Editor’s note: This is the eighth post in a series of guest posts from the PRSA National Capital Chapter publicity committee for the PRSA 2014 International Conference, October 12 – 14. Follow the Conference conversation by searching the hashtag #PRSAICON and following our PRSA National Events Twitter handle, @PRSAevents.
So you’ve been to DC before and feel like you’ve seen it all? Just because you’ve seen the monuments and a few museums, doesn’t mean you’ve done it all. The Nation’s Capital is a multi-faceted destination full of interesting neighborhoods, history and quirks.
As a native to the region, it’s easy to forget to be a tourist and take advantage of all that the city has to offer. That’s why I put together a list of things to do beyond “official” DC that will make your trip to the PRSA International Conference even more memorable:
- Drink at The W: The Hotel W has a great rooftop bar that has the best view of the Washington Monument and the White House. The view even includes seeing the Secret Service at work on the White House roof. The drinks are little pricey so you may not want to make a night of it. Try to stop by right after dark to get the full effect of Washington at night. You’ll walk away with great selfies.
- Get Scared at The Steps: Every Washingtonian knows about the stairs in Georgetown. That’s where the famous Exorcist scene was filmed when the priest was thrown by the demon to his death. Walk the steps…if you dare.
- Row, Row, Row: Renting a row boat at Fletcher’s Boathouse is a must do. Rowing the river provides amazing views of the powerful Potomac, Georgetown, and the spectacular houses that line the river.
- Plane Spotting: Gravelly Point Park just over the Memorial Bridge in Arlington provides a perfect place to watch planes land and take off at Reagan National Airport. The par k is located at the end one of the runways nestled between the Potomac River and the GW Parkway. Get an adrenalin rush as planes fly right over your head.
- Final Act: Ford’s Theatre is a small, quaint venue best known as the location of President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. A guided tour of the beautiful theater will bring the time period and history to life.
- U Turn: Ben’s Chili Bowl is one of DC’s best known places to eat. Frequently visited by locals as well as Hollywood A-listers and residents of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Ben’s is an unassuming diner in the U Street corridor that survived the turbulent ‘60s and has been part of the revitalization of this historic area.
- Go Back in Time: Just north of Georgetown sits Glen Echo Park (in Maryland) that started as a retreat spot in the late 1800s and then became an amusement park. Glen Echo is an idyllic place that hosts arts and cultural programs and has a merry-go-round, arcade and puppet theater. The whimsical, art deco-style architecture will take you back to in time.
- Panda Pups: Nothing gets more news coverage than our famed Pandas that live at the National Zoo. Now you can even see mama panda and her cute cub Bao Bao—a fan favorite. No time to visit this free attraction? Then check out the Panda cam.
As you fine tune your PR skills and get rejuvenated about our shared profession, I hope you take a moment to enjoy the history and sites of this extraordinary city where the news of the world, nation, and local communities overlap in interesting ways.
Shawn Flaherty is the founder of Creative Strategies, a DC-area independent PR firm working to help organizations become better storytellers. She has more than 20 years award-winning PR experience in corporate and nonprofit.