Question

Want to visit Smithsonian in spring or fall. Tight budget. Tips, hints, advice?

Location

City: Washington

District: District of Columbia

Country: United States

Answers

Both seasons are great for DC, smaller crowds and nice weather. I love DC because you have the best museums in America and they are free ! Mora places to visit than you can handle in a single visit (I think) I've lived here about 20 years and visited the museums hundreds of times and there is always new. Transportation is good and everything is cheaper than NYC.
Cherry blossoms are in bloom in the spring but draw a big crowd. Spring & Fall are both great times to visit though. Smithsonian museums are all free. The cafes there can be a little pricey, but it's worth visiting the cafeteria at the American Indian musuem - it's unique. If the weather's nice, consider bringing a lunch - something easy - and eating it on the grass of the Mall. There's an Au Bon Pain shop near the museums (9th & Pennsylvania, I believe - across from the FBI bldg)- they're not too pricey and have great food. Consider eating dinner during happy hours and it will be cheaper - Zaytinya's is my favorite restaurant, is near the museums (9th & G??), and has a great happy hour. They offer mediterranean mezze - appetizers at $4.00 each. Ceiba is very nice, not too far (14th St) and has a happy hour. Accomodations can be expensive. There is a hostel. If I were a tourist, I'd stay at a place like the Adam's Inn in my favorite neighborhood, Adams Morgan. Not sure how much they charge. This would be another idea for a tight budget - explore the neighborhoods (Adams Morgan, Columbia Heights, Dupont Circle...) And try the ethnic food (Ethiopian, for example) - these restaurants can be cheaper than others and offer a unique experience. Marrakesh is outstanding but can be pricey, esp if you drink alcohol - but very unique - you feel like you're in Morocco! Enjoy!
The Smithsonian Museum itself is free so the only thing that would affect your budget are your dining options. If you are going during the week, check out DC's local food trucks that park in L'Enfant Plaza. They rotate depending on the day of the week, you can check out a list of them at website.

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