This year, why don’t you…


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FedScoop’s Social Studies keeps tabs on the latest lifestyle news and events around the Beltway.


As families plan vacations to Washington for 2014, they will take a gamble that spring break in D.C. will give them a rare peek at the Tidal Basin in bloom.

Americans will save their pennies to mark a patriotic holiday with the nation’s capital as a backdrop. Meanwhile, as locals start a new year the odds are high museums and monuments will simply blend into the busyness of life inside the Beltway. This year, resolve to play tourist on occasion. Here are 12 ways to live like a visitor in Washington:

1. See a play at Ford’s Theater

You’ve likely been to the Warner, the Kennedy Center and 9:30 club. Have you ever seen a show at the historic Ford’s Theater? Later this month, “Violet,” a musical set in the 1960s South, begins a month-long run. This love story would make a perfect Valentine’s date.

2. Attend church at the National Cathedral

In addition to regular Sunday services, the cathedral offers tours, concerts and even afternoon tea.

3.  Dine at a Top 100 Restaurant

Not every restaurant on Washingtonian magazine’s annual list of D.C.’s best tables (out this month!) is a budget breaker, but this year’s top five picks are certainly special occasion. Put back a little cash every month and book a holiday reservation for December 2014.

4. See the cherry blossoms in bloom

Don’t just peek at the Tidal Basin from I-395. Charge up your camera, lace up your sneakers and gear up for the crowds. This year’s Cherry Blossom Festival begins March 20.

5. Get tickets for opening day at Nationals Park

The cure for spring fever is knowing your colleagues are at their desk while you sit in the stands at Nationals Park. Opening Day is April 4 against the Atlanta Braves.

6.  Sail the Potomac

Even if it’s just taking a water taxi to National Harbor, get on the water this year. If you start now, you can surely make a new friend with a boat by summer.

7. Spend 4th of July on the National Mall

Cliché? A little. But what is more patriotic than celebrating Independence Day with nearly every D.C. monument in sight? The crowds and the security will be worth a front row seat to the fireworks and the always star-studded Capitol Fourth concert.

8.  Visit the Smithsonian Museums

You could visit a different museum every month and still have sights to see come 2015! Even if you’ve been before, new exhibits are showcased yearly.

9. Walk the “Exorcist Steps” in Georgetown

Plan a visit this fall for a scary stroll up and down the “Exorcist Steps” on Georgetown’s campus. The steps were made famous in the 1973 horror film, “The Exorcist.”

10.  Run (or cheer for the runners!) in the 2014 Marine Corp Marathon

Even if you can’t do the full 26.2, there are fun runs and other activities that allow you to be part of this famous D.C. race. This year’s marathon weekend will happen Oct. 23-26.

11. Sip away the day at the Mount Vernon Wine Festival

Tickets for this annual fall event where wine lovers get to sip some of Virginia’s best blends on the lawn at George and Martha’s always sells out, so book your tickets (and your designated driver) well in advance.

12. Enter to win tickets for the lighting of the National Christmas Tree

It’s fine to begin making Christmas plans at Halloween. If  you want to be there when the president (and his A-list guests of performers) flip the switch on the National Christmas Tree, you have to enter the October lottery to win a chance at a ticket. This could be the year you don’t have to watch it on television!

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