Ahoy, mates! Hope you had a great Fourth and have recovered from the barbecuing, fireworking, and celebrating. I spent mine in Washington D.C., visiting family and meeting my new nephew (who is obviously darling). I've been to D.C. a number of times, but this time, I noticed three really awesome things about visiting the city. If you're heading that way, a few tips and ideas for you:
D.C.'s bike sharing setup rocks.
Capitol Bikeshare is truly awesome. For $7, you get unlimited 30 minute rides for a whole day (longer rides cost a bit more). There are tons of stations all over the city, so it's easy to ride from place to place and pick up and drop off. D.C. has a lot to see, and you can cover so much ground on these easy-to-ride bikes (which even come with bells and a rack for your bag). Warning: if you're a midwesterner, remember that the whole country isn't quite as flat as it is here.
The museums are free!
The Smithsonian and its associated museums are completely free -- which means you can pop into any of them for an hour or so, free of the pressure you feel to spend hours when you pay a steep fee for a ticket. Perfect for visiting with kiddos, adults with short attention spans, or big groups that are trickling in from all directions at various times (no latecomers get left waiting outside because they don't want to pay to come in for twenty minutes).
Union Market is a great place to eat lunch and linger.
One day we went Union Market for lunch, and it was such a fun place. The market is indoors, which is a nice break from D.C.'s notoriously steamy summer weather, but still sunny thanks to a huge bank of windows. There are dozens of artisanal food stands and counters, places to get coffee, local produce, delicious ice cream, and fresh flowers. And you can do wine tasting. There's something for everyone. Not to be missed: Salt & Sundry, a darling little shop that I would like to move into, pronto. I met the lovely owner, Amanda, whose favorite food is salt. We should clearly all be friends.
Honorable mention, if you're visiting the neighborhood: this cool restaurant, which has fantastic cocktails, a pretty interior, and an open patio bar in front in lieu of tables.
(Image of the National Air and Space Museum via here; other two images by me.)