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.

View the giant typewriter eraser by Claes Oldenburg at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden.

6. See Kermit the Frog, the Fort McHenry American flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write “The Star Spangled Banner” and Julia Child’s kitchen at the National Museum of American History.

7. Check out the National Museum of Women in the Arts – it’s the only museum in the world dedicated exclusively to recognizing the contributions of women artists.

8. Take advantage of the mild spring weather and go for a walking tour of the city. Washington Walks conducts a variety of tours, including a haunted house tour and a memorial by moonlight walk.

9. Have a pint and a delicious plate of corned beef and cabbage and catch a (European) football match at Fado Irish Pub in Chinatown.

10. Sit on a bench at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden and reflect on all the sculptures, including a giant typewriter eraser by Claes Oldenburg and a two-dimensional house by Roy Lichtenstein that recedes into space.

11. Visit the National Zoo and watch giant pandas Mei Xiang and Tian Tian or visit the giant Pacific octopus in the invertebrate exhibit.

12. Do some shopping, sample a variety of foods and catch some music at the free Lunch and Listen concert series at the Old Post Office Pavilion.

The 15th annual ASBMB Undergraduate Student Research Poster Competition is at 1 p.m. on April 9 at the Washington, D.C., convention center. Here are some answers to questions you might have about the competition.

Q: If I submitted my abstract by the November 2010 deadline, am I automatically entered into the poster competition?
A: No, you are not automatically entered into the poster competition. However, you are eligible to sign up for the competition in January. We encourage all eligible undergraduates to enter the competition.

Q: How do I sign up for the poster competition?
A: If you are a first author and submitted your abstract to an ASBMB topic category, you will have received an e-mail in January inviting you to sign up for the competition online. You also can go to the ASBMB website for information or follow us on Facebook.

Q: I submitted a late-breaking abstract; am I eligible to enter the poster competition?
A: No, late-breaking abstracts are not eligible. However, you are welcome to visit the poster competition as a guest.

Q: I’m a travel award recipient; am I automatically entered into the poster competition?
A: No, you are not automatically entered into the competition. You will need to sign up in early February (see above). Travel award recipients are required to participate in the poster competition.

13. Meet up with friends, pick up some books and grab a bite to eat at Kramerbooks and Afterwards Café and Grille in Dupont Circle.

14. Join in the annual spring celebration at the National Cherry Blossom Festival, commemorating the gift of Japanese cherry trees from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo to the city of Washington. You can catch the parade on April 9 or take a leisurely walk along the Tidal Basin to view the blooms.

15. Take in a free performance at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage every evening at 6 p.m. Acts include everything from performances by the National Symphony Orchestra to gospel groups.

16. Head over to the up-and-coming Atlas District for drinks and dinner. You can enjoy a beer and a game of Skee-ball or indoor miniature golf at the H St. Country Club.

17. View some of the amazing photographs that never made it into National Geographic at the National Geographic Museum.

18. See the taped door that led to Richard Nixon’s resignation and try your hand at being a reporter or photographer at the Newseum.

19. Go for a mule-drawn canal boat ride along the C&O Canal in Georgetown. When you’re done, stop at Georgetown Cupcake, meet the sisters from the TLC reality show and grab a tasty bite to eat.

20. 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. Don’t forget to save room for some food at the museum’s Mitsitam Native Foods Café.

Nicole Kresge (nkresge@asbmb.org) is the editor of ASBMB Today.

 

Do you have a favorite thing to do in Washington, D.C.? Add it to the comment section below.


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