Tuesday, April 07, 2009

SAA Meet-Up / DC Suggestions

So, let's plan a blogger meet up at 2pm at the Starbucks near the main lobby?

Question for everyone: I've been to DC a couple times, so I've seen the big monuments, visited congress, the White House (in the days when one could take a tour), a couple of the Smithsonians, Arlington, etc.

So, if you didn't need to see the usual stuff, but you have a day more or less to do something in DC other than SAA (I know, but my department isn't paying, so I get a day for myself!), what would you do?

What's the best thing to see/do in DC?

I'm game for a Smithsonian or other museum. And I'm very willing to bet they've changed enough that I'll enjoy any of them, even ones I've seen before. I'm also very happy to go see art, a park or whatever.

Is the WWII monument something I should put on the list?

NB. Shopping of any sort other than used books is OUT. It's hard to think of any incentive in the world that would make me want to go shopping.


  1. Personally, I would go to the National Gallery if I hadn't just been there. Or else to the zoo to see the wee bitty gorilla! Both are free.

  2. I love the National Building Museum.

  3. The Library of Congress often has interesting displays related to books. I saw some amazing illuminated manuscripts last time I visited. Also, as a news junkie, I adore the Newseum.

  4. National Building Museum. Philips Collection. National Gallery -- just for the East wing space. There's also a lovely walking path through Rock Creek Park -- if SAA is where I think it would be, you'd be close to that.
    Oh, and the Folger, if it isn't too hackneyed with SAA.

    My recollection is that there are some really good political bookstores, but it's been too long since I was there.

  5. Oh! I will be at the SAA meeting, too. You'll probably know if you see me because I'll be (I assume) the lone member of the press, conducting casual interviews and hoping you all want to talk to me. I'll be the one who looks like a graduate student but better rested and better fed.

    I'm planning to write a story about what it's like to be a Shakespeare/Renaissance lit professor in this economy. If you're willing to share any thoughts about your experiences, look for me...

  6. I was in DC a few months back and my friend H. and I went to the Am. History museum, which has just been refurbished, and that was really cool. Also, I've not been, but I hear that the Spy Museum (a bit off the beaten path but near the Mall) is wicked.

  7. I'm not sure when SAA is, but the Shakespeare Theater also does a lot of non-Shakespeare stuff, and is usually fun. (Fairly wallet-friendly as well, though they are coming to the end of their season.)


    There's also a copy of the Magna Carta in the Archives.

    The best advice I can give is to check out WaPo's Going Out Guide the week before your conference, to see what's happening around the place.

  8. Hee. You know, although I've been to D.C. a fair number of times (having had good friends who lived there post-college), when you asked in your earlier post whether our hotel was close to the mall, my reaction was, "The MALL? What mall? I didn't think Bardiac was a shopper!"

    More to the point: 2p.m. works for me. Feel free to email me (feruleandfescue[AT]gmail[DOT]com) with more details or identifying characteristics--or I'll just guess! (Fretful and I have met, so we'll recognize each other.)

  9. I second-third-fourth the National Building Museum. Also, perhaps the most beautiful museum in Washington is now the Nat'l Portrait Gallery-Museum of American Art complex, which is right at the Gallery Place metro. It has a gorgeous covered courtyard (great if the weather's nasty) and nice café and the museums themselves have been spectacularly restored. Both those and the NBM are in buildings that are interesting in their own right.

    If the weather's nice, a walk around Old Town Alexandria and its riverfront is always a treat.

  10. Me again. Have just checked where your conference hotel is and you're walking distance from Gallery Place and the NBM (which is at Judiciary Square).

  11. Oh, I forgot: National Museum of Women and the Arts . . .check out their current shows.

  12. ooh, I second the Portrait Gallery, courtyard experience.

  13. And to add to T.E's suggestion of Old Town,Alexandria (Super cute and historical)-- there's also a ferry there that will take you to National Harbor to look around. (It's very shoppy, but there are a few quirky galleries)

  14. I'd enjoy hanging out in DuPont Circle, where there are neat old row houses, some park-like spaces (it's Rock Creek Park-accessible), lots of cool little coffee shops/bars/restaurants, and several good galleries (e.g. the Phillips). Good walking, browsing, people-watching. I lived in that neighborhood in the late '90s and loved it--haven't been back in about 10 years, though, so I can't vouch for its current coolness.

  15. Well, Flavia might recognize me; I, alas, am lousy at recognizing faces, but I shall defer to her superior skills.

    Euripides' Ion will be on at the Shakespeare Theater; not sure what else is going on, performing-arts-wise, but you might want to check the listings at the Arena Stage and the Wooly Mammoth as well.

  16. The WWII monument is tacky. They could have done so much better. Get some falafel at Amsterdam Falafel and Fries in Adams Morgan, it is by far the best falafel place I've ever been to. There's a bookstore cafe called Afterwords that worth a vist too.

  17. Along with the other fine suggestions, above, the newly reopened National History & Technology Museum should be interesting.

    For me though (left-wing patriot that I am) there's nothing like the Vietnam and Lincoln memorials after dark. (Go with a friend.)

    And if you've never been, the National Archives, too.


  18. After living in DC metro for 13 years, I definitely have my favorites and not favorites. And I am a sucker for Art, so I'd Go Nat'l Gallery, Hirschorn (across the Mall), National Portrait, Phillips Collection, Sackler/Freer (next to the castle) and the Corcoran (in that order).

    As much as I like the idea behind the Nat'l Museum of Women in the Arts, I haven't found their actual collection (of gift shop for that matter) to be worth the admission, when so much else is free.

    American History is supposed to be great post renovation, and the American Indian museum, despite some issues with organization/ representation is worth a look--plus its cafeteria is the best in the Smithsonian system.

    And I think you can avoid the Spy museum and the newish criminal justice museum on the 7th street corridor (even though they are both right next to the portrait gallery), as both are comparatively expensive and gimmicky.

    Also, feel free to email me {delightandinstruct} at {blogspot} if you all are looking for restaurant recs. Have fun!