turn north to Bethesda, Maryland. If you don’t want to go quite that far, you can stop at Fletcher’s Boathouse, cross the canal and walk along Reservoir Road to get to Macarthur Blvd and U Street, where you can take the D6 Metrobus back to 15th and K, near the Westin.
This is in Virginia, but is easy to get to, and you’ll see Mount Vernon.
Access from these metro stations:
The Mount Vernon Trail runs from Rosslyn to George Washington’s estate at Mount Vernon, along the Potomac. There are several bikeshare stations near the trail as well.
Rock Creek Park is a 1,754 acre city park created in 1890, making it the third national park to be designated by the federal government. It offers visitors the opportunity to escape the bustle of the city and find a peaceful refuge, recreation, fresh air, majestic trees, wild animals, and thousands of years of human history.
In the same building as the Residence Inn. Less than a block from the Westin. Open 24 hours a day.
Between N St and Rhode Island Ave. Open 9 am to 6 pm weekdays only.
1710 Rhode Island Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036 Open 8a-8p weekdays, 9a-2p weekends.
2041 Georgia Ave NW, Washington, DC 20060 24 hour emergency room. Formerly known as Freedmen's Hospital.
900 23rd St NW, Washington, DC 20037 24 hour emergency room.
The Metro system is underground and was built radially to bring people downtown to work; if you want to move around in the city it may or may not be helpful.
McPherson Square on Blue Line and Orange Line 3 blocks away
Farragut North, on the Red Line 5 blocks away
First you should get oriented on the Metro system. The system is underground within DC and was built radially to bring people downtown to work; if you want to move around in the city it may or may not be helpful. SmarTrip cards, which you can buy at any Metro station for ($2) are needed and can be preloaded and recharged; multi-day passes are best for beginners. And for heaven’s sake, do NOT stand on the left on the escalators.
DC Metro fares are distance based, so you swipe the card when you enter the system and again when you leave. If you don’t have enough money on the card when attempting to leave, you’ll be directed to a machine that will allow you to add additional fare. It also appears that they have options for things like automatically reloading the card. There are also 1 day, 3 day, and 7 day unlimited passes you can put on the card (or app).
DC Circulator passes through Thomas Circle need 2 transfers to get to mall.
There are a number of other transit systems in the region, but the only one of those of much interest to most visitors is the DC Circulator, which operates several useful bus routes, including service to/from Union Station and a route that circles the National Mall and Tidal Basin. The Circulator bus line is very cheap and passes through Thomas Circle. However you would need two transfers to get to the mall! On the other hand if you walked down to Franklin Square you can get on the Yellow Line directly, which can take you west to Georgetown.
For those that aren't familiar with scooters, see Curbed D.C. for their guide on two-wheel vehicles in the city.
There are a number of other companies (e.g. Uber, Lime, and Bird) offering app-based bikes and scooters. However, many of those are problematic because they allow riders to just leave the bike or scooter in the middle of a sidewalk when they’re done with it. Capital Bikeshare kiosks are less hostile to pedestrians.
There are three airports that have different factors. (Car rentals are very problematic this summer.)
There are no shuttles from the airports to the hotel per the hotel’s site.
To get to the Westin, take the Metro Blue Line to McPherson Square Station, a 17-minute trip. Exit the station via the Vermont Avenue / White House exit. At top, make a U-turn and cross I Street. McPherson Square is in front of you. If walking, head North on 15th Street NW (4 blocks), turn right on M Street NW (1 block). Hotel will be on your right.
A taxi from DCA to the Westin is around $20 plus tip.
National Airport (DCA) is the smaller airport but it is extremely close (it exists at the pleasure of Congress, which appreciates its convenience). A Metro station is adjacent; take the Blue Line.
If you take the Blue Line, you won’t have to change trains and the station is a few blocks South of the hotel. From there it’s an easy walk or taxi/Uber ride.
Most common option: Take the Silver Line Express ($5 one way, purchased at their booth at the airport) which will drop you at Wiehle-Reston East. From there, take the Metro Silver Line train to McPherson Square. Off-peak fare is $3.85 and peak fare is $6.00.
Due to maintenance, the Silver Line is not running trains between Wiehle-Reston East and Spring Hill stations on June 26-27. A replacement shuttle is provided by Metro to connect the two stations. The replacement shuttle is free, but may impact departure/arrival times, so please plan accordingly.
Exit the station via the Vermont Avenue / White House exit. At top, make a U-turn and cross I Street. McPherson Square is in front of you. If walking, head North on 15th Street NW (4 blocks), turn right on M Street NW (1 block). Hotel will be on your right.
Cheapest option: Take the Fairfax Connector route 981 or 983 between IAD and Wiehe-Reston East, which is only $2, but is much slower. Then follow instructions above.
A taxi from IAD to the Westin is $60-$100 plus tip.
Dulles Airport (IAD) is the main international airport; the original building connected to outer terminals. When it was built in 1962 it was far away from DC; it is still quite remote. Taxis, etc, are quite expensive, and are controlled by the airport.
Another option of taking MetroBus 5A to Rosslyn and taking MetroRail from there to McPherson Square, but the 5A costs $7.50 and you still have to pay a $2.25 peak or $2 off-peak rail fare, so it is unlikely to be worth it.
Baltimore Washington Airport (BWI) can often be the cheapest alternative but is closer to Baltimore than DC. There is a Metrobus ($6) to a Metro station; take the Green Line or Yellow Line and transfer at l’Enfant Plaza to the Blue Line or Orange Line.
A taxi from BWI to the Westin is about $125 plus tip.
There is also a shuttle that allows access to Amtrak and MARC trains but then you still will have to get on Metro. You need to take a shuttle bus from the terminal to the BWI rail station and then a train to Union Station in Washington. Amtrak saver fares are $5 but could be sold out, requiring fares as high as $35, though $11 would be more likely. MARC commuter trains ($7) are an option on weekdays, but are slower as they will make several stops. It is also possible to get off the train at New Carrollton (Maryland) and get the MetroRail Orange Line there, but this will be both slower and more expensive overall.
Amtrak comes to Union Station, as do regional rail lines (MARC from Maryland and VRE from Virginia). It is a pleasant space to be in.
It is a 25 minute walk up Massachusetts Ave, which might be a slog with a suitcase.
The Metro is adjacent; it is on the Red Line, which will require at least one transfer to get the closest station to the hotel (Farragut North).
A taxi from Union Station to the Westin is around $15 plus tip.
If wanting to minimize walking, take the Union Station to Georgetown Circulator bus. The bus stop is normally on the bus level of the parking garage (accessible from the mezzanine level of the station but, due to construction, has been temporarily relocated to picking up on H Street NE, outside the parking garage. Get off the bus at K St NW / 14th St. Walk back on K St NW to 14th St, then north on 14th St to M Street and turn left. (Just before that turn, you will find yourself on Vermont Ave. Don’t panic - that’s where you want to be.)
Within DC Metro taxies are $2.16 per mile, plus $3.25 surcharge for first 1/8 mile plus $1 per extra passenger. Uber and Lyft are also available, with more complicated fare structures.
A taxi from Union Station to the Westin is around $15 plus tip.
Taxies outside of DC: National Airport to Westin $20; Dulles Airport to Westin $60-100; Baltimore Airport to Westin $125 (prices do not include tip).
Driving has two issues: what route to take and how to park.
From the North, take US 50 from Beltway (I-495) becomes New York Ave; from the South, take I-395 dead-ends at New York Ave. See direction from New York Ave below.
There are no highways in DC and, again, the diagonal streets make giving directions problematic; trust your favorite GPS app. To get to the hotel from the north come down US 50 from the Beltway (I 495); this becomes New York Ave. From the south you can follow I 395, until it dead-ends at New York Ave. In both cases continue SW on New York Ave until Mt Vernon Square (Convention Center) and then go NW on Massachusetts Ave to Thomas Circle. (Alternatively, from the south you can get on 14th Street after crossing the bridge and just continue up to Thomas Circle.
Parking at the hotel is valet parking. It is $61 a day but has in/out privileges and 24-hour access to your car. There is a lot next door (One Thomas Circle) that has 24-hour rates ($36 last I checked) but does not have the valet privileges. Colonial Parking operates three lots within a block and a half and are a bit cheaper but may round “24 hours” unfavorably.
Update 6/29: The garage next door to the hotel is not open on the weekends. Most of the garages in the neighborhood are also not open! So before Friday night you will want to transfer your car to one of two that are nearby, that are open. The safest bet would be One Franklin Square Parking, entered at 1010 13th Street, at $27 per day, it is 24/7. The garage around the corner from the hotel, just south on 15th Street, says it closed on the weekends, but the man working there on Saturday said that is no longer true!
Thanks to con host George Groth plus Fauxklore and all the other krewe who provided additional information in this unusual year. Thanks also to KayG for editing and organizing.