Saturday, December 27, 2014

Off the Mall, Washington DC

We have friends in town and I offered to give them suggestions on some off-the-beaten-path activities to do while here.  They're just on a short stay, so doubt they will take me up on it, but it got me thinking about some of the places we've visited beyond the Smithsonian and typical monuments.

So, here's a list in case someone asks me some time. In no particular order--

--The Anacostia Museum
Actually it is part of the Smithsonian, but away from the National Mall.  It specializes in African American artists.

--The O Street Mansion
Quirky, kitschy place with hidden rooms, hidden doors and EVERYTHING is for sale, if you're interested in paying sky high prices on dollar sotre level items.  The $10 self tour is fun and they have group rates.

--National Museum of the US Navy
If you're into ships and cannons.  Kids can climb up on some of them too. It's at the Navy Yard--former site of NCIS and the front of the bldg they shot for the TV show exterior is there. Check their web site to see what you need to enter the base.

--DAR Museum
Small museum with often-rotated exhibits including a large quilt exhibit and toy collection, I think they also have a room where children can play with replicas of old-timey toys.  My favorite parts are  the "period rooms" furnished as they would be in a certain decade.

--Mexican Cultural Institute
We went a long time ago and there was a room where kids could play with traditional Mexican toys, but that may have been a limited exhibition.  Still the murals are something to see.

--The Postal Museum
Also an SI museum off the Mall. Next to Union Station, which is also nice to see. Lots of hands on stuff.

--National Museum of Health and Medicine
Lots of things in jars, the bullet that killed Abe Lincoln and other odd medical specimens.  Possibly not for the squeemish, but I've definitely seen worse elsewhere (I have a morbid facination with stuff like this).

--National Arboretum and Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens

--The Phillips Collection
Small museum exhibited in connected historic houses

--National Geographic Museum
Rotating exhibits, some more interesting than others.  Also check the building behind the main museum, they sometimes have a smaller exhibit in there--also bathrooms and a tiny cafe.

Outside of DC
--Stabler Leadbeater Apothecary, Alexandria
Jar of leeches, need I say more?

--American Visionary Art Musem, Baltimore
Eccentric art collection in two buildings--do both.  The store is a hoot also.

--National Cryptologic Museum, Beltsville, MD
See lots of code-breaking machines and underground RR quilts, etc.

--National Wildlife Visitor Center, Laurel, MD
Nice museum (be aware of taxidermied animals) and hiking trails.  They have a tram tour weekends and for pre-arranged groups.

Add your suggestions in the comments!

No comments: