Welcome to DC SHRMers!
**Modified 6/25/06, 10:15AM (thanks to Dave and Tiffany for promoting this post)
This week marks the 58th Annual SHRM Convention, which will be held this year in my hometown at the Washington Convention Center. I did the SHRM convention once, but probably wouldn't do it again as I've preferred to stick to the recruiting-focused events put on by ERE and EMA. No matter, welcome to DC to all those who will be coming in for the convention next week. For those of you who may have a little extra time on your hands, or built in extra time to see our nation's capital, I thought I would provide suggestions from a DC native, things that may get you a bit off the beaten path. BTW, Metro will get you most of the places I recommend below.
And boy, does that path get beaten during the summer here (I typically stay away from downtown, too many tourists...). You can do the Smithsonian of course (you don't realize how cool it is to have all these great FREE museums here until you have to pay to get into one in another city). You can also check out some of the monuments as well, but what else is there?
Museums - The biggest crowds of course will be at the Smithsonian, they are some of the greatest museums in the world, but you have other options. One of my favorite museums is actually a paid-admission one. Get your tickets in advance, The International Spy Museum is the coolest museum in town, interactive from start-to-finish, this is one not to be missed. I believe that Careerbuilder is hosting an event next week at the National Building Museum. If you don't go to that event, try to make it to the Museum regardless, another hidden treasure.
Monuments - If you are going to go see the monuments, go at night (with a group). There are less crowds, it will be cooler (it's been quite hot here the past couple weeks), and the views are amazing. Last month, when the CareerXroads Colloquium was in town, I took Carol and Lisa from Yahoo, and Gerry Crispin on a nighttime tour of the World War II Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial. These memorials are safe at night as there are park rangers there at all hours. You could do the Monuments by Moonlight tour via SHRM, but why tie yourself down when you and some friends could just as easily grab a cab and head to the monuments at night yourself. Another lesser-known memorial is the Teddy Roosevelt Memorial on Roosevelt Island, which sits in the middle of the Potomac and is a hidden local treasure. If you make it over that direction, you should also stop by Arlington National Cemetery. In addition to visiting Kennedy's grave and the Tomb Of The Unknowns, be sure to hike up to Arlington House for a breathtaking view of downtown DC.
Restaurants - Here's some recommendations for some great places to eat, most of which I've tried (*), but some of which I only know by reputation:
Jaleo * - Great Tapas
Georgia Brown's * - Yummy Low-Country/Southern fare
Pizzeria Paradiso - Best Pizza in DC
DC Coast * - Excellent Seafood
Tenpenh - Asian-fusion style (same owners as DC Coast)
Lauriol Plaza * - Best Mexican in Town
Cashion's Eat Place - Great Adams Morgan neighborhood restaurant
Tony Cheng's * - Solid Chinese Restaurant: Mongolian BBQ downstairs, Seafood upstairs
Old Ebbett Grill * - Classic DC restaurant across the street from the White House
Ben's Chili Bowl - Almost forgot this landmark, great chili-dogs and half-smokes!
Bethesda Crab House * - If you are going to come to this region, you might as well partake in a regional tradition - a Crab Feast. If you are up for a beer and a bushel, then do it right by taking the subway just outside of DC to the Bethesda Crab House. A hole in the wall that serves Chesapeake Bay-style steamed-and-spiced blue crabs. Plan on a couple of hours, a crab feast is an event in-and-of itself. Don't wear white either, this is messy eating. Nothing better IMHO than a pile of crabs and a pitcher of cold beer. Mmmmm!!!
Watering Holes - It's been a few years since I've explored the night life of DC, but there's a few bars that will always be local favorites:
The Brickskeller - Like variety? How about the World's Largest Beer List! Try the Buffalo Burger too.
The Dubliner - Classic DC Irish Pub
Hawk n' Dove - Historic Capitol Hill Bar
Oh, one last recommendation:
The Udvar-Hazy Center - Got some time to kill before you fly out of Dulles, stop by the new National Air and Space Museum Annex next to Dulles Airport where you can stand next to a Space Shuttle, a Concorde, and a couple hundred other amazing aircraft. BTW, you can take a shuttle bus there from the original Air and Space museum.
If any other local readers have any suggestions, please feel free to add them as comments to this post. For the rest of you coming to SHRM this week, welcome again to DC and enjoy your time in our Nation's Capital!