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Exploring the ‘Off the Beaten Path’ DC: A Guide to the Best Hidden Gems

DC is a city of many secrets, and if you know where to look, you can find some of the best hidden gems in the area. From secret gardens to underground speakeasies, this guide will help you explore the hidden side of the city.

1. Discover the Beauty of Rock Creek Park

Rock Creek Park is one of the most beautiful places in the DC area. With its lush green forest, winding trails, and picturesque waterfalls, it’s easy to see why it’s a favorite destination for locals and tourists alike. You can enjoy a leisurely stroll along the trails, or you can explore the area on foot and discover some of the hidden spots in the park. Be sure to stop by the Nature Center to learn more about the park’s history and the wildlife that live there.

2. Take a Tour of the National Arboretum

The National Arboretum is a hidden gem in the DC area. It’s a 446-acre park that’s filled with trees, flowers, and shrubs from all over the world. You can explore the grounds on a guided tour to learn more about the plants and their origins, or you can take a self-guided tour and explore the park at your own pace. There are also a variety of events and programs held at the Arboretum throughout the year, so be sure to check out the schedule before you go.

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3. Visit the Franciscan Monastery Garden

The Franciscan Monastery Garden is a hidden oasis in the middle of the city. The gardens feature a wide variety of plants, trees, and flowers, and the grounds are open to the public. You can take a self-guided tour of the garden to explore its beauty and learn more about the history of the monastery. Be sure to check out the Herb Garden and the Rose Garden while you’re there.

4. Explore the Underground Speakeasies

DC is home to some of the best underground speakeasies in the country. These speakeasies are tucked away in the city’s hidden alleys and basements and offer a unique experience for visitors. Whether you’re looking for a craft cocktail or a more upscale experience, there’s a speakeasy for you. Be sure to check out the Franklin Hall and The Columbia Room for some of the best drinks in town.

5. Tour the US Capitol Building

The US Capitol Building is one of DC’s most iconic landmarks, and it’s well worth a visit. You can take a self-guided tour of the building and explore its history and architecture, or you can take a guided tour to learn more about the history of the Capitol. Be sure to check out the Rotunda and the National Statuary Hall while you’re there.

6. Visit the Torpedo Factory Art Center

The Torpedo Factory Art Center is a hidden gem in the city. It’s a former munitions factory that has been transformed into an art center. You can explore the galleries and view the works of local artists, or you can take part in one of the many workshops and classes offered at the center.

7. Visit the National Zoo

The National Zoo is a great place to visit if you’re looking for a fun and educational experience. The zoo is home to a variety of animals from all over the world, and there are a variety of exhibits and programs for visitors to explore. Be sure to check out the Giant Panda exhibit and the Reptile Discovery Center while you’re there.

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8. Explore the Dupont Circle Neighborhood

Dupont Circle is one of DC’s most vibrant and diverse neighborhoods. You can explore the area’s unique shops and restaurants, or you can visit one of the many galleries and museums in the area. Be sure to check out the Dupont Underground, a former trolley station that has been transformed into an art space.

9. Relax at the Dumbarton Oaks Park

Dumbarton Oaks Park is a hidden oasis in the heart of the city. The park is home to a variety of trees, flowers, and shrubs, and it’s a great place to relax and take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city. Be sure to check out the gardens and the hiking trails while you’re there.

10. Take a Trip to the U.S. National Arboretum

The U.S. National Arboretum is a great place to explore the natural beauty of the DC area. You can take a leisurely stroll along the trails, or you can explore the gardens and learn more about the plants and their origins. Be sure to check out the Bonsai Museum and the National Herb Garden while you’re there.

11. Visit the National Mall

The National Mall is one of DC’s most iconic attractions. You can explore the area’s monuments and memorials, or you can take a self-guided tour to learn more about the history of the Mall. Be sure to check out the Lincoln Memorial and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial while you’re there.

12. Take a Trip to the Smithsonian Museums

The Smithsonian Museums offer a wealth of knowledge and culture. You can explore the galleries and view the works of art and history, or you can take part in one of the many programs and events offered at the museums. Be sure to check out the Air and Space Museum and the National Museum of Natural History while you’re there.

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Summary

Exploring the hidden gems of DC is a great way to experience the city in a way that most people miss. From secret gardens and speakeasies to the US Capitol Building and the Smithsonian Museums, this guide will help you explore the off the beaten path side of DC. So what are you waiting for? Start exploring the hidden side of DC today!