Movies, Parks and Museums - oh my!

Movies, Parks and Museums - oh my!

I want to let you in on a not very well kept secret. Even though D.C. is an expensive city, there are so many FREE things at your fingertips. You would have to be crazy not to take advantage of them while you are here! I enjoy being busy, so every weekend I've been visiting new places and doing new (and fun!) things!


National Portrait GallerySince the Fourth of July, I have been visiting one museum a weekend, and I could be here for the rest of the year and still have not made it to every museum. My favorite museum that I have visited (so far) would have to be the National Portrait Gallery. When Kexin (my roommate) suggested it, I was expecting it to be the most boring place on Earth, but I was pleasantly surprised. I had just assumed that there were only going to be portraits of old, now forgotten or obscure politicians from the Civil War era (there were), but they also had a lot of contemporary portraits as well. There was a music-dance-theater section (hello Katy Perry!), a sports section, and a Presidential section. My favorite exhibit was the Presidential Portraits not only because I knew who the portraits were, but because it was interesting to compare the style to the decade (for example, the couch that Jimmy Carter was sitting on was definitely from the 70's).



Ford's TheaterFord's Theater, where Abe Lincoln was assassinated, is near the Portrait Gallery, and we visited that as well. Visiting the theatre and the little house across the street where Lincoln actually died is a really quick visit (maybe 45 minutes) and interesting. I had always pictured the theater to be a lot bigger, and I was surprised at how close to the ground Lincoln's box was.




National Gallery of Art

One day on the metro I happened to see an advertisement for the Degas-Cassatt exhibition at the National Gallery, and I'm so glad that I did. Last semester I studied abroad in France, and I did a project about impressionist art in one of my classes. I love all of the colors that these artists used. My favorite paintings were the ones that Degas painted of Mary Cassatt at the Louvre - they showed all of his sketches that he made before turning it into a painting. I didn't take a picture of those, but here were the two most famous paitings they had there. The Little Girl in the Blue Armchair is by Mary Cassatt and the Ballerinas Rehearsing in the Studio is by Degas.




National Museum of American History

Kexin and I were getting tired of visiting art museums, so we decided to take a trip to the National Museum of American History, home to the Star Spangled Banner, Julia Child's Kitchen, and Dorothy's ruby slippers! It was close to closing time when we were there, but I really enjoyed it and would go back again if I had the chance.


Julia Child's Kitchen at the National Museum of American History


Dorothy's Ruby Slippers


Rock Creek Park

Becca, one of my roommates, is interning at Rock Creek Park and works on Saturdays. Rock Creek Park is about 45 minutes from the RAF by metro and bus but definitely worth the trek. Kirby, Daniel, and I went there last weekend to visit Becca, and she gave us a little tour of the park. There are a lot of hiking trails (we didn't do any) and a museum that has some of the animals that you can find in the park on display. Most of them are dead obviously, but they do have some turtles that are alive and well and happy to be held. Becca was about to feed Pokey the Turtle, and so she each let us have a turn holding him. Have you ever seen anything as cute as this little guy?



Once a month, there is a food truck "festival" that is held across the street from the Nationals Baseball Stadium. They have tons of different types of food - pizza, crepes, tapas, crabs, empanadas, ice cream. It's a unique way to spend an evening, plus you avoid having to cook for yourself. I ended up eating an empanada and shrimp tapas. It was a lot of fun, and I am sad that I won't be in D.C. when they have it in August.


Biking Around The Monuments

This techinically isn't free, but it is a lot of fun, so please bear with me! There is a bike sharing service in D.C. called Capitol Bikeshare where you can rent bikes all around the city. I decided that I was going to try it out this weekend, but I was too afraid to ride on the road, so I walked to the National Mall and rented a bike there. I rode all the way to the Lincoln Memorial and succeed in bugging many tourists with the bell on the bike. I docked the bike and walked around the Korean War Memorial, Vietnam War Memorial, World War II Memorial, and the Lincoln Memorial.




On the way back to the RAF, I rode past the White House's backyard and decided to take a picture.  When I got up there, there was a rumor spreading around that the person hanging out on the 2nd floor balcony in the pink shirt was Michelle Obama. It was really far away, but I took a picture anyway even though you can't see anything. Then 2 minutes later a police officer came and told everyone that they area were standing in was closed, so we had to leave. I don't know what exactly was going on with that, but either way, it's not something that would happen in St. Louis.



Outdoor Movies

There are tons of free outdoor movies all around D.C. (picture a drive-in where everyone sits in lawn chairs or on the ground). I know there are some on the National Mall and in NoMa (down the street from the RAF), but on Friday night, Kexin and I went to Alexandria, Virginia to see Despicable Me 2. It was a little bit hard to hear because we were sitting toward the back, but I would go to something like that again.


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