So, NECC in DC is about three weeks away and if you’re planning to attend, here are six ideas for stuff to distract you from the conference sessions and exhibit floor.
The International Spy Museum – Whoever is running the tours for NECC will charge you $65 for the full package here. Buy tickets online for $25 (plus $2 service charge) and ride the Metro two stops from the convention center. Or walk. Many exhibits are interactive and the whole place is a lot of fun.
The Smithsonian Folk Life Festival – This annual celebration on the National Mall is presented in two parts, one just before NECC begins (June 24-28) and one just after (July 1-5). I have no idea why they split it that way but if you’re going to be here early or late, it’s worth attending. Lots of great music, food and exhibitions. And it’s free (except the food, of course).
The Newseum – Again, the NECC tour will cost you $55 but you could walk or take a short ride on the Metro and buy a regular $20 ticket. The 3D theater is pretty good and don’t miss the view from the 6th floor terrace.
The US Capitol – I haven’t been to the new visitor center yet but I’ll probably sneak off to see it during the conference. If you want someone to show you around, contact the office of your Senator and arrange for it as far ahead of time as possible. You can do the same for the White House but that tour is not really worth the effort (IMHO).
The National Zoo – Certainly not the biggest zoo in the country but a very nice experience that can be seen in half a day. And it’s free. Go first thing in the morning before the crowds show up and don’t miss the Asia Trail (right, Karen? :-). Take the Metro to the Cleveland Park station and walk down hill to the entrance. Then walk down hill to the Woodley Park/Zoo station to get back to Metro.
The National Cathedral – Sitting on a hill above the National Mall, you can get a good view of the city from up here. If you can, take the Behind The Scenes tour (weekdays at 10:30) which usually include a climb to the bell tower from which the view is even better. Unfortunately, there’s no easy and direct way to get here on public transportation.
Anyone have other suggestions?