DC GlassWorks is a unique way to do the arts in DC. This 3,200-square-foot industrial warehouse is located Hyattsville, Maryland, about 20 minutes out of DC, and houses several public-access artist studios. The focus here is on glassblowing, and the public is welcome to see this fascinating art form in action during periodic open houses. The next one is slated for Sept. 7. Classes – which can range from five evenings to several weeks – are offered throughout the year; the Beginning Glassblowing class teaches the basics – gathering, blocking and blowing molten glass. Metal works and sculpture have a home here, too.
Ride into Union Station, Stay Awhile
Accessibility is part of DC's appeal. Case in point is Union Station, which allows millions of people a year to visit by rail. But rather than just strolling through on the way to your cab, stay awhile. It turns out that this 106-year-old building is an architectural marvel, designed in Roman-inspired Beaux Arts style by Daniel H. Burnham. All woodwork is mahogany. Carved white granite figures nestled into nooks of the main entrance façade each weighs 25 tons. The antique train gates are originals. And a two-year, $160 million restoration that ended in 1988 used more than 70 pounds of gold leafing and 2.5 acres of pink marble. After you play tourist, you can shop (dozens of retail stores feature everything from cigars to chocolates) and dine (will it be chicken and biscuits or sushi?). Admission to Union Station, of course, is free.
Get a Table, Taste History
Foodies already know: Washington DC is in the throes of a culinary movement that's creating some of the hottest new dining destinations in the country. But Old Ebbitt Grill enjoys longevity. It's DC's oldest restaurant and bar, dating back to 1856, and it may still offer the best raw bar in the city– lobster, shrimp, clams and bicoastal oysters galore. The main dining room is lit by antique gas chandeliers and the stairs that lead up to the new federalist-style Corner Bar are made of marble. Located around the corner from the White House, this eatery serves breakfast, lunch and dinner every day and is a great spot for late-night grub.
Long Legs, Big Seat
At close to 20 feet in height, the public artwork dubbed Chair may be the most recognizable attraction in the quaint DC community of Anacostia. Known as the largest chair in the country, it's often used as a marker when giving directions, and Santa sits here during the holidays. It's made of aluminum, features a painted brown-and-white cushion and weighs more than two tons. In a city known for landmarks, this quirky one, built in 1959, will make for neat pictures. Get to Anacostia by crossing the 11th Street Bridge (which happens to be the escape route John Wilkes Booth took the night he shot President Lincoln).
Ride the Bike, Skip the Cab
Capital Bikeshare is a program that puts some 1,800 bikes at your finger--, err, toe tips. There are more than 200 bike stations throughout DC, Alexandria and Arlington and you can buy access for as little as a day to as long as a year. The three-day pass, for example, requires a $15 membership and riding costs are based on how long you pedal; the first 30 minutes are free and there are charges for every 30-minute period thereafter. By the way, if you opt for the Metrorail system to move around, a one-day unlimited ride pass will cost you just $14.
Gabe Saglie is Senior Editor for Travelzoo, which features hotel, airfare and a bevy of local deals in Washington, DC at http://www.travelzoo.com/destinations/washington_dc/.