Washington, D.C., the site of APA's 2005 Annual Convention, Aug. 18-21, is well-known for its array of free museums and monuments, but there's more to the city than the Smithsonian and the Lincoln Memorial. Washington is home to a host of other unique cultural attractions and outdoor activities. Here are some of those off-the-beaten-path attractions, many accessible via the Metro, Washington's subway system.
Feast your eyes on a gardener's paradise at Dumbarton Oaks, a 19th-century Federal-style mansion surrounded by extensive gardens. In July and August, visitors can spy day lilies, fuchsia, gardenias, agapanthus, oleanders and more. Address: 1703 32nd St., N.W.; Accessible by bus, but not by Metro; (202) 339-6401; www.doaks.org/index.html. Admission is $4.
Attend the free organ concert the Washington National Cathedral offers most Sundays at 5 p.m. On Wednesdays at 12:30, experts give a short talk about the 10,650-pipe organ and a short organ recital. The Cathedral also offers 30-minute tours on its art and Gothic architecture for $3 per adult, $2 for senior citizens and $1 for children; visit the cathedral Web site for tour times. Address: Massachusetts and Wisconsin Avenues, N.W.; Metro stop: a short walk from Woodley Park-Zoo/Adams Morgan; (202) 537-6200; www.cathedral.org.
Walk down Embassy Row on Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., home to more than 40 foreign embassies and impressive architecture. The tourism company Washington Walks and other groups offer guided tours of the area: For a list of tour operators and a free self-guided tour of the area, see www.culturaltourismdc.org. More information about the embassies is at www.embassy.org/embassy_row. Plenty of restaurants, shops and coffeehouses are nearby. Metro stop: Dupont Circle.
Eat Ethiopian, Turkish or Brazilian in Adams Morgan, a D.C. neighborhood bustling with diverse restaurants and bars. Metro stop: several blocks from Woodley Park-Zoo/Adams Morgan; www.adamsmorgan.net.
Visit the Octagon Museum of the American Architectural Foundation, the nation's oldest museum devoted to architecture and design. The building itself is a piece of history: It was built between 1799 and 1801. Address: 1799 New York Ave. N.W.; Metro stops: Farragut West or Farragut North; (202) 879-7764; www.archfoundation.org/octagon. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children and senior citizens.
Shop the fresh produce and arts and crafts at colorful Eastern Market, which has been in continuous operation on Capitol Hill since 1873. Don't miss the delicious crab cakes or blueberry pancakes at Market Lunch, a restaurant in the South Hall. The arts and crafts stalls are open Saturday and Sunday, and the South Hall is open Tuesday to Sunday. Address: 7th St. and North Carolina Ave., S.E.; Metro stop: Eastern Market; (202) 544-0083; www.easternmarket.net or www.easternmarketdc.com.
Watch artists at work at the Torpedo Factory Art Center in historic Alexandria, Va. The center includes 84 artists' studios, where potters, photographers, jewelers, printmakers and sculptors craft and sell their work. On the third floor, visit the Alexandria Archaeology Museum, a working archaeology laboratory that studies artifacts found in Alexandria. Address: 105 North Union St., Alexandria, Va.; Metro stop: a 15-minute walk from King Street; (703) 838-4565; www.torpedofactory.org. Admission is free. For other Alexandria attractions, including ghost-story and graveyard tours, museums and shopping, visit www.funside.com.
Cruise the Potomac river on a dinner cruise or trip to the nearby home of George Washington in Mt. Vernon, Va. A list of tour operators is at www.dcpages.com/Tourism/Cruise_Ships.
Visit historical Georgetown. There is no Metro stop in Georgetown, but Georgetown Metro Connection buses leave the Rosslyn, Foggy Bottom and Dupont Circle Metro stations every 10 minutes. For more on Georgetown's well-known shopping and dining, visit www.georgetowndc.com.
Hike around Theodore Roosevelt Island, a 91-acre wooded island on the Potomac River that includes a memorial to the former president. The park is an exit off the northbound George Washington Memorial Parkway in Virginia and is located at the north end of the Mt. Vernon Trail, a biking and walking trail that extends 18.5 miles to George Washington's home. Metro stop: A short walk from Rosslyn; (703) 289-2500; www.nps.gov/this and www.nps.gov/gwmp/mvt.html. No admission charge.
Relive a classic film at the American Film Institute's Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in nearby Silver Spring, Md. Housed in the newly restored 1938 Silver Theatre, the institute shows classic, independent and other unique films. There are also plenty of nearby restaurants. Address: 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring, Md.; Metro stop: Silver Spring; (301) 495-6720; www.afi.com/silver. Admission varies by film and show time.
Take in a free show at the John. F. Kennedy Center For the Performing Arts Millennium Stage. Every weekday at 6 p.m., the Kennedy Center puts on a free dance, drama, concert or other arts performance in its lobby. Address: 2700 F St., N.W.; (800) 444-1324; Metro stop: a short walk from Foggy Bottom; www.kennedy-center.org/programs/millennium.
Walk in the footsteps of jazz great Duke Ellington in Shaw and the U Street Corridor, the neighborhood where Ellington grew up that was once known as "Black Broadway." Cultural Tourism D.C. offers a $12 guided walking tour of the neighborhood as well as a free self-guided walking tour brochure. For more information, call (202) 661-7576 or visit www.dcheritagetours.org. The neighborhood also features the African-American Civil War Veterans Memorial at 1200 U St. N.W.; (202) 667-2667; www.afroamcivilwar.org. Afterward, cross the street to grab a chili dog at a true Washington classic: Ben's Chili Bowl; 1213 U St., N.W.; (202) 667-0909; www.benschilibowl.com. Metro stop for all: U Street/African-American Civil War Memorial/Cardoza.
Stroll through the United States Botanic Garden, the nation's oldest continuously operating public garden. The garden features tropical plants in its conservatory year-round as well as annuals in its outdoor garden, Bartholdi Park. The garden is located near the U.S. Capitol building at 245 First St., S.W.; (202) 225-8333; Metro stop: Federal Center; www.usbg.gov. Admission is free.
Sip a cocktail at the Hotel Washington Sky Terrace, a rooftop verandah that offers some of the best views of the city. Address: 15th and Pennsylvania Avenues, N.W.; Metro stop: Metro Center. (202) 638-5900; Web site: www.hotelwashington.com. Nearby is another Washington favorite, the Old Ebbitt Grill, a popular meeting spot for political insiders and theater-goers. Address: 675 15th St., N.W.; (202) 347-4800; www.ebbitt.com.
To plan your trip using public transportation, visit rideguide.wmata.com.
If you've never been to the nation's capital, your first stop probably will be the many Smithsonian museums on the National Mall, an open expanse popular with joggers and home to many of the well-known monuments. For information, visit the Smithsonian Web site at www.si.edu and the National Park Service at www.nps.gov/nama. For a list of other attractions, see APA Convention05 or www.washington.org