There’s no denying that American University is in a great location. Tucked far enough away from the hub of DC to feel like we’re in a residential area, but still close enough to get the vibes of the big city, AU’s location definitely gives students the best of both worlds.
But the location also has some downsides. Unfortunately, if you don’t have something specific to do, you might not be inclined to travel too far past Tenleytown or the occasional trip to Georgetown.
DC has so many amazing things to offer, and it’d be a shame to miss out on the city just because you weren’t aware of the things going on. To get you started, check out some of the things you can do this weekend in DC.
The National Mall is a great place to start!
DC has a ton of places to sight see, and the first stop is usually the monuments. In close proximity to the monuments and the National Mall are some great museums.
DC has so many museums. Like, so many museums. And it’s cool because there are so many that are free. To start, just take the red line from Tenleytown toward Glenmont, get off at Metro Center, switch over the to blue line going towards Largo Town Center, and get off after two simple stops at Smithsonian. From there, you’re at the National Mall. And that’s a great place to start if you don’t have anything planned.
If you want to do more than just some sightseeing…
If you’re not in the mood to just walk around the National Mall and check out the monuments, it’s a great idea to go see some of those museums I mentioned. DC has a wide variety of museums – it would be impossible to get to all of them at once, or even in just one semester. But that gives you plenty to do during your time at AU!
The National Gallery of Art has some awesome exhibits going on right now. Some awesome ones include Florentine Publishing in the Renaissance (great for you literature majors!), and Focus on the Corcoran: Works on Paper. Thinking about majoring in studio art or art history? This might be a place you want to go this weekend. Check out the full list of current and upcoming exhibits here.
Head over to the National Museum of Women in the Arts for an entire museum dedicated to the art created by women (pretty self-explanatory, right?). And if you’re considering majoring in women’s, gender & sexuality studies, this is going to be an enjoyable weekend trip for you. If you’re thinking about delving into religious studies, you might find it interesting to stop by their exhibit, Picturing Mary: Woman, Mother, Idea. Check out their current exhibits here, and their upcoming exhibits here.
The Smithsonian Gardens always has great exhibits going on. They’re currently hosting their 20th Annual Orchid Exhibition, on Interlocking Science and Beauty at the Natural History Museum. Environmental science, anyone?
The Museum of American History has some fascinating exhibits for any budding US history major, or even anyone that just loves to occasionally flip through the History Channel. A personal favorite from this museum is American on the Move, which is an ongoing exhibit showing the evolution of transportation in American culture. You can even walk onto an old bus and take a seat!
Not going to Founder’s Day this year? That certainly doesn’t mean you can’t take a trip to the Air and Space Museum. The museum is great for anyone considering a major in physics, taking Astronomy to complete their FA5, or just down to check out some cool images of space and our immense universe. Check out their upcoming events here.
If you’re just sick of TDR…
Let’s face it, we all get sick of TDR sometimes. And even though TDR serves brunch, DC is practically known for its brunch, and it would be a shame to miss out on the brunch opportunities that this city has to offer. While it’s practically impossible to go to every brunch spot on a college budget, some favorites are Open City at the National Cathedral if you want good food and a good view, Pizzeria Orso if you want brunch and your friends want just plain ol’ lunch, and Farmers, Fishers, Bakers if you love a good price on a huge meal.
For a way more extensive (and more educated) list on places to brunch in DC, check out this article from Brightest Young Things.
If you want to get off campus to find a better study spot…
As great as Bender Library is, it’s always nice to find an awesome study spot away from campus. The Library of Congress is a local favorite, but it’s certainly not the only place to get some reading done! Soho Tea & Coffee is right on P Street – a quick walk from the heart of Dupont Circle. Soho is open late and has wifi. What could get better than that?
If you need a new book but don’t want to break the bank…
Need a new book to read, aside from all those assigned for class?
The second-hand bookstores that DC has to offer never cease to amaze me. A personal favorite will always be Capitol Hill Books in Eastern Market, an endearingly scattered bookstore with a creaky staircase, a room for every literary theme, and books in the bathroom.
If you prefer to watch…
Finally, check out E-street Cinema if you haven’t already. Not only is the atmosphere reminiscent of old time Hollywood, but E-Street often shows Oscar Nominated films and other important films, like the old favorites. This weekend their featured midnight movies are Rocky Horror Picture Show and Casablanca. Both films would make for a fun night out on the town!
Hate riding the metro? Check out this picture of Meryl Streep riding the subway proving you can be glamorous anywhere!