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Weather in Washington DC: What to Expect April 7, 2019

Every visitor wants to know: what to expect of the weather in Washington, DC. We have four seasons but only a few perfect days sprinkled about throughout the year. In the summer it is hot and humid. In the winter, it is cold and sometimes it even snows. Fall and spring tend to have the most pleasant weather in Washington, DC.

One way to quantify the weather in Washington, DC is using the “daily digit” which is published by the meteorologists in the Washington Post. Every day of the year they publish a score on a 0 to 10 scale rating how nice the weather in Washington, DC is that day. It is a somewhat subjective way of quantifying the weather but we think their scores are pretty accurate.

An analysis of the daily digit found an average score of 6.02. This means that on a completely typical day the weather in Washington, DC is neither great nor terrible. The months with the highest average daily digit are April, May, September and October . The months with the lowest digits are in December, January and July.

Summer

If you’re visiting DC during June, July and August, come prepared for heat and high humidity. The humidity is a really big deal, especially if you’re coming from a climate where you don’t have it. For example, a forecast might show a high of 85 degrees, which doesn’t seem so bad. However, when you get to DC the humidity might feel like the mid to high 90s. 

In the summer, sunscreen and water are a must. Bring a good water bottle with you, something that you can refill throughout the day. You also want to pack a small umbrella, even if your favorite weather app only predicts a small chance of rain. There is a always chance of evening thunderstorms in summer.

Winter

The thing about winters in DC is that yeah they are cold but they are not bitterly cold. That said, we do occasionally get a big extended cold snap. In 2018 it was so cold for so many days in a row that the Potomac and Anacostia rivers both froze over. So, if you come during the winter pack a coat hat and gloves and plan for some indoor activities. However, don’t think that outdoor activities are completely out of the question.  

Spring

Every spring, there are some beautiful days. But, it can also be unpredictable, especially the month of March. March can sometimes swing from beautiful and spring-like to cold and winter-like in a matter of hours. May tends to have the most consistently spring-like weather.

Cherry blossom bloom is heavily dependent on the weather. Colder weather in Washington, DC during February and early March means a later bloom. Warmer weather during those periods means an earlier bloom. The Washington, DC cherry blossoms are notoriously difficult to time.

Fall

If you can swing a fall trip, the weather in Washington, DC is still warm, but the humidity is starting to wind down. This makes fall a lot more pleasant than the summer months. One thing to keep in mind is that Washington DC is not a beach town but we’re only about a hundred miles from the Atlantic Ocean so a hurricane or a tropical storm near the coast is always a possibility here.

Coming to Washington, DC and want us to show you around?

Trip Hacks DC was founded by Rob, a veteran tour guide in the Nation’s Capital. Trip Hacks DC provides tips, tricks and travel hacks for planning your trip; and guided tours to show you around once you get here. Our tours are family and school group friendly and our guides specialize in the major Washington, DC sites. Click here to check out the upcoming tour options and to book your tour here today! Feel free to contact us if you have any tour questions.

Uber and Lyft Tips in Washington DC March 31, 2019

Uber and Lyft are a fine way of getting around DC. However, they are not always the best way of getting from place to place. We’ve noticed a recent trend of people becoming overly reliant on these apps. Historically Uber and Lyft offered dirt cheap rides. Now that they are both publicly traded companies that is starting to change. If you decide to use Uber and Lyft during your trip, here are some of our favorite tips to make it a little easier.

Uber and Lyft in Washington, DC have tons of options

In 2012, Uber was a luxury car service. Back then, you chose between either a town car or a black SUV. That’s it! The drivers were professional licensed limo drivers. Uber X was born once Lyft launched. Lyft and Uber X were the exact opposite of the original Uber service. They had regular people driving regular cars at rock bottom prices. Now, Lyft and Uber X are available in almost every city in the US and around the world.

Make sure you know what kind of service you need before requesting your ride.

  • Uber Black – the original town car service
  • Uber SUV – the original luxury SUV service
  • Uber X – regular people driving regular cars
  • Uber XL – regular people driving minivans or large SUVs
  • Uber Pool – an Uber X ride shared with strangers

There are also options if you need a child’s car seat or an accessible vehicle. These vehicles are in much shorter supply and it can take longer to get one. Lyft offers many of the same services with slightly different names.

Tip: pick an easy spot to meet your driver

The truth is, a lot of drivers in DC don’t really know the city very well. Many of them live far away in Maryland and Virginia and drive into the city to make money. As a visitor, you may not know the city very well either.

When you request your ride, try to place yourself near an easy to identify landmark or business. If the driver can’t find you (and they often can not) you can always call and tell them what business to drive toward.

Tip: Avoid Uber and Lyft during rush hour

Trying to get anywhere during Washington, DC rush hour can take significantly longer than mid-day. However, sometimes it is hard to avoid riding during rush hour. A ride that might take you 15 to 20 minutes mid-day could take up to an hour during rush hour.

Coming to Washington DC and want to sign up for a Trip Hacks DC tour?

Trip Hacks DC was founded by Rob, a veteran tour guide in the Nation’s Capital. Trip Hacks DC offers more than just a standard tour, it offers a stress free experience including tips and different trip hacks. These tips and travel hacks are for you to make the most of your trip to Washington DC and to catch the best things to do in the city. Our tours are family and school group friendly and our guides specialize in the major Washington, DC sites.Click here to check out the many available options for tours and to book your tour here today! Contact us if you have any questions.

Washington DC In April: Tips For Your Visit March 24, 2019

April is one of the busiest months of the entire year for tourism. Early April is usually when we get the perfect storm of cherry blossoms in bloom and school spring break. The weekend of peak cherry blossom bloom is always the busiest and most crowded weekend of the entire year on the National Mall and Tidal Basin. April is also right in the middle of 8th grade field trip season so be aware that when you’re visiting you’re going to share the sites with a lot of teenagers. Here is what else to expect when you visit in Washington DC in April.

Cherry blossoms

The National Cherry Blossom Festival is in full swing by April and there are several signature events and smaller events that are worth checking out. These include the parade, kite festival, and fireworks display. The most important thing you need to know about the cherry blossoms is that they are notoriously difficult to time. Do not try to plan your trip around seeing the peak bloom. Instead, just to come to enjoy spring and be pleasantly surprised if you do see the blossoms.  

Washington DC April weather

April is when we start to get pretty reliable spring weather. However, there is always a chance of a cold snap or a mini heatwave. The average daily high is 67 degrees and the average daily low is 44 degrees. It is actually a pretty tough month of the year for planning outdoor activities because temperature swings can happen throughout the day.  

The key to packing for April is to think in terms of layers. You would not want to bring your winter coat during April. But, you might want to bring some sweatshirts and light jackets that you can layer up depending on the temperature. The day before you leave for your DC trip, check the forecast for the next few days to see what the temperatures might be like; that way you can decide how many sweatshirts and jackets you might want to bring. You should probably plan to pack an umbrella, regardless of what the forecast says. Rain is not uncommon in Washington DC in April.

April holidays

There are no government holidays during April. There are a few unofficial ones to keep an eye on. April Fool’s Day is on April 1st – try not to get pranked! Tax day is on the 15th. Patriots Day is on the third Monday of April. Earth Day is on the 22nd. There are no official events for any of these holidays but people do occasionally use them for rallies, protests and other political events. So, when you’re down on the National Mall, you might find some people trying to get your attention about some issue or cause depending on the calendar.  

We could also potentially have religious holidays such as Passover, Good Friday and Easter. However, as a visitor, unless you’re specifically looking for a religious event, you’re probably not going to notice much happening for these holidays.

Coming to Washington DC and want us to show you around?

Trip Hacks DC was founded by Rob, a veteran tour guide in the Nation’s Capital. Trip Hacks DC provides tips,  tricks and travel hacks for planning your trip; and guided tours to show you around once you get here. Our tours are family and school group friendly and our guides specialize in the major Washington, DC sites.  Click here to check out the upcoming tour options and to book your tour here today!Feel free to contact us if you have any tour questions.

School Trips in DC: What Visitors Need to Know February 10, 2019

Participating in one of the multi-day school trips in DC is a right-of passage for many 8th graders across the U.S. If you are not visiting with one of these groups but coming to DC between mid-March and mid-June, these are a few things you need to know.

What is school field trip season?

School trips in DC are a huge part of the local tourism industry. Most schools send eighth grade class trips. This is why you will also occasionally hear referred to as “eighth grade field trip season”. Eighth grade is usually the class that gets to come to DC because it’s a final reward before the kids head off to high school.

Trip Hacks DC offers tours specifically designed for school groups. We have led tours with students in fifth grade all the way up to 12th grade. Our tours are best for small schools who don’t pay for an all-inclusive package. For large schools, these services might make more sense.

When is school field trip season?

School group trips in DC typically happen at one of two times during the year. The big one is in the spring, roughly from mid-March through mid-June. There is also a secondary field trip season in the fall roughly from early October through Thanksgiving.

If you’re trying to avoid field trip season the months you want to consider for your trip are: December, January, and February in the winter, and July, August, and September in the summer. Most schools choose to come in the spring because it’s an end-of-the-school-year reward. Plus, the students get to spend all school year learning about social studies and history and then they get to come to DC and see things up close.

Fall field trip season is much less busy since most schools don’t want to do the trip at the beginning of the school year.

How will field trip season impact your trip?

The most important thing to know is that school groups travel together in large packs. So, if you are visiting the memorials, there might be four groups of 50 students or more at once. This can really change the feel of some of the sites, particularly smaller memorials like the Vietnam and Korean War memorials.

School groups are only in DC for a limited amount of time. They need to maximize that time as best as possible. That means that during the day they’re going to be at the sites that are only open from 10 to 5. This includes the museums and the other indoor sites. Then, after dinner, they are going to head out and tour the monuments and memorials. This is because there are not a lot of evening activities you can do with big groups of teenagers.  

The bottom line is that if you’re visiting during spring field trip season you’re going to be sharing those monuments and sites with a lot of other people.

Where do field trip groups eat?

As far as restaurants go, school trips groups in DC tend to stick to a limited number of places. For lunch they go to food courts. The food courts at Union Station, L’Enfant Plaza, the Reagan Building, and Pentagon City Mall are all popular choices. Food courts are ideal for school groups because they’re cheap and they give the students a lot of different choices. For dinner, they go to the inexpensive restaurants that can accommodate groups. This includes places such as the Hard Rock Cafe, Buca di Beppo, Carmine’s, and similar chain places.

Where do school groups stay?

School groups usually stay at suburban hotels because they travel on charter buses. Thus they do not need to be near Metro. Suburban hotels usually offer group rates to schools. Although, you will occasionally see school groups staying downtown, especially if they’re a small group who doesn’t have a charter bus. So if you plan to stay at a downtown hotel and eat at mostly local restaurants, you are probably not going to bump into too many of these groups at those places.

Coming to DC and want to book a tour?

Trip Hacks DC was founded by Rob, a veteran tour guide in the Nation’s Capital. Trip Hacks DC provides tips, tricks and travel hacks for planning your trip; and guided tours to show you around once you get here. Our tours are family and school group friendly and our guides specialize in the major Washington, DC sites. Click here to check out the upcoming tour options and to book your tour here today! Feel free to contact us if you have any tour questions

Travel Tips for Mornings in DC December 16, 2018

Washington DC has a bit of a reputation as an early to rise, early to bed kind of city. It is not uncommon to see locals starting their day before sunrise, especially during the work week; but many visitors don’t start their days usually until a little later because sleeping in is one of the best perks of vacation! That said, if you are an early bird, here are four ideas for how to enjoy mornings in DC.

1. Go on a photo safari

Sunrise and sunset are both great times to take photos. However, sunrise is often better because there are fewer people out and about. So if you show up to the Lincoln Memorial at 7:00 in the morning you will have a much better chance of getting a great photo without a thousand people in it compared to the afternoon or evening.

The Lincoln Memorial is one of the most popular sights but the other memorials might be even quieter. The Vietnam Memorial feels very peaceful in the morning, compared to later in the day when all the tourists arrive. Now, there is no guarantee that going down to the National Mall first thing in the morning will get you the place to yourself. A lot of locals like to get their morning exercise in before it gets really hot during the summer and before they have to leave for work. So don’t be surprised to find a bunch of fitness enthusiasts out with you.

2. See the animals at the National Zoo

Smithsonian museums on the National Mall open at 10:00 a.m. However, the National Zoo opens a little earlier. The grounds open at 8 a.m. and the exhibits at 9 a.m. Starting at 8 a.m. you can walk around on the pathways. However, the animal exhibits will not open until 9:00 a.m. You can still see many of the animals just from the outside paths. Morning is actually one of the best times to see the animals because in the afternoon, they often settle down for a little nap.

3. Eat at an old-fashioned diner

Diners are becoming fewer and fewer as people stopped going out for breakfast and started preferring brunch. However, the few remaining diners are great places to go to in the mornings in DC.

One of our favorites is Jimmy T’s located on East Capitol Street about a five-minute walk from the Capitol building. Another similar diner is called Pete’s Diner, located on the south side of the Capitol building, just a few minutes walk. Both of these places are no-frills breakfast diners, you’ll find eggs pancakes, potatoes, and more. Be sure to bring cash because they are cash only. Both diners close every day at 3 p.m.

Another spot we really like is Market Lunch, located inside the Eastern Market. The name is a little misleading, however, as the breakfast is what it is worth going for. The signature dish here is called “blue bucks” short for blueberry buckwheat pancakes. Breakfast ends at 11 a.m. on weekdays and 1:30 p.m. on the weekends. So make sure to get here before they cut it off!

4. Get caffeinated on a Coffee Crawl

The coffee shop scene in DC has exploded over the last decade. There are far too many coffee shops to list out here. But, there are a few areas where you can go if you want to hit a bunch of them in a short time. Start up at 14th and U Streets NW. There are at least half a dozen independent or small local coffee chains that you can visit without even walking more than a mile. If you’re staying downtown, the area near Farragut Square is where a lot of the established local coffee shops opened their downtown second locations in the last few years. Make sure to bring a bottle of water with you on your coffee crawl. You are definitely going to want to stay hydrated!

Want to spend one of your mornings in DC touring with us?

Trip Hacks DC was founded by Rob, a veteran tour guide in the Nation’s Capital. Trip Hacks DC provides tips, tricks and travel hacks for planning your trip; and guided tours to show you around once you get here. Our tours are family and school group friendly and our guides specialize in the major Washington, DC sites. Click here to check out the upcoming tour options and to book your tour here today! Feel free to contact us if you have any tour questions.

Check Out These 5 Obscure Monuments in DC October 28, 2018

Washington, DC is a lot more than the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial and other famous landmarks. Go off the beaten path and explore when you visit DC! These are four of our favorite obscure monuments in DC that you can come and check out.

1. Albert Einstein Memorial

Einstein’s Memorial is located about one block to the north of the Lincoln Memorial. This is a private monument on the grounds of the National Academy of Sciences. It was dedicated on Albert Einstein’s 100th birthday in 1979. The statue depicts a 12-foot tall Einstein in a nice casual pose.

They encourage climbing on the statue. They even advertise a hashtag that you can use to post your photos. If you look on the floor in front of Einstein you will see 2,700 metal studs. These represent the stars, planets and moons on the night that the statue was dedicated. Also, a bonus hack for this monument is that if you stand directly in the center, look right at Albert Einstein, and speak, you will hear a really cool echo chamber. Above all, you really need to experience it in person to know exactly how cool it is. 

2. District of Columbia World War Memorial

The District of Columbia World War Memorial or the DC War Memorial for short honors the approximately 26,000 residents of the District of Columbia who served during World War I. On the base of the memorial you will see the 499 residents of DC who died serving in World War I.

Many people think the design is based on the Jefferson Memorial because they both have a beautiful rounded dome. However, the DC War Memorial was built over a decade earlier than Jefferson. The lack of knowlege about this memorial makes it one of the more obscure monuments in DC. This is one of the few places that you can come and not have the huge crowds that you’ll experience at the other memorials. 

3. The Signers Memorial

This monument is officially called the Memorial to the 56 Signers of the Declaration of Independence. However, it is often shortened to the Signers Memorial. This is located on a tiny island in the middle of a pond just to the west of the Vietnam Memorial. The off-the-beaten path location makes it a rather obscure memorial in DC.

When you arrive you can walk across the little footbridge and you will see recreated signatures of the 56 men who signed our Declaration of Independence in 1776. So, if you are looking for a name in particular make sure you know where he came from.

4. George Mason Memorial

George Mason is relatively unknown outside of Virginia, and his memorial stands almost literally in the shadows of the Jefferson Memorial. Also, Mason is sometimes called America’s forgotten founding father. He was quite influential to the early development of our new country. However, nowadays most people have no idea who he was or what he did. George Mason wrote the Virginia Declaration of Rights. George Mason is thus credited for coming up with many ideas in the Bill of Rights. When you visit you’ll see the statue of George Mason and some of his quotes nearby.

Coming to Washington DC, and want us to take you on a tour?

Trip Hacks DC was founded by Rob, a veteran tour guide in the Nation’s Capital. Trip Hacks DC provides tips, tricks and travel hacks for planning your trip; and guided tours to show you around once you get here. Our tours are family and school group friendly and our guides specialize in the major Washington, DC sites. Click here to check out the upcoming tour options and to book your tour here today! Feel free to contact us if you have any tour questions.

White House Tickets: How to Get Tour Tickets October 14, 2018

The White House is one of the most iconic buildings in America. Getting White House tickets is relatively easy. In order to visit the White House, you need to request these tickets from your member of Congress. Make sure to do this at least three weeks in advance (ideally more like three months in advance).

Who to contact for White House tickets

American visitors have three people who they can contact to make their White House Tickets request. You can ask your member of Congress or either of your two Senators. Every Representative and Senator has their own website, but they don’t always look alike.

Where to find the form to request White House tickets

Once you are on your Representative and Senator’s website, look around under “constituent services” or “help” or “contact”. Sometimes the page you are looking for is called “tour DC” or “visit DC” or “tours and tickets.” Since there are well over 500 total Representatives and Senators it’s impossible to say what any individual site will look like.

Once you get to the requests page, some representatives will have a form right there that you can just go ahead and fill out. Some will make you register for an account first, and some, especially the more high-ranking members of Congress, like the Speaker of the House, will make you enter a 9 digit zip code. From there, you will fill out a standard contact form. It’s going to ask for your name, your contact information, and the three dates that you’d like to be considered for the tour.

Which days to pick

This is a trip hack you should consider: pick one, and only one, date on your contact form. Most people assume that if they pick three dates that’s going to increase the chances of getting White House tickets. The problem is that no matter how early you submit your request, you will not find out if you get to go until about two weeks before your trip. So, if you only choose one date you can plan out the rest of your trip and make a back-up plan on that one date if things don’t work out; whereas if you pick three dates it’s going to be a lot harder to plan your trip, because you have to hold all of those days not knowing if or when you’re going to go.

What happens if you get White House tickets

After you’ve submitted the form to your Representative, their staff will forward the information on to the White House. A White House staff member will follow up with you. They will send you another form where you will have to fill out your name, date of birth, social security number, and other information. Then you wait.

It’s important to remember that the White House is not a museum. A lot of people want to go. However, there is a limited capacity. So honestly, don’t be too surprised or upset if your request gets declined. The best way to improve your chance of success is to submit your initial request three months in advance and travel during the off season.

Good luck!

Coming to Washington DC and want us to give you a tour?

Trip Hacks DC was founded by Rob, a veteran tour guide in the Nation’s Capital. Trip Hacks DC provides tips, tricks and travel hacks for planning your trip; and guided tours to show you around once you get here. Our tours are family and school group friendly and our guides specialize in the major Washington, DC sites. Click here to check out the upcoming tour options and to book your tour here today! Feel free to contact us if you have any tour questions.

Cheap Eats in DC: Six Restaurants to Check Out September 30, 2018

Writing about food and restaurants is hard. This is a highly subjective topic. But who can resist great cheap eats in DC? We wanted to identify restaurants where you can get a meal for ten dollars or less per person. And for visitors, we wanted to find restaurants that are relatively easy to get to.

All of the prices referenced are recent as of 2018.

1. District Taco

District Taco started about 10 years ago as a single taco cart in nearby Arlington, Virginia. Today they have locations all over the DC area. You can get a set of three tacos, a burrito, or a burrito desnudo. They also serve nachos and quesadillas. On certain days of the week, fish and shrimp tacos are served. There is also a salsa bar, with salsas ranging from mild to very hot.

One bonus hack for District Taco is that while chips and guacamole usually cost extra, if you get a meal without any meat on it, they’ll give you the guacamole for free!

2. Good Stuff Eatery

Good Stuff is a burger restaurant owned by local celebrity chef Spike Mendelsohn,. You might recognize him if you’re into food competition shows on TV. The cool thing about Good Stuff Eatery is that you can get a sort of “celebrity chef experience” without paying the celebrity chef prices.

Our recommendation from the menu is the Colletti’s smokehouse burger. However, if you’re looking for something a little lighter, than Michelle melt, named after the former first lady, is a turkey burger that’s pretty tasty. The burgers are mostly under ten dollars, but it does get a little more expensive if you add fries and a drink. A useful lunch hack is that if you’re traveling with a family or a group, have everyone get their own burger and then share the fries and a shake. The shakes are delicious and filling.

3. Falafel Inc

A true cheap eat! Falafel sandwiches are only $3 and falafel bowls only $4. These are usually sufficient for lunch, but if you’re a big eater you can add a salad or some hummus for a few extra bucks. The six sauce options give you a chance to spice up your falafel to your exact taste. When you go, don’t be intimidated by the long line. The line moves quick because they have a limited menu and can move the orders really quickly. This is also a great option if you have vegetarians in your group because everything on the menu is vegetarian.

4. &pizza

&pizza makes every single pie fresh right in front of you. The pizzas are an interesting oval shape. However, they do not really fit into any kind of traditional style of pizza. Most of their suggested pizzas cost right around $10 but if none of those interests you, you can build your own as well. A typical pizza could probably serve two medium hungry people or someone who is really hungry could eat an entire pie themself.

5. Bub and Pop’s

Depending on what you order, this might break out ten dollar rule, but it’s worth it. Bub and Pop’s is exactly where you want to go if you’re looking for a true mom-and-pop experience. This husband-and-wife team (and their son) prides themselves on making as much of their food as possible in-house. It’s worth it to splurge and get the pickle and chips on the side. A bonus hack when you go is to try to avoid the lunch rush on weekdays between about 11:30am and 1:30pm. There are a lot of office buildings and hungry office workers nearby.

6. TaKorean

If you look closely at the name, you’ll see it is a combination of the words taco and Korean. Just like District Taco, TaKorean also started as a single food truck and now has several locations in the city. A bonus hack for TaKorean is that if you’re in town on a Tuesday, they do have Taco Tuesday discounts.

Coming to DC and want us to show you around?

Trip Hacks DC was founded by Rob, a veteran tour guide in the Nation’s Capital. Trip Hacks DC provides tips, tricks and travel hacks for planning your trip; and guided tours to show you around once you get here. Our tours are family and school group friendly and our guides specialize in the major Washington, DC sites. Click here to check out the upcoming tour options and to book your tour here today!Feel free to contact us if you have any tour questions.

Weird Monuments in DC Worth Seeking Out September 9, 2018

Explore beyond the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial and other famous landmarks when you visit Washington, DC. The city has a lot of well-known sites but there are even more lesser-known monuments and memorials. These are five weird monuments in DC to check out on your trip.

1. Temperance Fountain

One of our favorite weird monuments in DC was designed to encourage people to drink water instead of alcohol. In 1882 by Henry Cogswell built Temperance Fountain. He considered it his life mission to hydrate the masses by building water fountains across the United States.

Cogswell funded over 20 different fountains. He built one in Washington DC on Pennsylvania Avenue. Cogswell designed the fountain for placement right in the middle of the city. He envisioned fresh water flowing from the mouths of two sculpted fish. Cogswell installed a “common cup” under the fish. The cup hung from a chain and that’s how you drank your water. Over the years, cities removed these fountains as they were unhygienic and unneeded. This is one of the only fountains left in the entire country!

2. Titanic Memorial.

The Titanic Memorial is located near the newly developed Wharf. However, it was not always located there. The statue was commissioned in 1930. It was placed on the Potomac River near where the Kennedy Center stands today. They held a design contest for the Titanic Memorial. Gertrude Vanderbilt won the competition. Henry Bacon designed the base of the memorial. He also designed the Lincoln Memorial. Vanderbilt’s statue depicts a 13-foot man with his arms outstretched gazing out to the water like a ship’s mast. 

3. Freedom Bell 

The Freedom Bell is a replica of the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia. It is located north of the Capitol near Union Station. The American Legion commissioned the Freedom Bell in 1975. After America’s bicentennial celebration, the Freedom Bell was put into storage and it wasn’t brought out until recently. Over the years, a lot of people have walked right past the Freedom Bell without a clue that it exists. So if you are arriving by train, car or bus at Union Station, make sure you stop and check this out.

4. Jefferson Pier

Jefferson Pier is a very small memorial literally overshadowed by the Washington Monument. When Thomas Jefferson was overseeing some of the development of Washington, DC he wanted to realign the prime meridian of the entire world to go right through Washington.

The Jefferson Meridian was laid out at the intersection of a right triangle. The White House, the Capitol building and Pennsylvania Avenue formed the points on the triangle. The Washington Monument was actually supposed to get built at the spot where the points converged. However, when they started construction the builders got nervous about the soil conditions. So, the plan shifted the Washington Monument to the east. That’s actually why the Washington Monument is out of line between the White House, Capitol and Jefferson Memorial.

5. Joan of Arc Statue

The Joan of Arc Statue earned the distinction of being the only female equestrian statue in the city. Joan of Arc was a peasant girl from eastern France. She claimed divine inspiration in the fight against the British in the Hundred Years War. She was 19 years old when she was captured and burned at the stake. In 1920, the Society of French women of New York donated this statue to Meridian Hill Park.

This statue is meant to show friendship between the women of France and the United States. An interesting fact about the statue is that Joan of Arc’s sword has been stolen multiple times.  The original sword was stolen in 1978 and was only replaced in 2011.

Interested in a Washington, DC guided tour?

Trip Hacks DC was founded by Rob, a veteran tour guide in the Nation’s Capital. Trip Hacks DC provides tips, tricks and travel hacks for planning your trip; and guided tours to show you around once you get here. Our tours are family and school group friendly and our guides specialize in the major Washington, DC sites. Click here to check out the upcoming tour options and to book your tour here today! Feel free to contact us if you have any tour questions.

Washington DC Sayings, Words and Phrases August 26, 2018

Washington, DC has its own unique words and phrases. These are seven Washington, DC sayings you might hear when you visit. Make sure to study up so you know what people are talking about!

1. The Mall

The Mall is short for National Mall and Memorial Parks. This is the giant national park downtown. You will find most of the major monuments, memorials and other federal sites. “The mall” is one of the most common Washington DC sayings. No, this is not a shopping mall. If you want to buy clothes or souvenirs you will have a much better time in Georgetown.

2. DMV

When most people hear DMV they think of the Department of Motor Vehicles. However, when it comes to Washington, DC sayings, DMV stands for District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. People typically use it to refer to the entire metro area. If you want to refer to the city without the suburbs, you would say “the District” instead.

3. K Street

When people say K Street, they are really talking about the stretch of K Street NW that runs through downtown. Historically, this is where a of lobbying firms had their offices. People refer to “K Street” to mean lobbyists the same way they refer to “Wall Street” to refer to bankers. If you hear that a politician “sold out to K Street” it means they fell under the influence of lobbyists.

4. The Hill

This is one of the Washington DC sayings that has a dual meaning. The Hill is short for Capitol Hill. This could either mean the Capitol complex or the neighborhood east of the Capitol.

For example, if you’re in a coffee shop, and you overhear someone say they have to go to a meeting on the Hill, it probably means they have to meet with a Congressperson’s office (rarely is it the Congressperson themself). The Hill could also refer to the neighborhood called Capitol Hill. So if you meet someone and they tell you that they live on the Hill, they are talking about the neighborhood.

5. Beltway

The Beltway refers to Interstate 495 which forms a loop around Washington DC’s suburbs. So, if you are listening to the morning radio you might hear about horrible traffic on the Beltway. People will also use Beltway to refer to political issues. They do this by saying “inside” or “outside” the Beltway.  So for example, if you hear someone say, “nobody cares about an issue outside the Beltway”, they mean only people who really work deep in politics care about it and the rest of America does not.

6. Half Smoke

A half smoke is a sausage served on a bun that’s pretty unique to the DC area. The most famous half smokes are served at Ben’s Chili Bowl on U Street NW. Although, there are plenty of places you can get a half-smoke. The name is kind of a mystery.  Some people think it’s called a half smoke because the sausage is made of half beef and half pork. Then, it is smoked on a grill. Other people think it’s called a half smoke because the sausage is typically cut in half before it’s cooked.  

7. Slugline

This comes from the practice of slugging, which in the U.S. really only exists in Washington DC and in the San Francisco Bay Area. Slugging is a type of anonymous carpooling. A driver will pull his or her car into a big parking lot. Then, riders going to the same place will get into their car. This group of people are able to use the carpool lanes to get into the city a lot faster.

Using the carpool lanes can make a huge difference. The driver benefits because he or she gets to drive their own car into the city. The riders benefit because it’s often a lot faster than riding the bus and it is free! The slugline is the actual line that people will stand in while they are waiting to get picked up.

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