Looking for some more places to visit in D.C. that may be more interesting than the normal tourist favorites?
Meridian Hill Park
Called Malcolm X park by locals, Meridian Hill Park houses a memorial to President James Buchanan (1857-1861), as well as statues of Dante and Joan of Arc. The statue of Joan of Arc (left) is remarkable because it is the only statue of a woman and her horse among the 24 or so equestrian statues with men in Washington. My favorite part of my visit to the park was a drum circle of musicians who congregated around this statue around 3 p.m. on the Sunday I attended. Little did I know that this was a tradition that the Washington Post says, "Is said to have officially started the week of the assassination of Malcolm X in 1965."
Closest Metro Station: U St/African-American Civil War Memorial/Cardozo on the Yellow or Green line.
The Washington Nationals are the official baseball team of the District of Columbia. During the baseball season, which starts in April, Nationals Park is a great place to be. From racing presidents (people wearing goofy costumes and racing around the field) to free giveaways, going to see the Nationals play was one of my favorite things from my semester in D.C. Especially when our nosebleed (high-altitude) seats were randomly upgraded to field level!
Cost: Varies depending on seat, I was able to go to games this year for less than $30 with tickets from Stubhub.
Closest Metro Station: Navy Yard-Ballpark on the Green line.
Eastern Market & Capitol Hill Books
Eastern Market is an outdoor market in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. Here you can find fresh fruit, handmade jewelry, and vintage advertising for sale. Capitol Hill Books -- a little house (left) crammed full of books -- is also in this neighborhood. Books in the closet, basement, bathroom, and on the sink. Books stacked three and four deep, with witty notes stuck into some by the bookstore owner. It's a book lover's dream.
Cost: Free to look, but there are some neat knickknacks for sale.
Closest Metro Station: Eastern Market on the Silver, Orange or Blue lines.
I didn't originally go to Silver Spring to find this park (I went because my family instilled a love for classic rock in me), but Acorn Park was an exciting find. Not only is there a giant acorn gazebo, but in this park resides the last part of the estate of Francis Preston Blair. According to Silver Spring Downtown, Blair's estate was the original Silver Spring, named after his 1840 discovery of a nearby mica-speckled -- silver -- spring.
Closest Metro Station: Silver Spring on the Red line.
A small park in Capitol Hill, Stanton Park's main feature is a statue of Revolutionary War hero General Nathanael Greene. There is also a play area for children. However, the best part is how beautiful the park and the surrounding Capitol Hill area is. If you are on the Mall and need a break from the amount of people, Stanton Park is just a few blocks away. It's a lovely place to spend a day, whether reading or spending time with your family.
Closest Metro Station: Union Station on the Red line.
George Washington National Masonic Memorial
On my way to King Street in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia (shopping, great restaurants, riverside events, history), I decided I had to check out this memorial. It's hard to miss this imposing, hilltop tower over Alexandria. It was "conceived, funded, built, and maintained by the Freemasons of the United States as a testimony of their admiration of George Washington," who himself was a Mason, according to their official website. There is also a great view of Alexandria from the space in front of the memorial entrance.
Cost: Free to look at, $15 to enter.
Closest Metro Station: King Street-Old Town on the Yellow or Blue lines.
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