February 2011

20 things to do in D.C.

To help you fill your free time at the 2011 annual meeting in Washington, D.C., we polled the ASBMB staff and came up with the following list of 20 of our favorite things to do in the city.

Learn about the lives, languages, literature, history and arts of the Native Americans of the Western Hemisphere at the National Museum of the American Indian. Photo credit: Phillip Ritz.

The 2011 American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology annual meeting is fast approaching, and although your main purpose in Washington, D.C. will be to attend lectures and network, you probably will have some downtime in which to explore the city. Sure, you can visit the U.S. Capitol or the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum and take a tour of the monuments, but the city has lots of other things to offer. To help you fill your free time, we polled the ASBMB staff and came up with the following list of 20 of our favorite things to do in the city.

1. View 15 buildings from around the world made entirely of LEGO® bricks at the National Building Museum. Many consider this museum’s shop to be the best in the city, so even if you’re not that interested in buildings, you may want to check it out!

2. Go to the top floor of the National Gallery of Art East Building and view Henri Matisse’s paper cutouts. He created these by cutting colored paper into shapes, pinning them loosely to his studio walls, and later adjusting, recutting and combining them to his satisfaction.

3. Explore the grounds of the Washington National Cathedral and take a gargoyle tour to see the gargoyle fashioned after Darth Vader.

4. View one of the largest known blue diamonds, the Hope Diamond, at the National Museum of Natural History. The museum also has an 8.62 meter-long giant squid on display and an insect zoo with tarantula-feeding demonstrations.

5. Get a real taste of D.C. and order a chili half-smoke at Ben’s Chili Bowl on U Street. For those of you who don’t eat meat, Ben’s also serves vegetarian chili and veggie dogs.

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