Museums are interesting for you, if it’s winter. When the sun’s shining you’d rather be active outside.
Avoid the horde of tourists while getting a unique perspective of the city. Start Saturday morning with a kayak ride on the Potomac River. Grab sunscreen, pack food and drinks and head to Thompson Boat Center in Georgetown to rent a kayak for the morning. Get there early so you don’t wind up at the end of a long wait list of kayak-seekers. Once on the water, you can idle by the shore and enjoy the scenery or get a workout in by going against the flow of the river. You are on vacation, so take pictures along the way, but be sure to place your camera in a sealed waterproof bag in case your kayak capsizes. You can dock downstream and picnic along the riverbank, too.
After a morning of fighting currents, kick back at Nationals Park with a beer and peanuts and watch the Pirates take on the Nationals in a doubleheader, starting at 3:35 p.m. Go here to get $2 tickets – good for both games – while supplies last. If you get too antsy to stay for the second game, jump on the Metro and, staying on the green line, get off at Chinatown. If peanuts and hot dogs filled you up, the air-conditioned multi-level Iron Horse Taproom has drinks and games waiting for you. (If you’re hungry when you get to Chinatown, Iron Horse allows patrons to bring in outside food since they don’t serve any.) There, you can play skeeball, shuffleboard or watch the rest of the baseball doubleheader. Once you work up an appetite, just around the corner is Luke’s Lobster, where you can order a meaty lobster roll in the only Luke’s location outside of Manhattan.
On Sunday, stop at a local grocery store (e.g.: Safeway, Harris Teeter, Whole Foods) and fill a backpack or two with picnic supplies. Then make your way back to Thompson Boat Center, which also rents out bikes. For a great waterfront view, bike to Hains Point in East Potomac Park. If you’re more interested in a green trail that takes you away from the lights of the city, pedal just around the corner to the start of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal (C&O Canal), which runs for 184.5 miles to Cumberland, Md. You can turn around at any point and go back into the city for a self-guided tour of the monuments.
If you’d prefer a group bike tour, head to Bike and Roll, right next to The Old Post Office Pavilion. This company provides a variety of bike tours around the downtown area. One thing to remember if you decide to bike on your own around the downtown area: DC Bike Laws state that cycling is “prohibited on sidewalks within the Central Business District [links to downloadable PDF map].” So bike on the street and follow the laws of the road that cars must abide by, which includes going the same direction as traffic and stopping behind the crosswalk at all red lights.
For more to do in DC, check out these other suggestions:
The Foodie Bar-Goer
You’re not interested in mere food and drinks; you seek a culinary and mixology experience on every trip.
The Touristy Tourist
With Lonely Planet in your bag and a 24- or 48-hour tour bus ticket, you’re determined to see all and do all in DC.
The Cultured Artist
The crowd you associate with and the vibe you’re used to won’t be found among thousands of sweaty tourists on the National Mall.