Spin the Globe with Justin Butner

A world citizen may provide value to society by using knowledge acquired across cultural contexts.

An Invitation to See DC

DC. Home to museums, monuments, galleries, and other assorted culture. Through the combination of being a large city, an important city, and the capitol of the US – where federal funding can be focused to create a single destination for everyone around the country to come and visit what they’re funding – it has a pretty good mix of things to see. And many of them are free.

It is very easy to fall into the trap of saying, “I live here. I can always go see [insert museum or monument] whenever I want,” and then never actually doing it. So I’m countering the natural tendency. For the next three months I will be consciously embarking on a course to see, experience, appreciate, and learn from what DC has to offer.

This is a call. This is your invitation. The following is my DC itinerary for the coming months. If you’re interested in joining for any of these, let me know. We will try to coordinate it. If you have suggestions of awesome things that aren’t on this list, I’m open to hearing them. I may have missed some true gems. Or I may have already seen them or decided they didn’t make my list.

And so, I present the list:

Museums and Buildings

Smithsonian (SI)

  • Air and Space Museum
  • American Art Museum / Portrait Gallery
  • American History Museum
  • American Indian Museum
  • Postal Museum
  • Art and Industries Museum (closed till ???)
  • Renwick Gallery (closed till 2016)

US Capitol (tour)

Library of Congress (done the tour, go back for a photo session or get into the reading room) (show up with ID and I should be able to get a card to go in reading room)

White House (tour, book online in advance, pass minor security background check)


National Gallery of Art

Botanic Garden

Kennedy Center (millennium stage shows at 6, pictures on patio)

Dept. of the Interior Museum (some exhibits M-F 8:30-4:30, Ansel Adams murals reservations required 202-208-4743)

Octagon Museum (T/F/S – 13-16, can reserve a private tour)

Art Museum of the Americas (seen the exhibits, just need to get back to see the tile temple room)

Supreme Court (see a case, check the calendar close to going, have to line up early http://www.supremecourt.gov/)

Holocaust Museum (block off a day for depression, make no evening plans)

Old Post Office Pavillion (for a good vista) (closed till 2016)

National Building Museum (Designing for Disaster exhibit)

National Geographic Explorers Hall (exhibits currently on Mars rover, geography of food)

Heurich House Museum (Beerbaron Castle) Nov 20 – Starr Hill tour, (T/F/S reserve a tour)

Kreeger Museum (for art and architecture) (F/Sa 10-16, tours F 1030, 1330, S 1030, 1200, 1400 last 90 min)

Textile Museum (closed till March 2015)

Woodrow Wilson House (also have vintage game nights, first W of every month)

Museum of Unnatural History

US Naval Observatory (tours Monday night, booked for the remainder of 2014)

Frederick Douglass House (tours 9:00, 12:15, 1:15, 3:00, 3:30)

Navy Museum

Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle (can get a guided tour)

Islamic Center (prayers and reading room, working mosque, not a museum)

Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (tours M-Sa 9,10,11,13,14,15)

St. Augustine Catholic Church (for service)

Washington National Cathedral (can do tour with afternoon tea in the tower at 1:30 Tu/We, $30, regular entry is $10)

DEA Museum (celebrate the centennial of the DEA!) (Tu-F 10-16)

Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum (Wed-Sat 11-16 tours only, tours on the 15s and 45s)

College Park Aviation Museum

National Aquarium in Baltimore

Brookside Gardens


Monuments and Outside Activities

Paddle Boats in the Tidal Basin (closed for season)

Washington Monument (go up)

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial

Golf at Public Grounds at Haines Point

Georgetown Campus (wander around and appreciate the buildings)

Rock Creek Park

  • Adams Memorial (Grief)
  • Ruins of old US Capitol building

National Arboretum

Great Falls, VA

Roosevelt Island

Arlington Cemetery

Kennilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens


Mount Vernon

Glen Echo


Tour of LeDroit Park (need to track down the guy who was doing this in the spring)

3 comments on “An Invitation to See DC

  1. Elli
    October 21, 2014

    Well I’m inspired to at least hang on to your list! See if you can get into the McMillan Sand Filtration site before they renovate the whole thing. Also Freer, Sackler, Philips galleries, the alley houses and those neighborhood heritage trails- I happened across the Barracks Row Heritage Trail and Archibald Walk in SE. Very cool.

    • Itinerantics
      October 21, 2014

      McMillan is so close to me and yet so behind a barbed wire fence. If I hear of an open tour, I’ll let you know. Similarly, I’d love to find out if they are doing open tours again. As for Freer and Sackler, I’ll likely happen through them when nearby. Phillips Collection I’ve seen (and smelled in the case of the beeswax room). Thanks for the heads up about the trails. I didn’t know that was a thing.

  2. Itinerantics
    October 21, 2014

    I’m also adding “see more live go-go shows” to the list. The few I’ve seen have all been great.

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This entry was posted on October 20, 2014 by in America, DC and tagged , .

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