It's easy to go to SAS conferences and spend all your time at the conference, but I also try to get out and see a bit of the city.
Washington DC has more sights to see than possibly any other city in the US. Many are within walking distance if you are energetic. A short list would include the many Smithsonian museums, the national zoo, national cathedral, and the many memorials (Lincoln, Washington, Jefferson, FDR, Vietnam). I lived near DC for a few years, and I would say that if you can only see one sight, it should be the Lincoln Memorial.
After the Lincoln Memorial, my next most favorite sight to see in DC is Mr. Smithson himself. It's an interesting story. James Smithson was the illegitimate son of an English duke. Smithson never visited the United States during his lifetime, but left a bequest to establish the Smithsonian museum. Eventually his remains were brought to the US. The crypt is in the Smithsonian administrative building, also known as "the castle." It takes just a few minutes to see the crypt so if you are in the area, it's worth popping in.
Here's the link: https://www.si.edu/ahhp/smithsons
I'm curious, what are other people's favorite sights in DC?
If there is another thread on sight-seeing in DC, please add this to it.
Having been to DC multiple times - I have a few favorites of my own. Many of which are Smithsonian-related .
I really could go on, as DC is one of my favorite places to visit. If you are staying in DC beyond the tour, I would recommend visiting Georgetown University (beautiful old buildings and lots of good eateries).
Also beginning the day after the conference (Thursday) if you are interested in baseball, the Washington Nationals start their home season. Tickets for Opening Day will be probably a little pricey, as they will be handing out World Series Rings, however games for the weekend (Saturday and Sunday) should be pretty reasonable. It's a very nice ballpark (and an up and coming area of DC over by the Naval Yards). It's accessible by public transportation, or an Uber will cost you around $9-11 one way.
East Building of the National Gallery: https://www.nga.gov/about/welcome-to-the-east-building.html
(don't miss the Calder Room: https://www.washingtonian.com/2016/09/28/national-gallery-art-east-building-what-to-see/)
Phillips Collection: https://www.phillipscollection.org/
(don't miss the Rothko room: https://www.phillipscollection.org/collection/rothko-room)
Maya Lin's Vietnam Memorial
These are great suggestions! I love the monuments, and the National Mall area is especially awesome during the Cherry Blossom Festival, so hopefully the weather is nice.
I would also add a tour of the US Capitol building if you have the time for it because it is my favorite thing to do in DC. I'm a little biased because I interned on Capitol Hill and used to give tours of the building, so part of my affinity for it is for sentimental reasons, but it is an awesome building.
The Library of Congress is across the street and its main reading room is pretty cool, too.
How long ago did you do Capitol Tours? I went for high school years ago and remember when the pubic could take the underground trams to the Senate and House Buildings! There were also a few narrow passages to explore (that often led to a cafeteria or bathroom).
I was there for only a summer but I loved giving the tours and was fortunate to give quite a few of them. Ever since then, I have thought that it would be cool to go back there and work as a tour guide in retirement! Yes, the underground trains and passageways are pretty cool!
I wish I could! I would love to but I don't think I can access the Capitol Building without a tour guide anymore, and it has also been 15 years since I last gave a tour, so I would be a little rusty.
The Capitol Building website has information on how to book a tour. You can book it through your House Representative, one of your Senators, or though the Capitol Building itself. I've always done it through my House Rep, because that is the office I interned with, but I'm sure any of those would be fine. Liking your Congressperson is not a prerequisite for booking a tour through his/her office.
Also for sports fans -
The NHL's Washington Capitols are home Tuesday Night (if you are not interested in the SAS social event) and the NBA's Washington Wizards are home Wednesday night (last day of the conference) I am planning to go to the Wizards basketball game (bit of a sports geek)
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