Back to Articles

aboutThings to do in Washington DC

Quick Facts About The Quirky Side of Washington D.C.  

by Brian Gate

May 15, 2018 - Being the Capital of the United States, D.C. has more monuments, museums, and memorials than any other state in the country. These are the things that made Washington D.C. world-famous. Renting a charter bus, however, is merely one of the many ways to visit all the awesome sites around town. You can hop on the Metro if time is not an issue, hop on a bike, double-decker bus, paddle your way around the gorgeous Potomac River, or even go on foot.

What you’ll notice is that there are quirky corners around town that never found their way into those tourist-friendly brochures. We’re talking about the simple things you might not notice if a local did not point them out. The sheer number of languages being spoken on the streets of D.C., the blinding number of restaurants to choose from, the funky marketplaces, the cafes for people-watching, the green spaces for a relaxing day-out and local breweries that lend an exciting layer of flavor to the trip. So, instead of poking around touristy hotspots, here are five fun facts about D.C. you might not have read about. 

bald eagle, icon of true American patriorism

1. A Walk Down Memory Lane

Aside from the monuments, statues, museums, and galleries, there’s The White House. This heritage site has been home to every single sitting U.S. President since the inauguration of John Adams in 1800. George Washington, however, never did live in the monumental home because it was completed only a year after he passed on. George and Martha Washington never had children of their own although the first POTUS was known to be extremely fond of kids. Not only was George Washington not buried at the U.S. Capitol (he stated that he had a desire to be buried in Mount Vernon, Virginia), he also did not work in The White House. There is, therefore, an empty crypt underneath the Capitol Building which was where Washington was supposed to be buried.

It is harder to tour The White House because it continues to be an important legislative workplace; it’s far easier and just as interesting to take a tour around the beautiful riverside manor estate of Mount Vernon. The tour will give you a very clear insight into the mind of one of the greatest man known to American politics and governance. Take a languid walk around the garden while marveling at the agricultural innovation that was beyond its time, learn about the iconic mansion, outbuildings, tomb, farm and its working blacksmith shop. The tour can easily take up to the whole day if the attraction isn’t packed. It’s a wonderful way to open your mind up to the world of Washington through exhibits which include 700 artifacts, documents, pictures and immerse exhibits.

Abraham Lincoln, in the meantime, although technically stayed at The White House, took refuge at the current-day Lincoln’s Cottage to take a break from work. Lincoln’s cottage has a Visitors Center that is open from 9.30am - 4.30pm and Sunday from 10.30am - 4.30pm and it’s always memorable and fun to explore the grounds without being rushed through. It's akin to stepping back in time.

The White House is a property owned by the National Park Service and is a part of the President’s Park; it was ranked the 2nd favorite America’s Architecture as listed by the American Institute of Architects. Hence, touring the White House requires some advanced planning. Your group needs to submit a request to a member of Congress and it needs to be done at least 3 months in advance. If you’re an International traveler, get in touch with your home country’s embassy in Washington D.C. to get permission to tour the iconic home.

2. The Quirkiness of the Second Busiest Subway System in the United States

The DC Metro is the second busiest subway system in the United States, trailing only a little behind New York City which reportedly has over 9 million passengers on an average weekday! Its extensive network, built to accommodate both tourists and locals alike, includes underground tracks and overhead bridges. It also stretches its arms far into the quarters of some suburban corners of Virginia and Maryland. It’s easy to get to know the system as it is all coded by colors - red, blue, orange, yellow, green and silver. They’re all connected to each other through transfer stations in the most popular locations throughout its network; it has stops at sites like the Smithsonian, Woodley Park-Zoo, Adams Morgan, Gallery Place and Chinatown, just to name a few. Even if you’re unfamiliar with Washington D.C., it isn’t too hard navigating your way around, PLUS, it’s affordable and convenient. If you’re lost, there’s free WiFi in 30 stations throughout where you can find your bearings again with Google Maps.

Unsurprisingly, as with all popular subway systems, with millions getting in and out of the cars every single day, people tend to leave belongings behind. Every month, the Metro, as it is fondly known as, finds 1,000 to 1.200 lost items. In 2014, reports indicate that they found approximately 350 sets of lost keys, cellphones and sunglasses monthly. But that doesn’t beat the strangest things found on the D.C. subway - a 3-feet long alligator head and a prosthetic limb

The Lost-and-Found section of the Metro has become a repository and warehouse for the quirkiest of things which includes insect specimen that was supposed to be delivered to the Smithsonian. And that was why, when a guy dropped a $50 note in the D.C. subway, he wrote in ‘Reward. Lost $50. If found, just keep it’. The joke is still alive on the internet today!

“...my work’s really about pleasure. It’s not always pleasurable to make. Sometimes it’s excruciating. Sometimes I come into the studio, and it’s horrible to be here, and I have to leave after an hour. But sometimes it’s really a pleasure. And the work, in the end, is at least in part about pleasure.” Jessica Stockholder creates installations that dig into the relationships between things. Everyday objects, physical space, color, and textures are especially important to her work. This is the last weekend to catch works like Stockholder’s “Between the Lines” in the exhibition “Outliers and American Vanguard Art.” Stopping by the exhibition today? Tag your photos with #AmericanOutliers. #myngadc #jessicastockholder #installationart

A post shared by National Gallery of Art (@ngadc) on

3. The Freedom

If you don’t stop and look, the sight of the bronze statue sitting atop the State Capitol might go unnoticed. As small as it looks from ground-up, it actually measures 19-feet tall and weighs around 15,000 pounds. 'The Freedom Triumph of War and Peace', these days, goes by simpler nicknames - The Statue of Freedom, Armed Freedom or, simply, Freedom. It depicts a woman wearing an eagle-shaped headdress, complete with feathers, holding a sheathed sword, a laurel wreath, and a shield. The plaster model of the statue, designed by Thomas Crawford, took approximately 2 years to reach Washington D.C. from Italy where it was made. This was after the demise of Crawford.

Shipped in six crates in small sailing vessels, it made its virgin voyage from Italy to Gibraltar, Bermuda, New York City and then finally Washington D.C. Behind the story of the statue’s creation was that some of the people who worked the hardest and most earnestly on the statue were, themselves, not free.

  • National Postal Museum
    2 Massachusetts Ave NE, Washington, DC 20002
    (202) 633-5555
  • National Gallery of Art East Building
    6th & Constitution Ave NW, Washington, DC 20565
    (202) 737-4215 / (202) 842-6905
    www.nga.gov
  • Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens
    4155 Linnean Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008
    (202) 686-5807
    www.hillwoodmuseum.org
  • Korean War Veterans Memorial
    900 Ohio Drive SW , Washington , DC 20024
    (202) 426-6841
    www.nps.gov/kowa/index.htm
  • Gallery Place
    717 5th St NW, Washington, DC 20001
    (202) 778-3150
    www.galleryplace.com
  • United States National Arboretum
    3501 New York Ave NE, Washington, DC 20002
    (202) 245-2726
    www.usna.usda.gov

Our founder, Marjorie Merriweather Post, was born #OnThisDay in 1887. #MarjorieMerriweatherPost #HouseMuseum #Hillwood #HillwoodMuseum #HillwoodHorticulture #MyDCcool #IGDC #DC

A post shared by Hillwood Museum (@hillwoodmuseum) on

4. Wining and Dining

As much as the people of D.C. love their history, culture, and traditions, they accord their wines as much love. In part, it’s a very ‘International’ city with 15% of its residents speaking any language other than English; and in part, people just love enjoying themselves after a hard day’s work.

Boasting of about 170 embassies within close proximity with each other within the Washington D.C. district itself, they’ve probably mastered the art of figuring out (or signing right up for) a different language without knowing the language fully. In fact, the White House was not even designed by an American; it was a Scot.

Washington D.C. gets more rain than Seattle and this is a great contributor to its grape-growing and wine industry. Its wet weather conditions could also directly result in the abundance of wine too. The residents of Washington D.C. drink more wine per capita than any other states in the country and its tendrils of poshness give the city’s nightlife its sparkle, glamor, and glitter.

The people could have also taken a page off of President Woodrow Wilson’s book when he passed a special law to allow ‘one man’ to remove all the wine supply from the White House to his new home after his term as the President of the United States ended during the Prohibition. This tiny sidestep was not left unnoticed by the good people of Washington D.C.

  • District Winery, Ana at District Winery
    85 Water St SE, Washington, DC 20003
    (202) 484-9210
    www.districtwinery.com
  • Flight Wine Bar
    777 6th St NW, Washington, DC 20001
    (202) 864-6445
    www.flightdc.com
  • Vinoteca
    1940 11th St NW, Washington, DC 20001
    (202) 332-9463
  • ENO Wine Bar
    2810 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20007
    (202) 295-2826
  • Cork Wine Bar & Market
    1805 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009
    (202) 265-2675
    www.corkdc.com
  • Barcelona Wine Bar 14th Street
    1622 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009
    (202) 588-5500
    www.barcelonawinebar.com
  • Jug & Table
    1st Fl,, 2446 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20009
    (202) 232-7663
    www.jugandtable.com

Stuck in the house all day and ready for dinner? We open at 5pm! Come try out the new Spring menu from @chefgeorgerodrigues . . . #food #foodies #foodporn #salmon #chinatownDC #pennquarterdc #dinner #eeeeeats

A post shared by Proof (@proof_dc) on

5. The International Foodie Haven

With people pouring in from all over the world, from all walks of life, it is not hard to see how everyone’s transformed D.C. into an International foodie haven. Yes, we have the disarmingly beautiful cherry blossom trees along the Tidal Basin to take pictures of when it blooms but once pictures of all the monuments and museums are done with, you’ll be on an epic epicurean adventure.

If you’re a culinary expert, consider exploring your fresh food options at The Maine Avenue Fish Market, which has been around since 1805 (the oldest fish market in the country), but if you’re more ready to be served, the sheer number of restaurants to check out can be overwhelming. It’s a contention that it would take weeks just to try out all the restaurants along 14th Street alone!

When you’re in D.C and hunting for a bite, we strongly recommend opening up your mind to new adventures. Let your taste buds free and try something different.

Like Ethiopian cuisine which has garnered a strong following amongst the locals here in D.C. The restaurants’ menus are filled with out-of-this-world (and sometimes, unheard-of) stews to be taken with to-die-for sponge-like injera bread. If you go to the right restaurant, they let you create your own pizza from ingredients like caramelized onions, cheeses, roasted peppers, figs, chicken, pepperoni and any toppings. The concept is genius to pizza lovers. If you head over to Union Market, you’ll find everything from bread pudding oozing with gooey cheese, to Korean tacos and scrumptious chorizos.

With the merging of many cultures, cuisine, and traditions, you’ll have a mix of 'modified' restaurant concepts and it is an exciting place to be for a food lover.

For example, Amsterdam Falafelship which offers delicious falafel and sandwiches packed with natural ingredients slapped on with garlic mayo or other homemade sauces, and if you have a sweet tooth, popping by Baked and Wired is a must. Cakecups, as they will tell you, are not cupcakes. They're individually-wrapped cakes served with a sinful dose of toppings and dripping with frosting. The standard fare of coffee is a given, people find themselves unsuspectingly attracted to the food coming out of restaurants like Blue Duck Tavern kitchen which also serves the city's best cappuccino, bubbly mimosa, hot tea, unique cocktails, wine and craft beers.

Only one thing on our minds this #fridayeve 🥂🍷🍾🍇 photo cred @thelifeofshaiboo

A post shared by District Winery (@districtwinery) on

You’re a Few Short Clicks Away from your Free Washington D.C. Bus Charter Quote!

We are a family-run ground transportation business that is always willing to listen to feedback from our customers. We are here to get you the answers you need, and right here to help you find solutions, from the start to the end. We are honored, always, to be a part of our customers’ visits to Washington D.C. and work tirelessly around the clock to ensure that the time spent here means so much more to them long after their trip is over. And we hope to do the same for you too!

To get a bus rental quote on bus rentals in Washington D.C. or find out more about what’s available, all you need to do is to give us a call at 1-800-304-1993 or contact us via this easy online form. We hope to work together with you on your trip to D.C. soon!

xx

xxx