10 reasons to stay in DC the weekend after Annual Conference


June 14, 2017

10 reasons to stay in DC the weekend after Annual Conference

By Caitlin Holland

Manager, Marketing

Tourists flock to the nation’s capital in droves to witness the cherry blossoms in the spring. Little do outsiders know that summer is jam-packed with seasonal excitement and things to do in Washington, DC. The InsideNGO Annual Conference (July 19-21) is timed perfectly for you to take advantage of all the city has to offer while you’re already here to learn and network at one of the largest global development conferences – just stay the weekend!


1) The National Mall/monuments – This is a given, no matter when you visit DC. If you miss our night tour of the monuments during the Annual Conference, make sure you visit some of DC’s most iconic sites the following weekend. Take the metro to the Smithsonian stop (Blue/Orange lines) and start at the Washington Monument. From there you can walk towards the Capitol on the east end and take in the various Smithsonian museums (National Museum of Natural History, National Gallery of Art, etc.) or down the opposite west end where you’ll see the World War II Memorial, Reflecting Pool, Lincoln Memorial, and others. If you’d rather take a bus or trolley, see TripAdvisor’s list of Bus Tours in Washington, DC.


2) The National ZooDC is beyond proud to host three pandas at our National Zoo: cub Bei Bei, born in August 2015, and parents Mei Xang and Tian Tian. The zoo is open 9:00 am – 6:00 pm, and is within walking distance to many restaurants in the surrounding Woodley Park neighborhood. There’s even a froyo shop right across the street from the entrance—perfect for hot summer days. Oh, and did I mention it’s free?


3) National Museum of African American History & CultureIt’s new, it’s incredible, and museums are an especially great place to spend time during sizzling DC summers. The latest addition to the National Mall opened September 14, 2016, becoming the only national museum solely dedicated to the documentation of African American life, history, and culture. Like all Smithsonian museums, it’s free to enter, but demand has been high since they opened their doors. Luckily, by July the museum will have been open close to a year, and timed passes should be easier to acquire. 


4) Kayak, canoe, or stand-up paddle the Potomac RiverThis can be done year-round in DC, and is great exercise to boot! See the monuments up close on your choice of water vehicle, open seven days a week all summer. 


5) Game of Thrones fans, drink like Lannister at a GOT-themed pop up bar! A summer 2017 DC exclusive! Join other GOT fans for a pop-up bar designed to look like King’s Landing, with the cocktails and costumed staff to match. This will be the third themed pop-up bar hosted by Mockingbird Hill, Eat the Rich, and Southern Efficiency in the Shaw neighborhood since the wildly popular Christmas-themed Miracle on Seventh Street in winter 2015 and 2016.  They’ve been known to attract some long lines, so make sure you arrive early to avoid the rush.


6) Take a nature walk at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens – This place will make you feel like you’re inside a Monet masterpiece. This off-the-beaten-track hidden gem is in Northeast DC., where hundreds of water lilies, aquatic bamboo, and wild flowers live. Rangers offer free nature walks daily at 2:00 pm where blue heron and turtle sightings are not unheard of! According to their website, summer is the most pleasant time to visit.


7) Visit the National Building Museum’s HIVE Summer Block PartyFor a couple years now, the National Building Museum has hosted a Summer Block Party installation. This year’s promises to be impressive with a 60-foot-tall “hive” of more than 2,700 paper tubes, varying in size from several inches to 10 feet high, wound together to create three dynamic, interconnected, domed chambers. Instagram material! 


8) Take a bike tour of the cityWashington, DC, is generally flat, with a few neighborhood exceptions (ahem, Capitol Hill and parts of Adams Morgan). We also boast one of the largest cycle-share systems in the country, Capital Bikeshare. Take a bike ride in Rock Creek Park or though the neighborhoods, or use it as your mode of transportation to and from other activities!


9) Jazz in the Sculpture Garden at the National Gallery of ArtEvery Friday, all summer long, the National Gallery of Art invites local jazz bands to play in the Sculpture Garden and opens the grounds to the public for evenings of dancing, picnicking, and great music. The Pavilion café offers a special menu during performances that includes pitchers of sangria. You can bring your own food, but you’ll need to purchase adult beverages from the café.


10) Hike Rock Creek ParkOne of this author’s favorite places in the city (due to its proximity to her dwelling), Rock Creek Park is the largest park in the city. There are numerous hikes to be done on foot or paths for biking (see #8). Escape to a green oasis and surround yourself with nature without leaving the city! Added bonus: Rock Creek Park has a Nature Center and Planetarium that offers sky viewings at 1:00 and 4:00 pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

Off we go! 

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