Washington, D.C. Journals

Cheap Trills

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A November 2008 trip to Washington, D.C. by Idler

Joyous dance Photo, Washington, D.C., United States More Photos
Quote: Why complain about the hassles of living near or visiting Washington? If you're in the area, taking full advantage of the DC's many free events is a better approach. Here are one Metro area resident's favorite free (or relatively inexpensive) concert series.
View of the Capitol dome at night Photo, Washington, D.C., United States
Among the most passionate music lovers I’ve known have been mathematicians and scientists, so it should perhaps come as no surprise that the National Academy of Sciences hosts one of the most outstanding free concert series in Washington. On a rainy Sunday afternoon in November several years ago, we decided to check it out.I’d never been in the Academy of Sciences before, though I’d long admired the famous statue of Albert Einstein out front. Unlike other dreary government research labs and offices, however, the interior of the National Academy of Sciences is an elegant art deco "temple to science,"...Read More

All the World's a (Millennium) Stage

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Performance at the Millennium Stage Photo, Washington, D.C., United States
What if someone told you that there were FREE world-class performances offered virtually every night of the year in DC? Well, it's true -- just come to the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center at six o'clock on any given evening. For over twelve years, the Kennedy Center has lined up an incredible array of performers, ranging from youth orchestra members to stars of international stature. One night there might be ballet; another a chamber music ensemble; and yet another it might be reggae or blues or some type of music you've never even heard of. Often various cultural ministries sponsor top-notch performe...Read More
The Library of Congress dome Photo, Washington, D.C., United States
The Library of Congress’ concert series runs from roughly mid September through late May, which is characteristic of many of Washington’s free concert series. (There are many free summer concerts, of course, but they tend to be held on or near the Mall to accommodate summer visitors.) Be forewarned that going to a concert at the Library of Congress might take a little more advance planning, for the tickets, while technically free, are made available via Ticketron about six weeks before the date of the performance. A small handling fee is charged, and there is a limit of two tickets per order. The main challeng...Read More
Outdoor performance Photo, Washington, D.C., United States
The Smithsonian Metro stop escalator deposits visitors to the Mall practically on the doorstep of the Freer Gallery, yet many hurry right on by en route to other Smithsonian museums, behemoths such as the Natural History or Air & Space Museum. It’s a shame, really, as the smaller museums clustered around the Enid A. Haupt Garden and the Castle are arguably some of the most interesting (and certainly less crowded) museums on the Mall. I’ve long been a fan of the Freer & Sackler – the two galleries are usually mentioned jointly as they have connecting subterranean galleries as well as both primarily focusing on Asian and Middle Eastern art. The Freer has a moderate-sized auditori...Read More
The Phillips Collection Photo, Washington, D.C., United States
Enter the Music Room of the Phillips Collection, and you know you've just come someplace special. Housed in the beautiful dark-paneled former library of the museum's founder, Duncan Phillips, the Music Room is very clearly a space for intimate social gatherings rather than an impersonal public performance space. There's an idiosyncratic charm to the mix of paintings hung on the walls - everything from a stunning El Greco to moody impressionist street scenes. At the far end of the room, a grand piano is framed by two large, ornate pillars in the front of the room, while the length of chamber leading up to the pillars is absol...Read More