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5 Best Kept Secrets of Washington DC

21st July 2015

The world class cultural and culinary capital, Washington DC sees visitors from across the globe flock to explore its famous city streets. Thanks to its political heart and astonishing collection of museums and historical landmarks, the city is abuzz all year round. In addition to the White House and the National Mall, Washington offers a myriad of lesser-known attractions. This city boasts much more than first meets the eye and here are just five of the best kept secrets to put on your to-do list.

Washington DC

Smithsonian National Zoo
So we’ve all heard of the Smithsonian, a fabulous collection of top-notch museums, but have you heard of the National Zoo? Situated in the heart of Washington DC, the Smithsonian Zoo is spread across 163 acres and admission is free! There are over 1,800 animals to discover including giant pandas, lions, elephants, bison and apes. Check out the daily program to see what’s on, with animal training, feeding demonstrations and keeper talks throughout the day.

President Lincoln’s Cottage
The inspiring Lincoln Memorial is a well-known monument situated at the western end of the National Mall in Washington DC. Many visit year round to pay tribute to the 16th President of the United States. Continue your historic journey with a visit to President Lincoln’s Cottage. The residence was President Lincoln's home for 13 months during 1862-1864 where he developed the Emancipation Proclamation. Buy your tour tickets in advance as they tend to sell out.

Potomac River
Take a break from the politics and history and enjoy the great outdoors. The Potomac River is the fourth largest river along the Atlantic Coast and flows right into the Chesapeake Bay. Choose to take a cruise along the river or hire a canoe, kayak, paddleboard or pedal boat and appreciate the DC waterfront. You can also join a twilight kayaking tour which will take you around Teddy Roosevelt Island and past iconic locations like Watergate and the Lincoln Memorial.

Hillwood Estate Museum and Gardens
Nestled in the hills of northwest Washington DC, Hillwood Estate is an oasis boasting botanical gardens and a Georgian-style mansion. Marjorie Merriweather Post bought Hillwood in 1955 and it now houses the most comprehensive collection of Russian imperial art outside of Russia, a distinguished 18th century French decorative art collection and 25 acres of landscaped gardens. Set aside a few hours to truly appreciate all the estate has to offer.

A historic and yet hip neighbourhood just 10 minutes out of the city, Georgetown is well worth exploring. Visit the famous campus of Georgetown University, with its striking collegiate and Georgian brick Gothic architecture. Take a stroll down the cobblestone streets lined with locally owned boutiques and national retail outlets. Popular eateries are also in abundance including the famous Georgetown Cupcakes and my personal favourite, Baked and Wired, known for its eclectic baked goods and excellent coffee.

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