Staycations: Summer in the City


Just open your eyes, strap on that fanny pack, charge up the phone and go full-on tourist in your hometown.

And just like that, Covid really did disappear. Or, at least, loosened its grip as more and more of us got the shot. If the great re-opening came too late for you to schedule that long-desired trip, here are nine in-town travel ideas for making this a summer to remember.

1. Hit the Books. Forget Mapquest and buy (or borrow) real hold-in-your-hand travel guides with suggested walking tours, historical facts, not-to-be missed sites and surprising info you never knew about this town. Three great guidebooks are: “DK Eyewitness Travel Guide, Washington, DC,” “Frommer’s EasyGuide to Washington D.C.” and “National Geographic: Walking Washington, D.C.”

2. Parks and Recreation. It’s not for nothing we’re known as the City of Trees. We could also be known as the City of Parks. From the National Arboretum to Rock Creek, there are hills to climb, trails to forge and acres of grass for games, picnics and napping en plein air. Closer to our neighborhood, there’s the Bishop’s Garden at the National Cathedral, Glover Archbold, Hillwood Estates, Tregoran Conservancy, Book Hill and Dumbarton Oaks. Do your best friend a favor, too, and take along your pandemic pup.

The Bishop’s Garden at Washington National Cathedral. Photo by Susan Bodiker.

3. Everyone Into the Water. Pools and waterparks are back and as enticing as ever. Here in Georgetown, there’s the Jelleff Pool at S Street NW, Francis Pool on N Street NW and Volta Park Pool on Volta Place NW. It’s first-come, first-served and some Covid-safe practices may be in effect, so check before you go.

4. Talk to the Animals. Had enough of reality-TV vets? Spend the day at the National Zoo and re-connect with old friends and meet new arrivals. Or take an all-day field trip to the Baltimore Aquarium and hang out with sharks (the fish kind) and other sea creatures.

5. Come Fly with Me. Take a trip without TSA tsuris or bad-tempered passengers. A visit to Udvar-Hazy is sure to lift your spirits. Free-timed entry passes are required.

Tracking and Data Relay Satellite at the National Air and Space Museum-Udvar-Hazy Center in Dulles.

6. Applause. The Kennedy Center is back on the boards with a rich schedule of performances and outdoor activities, all presented on the new(ish) REACH campus. Movie theatres are also re-opening — mostly without popcorn but with Covidsafe precautions in place. For those whose sensibilities are more refined, the Jane Austen Film Festival will be featuring a film per week on Wednesdays in July at Dumbarton House.

7. Art for Art’s Sake. Indulge in the true tourist vibe by spending the day (or days) visiting our museums and galleries. The Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden is open  (although the galleries are closed). Ditto the newly rebranded National Gallery’s Sculpture Garden and West Building. The Phillips Collection has also opened as has the National Museum of Natural History and the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Visit their websites for timed-entry and other ticketing information and stay in touch with The Georgetowner to keep up with more latebreaking cultural news.

8. Wine, Dine and Shop. Trade in takeout for in-person dining and discover new restos, streateries and cuisines along the way. And get out of your retail rut by exploring new shops and cultural offerings: por ejemplo, La Consecha at Union Market.

9. Villa Vacay. We get it. No matter what you do or where you go, you have a bad case of cabin fever. Consider a local villa, like these Airbnb offerings: Walden Hall Main Manor in Reva, Virginia; a luxe Potomac estate in Rockville, Maryland or Monte Ventoso, a Tuscan villa in Madison, Virginia. The perfect antidote to the past year of increasingly cramped pandemic living.

Walden Hall

Take advantage of these days. Fall and the newer normal will be here before we know it.

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