13 Top Non-Touristy Places to Visit in D.C.

13 Top Non-Touristy Places to Visit in D.C.

Here are some of the best kept secrets of D.C. to spice up your next getaway to the nation's capitol.

D.C. is known for being a tourist central place, but there are many places besides the usual touristy destinations that are often overlooked. Having lived in D.C. this summer for an internship, I've accumulated a pretty thorough list of worthwhile places to visit. Some destinations, I have personally been to while others, I have only heard of in first-hand accounts, but would love to visit someday. Whether you plan on living or visiting D.C. at some point, this list can help you plan an amazing experience.

1. Watch Outdoor Movies.

There are many outdoor movie screenings at D.C. during the summer: Screen on the Green near the Capitol, National Harbor movies every Sunday night, Bethesda screenings, and so forth. Just be sure not to get sidetracked by the amazing scenery nearby!

2. Stroll to the National Harbor.

A great little town by the Potomac river, this place is full of dining options, a Ferris wheel and outdoor movie screenings every Sunday night. Since it is a bay, there is also a small patch of sand and rocks that you can take a walk along...making for a perfect romantic stroll.

3. Go to a Nationals Game.

Going to a National's Game is a must if you want to experience a piece of the D.C. life; baseball is THE WAY of D.C. life. Even if you're not particularly into watching the sport itself, the whole experience of being in the stadium among thousands of people, catching wafts of popcorn and booze and having upbeat music pound in your ears is an incredibly energizing experience. Warning though: the subway will be VERY crowded before and after the game, so be careful and just channel your inner sardine in a can form -- you'll survive.

5. Visit the Yards Park.

6. Listen to Jazz in the Sculpture Garden

7. Visit Georgetown

8. Have fun paddleboarding, canoeing, or kayaking at Potomac River

The things you can do on water here is endless. If you're looking for a more movement in your trip, the Potomac River is for you. Fletcher's Cove has a pretty good deal for canoeing and kayaking, and I believe you can fish there as well.

9. Go to the Smithsonian Museum After Hour Parties.

Smithsonian museums close at 5:30 p.m. But did you know that they come back to life again at night? In fact, a lot of these museums hold after hour parties full of cocktail, music, etc. Be sure to be on the lookout for one during your stay here.

10. Visit the Kennedy Center for Live Music.

The Kennedy Center hosts a lot of live music, including many free events. I have heard that with music or not, the view from the balcony is incredible, especially that of sunsets.

11. Explore Arlington Cemetery.

Arlington Cemetery is an often overlooked tourist destination because it's not located in the central touristy area. The visit is a sobering one, one that forces you to really appreciate the soldiers today and of the past, and their sacrifices. The seemingly endless rows and rows of tombs are breathtaking, making you wonder about each and every person's life. If you stop by here, make sure to make a stop at JFK's final resting place and see the guard change at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

12. Visit Capitol Hill Bookstore

If you're a bookworm, the Capitol Hill Bookstore is going to be your paradise. It is a used bookstore, which means everything has marked down prices. The WIDE collection of books of various genres-- nonfiction, novels, poetry-- makes it book heaven. So many amazing works all stocked together in one.

13. Go to Sunday Flea Market at Eastern Market.

Right by the Capitol Bookstore (Eastern Market Metro Stop on Gray line), the Eastern Market Flea Market takes place every Sunday. It has a great selection of paintings, photography, jewelry, bags, clothing, old Times magazines, fresh fruits, vegetables and a plethora of unique little finds. This destination is very popular among locals here and not always known to the tourists.

Cover Image Credit: Huffington Post

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Why You Should Visit New Orleans

There's more to the city than just Mardi Gras

For my last Spring Break, I decided to do something a little special and venture outside of New Jersey for the week. My friend and I packed our bags, but instead of heading to Florida like many college students, we headed to the Big Easy. While NOLA may not have a beach of its own, there's plenty of other reasons why this trip was so memorable and amazing.

1. The food was amazing!

From gumbo and jambalaya to Caribbean taquerias, New Orleans has so much to offer in the way of flavor and food. And much to my surprise, they had plenty of options for vegetarian, vegan, an gluten free diets.

2. The architecture was beautiful.

The unique architecture of the city will pull your eye in and make it really hard to look away. Picturesque and gorgeous homes litter the streets of the city, especially in the Garden District.

3. Cemeteries

Since the city is mostly below the water table, and due to the influence of the Spanish, many cemeteries in New Orleans feature the unique concept of above ground burials. You can visit the tomb of Marie Laveau and the tomb purchased by actor Nicholas Cage (who is notoriously obsessed with New Orleans).

4. Voodoo and Hauntings

Speaking of Marie Laveau, New Orleans is special because you can explore the world of voodoo in an area where Caribbean and Catholic influences alike contributed to this unique culture. Visiting one of the most haunted cities in America opens up doors for lovers of all that is creepy-- you can go on ghost tours and visit the sites of some of the most gruesome murders and notoriously haunted establishments.

5. Drinking on Bourbon Street

Walking up and down Bourbon Street is an experience in and of itself. The only rule about carrying alcohol on the streets of New Orleans is no glass bottles. Other than that, its open range for walking the streets with the crazy cocktails Bourbon Street has to offer.

6. Jazz on Frenchmen Street

Jazz is one of the first things I think of when I think of New Orleans. Its hard to walk around the city without hearing the soulful sound of a saxophone or trombone. On Frenchmen Street, you'll find more of a local vibe where bars have open doors and jazz bands playing almost 24/7.

7. Shopping at the French Market

Although a bit overwhelming, you'll find almost anything you could need from trinkets to food to cocktails from the various vendors in the French Market.

8. Steamboat tours on the Mississippi

One of the best ways to tour the city is on the Mighty Mississippi. Grab a cocktail, some authentic Creole food, and watch the sights pass you by.

9. A Huge Casino (with a nightclub).

Enough said. Central to many areas of the city is a Harrah's Casino with their own nightclub, Masquerade. If you aren't afraid of your wallet being mad at you, go spend an evening at the casino.

10. Festivals and Parades.

I was lucky enough to catch the Top Taco Festival during my visit, and it was one of the best nights of the trip. A ticket got me endless tacos, tequila, and cocktail tasters, and the vendors were very accommodating to the fact that I was vegetarian.

11. Beignets and Cafe Au Lait

If you didn't get Beignets and Cafe Au Lait at Cafe Du Monde, did you even go to New Orleans? And don't you dare say it is the same as donuts and coffee, because it just isn't. If you're looking to satisfy your sweet tooth, look no further.

12. The Restaurants and Shops on Magazine Street

A little different and more laid back than the French Market, this is a must visit area of New Orleans. The Rum House has some of the best cocktails and tacos you'll ever eat, and its worth the wait for a table.

13. Explore a city with a very rich history.

I was blown away by the amount there was to see and learn during the day in New Orleans. From French rule to Spanish rule, to the Louisiana purchase that made New Orleans part of America, the city has seen the influence of many different cultures as well as the impact of natural disasters such as fires, floods, and Hurricane Katrina.

14. National Parks, Museums, and Art Galleries

If art, nature, or history is your thing, you will love the Big Easy. With plenty of art all around the city, Museums on Mardi Gras and World War II (just to name a few), and plenty of gorgeous parks to stroll through.

15. You'll remember it forever!

Because of all of the things listed above, New Orleans will be a place that I will never forget, and only hope I get to visit again.

Cover Image Credit: Rachel Kleinwaks

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The 5 Stages Of Leaving Spring Break

2. Anger

The week you've been looking forward too all year has come and gone all too soon. Here are the stages that you'll go through while leaving your vacation

1. Denial

This week will never end and I will never have to see snow or go to class again.

2. Anger

It's not fair that I have to go home!

3. Bargaining

Just one more day and I'll leave in peace

4. Depression

I don't want to go home. I'll never be happy again.

5. Acceptance

There's always next year!

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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