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Washington DC Myths and Misconceptions May 13, 2018

If you’re planning a trip to the nation’s capital, you’ve probably come across a few of these Washington DC myths already! Read about five of the most common so that you can help avoid spreading misinformation!

1. There are no tall buildings because of the Washington Monument

This one is the king of Washington, DC myths. The Washington Monument is 555 feet tall. The tallest residential and office buildings are only about 200 feet tall. A building as tall as the Washington Monument would be about 50 stories. The reason that we don’t have any tall buildings in Washington DC is because of the Height of Buildings Act of 1910

This law came into existence because of The Cairo. The Cairo opened as a one hundred sixty four foot tall hotel in the 1890s. It was hugely controversial when it opened. The neighbors who lived nearby thought it was outrageous that this new “skyscraper” opened up near their houses. They went to Congress and demanded they pass a bill preventing any future tall buildings.

The law says most buildings in Washington DC cannot be taller than the width of the street that they are on plus 20 feet. So, if a building were to tip over, it couldn’t cross the street by more than 20 feet. Even though this law does prevent any building from being taller than the Washington Monument, the purpose of the bill had nothing to do with monuments at all.

2. Georgetown is named after King George II

Perhaps the most famous George in U.S. history is George Washington. But the area of DC known as Georgetown was founded in 1751 in the province of Maryland. This was more than 20 years before the American Revolution and almost forty years before George Washington selected the area to be the capital of our new country.

Since King George II was ruler of the British Empire at the time, including the American colonies, you will occasionally hear that the area is named for him. However, according to Dex Nilsson, author of The Names of Washington DC, Georgetown was actually named for neither of these Georges.

Georgetown was settled by Scots who fled to the American colonies to avoid wars in Scotland. Maryland allowed Scots to buy or condemn about 60 acres of land that were currently owned by two other men. These men were named George Gordon and George Beale. When they refused to sell their land, the community made a bargain with them. If they gave up their land then the area would get named after them.

3. No one is actually from DC

Washington DC has a bit of a reputation for being a transient city. A place where people come, work for a few years, and then leave and go back to where they came from. There are actually two different things to unpack with this Washington, DC myth.

Is it true that Washington DC is a city where people are always coming and going? It is certainly true that many people have moved to Washington DC from other places. Some people will stay temporarily and permanently. But that’s true of any big city. There are a few different ways of measuring this. However, studies have found that Washington DC has about the same rate of migration as other big American cities.

The second part of the myth is that no one in DC is actually from DC. This is just false. The reason that this is one of the more believable Washington, DC myths is because many people associate Washington DC with politicians. However, the reality is that the number of politicians and their staff is so small. This is a rounding error on the general population.

4. Rich people kept Metro out of Georgetown

This myth is that rich people in Georgetown prevented a Metro station from being built because they wanted to keep crime and riff raff out of the neighborhood. So when you come to DC and go to visit Georgetown, it’s a pain to get there. In the 1960s and 1970s when Metro was being planned and built, Georgetown was one of the highest-end neighborhoods in the city. Many of the area’s wealthiest residents chose to live here including John and Jackie Kennedy.

It is probably true that at the time that some Georgetown residents protested on these grounds and that’s why this became one of the most prominent Washington, DC myths. However, the reality is quite a bit different. In Zachary Schrag’s book the Great Society Subway, he writes that the reason there is no Georgetown metro station is because of geography and engineering. The center of Georgetown at Wisconsin and M Streets NW is the obvious spot for a Georgetown Metro station. But this spot is really close to the Potomac River.

A station in Georgetown would have either required an extremely deep station or a really steep tunnel to get down under the river. Now whether Georgetown residents could have actually stopped a metro station from being built is certainly debatable, but the reality is that it was never a serious consideration. 

5. The city changes when there is a new president

This one is similar to the myths of DC that no one is from DC. The reality is that a very tiny percentage of the total population works for a presidential administration. The idea is that when one president leaves office and when the next president starts his term, there is a huge influx of new people. This is a bit overblown. Even in the federal government almost all employees are civil servants. This means that they serve no matter who is in office. Things might feel quite a bit different on a national level but the local vibe is actually quite steady.

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.

Interesting Facts about Five Embassies in DC May 6, 2018

There are around 175 embassies in Washington, DC. 50 of them are concentrated on Massachusetts Avenue NW, which is nicknamed “Embassy Row”. This street is historic because it’s where wealthy DC elite previously built big elaborate mansions. Before they were embassies in DC these were mostly private homes.

Unfortunately, the habit of building these big beautiful mansions came to an end in 1929. The great depression caused the owners of many homes to sell. The buyers that were there to scoop up these properties were mostly other countries.

Embassy of the United Kingdom

This is both the oldest and the largest of the embassies in DC. There are over 400 staff members who work in the British Embassy. The embassy is located just south of the Naval Observatory (the Vice President’s home) along Massachusetts Avenue NW.

The British Embassy is visible from the outside. Look for the statue of Winston Churchill doing his V for Victory symbol. He looks like he is about take a step across the street because he has one foot on British soil and one foot on American soil. Churchill was actually half British and half American.

Embassy of Canada

Canada has one of the only embassies in DC on Pennsylvania Avenue. In 1989, it was built on the site of an old car dealership. However, some countries were upset that Canada got prime real estate so close to the Capitol building. However, the justification was that they are our neighbors to the north.

As you’re walking down Pennsylvania Avenue, you’ll notice a ring of columns on the outside of the building. If you go up the stairs, stand in the very center of the ring and make a noise and you’ll hear a perfect echo of your voice. They also have an excellent Christmas tree around the holidays.

Embassy of Indonesia

This was the most expensive building when it was constructed over a hundred years ago. The Indonesian Embassy was originally built by an Irish immigrant named Thomas Walsh. The mansion is famous because of his daughter, Evelyn Walsh McLean. She was a rich DC socialite and was the last private owner of the Hope Diamond, the largest blue diamond in the world. You can see it today in the Museum of Natural History.

Embassy of Cuba

The Embassy of Cuba is on 16th Street NW. This is both one of the newest and one of the oldest embassies in DC. It was built in 1917. However, it closed in 1961 during the Cold War. The building was maintained by Switzerland from 1961 to 2015. In 2015, the U.S. reopened diplomatic relations with Cuba and the embassy opened once again.

The Embassy of Cuba was the subject of violence in 1979. A terrorist group attempted to bomb the Embassy of Cuba. Unfortunately, they read their maps wrong and instead damaged the Embassy of Lithuania. In addition to Lithuania, the embassies of Spain and Poland are nearby neighbors.

Turkish Ambassador’s Residence

The Turkish Ambassador’s Residence was built in 1915. Businessman Edward Everett built this beautiful Beaux-Arts style mansion to house he and his growing family. After he passed away, his five daughters decided to sell the house and split the profits.

Turkey purchased the building in 1936. The first ambassador to move in was Munir Ertegun. He had two sons who became enamored with jazz music. They would sneak out of the house late at night to go hear of Duke Ellington, Lena Horne and Louis Armstrong. They actually held the very first integrated concerts in the U.S. right inside the Turkish Embassy. Most impressively, these two sons went on to be the founders of Atlantic Records, one of the biggest record labels in the entire world.

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.

Washington Nationals Baseball Tips & Hacks April 15, 2018

Planning on attending a Washington Nationals game? Here are some tips and hacks to help you get the most out of your Nationals Park experience.

1. Don’t drive

At a lot of Major League parks the transportation works the same: you drive, pay, park your car, and walk straight into the game. For Washington Nationals games there is parking nearby, but it’s limited. This means that prices are pretty high. For the closest lots $30 – $40 per car is pretty standard.

The way that most fans arrive at games is by Metro. The Navy Yard-Ballpark station is only one block north from the center field gate, so it’s very convenient. You can also bike. There is a huge Capital Bikeshare station nearby, and a bicycle valet if you have your own. If none of these options work you can always take a taxi, or an Uber or a Lyft. However, if you’re trying to cross downtown during rush hour, the traffic can be brutal. Make sure to factor that in so you don’t arrive late.

2. Bring your own food

One of the biggest complaints about attending Major League ball games is that the food is expensive. A lot of people do not know is that many MLB parks actually let you bring outside food. It is perfectly withing the rules, just usually not very well advertised. Nationals Park is one of them.

Check out the fast casual restaurants lining First Street SE. RASA is a local Indian restaurant; Roti has excellent Mediterranean dishes; and Chopt is great for those looking for a healthier option.

If you do pick a food that requires a fork, do no forget to grab the silverware! It is hard to find a plastic fork inside the ballpark. Also, while you are allowed to bring in your own food, you are not allowed to bring in drinks. The one exception is a plain, unopened bottle of water. If you try to bring any other type of drink, or a refillable water bottle, they are going to make you dump it before you come in.

3. Check out the Washington Nationals official happy hour

If you are the kind of person who likes to get to the park early for batting practice, then you can take advantage of the inside the park happy hour. This is offered only in one spot, the bar under the scoreboard in right field. In 2018 you can get a 16 ounce can of Bud or Bud Light for $5. The most important thing to know is that happy hour ends 35 minutes before the scheduled first pitch, so if it is a 7:05 start, you have to have your beer in hand by 6:30.

4. Sit in the shade

Washington, DC summers are brutally hot and humid. Generally speaking for a Washington Nationals day game, you want to sit in the shade, unless you are a fan of the heat. Don’t worry, we have a guide for Nationals Park to help you find the shaded seats.

Interested in signing up for a Washington, DC 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.

Get FREE Food Credits with the LevelUp App April 8, 2018

A lot of fast casual restaurants in Washington, DC use the LevelUp app. Restaurants adopted this technology because it’s an easy way for them to offer a reward program without having to use old-fashioned punch cards or build an app themselves. To entice customers to use it you can get free food credit on your first meal. This is a really useful trip hack for Washington, DC visitors!

Follow these steps to get the LevelUp app setup and load free food credits.

Step 1. On your phone or computer navigate to triphacksdc.com/freefood

On this page there are different restaurants where you can click through and sign up for your free credit. So, go ahead and click through on each of the links. This pulls up a LevelUp landing page where you enter your email address. 

Step 2. Click through and create a LevelUp account

It is extremely important at this point that you use whatever email address you just put for signing up for all those bonuses as your account email. After you have created your account, it is time to link your credit card. So, if you have a card that gets bonus points for dining, it will work for this.

Step 3. Download the apps for each individual restaurant to your phone

When you open each app, you are going to sign in NOT signup, since you’ve already created your LevelUp account. Use the same login information. If you’re traveling with a family or a group do this for every phone in the group. There is no reason why you couldn’t do this on everyone’s phone to take maximum advantage of this trip hack.

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.

Hidden Gems of Georgetown March 25, 2018

Georgetown is a popular destination for Washington, DC visitors. Between the picturesque row houses, the high-end shopping and the restaurants, there’s a lot to see and do. Don’t just stick to the main drag. Check out some of these off-the-beaten-path hidden gems of Georgetown.

Tudor Place

Tudor Place is the home of George and Martha Washington’s granddaughter, Martha Custis. This is the perfect place for any George Washington history buff to come and explore. When George and Martha passed away, they bequeathed their estate to their granddaughter. So, Custis used this money to build a home in 1805. The last descendant of Custis left the house in 1983. Now, the house is a museum where you can learn all about George Washington and see the gorgeous gardens. Above all, it is one of the less crowded attractions in Georgetown. It also has one of the biggest collections of George Washington memorabilia outside of Mount Vernon. Tudor Place is in North Georgetown off of 33rd street. Tickets are $10 each.

Old Aqueduct Bridge

Of all the hidden gems of Georgetown, this one might be the hardest to find because it doesn’t exist any more. This bridge was built to connect two canals on either side of the Potomac River. In the 1930s, the city demolished the bridge and by the 1960s they removed almost all of what remained. However, there is one piece still sticking out of the water if you know what to look for. There is also a huge swath of graffiti that is really cool to look at while you are out kayaking on the Potomac.

Exorcist Steps

These stairs are from the famous 1973 movie, The Exorcist. The film was based on a book by a student at Georgetown University: William Peter Blatty. The author actually witnessed a exorcism in the 1940s while attending Georgetown. In the movie, the priest falls to his death down these stairs after performing it.

Cady’s Alley

In the 1800s, Cady’s Alley was built as shops and stores. Over a hundred years later, in 2004, architects renovated the alley. So, they converted the buildings into trendy shops. Today, it is known as one of the most fashionable back streets in DC.

Pomander Walk

This quaint street is an extremely popular Instagram spot. It was originally the site of 10 homes built by freedmen. These modest homes were only 600 square feet and back then they were not connected to electricity or running water. Each home would house 2-4 families and the living was unfortunately not very comfortable. There was an act passed to resettle these communities and most were torn down. Eventually, the remaining homes were renovated.

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.

Well Dressed Burrito: An Excellent DC Hole-in-the-Wall March 11, 2018

One of the coolest things about traveling is finding the little hole-in-the-wall restaurant. The kind of place only locals know about. Unfortunately, we don’t have that many in Washington, DC. But if you’re looking for one, you may find what you’re looking for at the Well Dressed Burrito.

What Makes Well Dressed Burrito Unique

Well Dressed Burrito is only open for about 12 and a half hours each week. Their hours are 11:45am to 2:15pm Monday through Friday. Compare that with a standard Chipotle, which is open about 77 hours a week or a Taco Bell that might be open 120 hours a week. If you want to eat here, you have to make sure you plan your trip around it.

Another reason why it’s sort of elusive is that if you stop someone on the street and ask where it is located they might tell you something like “somewhere in an alley”. Washington DC actually has a lot of alleys. However, visitors don’t notice them because almost no businesses have alley entrances.

Going to Well Dressed Burrito can feel like a surreal experience. You walk down a quiet downtown alley to try to find the door to get in. So, once you are inside, it does not look like much of a restaurant either. There is a counter and a few tiny tables. However, almost all of their business is takeout.

Most items on the menu are in the $5-$8 price range. A personal favorite of ours is the “El Gordo”. If you know Spanish you can probably guess this is a huge 1 pound burrito served over rice. The El Gordo is usually good for two meals. However, If you are traveling in a group, you might be able to split it between two people.

How To Get There

If you use Google Maps or Citymapper, it will get you close. Once you are on 19th Street NW, look for the big sign next to the office building. Then, you need to walk down the alley keeping an eye on the building to your right. There will be a rectangular sign above the door with the logo on it. Open the door, walk inside, and enjoy your lunch.

Coming to Washington DC and interested in a post-lunch 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.

BWI Airport to DC: How to Get to DC for under $10 February 18, 2018

BWI Airport is an attractive option for domestic travelers because there are a lot of nonstop flights to destinations all over the country. The downside is that it is technically the airport for Baltimore, so it’s really far from DC. Fortunately, there is an easy and cheap way to get from BWI to DC.

Taking a cab from BWI to DC will cost you almost $100! However, you can take the MARC commuter train to get to Union Station for much less. MARC stands for Maryland Area Regional Commuter and is operated by the state of Maryland.

There are three MARC train routes. The Penn Line, which services BWI, runs seven days a week, with more trains on weekdays and fewer trains on the weekend. If you do plan to use the Penn line, check the schedule before your trip. The BWI train station also doubles as an Amtrak station. So, even if MARC does not work out you can always grab an Amtrak train into DC. Amtrak will be more expensive though.

If you want to try it, here are step by step instructions for riding the MARC from BWI to DC.

1. Ride the MARC/Amtrak shuttle

When your flight arrives, should walk from your gate to baggage claim level. Even if you did not check any bags, you need to catch the shuttle on this level. Follow the signs to the MARC/Amtrak shuttle. Once you are at a designated stop, make sure to wait and get on the shuttle says MARC/Amtrak on the front and not one of the parking lot shuttles. The shuttle is free so once it pulls up use either door and climb aboard. Now sit back, it’s about a five to ten minute ride to the train station.

2. Buy your ticket(s)

Once you arrive at the train station, go inside and walk up to either the staffed ticket window or use an automated machine. If you go up to the ticket window, just make sure to tell them that you want a MARC (not Amtrak) ticket to Washington.

Update: MARC tickets were previously sold from blue Amtrak ticket machines. Now there are dedicated machines for purchasing MARC tickets at most stations. If you have any trouble, ask one of the staff members at the ticket window for help.

3. Ride the train from BWI to DC

At the BWI train station, you have to cross the tracks to get to the southbound side. You can use the stairs or the elevator if you have a lot of luggage. Once you are on the platform, wait for your train and board once it arrives. You can check the screens on the station platforms to see if the train is on time or what time it’s going to be coming. You can also check by going to the website marctracker.com on your smartphone.

Make sure you have your tickets ready when you climb aboard because the conductor will be around shortly to collect them. Once you get to Union Station you can either walk, take a taxi, or use Metro’s red line to connect to your final destination.  

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.

How to Get to the Top of the Old Post Office Tower in DC January 28, 2018

The Old Post Office Tower is one of the best views in DC. The Washington Monument gets all the attention, but the Old Post Office Tower offers amazing views and is much less crowded!

The Old Post Office Tower was closed from 2014 to 2016 while the building was converted into the hotel that it is today. The federal government owns the building and leases it to the hotel. The terms of the lease stipulate that the tower is open to the public, not be part of the hotel, and is operated by the National Park Service. That means that you can go, even if you’re not a guest of the hotel, and it’s completely free!

How to Find the Old Post Office Tower Entrance

Unfortunately the entrance to the Old Post Office Tower is a little hard to find. If you’re standing on Pennsylvania Avenue, in order to get up to the tower you need to walk south on 12th St NW toward the back of the building. When you see the Starbucks, turn left and look for the door that says “Museum and Clock Tower” above it.

Go in through that door and turn immediately to your left. If you have a bag with you, there is a bag check, then you walk down a long hallway. The hallway has a lot of really cool information about the history of the Old Post Office building, so plan to spend a few minutes exploring. At the end of that hallway is the first elevator. 

A park ranger stationed at the elevator will help everyone inside. You will press 9 to go up to the 9th floor. Once you get up there, you will walk around another winding hallway in order to get to second elevator. Finally you will board that elevator and then go up to the observation deck on the 12th floor.

Enjoy the view!

Coming to town and want to sign up for a Washington, 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.

White House Tours: What to Expect when You Visit January 14, 2018

The most important thing to know about White House tours is that the require serious planning. Check out our post about how to request White House tickets from your Member of Congress.

The second most important thing to know is what you’re going to see and what you are not. White House tours are an unguided walk and does not include the West Wing. So, unless you are friends with someone in the current presidential administration, you will not get to see the oval office, situation room, or any of the other spaces in the West Wing.

You got White House tickets, now what?

Once you have your confirmed reservation, make sure to review your all the paperwork you get from the White House very carefully. This paperwork will tell you exactly what to bring and also exactly what is prohibited. On the day of your assigned tour, show up on 15th Street NW at least 15 minutes before your assigned time. Photos are allowed on White House tours. However, you are not allowed to take videos.

White House security – what to expect

Security at the White House is tight. There are multiple security checkpoints before you can enter the building. The first checkpoint is the name check, where you will show your photo ID and Secret Service will check your name off the reservation list. Then, you will stand in line to have your photo taken. After that, you will stand in line for the second security check where they have the airport style metal detector. You should plan to spend 30 minutes to an hour in security lines depending on how early in the day your assigned time is.

A very crucial trip hack is to use the restroom before getting in line. The White House has no public restrooms. If there is a restroom emergency, you have to leave the White House grounds and go through the whole security process all over again. The closest public restroom is in the White House Visitor Center at 15th and Pennsylvania Avenue NW.

What you see during White House tours

Once you clear security, you will enter the East Wing. Once you enter, you will see a corridor of pictures of past presidents. You will also see some photos of first families and first pets.

After that, you will be able to peek into some of the ground floor rooms like the Library, the China Room, the Map room and Vermeil Room. Unfortunately, you are not allowed to enter any of these rooms.

After that, you will go up and you can walk through the rooms on the state floor. First, there is the East Room which is the biggest room in the White House. The East Room is used for ceremonies, receptions, and has hosted several weddings. The Green Room is next – it is a parlor often used to serve cocktails during the reception. Then, there is the Blue Room which is where the president and first lady often receives guests. The Blue Room is where the White House Christmas tree is located. The Red Room is a small parlor and a personal favorite of some former first ladies. Finally, you will then see the State Dining Room which can host up to 130 people. Then, you will exit through the north side of the building.

How long White House tours take

Since White House tours are unguided, you can take as much time as you need to see everything. However, the average person takes 30-45 minutes. There are no tour guides. But, the Secret Service are stationed in all of the rooms and people do ask them questions. They go through special training and do their best to answer everyone’s questions.

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.

Washington DC Restaurant Week Tips December 31, 2017

Washington, DC Restaurant Week happens twice per year – in January and in August. Restaurants are seasonal businesses. Some times of the year are great for business. Other times, it’s a struggle to fill seats. January is the post-holidays dead of winter and August when families in DC take vacation. Washington, DC Restaurant Week is designed to entice people to visit restaurants when they otherwise wouldn’t.

What comes with your meal during Restaurant Week?

Most restaurants opt for a 3-course fixed price dinner menu and 2-course fixed price lunch menu. This might be a good deal, or it might not. The only way to know is to compare what’s on the Restaurant Week menu with what’s on the regular menu. For example, many Restaurant Week dinner menus wind up costing about the same as an appetizer and entree on the regular menu. In other words, when you dine during restaurant week you get a free dessert. If you like free dessert, great! If you’re not a dessert person, it might not be a great deal.

Go for lunch instead of dinner

For many people, the lower priced lunch menu is the better option. Many restaurants push alcoholic beverages heavily during Restaurant Week dinner as these beverages have high profit margins and aren’t included in the fixed price. You probably won’t get the same pitch for alcohol during lunch. Another bonus to lunch is that it’s easier to get a reservation for lunch than dinner.

Restaurant Week quality can vary

This tip comes from a Washingtonian article quoting a chef who is not a big fan of Restaurant Week. He warns that some restaurants use cheap ingredients and low quality cuts of meat during Restaurant Week in order to make a profit. He also warns that they can get away with it because customers who are attracted to Restaurant Week are not the customers that visit the restaurant otherwise. So, they do not even know what they are getting or what they are missing out on. The best you can do is compare the regular menu to the Restaurant Week menu and see if it looks the same or you can spot big differences.

Make your reservation as soon as possible

The most popular restaurants book up quickly. Friday and Saturday nights book up quickly. The popular 7-8pm time slot books up quickly. So, if you wait too long, you will have limited choices and less than ideal dining times. Make your reservation as soon as you can!

Coming to Washington DC, 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.

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