7 U.S. Pub Crawls You Will Never Forget (No Matter How Much You Drink!)

By Jeremy Crider, trivago
May 7, 2014
Historic Boston Pub Crawl
Courtesy Freedom Trail Foundation

The following article was originally written by Jeremy Crider on behalf of trivago.

Whether you're looking for a way to celebrate National Poetry Month (marked every April in the U.S.) or simply searching for a fun alternative to the typical sight-seeing tour during your next vacation, hotel search site www.trivago.com has your 2014 pub crawl calendar covered. From more than 20,000 zombies sloshing in the streets of Minneapolis to a peddling party through the streets of Portland, to a day of drinking and reciting poetry during a walking tour of Manhattan, these seven unique pub crawls in cities across the U.S. are sure to quench your hankering for hops.

Zombie Pub Crawl—Minneapolis, Minnesota
Who: Zombies. Well, people dressed as zombies—thousands of them, in fact.
What: Zombie Pub Crawl
Where: Downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota
When: Saturday, October 11, 2014
Why?: Why do you need a reason to dress like the undead and literally crawl around Downtown Minneapolis once a year? What began with just 150 zombie enthusiasts in 2005 has ballooned into one of the world's largest annual gathering of zombie lovers. The Zombie Pub Crawl—once crowned the "World's Largest Gathering of Zombies" by the folks at Guinness World Records—is expecting some 25,000 people in 2014. If you're hoping to make an all-day event of the occasion, you can also participate in the ZPC's 6.66K run and watch in horror as some of the world's best eaters tackle the World Brain-Eating Championships. In 2013, Joey Chestnut, the world's #1 ranked competitive eater, demolished the competition by eating 54 "brain tacos" created by Andrew Zimmerman, host of the Travel Channel series, "Bizarre Foods." Need a hotel in Minneapolis? Click here for options.

Freedom Trail Historic Pub Crawl—Boston, Massachusetts
Who: History buffs or tourists looking for an excuse to drink while learning.
What: Freedom Trail Historic Pub Crawl
Where: BOSTIX Booth at Faneuil Hall in Boston, Massachusetts
When: Every Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.
Why?: Boston is steeped in hundreds of years of history, and there may be no better way to walk the same streets as native Ben Franklin (and Ben Affleck for that matter) than while buzzing on Sam Adams. The weekly pub crawl, which is led by an 18th century costumed guide, takes guests on a stroll through the past while visiting four of the city's most famous drinking holes—Union Oyster House, the Point, the Green Dragon, and Bell in Hand. The 90-minute crawl includes light snacks and costs $43 per person. Don't forget to make a reservation—this history-packed pub crawl fills up fast! Need a hotel in Boston? Click here for options.

Music City Pub Crawl—Nashville, Tennessee
Who: Music lovers, cowboys, cowgirls and brides-to-be.
What: Music City Pub Crawl
Where: Downtown Nashville
When: Tours available daily. Reservations required.
Why?: Nashville is home to the music industry and Tennessee is home to Jack Daniel's Whiskey, so a pub crawl through the heart of Music Row is almost a rite of passage when in town. Popular with tourists and local brides-to-be, the Music City Pub Crawl has become a sought after alcohol-filled attraction. The two-and-a-half-hour guided walking tour stops at three watering holes in downtown Nashville. Each stop on the tour takes a lighthearted look at Music City's past and drink specials are available to wet the whistle at every stop. Groups of 6-15 people can reserve a guide for the night as they take in the sights and sounds of Nashville with a stiff drink in hand. Need a hotel in Nashville? Click here for options.

Pirate Pub Crawl—Anchorage, Alaska
Who: Lads, Lasses and all sorts of Scallywags who want to support a great cause.  
What: Pirate Pub Crawl
Where: Downtown Anchorage
When: September 2014 (Date, TBA)
Why?: Aye, this here annual party isn't just an opportunity for the people of Anchorage to celebrate their inner pirate; it's also a fundraiser to support the Blood Bank of Alaska. Since 2010, hundreds of mateys have shined up their swords and put on their best sailing garb for a night of drinking and treasure hunting at pubs in the heart of Downtown Anchorage. From 7:00 p.m. into the wee hours of the night, the "land lubbing" pirates crawl from one drinking destination to the next collecting stamps on their official Pirate Pub Treasure Crawl Map. At the end of the night, the philanthropic pirates with the most stamps are entered to win some serious loot—80,000 airline miles! Who needs the Jolly Roger when you can fly first class? Need a hotel in Anchorage? Click here for options.

The Greenwich Village Literary Pub Crawl—New York City
Who: Book lovers looking for an atypical tour of one of Manhattan's most famous neighborhoods. 
What: The Greenwich Village Literary Pub Crawl
Where: Begins at White Horse Tavern
When: Saturdays at 2:00 p.m.
Why?: If you're looking for an alternative to the double-decker bus tours NYC is famous for, The Greenwich Village Literary Pub Crawl may just be your cup of tea. Famous for its contributions to America's bohemian culture, Greenwich Village has been home to some of the world's literary greats. During the two-and-a-half-hour walking tour of the neighborhood, crawlers will visit bars that were beloved hangouts for many writers and stroll through the historic district of The Village, all while reciting  some of the poems and prose that were written there. Speaking of poetry, lovers of verse can celebrate National Poetry Month by joining a tour dedicated to the many poets who have helped make the Village the most literary neighborhood in the nation. According to owner and tour guide, Eric Chase, attendees will toast to "poets who literally, or should we say "literarily" changed the world in a tiny corner of Manhattan." Need a hotel in New York City? Click here for options.

BrewCycle Portland—Portland, Oregon
Who: People looking to burn off calories while simultaneously consuming them.
What: BrewCycle Portland
Where: All rides start at 1425 NW Flanders St. in Downtown Portland
When: Tours offered daily. Reservations required.
Why?: What's not to love about BrewCycle Portland? You can avoid getting a beer gut and take a tour of Portland, all while enjoying some of the city's best craft beer. This two-hour tour includes stops at three of Portland's most popular local breweries aboard a giant, people-powered bicycle-bar. According to owner, Andrea Lins, "One thing people are usually surprised about when it comes to our brewpub crawl is that it's actual work! While that varies depending on who you are pedaling with, the northwest hills are slight, but challenging. People should come ready to pedal!" If you're up for an athletic endeavor, guided tour and night out on the town, BrewCycle Portland is a great option for seeing this popular Pacific Northwest city. Need a hotel in Porland? Click here for options.

The Christmas Crawl: The Official Tacky Christmas Sweater Bar Crawl—Washington D.C.
Who: Owners of tacky holiday clothing searching for fun and acceptance.
What: The Christmas Crawl: The Official Tacky Christmas Sweater Bar Crawl
Where: DuPont Circle—Northwest Washington D.C.
When: December 6, 2014
Why?: Celebrate the holiday season by sporting a tacky sweater and drinking with thousands of strangers in our nation's capital. Since 2011, The Christmas Crawl has taken over DuPont Circle, a neighborhood in Northwest Washington D.C. In 2013, 11 participating bars offered up more than 40 drink and food specials for thousands of partygoers wearing their finest (and funniest) tacky Christmas outfits. According to organizers, even more party perks are being offered this year and crowds are expected to be even larger. Finally, the perfect opportunity to put your grandmother's handmade Christmas gift to good use! Need a hotel in Washington D.C.? Click here for options.

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5 Ways to Experience Oahu From Above

This article was written by Kyle Ellison on behalf of Viator.com. In a word, the island of Oahu is gorgeous. Yes, there are freeways, high-rises, and sprawls of development which climb like ivy up the terraces of the Ko’olaus, but there is also the ever-present fusion of nature where sky, sea, shoreline, and summit all form a tableau of tropical perfection. While you can experience this beauty in many forms on all different corners of the island (a sunrise from the shoreline of Kailua comes to mind), one of the best places to bear witness to the island’s beauty is with a bird’s eye view from above. More so than on any other Hawaiian island, Oahu has opportunities to soar high above the peaks for an aerial view of the island. So whether it’s whirring above the battleships of Pearl Harbor, silently gliding over the beaches of the North Shore, or plummeting through the air at cheek-flapping speeds, here are some of the best ways to experience Oahu from above. ParasailingWhen it comes to parasailing, many people erroneously equate the activity with being scary, terrifying, and extreme. On the contrary, instead of looking at the height of the parachute and immediately thinking “scary”, you should instead be looking at your private perch and instead be thinking “silent.” Think about it—when was the last time you were 500 feet away from even the slightest sound? As your toes are tickled by the moving breeze and the royal blue waters of Maunalua Bay stand in contrast to the green of the mountains, parasailing on Oahu becomes one of the most serene ways to get an aerial view of the shoreline. SkydivingIf you’d rather crank the adventure dial all the way to the realm of the extreme, Oahu is the most popular place in Hawaii to throw yourself out of an airplane. Much of the skydiving takes place on the North Shore above reefs which thunder with surf, and you can also get views of Mt. Ka’ala as it rises gently from seashore to summit. From the brisk altitude of 14,000 feet where you’ll exit the door, you can occasionally see Honolulu, where the pace of the city moves as quickly as the thump of your adrenaline-fueled heart. GlidingIf flapping cheeks and ultimate free fall seem just a bit too intense, a more mellow way to experience the beauty of the North Shore is with a calming glider ride above Dillingham airfield. From an elevation of about 3,000 feet, slowly glide back down to the airfield without the use of a motor or propellers. These rides can be as “mild or wild” as you want them to be, and while many people opt to simply take in the sights from high above the North Shore, there are also the options to do acrobatic loops or even pilot the glider yourself. Soaring above the shoreline of Waimea Bay and gazing towards the wilds of Ka’ena, this is a panoramic journey of Oahu’s beauty that is as silently stimulating as it is scenic and serene. SeaplaneUnlike Alaska, Canada, or even the Caribbean, one type of plane you rarely see in Hawaii is an old-fashioned seaplane. With these “flying boats”, you have the chance to explore the perimeter of the island after a take-off from Ke’ehi Lagoon. On a one-hour Oahu seaplane tour, you can circle the island from the crater of Diamond Head to the island of Chinaman’s Hat. Soar above the peaks of the jagged Ko’olau mountains, and gaze down on fields which are pregnant with pineapples as they tan in the sunshine below. On your return to the waters of Ke’ehi Lagoon (which is conveniently located next to the airport), you can also fly over the waters Pearl Harbor where it’s still possible to see the outlines of ships as they rest in their watery graves. HelicopterOf course, when it comes to viewing the island from the air, few things will ever be able to rival the sights on a helicopter tour on Oahu. These whirring choppers can hover in valleys where fixed-wing aircraft can’t venture, and it’s the hands-down best way to get views of waterfalls which are otherwise completely inaccessible. From the comfortable confines of the helicopter cockpits with their expansive, wrap-around windshields, this is truly an experience where you can spend an hour not knowing which way to look. After all, when you have morning clouds tickling the peaks of the mountains off the left side of the chopper, and ribbons of surf which are breaking on the reefs so clearly it seems you could touch them, a helicopter tour is a visual feast of color, topography, and adventure. One final tipGranted, there are a number of factors that determine if your session above Oahu is going to be a success. One, of course, is weather, and it’s vitally important to schedule your adventure for the early morning hours. This is when the skies are clearest and offer the best chance for views, and it’s also the time when the winds are light and you can expect the least amount of turbulence. Also, while winters in Hawaii are far warmer than the rest of the mainland U.S., there can still be precipitous winter storms which can roll through during the winter. The thick clouds which linger over the island can greatly reduce the visibility, although the plus side is that the mountains can turn into dripping walls of water. In order to ensure the best conditions for your aerial foray above Oahu, be sure to keep an eye on the near-term weather forecast for and idea of the upcoming conditions. This way, in the event you have to reschedule, you can still do so within the terms of the contract of the tour or activity you book. On most days, however, the skies above Oahu are brilliantly blue and open for aerial adventure, and the myriad jewels of the island of Oahu like a canvas beneath your feet.

Budget Travel Lists

7 Things to Do in Vernazza (Besides Hiking)

This article was written by Jessica Spiegel on behalf of Viator.com. Most of the people who have been flocking to the pretty town of Vernazza in the Cinque Terre for decades do so because of the famous hike that connects Vernazza with other towns along the coast. Hiking remains the top thing to do in the Cinque Terre, but it’s by no means the only thing to do. Here are 7 other things worth checking out. The BeachBy many accounts, Vernazza has the prettiest harbor of all the Cinque Terre towns—and although none of the beaches in the Cinque Terre are particularly noteworthy, Vernazza’s harborfront beach can be a lovely place to spend a sunny day. The beach in Vernazza has the benefit of being entirely public, so there aren’t any umbrellas or beach chairs set up that you’d have to rent. You just need to find an available spot on the beach, put down a towel, and enjoy the sun and sea. Doria Castle TowerOne of the features that makes Vernazza so picturesque from the trails on either side of it is the Doria Castle Tower that sits on the promontory overlooking the harbor. Built in the 11th century to help protect Vernazza from pirates, it now serves as a gorgeous lookout point. Boat ToursIn addition to hiking or taking the train between the villages of the Cinque Terre, there is also boat service connecting the towns during good weather. You don’t have to think of it as transportation, however. Hop on a boat in Vernazza and ride back and forth along the coast for lovely views of the villages and cliffs from the water, a vantage point many visitors never get. Wine TastingUp and down the cliffs in the Cinque Terre you’ll see vineyards, so why not sample some locally-grown wine while you’re in Vernazza? Much of the Cinque Terre wine is white, and one of the best-known wines is a sweet wine called sciacchetra that’s often paired with biscotti for an afternoon snack. Visit any of the wine shops (called “enoteca”) in Vernazza to see what’s local and get some Cinque Terre wines to bring home. Church of Santa Margherita d’AntiochiaThe bell tower and pretty tiled dome of the Church of Santa Margherita d’Antiochia are part of what makes Vernazza’s harbor so picturesque, so don’t miss visiting the actual church. No one knows when the original church on this site was built, but it could be as old as the 11th century. Major architectural changes were made in the 17th and 18th centuries, with more restoration work in the 20th century. ShoppingEvery Cinque Terre village has ample shopping options open during the high season, and Vernazza is no exception. In addition to the wine shops listed above, there are shops selling local foods (such as pesto and olive oil) and plenty of postcards and souvenirs. Many of the souvenirs are similar from town to town in the Cinque Terre, so if you’re in the area for a few days you can browse shops in each town to find unique gifts or mementos. VoluntourismIn October of 2011, Vernazza and Monterosso were both heavily damaged by the mudslides that resulted after torrential storms. The towns have recovered incredibly well, thanks in large part to the help of volunteers who spend part of their vacations restoring the villages and the hiking trails. There are still projects that are ongoing in Vernazza and throughout the Cinque Terre, so if you’re interested in doing some good work during your stay check out the Save Vernazza website.

Budget Travel Lists

5 Tips for Navigating NYC's Outdoor Food Markets

When it comes to artisan food in New York City, summer means one thing: a myriad of open air food markets, [our favorite is Madison Square Eats, visit #MadSqEats for more info] where small batch food purveyors and local chefs serve up everything from ice cream sandwiches and wood-fired pizza to charcuterie and macaroons. But you'd better get there fast: just like the warm weather, these temporary markets only last so long. Here are five tips to help you fill your plate this season. Be Part of the CrowdSince each of the city's outdoor food markets is a showcase for several dozen different food vendors, deciding which to choose can be a real challenge. However, don't be afraid to follow the crowd. When it comes to food, New Yorkers have seen it all, so if a particular vendor boasts a lengthy line, there is probably good reason. After all, some things in life—especially savory bites and sweet treats—really are worth the wait. Paper or PlasticMany of us don't think twice about swiping our debit cards. However, be sure to visit the ATM before making a market trip. While some vendors are equipped to accept plastic, many run cash-only operations. Having cash in hand will ensure you avoid a worthless wait in line. Plus, you'll have a few spare dollars to add to the tip jars (you'll want to after tasting the delicious food!). Think SmallThe only real problem with open air food markets is that there is so much excellent food to try! Avoid the temptation of purchasing a full meal and instead give yourself the space to sample a variety of offerings. Many vendors offer half sizes of their well-known menu items, or single servings of their most popular specialties (think one cookie versus a package of three). There's no need to choose when you can have a small bite of it all! Ask QuestionsWhen eating out, diners do not often have the chance to step inside a restaurant's kitchen. However, at the city's open air food markets, the kitchen is on full display, and the chef is typically the one serving your food. While you wait and watch him assemble your order, don't be shy about striking up a conversation and asking questions related to the dish, the ingredients, or even the chef's inspiration for his menu. Embrace the opportunity to learn something new about your food and the people preparing it. ExperimentThink of the city's open air food markets like playgrounds for chefs: unlike at their brick and mortar storefronts, these temporary markets are an opportunity for them to experiment with new menu offerings with very little risk. Say so long to all your culinary inhibitions and take advantage of unusual seasonal ingredients, new cooking traditions, and eclectic menu offerings while they last! Who knows: you may just be biting into the next big thing! This article was written by Angela Brown, a freelance writer and a co-owner of Mayhem & Stout, a New York City-based artisan sandwich company. She is the voice behind the food blog The-Chefs-Wife.com, where she writes weekly narratives inspired by her experiences owning and operating a piece of the NYC food community.

Budget Travel Lists

20 Fabulously Free Things to Do in D.C.

1. CHERRY BLOSSOMS! After a long winter, these beautiful blooms make April the coolest month Where: National Mall The gorgeous tableau of Washington decked out in its spring finery—thanks to its countless cherry trees in bloom—could melt the heart of the coldest-hearted politician. The trees were given to Washington in 1912 by the city of Tokyo and attract about a half-million visitors each spring to blossom hotspots like the Tidal Basin. The National Cherry Blossom Festival traditionally runs through mid-April, with a grand parade this year on Saturday April 12 from 10 a.m. to noon. But your best bet for viewing the trees crowd-free is to hit the Mall before dawn to catch the blossoms as they're caressed by the dawn's early light. nationalcherryblossomfestival.org 2. LINCOLN MEMORIAL Not just a history lesson in marble, but an emotionally charged work of art Where: 2 Lincoln Memorial Circle Prepare to be surprised by the Lincoln Memorial. Most visitors find it unexpectedly moving, and the sculpture of Lincoln himself, by American master Daniel Chester French, is much more than a monumental work of public art. The 19-foot marble statue of the 16th president draws viewers deep into the thoughts and feelings of the president who led our nation through the conflict that nearly destroyed it and still manages to define it. This is not just a check on your must-see list. Reserve at least a half-hour to read Lincoln's immortal words, see the sculpture from different angles, and reflect on what has and has not changed in the 150 years since his presidency. nps.gov/linc 3. NATIONAL GALLERY OF ART America's only Da Vinci painting is just the beginning of this immense trove Where: 6th Street and Constitution Avenue The National Gallery of Art opened in 1937 and continues to hold its own even with such famous neighbors as the Capitol and the Washington Monument. Its extensive collection of Italian Renaissance masterpieces and works by Impressionists and early 20th-century painters is worth a stop. Don't miss Leonardo da Vinci's Ginevra de'Benci (the only da Vinci painting in the U.S.), Johannes Vermeer's A Lady Writing a Letter, and Paul Gaugin's Self Portrait. nga.gov 4. NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAN INDIAN Think you know the history of Native America? Think again Where: 4th Street and Independence Avenue Art, culture, history, and even food come alive at this exceptional museum, part of the Smithsonian Institution. With hands-on programs for families and a mix of permanent and temporary exhibitions, this is the definitive place to learn the true story of America's native peoples, from the earliest times to the present day. The museum's distinctive Mitsitam Native Foods Café is unlike any other D.C. restaurant, serving fry bread, buffalo, and other Native American classics. nmai.si.edu 5. NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AMERICAN HISTORY From serious history to classic TV props, America's attic has something for everyone Where: 14th Street and Constitution Avenue Here, you'll find countless artifacts from the nation's history, ranging in gravitas from battle-scarred flags to the inaugural gowns of First Ladies to Archie Bunker's living room chair. Especially noteworthy at the moment are the excellent exhibits "The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden" and "Changing America: The Emancipation Proclamation, 1863, and the March on Washington, 1963. americanhistory.si.edu 6. UNITED STATES CAPITOL More than just the place where the Senate and Congress convene, this building is a living history museum Where: Visitor center at 1st Street and East Capitol Street From the Senate and House chambers to the pageantry of the building's dome and art collection, this majestic building deserves at least an hour of your time. If you'd like to see a congressional session in action, your best bet is to contact your senator or congressperson well in advance of your trip to see what options there might be. Hour-long Capitol tours are offered Monday through Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m, and it's best to reserve a spot on one of these popular tours in advance. visitthecapitol.gov 7. WALKING TOUR OF THE NATIONAL MALL Get an expert's-eye-view of the monuments and memorials Where: Tours meet at southwest corner of 15th Street and Constitution Avenue and end at the Lincoln Memorial Okay, this isn't exactly free. DC by Foot operates a two-hour walking tour of the National Mall that invites you to "pay what you like" when the tour is over. In money-mad Washington, that's close enough to a freebie for us! Our one suggestion is: Don't be a jerk. dcbyfoot.com 8. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. MEMORIAL This memorial to the civil rights movement's leader in this once-segregated city is a must Where: 1964 Independence Avenue This four-acre memorial site between the Lincoln Memorial and the Jefferson Memorial is the first on the central axis of the Mall that doesn't commemorate a war or a president. It features a 28-foot-high granite sculpture by Chinese sculptor Lei Yixin, along with a crescent wall engraved with King quotations chosen by historians and writers. nps.gov/mlkm 9. VIETNAM VETERANS MEMORIAL This memorial transforms a painful era in U.S. history into a beautiful touchstone Where: 5 Henry Bacon Drive This deceptively simple wall, designed by American sculptor Maya Lin, lists the names of more than 58,000 American men and women who died in the Vietnam War. The enormity of the loss and the presence of visitors searching for a loved one among the names, which are listed chronologically, make this understated memorial unique and unforgettable. nps.gov/vive 10. JEFFERSON MEMORIAL The author of the Declaration of Independence stands watch over the capital's ups and downs Where: 900 Ohio Drive Whether you think of Thomas Jefferson as the third president, the author of the Declaration of Independence, the hypocrite who opposed slavery but was himself a slaveholder, or the guy who implores Lisa to tell the truth in a memorial episode of The Simpsons, there's no denying that his memorial is beautifully designed and enjoys a particularly pleasant piece of real estate. nps.gov/thje 11. NATIONAL AIR AND SPACE MUSEUM From the Wright Brothers to the moon landing and beyond, this is a favorite with kids from 1 to 100 Where: Independence Avenue at 6th Street Home to vintage flying machines like Charles Lindburgh's 1927 Spirit of St. Louis plane and the 1969 Apollo 11 command module, the National Air and Space Museum is one of the most kid-friendly branches of the Smithsonian. Its lineup features a 20-minute planetarium show starring Sesame Street characters, and air-travel-themed story times, where little ones can keep their hands busy building model planes and rocket ships. And don't forget to stock up on the astronaut ice cream at the gift shop! airandspace.si.edu 12. NATIONAL ZOO While most zoos come with a beastly price tag, this one's free—and open to visitors in the early morning! Where: 3001 Connecticut Avenue There's more to the always-free National Zoo than giant pandas (though, c'mon, what's not to love about wild animals that look like stuffed toys?). Looking for an early-morning destination to hit when the museums are shuttered? The 163-acre grounds of the zoo generally open by 6 a.m.-ish—four hours before its exhibits officially come to life. Stick around and you'll be rewarded with the sight of six resident orangutans making their way—hand over hand—across an almost 500-foot-long stretch of cables connecting two areas. nationalzoo.si.edu 13. NATIONAL MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY Long before our ancestors walked this land, there were dinosaurs—and their fossils are just one of the attractions here Where: 10th Street and Constitution Avenue The nation's natural history museum will get its first-ever T-rex on Tuesday April 15! It will be in august company, joining other fossils, animal exhibits, geologic formations, and much more. And while the phrase "natural history" may not immediately bring to mind French royalty, you can ogle the 45-carat Hope Diamond, which once belonged to Louis XIV, here. mnh.si.edu 14. THE WHITE HOUSE You might call it the world's most coveted address—here's how to nab a free tour! Where:1600 Pennsylvania Avenue It's not impossible to do a tour of the White House, but it does take some planning. And a lot of patience. Once you know when you are going to be in D.C., contact the office of your Member of Congress to request tickets. Requests can't be made more than six months in advance, but no less than 21 days before your trip. It can take five months to book one of the self-guided tours, though. Worth it to get access to the country's most important residence. whitehouse.gov 15. NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY See pics of every American president—who apparently have never been publicity shy Where: 8th Street and F Street The stately Old Patent Office Building is a lovely showcase for portraits of every president, plus celebrated athletes, artists, and many more notable Americans. npg.si.edu 16. WASHINGTON MONUMENT We cannot tell a lie: The view from up here is unbeatable, but the monument is closed until May 14 Where: The National Mall This immense obelisk was damaged by the earthquake of 2011 and is slated to reopen to visitors on May 14. If normal hours and admission procedures are resumed, you can obtain free tickets on a first-come first-served basis starting at 8:30 a.m. at the Washington Monument Lodge at 15th Street adjacent to the monument. (Advance tickets are available for a nominal service charge.) nps.gov/wamo 17. LIBRARY OF CONGRESS Shh! There's more than just books in this spectacular collection! Where: 101 Independence Avenue Just a taste of what the Library of Congress has to offer includes: a first edition of L. Frank baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, an early Wonder Woman comic book, the 85,000+ pages of comedian Bob Hope's joke file, and, oh yeah, a Gutenberg Bible of 1455 printed on vellum and one of the world's only perfect remaining copies. Rotating exhibits on literature, history, and the arts are ongoing. loc.gov 18. FOLGER SHAKESPEARE LIBRARY Whoa. Betcha thought the world's greatest collection of Shakespeare manuscripts was across the pond... Where: 201 East Capitol Street Words, words, words, as Hamlet cryptically muttered, are the stuff of this place, which is home to a copy of a 1623 First Folio (the first collected edition of Shakespeare's plays), an Elizabethan-style theater that regularly stages the Bard's work (not to mention music and the work of, y'know, lesser-known playwrights), and the world's finest collection of Shakespeare-related materials and other Renaissance-era books and manuscripts. folger.edu 19. NATIONAL ARCHIVES You, the people, should see "We the People" in person! Where: 700 Pennsylvania Avenue Sure, the name may sound ho-hum, but you may have heard of some of the manuscripts on display in the rotunda of the National Archives: The U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Declaration of Independence archives.gov/nae 20. ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY A stirring reminder of the heroic sacrifices that have been made—and continue to be made—to defend our freedom Where: Arlington, VA. Unfortunately, most visitors make a rather disrespectful dash across the Potomac for quick photo ops on this hallowed ground, where more than 300,000 American heroes are buried. Instead, set aside part of a day for a 2.5-hour name-your-own-price walking tour that includes the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the grave of John F. Kennedy, and the Robert E. Lee Memorial (dcbyfoot.com). arlingtoncemetery.mil WHERE TO STAY While so many D.C. attractions come without a price tag, hotel rooms aren't one of them. On the contrary, lodgings in this town can be expensive. But these reasonable residences in the hip, lively Dupont Circle neighborhood will serve you well on your stay: The Normandy offers European style and comfort near the great food and nightlife scene around Dupont Circle (2118 Wyoming Avenue, thenormandydc.com) Tabard Inn, named for the inn in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, has welcomed visitors for nearly a century and offers a Cherry Blossom Festival Special (1739 N Street, tabardinn.com) Akwaaba Bed and Breakfast is comfortable and reliable in the heart of a vibrant neighborhood a short walk from the Mall (1708 16th Street, dcakwaaba.com).