Things To Do
DC gets almost 20 million visitors each year, drawn in by the limitless variety of activities the Capitol offers. To name them all would be virtually impossible, so be sure to check out www.washington.org—a great resource for researching big attractions in DC. For fun on an intern budget, check out the Washington.org list of “100 Free Things to Do in DC.”
Nightlife: With so many young professionals, it’s no surprise DC claims an active nightlife scene. Black Cat is an especially prominent nightclub with lots of events every week. Located on U Street/Cardozo, the rock club draws patrons with good food and drinks, and even better entertainment. The best part—it’s always all ages: perfect for both the sophomore intern and the seasoned politico. Check out the Washington Post full review.
Adams Morgan, the neighborhood, is particularly known for its diverse late night scene. Saturated with restaurants, bars, and clubs throughout a 3 to 4 block stretch, Adams Morgan is a ready-made pub-crawl.
Under 21? Not to worry! Check out this great article “Fun under Age 21: A Guide to 21 Things to do in Washington.”
History and Culture: History and politics buffs are spoiled for choice in DC. Visit the National Archives, U.S. Capitol Building and Supreme Court. Be sure to check the websites and plan ahead, as many of these federal buildings have tight security measures and long lines for admisssion.
Of course, you cannot live in DC without stopping by all of the famous memorials at least once. The Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, the World War II Memorial, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, are all among the must-see.
Don’t forget to tour the Smithsonian Institute, the world’s largest museum complex and research organization. The Smithsonian is comprised of over 19 world-class museums, including the Museum of Natural History, Air & Space Museum, and the Museum of American History to name a few.
Shopping: For those more interested in taking something home with them, never fear; DC is has more to offer than the dry bones of the past. Chic Georgetown is famous for the dozens of brand name and boutique shops that line its streets. Check out shopsatgeorgetownpark.com for some serious retail therapy.
The Eastern Market is a fun and popular flea market, open on Sundays from 10-5, featuring unique antiques, arts and crafts, and collectables from around the world.
Outdoor Activities: For a lazy weekend, make sure to spend time picnicking with friends in one of DC’s many parks. DC’s beautiful scenery and weather, especially during the summer and fall, perfectly complement its excellent selection of public parks. Lincoln Park and Capitol Park are great for views of the Lincoln Memorial and the Capitol Building, respectively. Georgetown Waterfront Park overlooks the Potomac River and is popular among cyclists and skaters, depending on the season. Check out this comprehensive guide to DC Parks.
Looking for a place to exercise? Many of the nicer apartments come with a gym onsite. Additionally, many of the more fortunate interns in DC will find that their office includes a gym—this is one of the perks of working in DC! If neither your apartment nor your office has a gym, don’t worry. Joining a gym can be expensive, but a lot of gyms have trial memberships or special summer deals. If you’re on a super tight budget check out the Washington Post list of the Best Free Exercise Classes in DC.
After a long week at work, you’ll be in some need of fresh air. With the Potomac River right next to it, DC offers plenty of activities on the water, including kayaking, historical cruises, sailing lessons, boat rentals, etc. Don’t forget nearby Annapolis, Maryland, either: this storied colonial town is the beating heart of maritime America, boasting the US Naval Academy and quite possibly the greatest number of boats per capita in the country. If mountains are more your thing, DC is also lucky to have several ski and snowboard resorts in close proximity (from 45 minutes to a few hours away by car). Check out this about.com list for more information.
Of course, there are also loads of festivals, exhibits, shows, productions, etc. going on in DC that change by the week. Check out The Washington Post’s Events Page for daily updates on weekend activities.