Transcript

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Yellow Productions presents
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Ten things to know before you go to Washington DC.
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I’m Chris. This is Yellow Productions.
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I do travel guides that are fun,
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informative and entertaining.
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And in this video I’m going to be telling you
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everything you need to know before you come
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to the nations capitol
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of the United States of America.
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And I’m filming this live on location
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here on the National Mall.
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That is the Capitol Building right behind me.
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So the first thing we’ll start with
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is just some general information about Washington DC.
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And that is if you’re referring to DC,
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that is the region.
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District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.
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That’s kind of how the area’s referred to.
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If you’re referring to the actual city state
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that is the District of Columbia,
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the locals refer to that as The District.
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So if you say, “I live in The District,”
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or, “I’m going to The District.”
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That is this part right here.
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The nations capitol.
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And sometimes the bigger area is referred to the DMV.
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Not the Department of Motor Vehicles.
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But DC, Maryland and Virginia.
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And just one thing to know,
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if you’re coming here and you’re trying to plan
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how much time to spend in DC,
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I would say don’t spend any less than three days.
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You could easily a spend a week in the greater DC area.
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There’s certainly lots of museums,
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things like that to check out.
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Capitol Building tours, but there’s lots of stuff
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in the region, including things like
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Thomas Jefferson’s house, George Washington’s house.
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Those you’ll need a car too.
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But you can easily spend a week in this area.
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If you’re really a history buff,
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you’ve never been here before,
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make sure you have plenty of time.
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The second thing to know about DC
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is about the city layout.
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And so the city layout,
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it’s a grid pattern
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that has some diagonal streets with some circles.
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And the lettered streets they run east west.
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The numbered streets they run north south.
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The diagonal streets, those are typically
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the names of states like Connecticut Avenue.
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And you should also know that DC
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is organized into four quadrants.
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And the center of DC,
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that building right behind me,
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the Capitol Building and from around it,
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there’s four quadrants.
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North West, North East, South West and South East.
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So if you have an address in DC,
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it’ll a number, a street and then
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North West, North East, South West, South East
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at the end of it.
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So if you’re plotting Google maps,
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you’re telling a taxi where to go,
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make sure you have the correct quadrant of the city.
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Otherwise you might end up some place
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completely different than you were expecting.
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The third thing to know about DC
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is getting in, or getting here.
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How do you get to DC?
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Well you could certainly drive in the DC,
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though I wouldn’t recommend it.
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DC is notorious for having some of the worst traffic
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in almost any city in the US.
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And parking can be quite expensive.
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If you’re flying into DC
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there are three airports.
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There’s Ronald Reagan, there’s Washington Dulles
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and there’s Baltimore Washington International.
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The thing about those three airports,
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none of them are actually in The District.
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Ronald Reagan DCA, it’s in Arlington in Virginia.
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That’s the closest.
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It’s just over the river.
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If you fly in there it’s just a short three,
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four stop metro ride or a 15 dollar taxi, Uber,
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into the city.
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If you fly into Washington Dulles
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that’s about 20 miles east in Virginia.
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If you fly into Baltimore, Washington,
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that’s even further up towards Baltimore.
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My favorite airports happen to be Reagan, or Dulles.
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Just really depends where you can get a direct flight to.
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Also you can take the train into DC.
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There’s the Amtrak trains.
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They come into Union Station,
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which behind me there’s the Capitol Building
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and just kind of to the left of the Capitol Building,
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there’s Union Station.
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Lots of great Amtrak trains come in from the north.
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From New York. Points that way.
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From the south as well.
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So that’s a great way to come into the city.
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Okay, the fourth thing to know
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is about transportation in DC.
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So you’ve already got here and now you need to get around.
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Well, my advice to you
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when you’re in The District is to walk.
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Use your feet and walk around
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because the traffic’s awful.
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And there is a Metro.
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So the second way to get around is to take the Metro.
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Or the subway.
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It’s called the Metro because it’s underground,
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or subway in DC.
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But when it goes into Maryland, Virginia
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then a lot of places elevated and it’s not a subway anymore.
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The Metro, or subway, is pretty efficient
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during work times on weekdays, on weekends
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and evening hours.
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The trains don’t come as frequently
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so it can be a long wait.
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It’s just not really quite as good for a tourist,
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as it is if you work here, coming here for work.
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If you are taking the Metro,
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make sure that you get a SmarTrip Card.
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I was looking for it
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but I’ll put a picture of it right up here.
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It’s kind of the re-loadable, IC card.
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You tap it on to ride, you tap it off to exit.
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They don’t do single fare cards anymore.
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You have to buy one of those.
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They’re two dollars to buy the card.
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And then you load it up with money when you ride the train.
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They have different fairs for peak hours, off peak hours.
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You can also buy day passes and things like that.
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The Metro’s not super expensive,
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so I just try to load it up with about 20 bucks
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when I get here and that lasts me quite a bit of time in DC.
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There’s also the Capitol Bikeshare, if you like to bike.
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There are 175 Capitol Bikeshare stations around the city.
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They’re the bikes that you can rent
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by the hour or by the day.
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Pick them up at one, drop them off at another one.
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That’s pretty convenient.
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Taxi’s and Uber are plentiful around the city.
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There’s Lyft as well.
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So you can take those.
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You will not definitely be without wheel transportation.
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And then of course, did I mention you can drive?
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You can, but you’re going to pay a lot of money to park.
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Alright, the fifth thing to know
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about DC is about the museums.
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The museums in Washington DC, they are fantastic.
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This particular area, the National Mall that I’m standing on
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it is like the museum capitol of the world.
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And the Smithsonian is basically the national franchise
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museums of the United States.
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All the Smithsonians are free.
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The headquarters for the Smithsonian is The Castle.
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And, let’s see, you can’t see it.
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But it’s back that way.
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Trust me, there’s a castle over there.
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The Smithsonian Castle let’s the visitors center,
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you can find out more information
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about all the Smithsonians.
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My favorite is the Air and Space Museum
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which is located pretty close to the Capitol Building
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on that side of the mall.
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That’s the right side if you’re facing the Capitol Building.
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The Air and Space Museum has lots of cool things from NASA.
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Lots of cool planes.
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Air and Space Museum has two locations.
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It’s got one on the National Mall,
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it’s got another out at Dulles Airport.
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And so if you want to see the really big things in there
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like the Space Shuttle, The Concord,
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those are all going to be out at Dulles Airport.
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And the other thing to know about museums in DC
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there’s also some other commercial museums.
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There’s the Newseum, the Spy Museum.
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Those will cost you more money.
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I haven’t been into them.
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I’ve heard the Spy Museum is pretty cool.
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But if you go to Smithsonian, free.
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And the private ones, they’re going to cost you some money.
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Still talking about museums I turned the camera around
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for this part cause I was just standing right in front
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of the Washington Monument.
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The Washington Monument is one of my favorite museums
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on the National Mall.
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What do you mean museum Chris?
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Well it has an observatory at the top
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of the Washington Monument.
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Unfortunately it’s closed until 2019 for repairs,
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but if you’re watching this after 2019,
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or you’re planning a trip here after 2019,
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make sure you get a ticket to ride the elevator
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up to the top of the Washington Monument.
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There’s excellent views up there.
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Alright, I’m going to swing the camera
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back around again to my previous position.
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And my second favorite museum in the DC area
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it’s the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.
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I had particularly mentioned this one,
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because it’s not a Smithsonian
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and so not a whole bunch of people know about it.
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But the Bureau of Engraving and Printing,
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that is where they print the money in the US
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and you can take tours in the morning
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and in the afternoon, in the winter times,
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you don’t need a reservation.
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So if you come September 5th to March 2nd,
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no reservations are needed.
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Just show up and you’ll get on a tour.
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If you come in the summer, the waits going to be pretty long
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make sure you get a reservation ahead of time.
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And the final thing to know about museums
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is some of the best gift shops in DC
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are inside the museums.
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So if you’re looking for souvenirs or things like that,
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check out the Smithsonian gift shops.
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Alright, the sixth thing to know before you come to DC
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is about Government stuff.
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I’m bet your surprised I haven’t mentioned these things
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but some of the cool things to visit,
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there’s the Capitol Building.
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If you want to visit the Capitol Building,
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book some tickets in advance.
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They do have limited tickets if you arrive the day of,
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but you can book tickets to the Capitol Building online
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or through your Congressional Representative.
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The White House, if you want to go to the White House,
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I’m going to point that way cause the White House
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is that direction from where I’m standing.
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You will need to reserve a few months before your trip
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through your Congressional Representative.
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There are no same day walk up tours for the White House.
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So that requires some advance planning.
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I personally think the Capitol Building tour is cooler
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than the White House tour.
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So if you can only do one, do the Capitol Building.
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If you come when Congress is in session
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you can also go in and sit on some Congressional sessions.
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That’s pretty neat and sometimes they’ll have tickets
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for those available the day of,
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often if you come later in the afternoon.
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You’ll have to go.
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There’s some ticket desks inside the Capitol Building.
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You just show up and say, “Hey, do you have a ticket?”
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And if they do they’ll hand you one
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and you can go up and sit in to a session.
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Alright, the seventh thing to know
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about coming to Washington DC
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is about the time to visit.
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And, you know, Washington DC is famous
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for having some pretty bad weather.
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It gets a pretty bad wrap.
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In the summer particular,
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it can get really hot and humid in DC.
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In the winter it can snow.
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The best times to visit DC is April and October.
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I’m shooting this in October.
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You might not think this is the best weather,
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but actually this kind of weather here.
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It’s breezy, it’s about 70 degrees fahrenheit.
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So not too hot, not too cold.
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The humidity always makes it feel warmer here.
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So October is a good shoulder season month,
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hotels are fairly inexpensive.
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But the best time to visit,
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March or April for Cherry Blossom season.
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And yes, it can be busy, but the Cherry Blossoms
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are truly amazing and a sight to behold.
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You will be here with everybody else and their mother,
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so it’ll be busy and packed.
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But the Cherry Blossoms truly amazing.
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Definitely don’t miss that.
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But one of my favorite times to come to DC
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is actually in the winter.
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That time when it’s cold, like December and January,
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there will be no crowds at all.
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There’s like nobody because who wants to come
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to a place that’s super cold.
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But DC actually isn’t super cold.
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And if you’re spending your time in all these buildings.
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The Capitol Building, the Smithsonian.
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You’re not actually spending all that much time outside.
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And so the fact that it’s cold doesn’t matter all that much.
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And you can get hotels that, maybe like the Park Hyatt
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in Washington DC that often go for $500 a night
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in January are like $200 a night.
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So you can get some pretty good hotels
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for pretty cheap in the winter, winter, winter.
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Alright, the eighth thing to know about Washington DC,
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it’s about hotels.
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I was just talking about those.
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So what do you want to know about hotels?
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Well the hotels, they can be really expensive
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in The District and so can parking.
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Good hotels often run an average of $200 to $300 a night.
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A lot of the people who come to DC
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obviously come here for the Government.
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The Government publishes this thing called
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the Government rate and that’s often where the rooms start
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and kind of go up from there in price.
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If you are looking for some cheaper type accommodations,
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don’t stay in The District.
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Stay in Virginia, either in Arlington.
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It’s the city that right borders DC.
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Or Alexandria just to the south of Arlington.
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There can be some more inexpensive hotels there
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that are pretty close to the Metro.
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You can just hop on the subway, head into DC.
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You get a cheaper room rate,
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you don’t have to pay as much for parking.
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It’s kind of a win win all together.
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One of my favorites in Crystal City
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is the Crystal Gateway Marriott.
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And I’ve got a video review of that.
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You can find a link to it in the description below as well.
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If you’re staying in The District
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and you like the high end hotels,
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my favorites are the Park Hyatt, Washington DC.
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One of my favorite Park Hyatts.
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And my second favorite is the Mayflower Hotel.
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Which is Marriott affiliated as a Renaissance.
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That one really close to DuPont Circle.
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So that’s a pretty neat area to stay.
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So if you want to know what the best area of DC
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to stay for a tourist is,
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I think DuPont Circle’s pretty cool
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because there’s a lot of restaurants
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and things like that around there.
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There are hotels just to the south of the Smithsonians
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and the Mall but sometimes those hotels,
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they’re really designed for Government business
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so they’re close to Government office buildings,
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and really far from anything else,
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like food or 24 hour drug stores,
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et cetera, et cetera.
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So try to stay on the north side of the National Mall
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if you are staying in The District.
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There’s just more liveliness
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and tourist amenities in that direction.
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Alright, the ninth thing to know about DC is about food.
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I always have this subject
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in all of my Things to Know videos,
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and of course we’re going to talk about it for DC.
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So what do you need to know about food in The District.
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Well, this place that I’m standing
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which is where most tourists go, The National Mall,
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has almost zero food.
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There’s maybe some hot dog trucks
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and some food trucks that show up.
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The Air and Space Museum has a Mcdonalds.
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Actually if you are looking for food,
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I think one of the best things to eat on the National Mall,
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it’s in the National Museum of the Native American.
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They have a pretty good cafeteria
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that has a lot of Native American eats.
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But the other good places,
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so that’s a little expensive
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because that’s in a Smithsonian,
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there are places that are a little bit cheaper
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just to the south of the National Mall,
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there’s a place called L’Enfant Plaza.
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It’s a big Metro stop.
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There’s a lot of good lunch options there.
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Another great place for lunch options is Union Station,
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just to the side of the Capitol Building.
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There’s a huge food court in Union Station.
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If you’re looking for dinner type things
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the area around Chinatown is pretty good.
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DuPont Circle as well.
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But I will say if you’re looking for Chinese food,
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avoid Chinatown.
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The Chinese food in Chinatown it is not good.
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I like to consider myself a connoisseur of Chinese food
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and when I first came to DC and I didn’t know any better
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I ate at those Chinese restaurants.
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They’re not good. Don’t eat there.
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If you are looking for really good Chinese food though,
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and you’re staying in Virginia, or you have a car,
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so you can head out there, there’s a place in Falls Church
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called the Peking Gourmet Inn.
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It is George Bush’s favorite Chines restaurant
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and they specialize in Peking Duck.
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I’m going to go out on a limb
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and say it is the best Peking Duck I have had
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in the United States of America.
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It is really that good.
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And I like to head out there on most trips
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that I’m out here in Washington DC.
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Provided I’m out here with at least somebody else.
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If I’m by myself then I seem like a huge glutton
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eating a Peking Duck all to myself.
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If you’re getting there for dinner,
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five or six you’ll be good, just walk it in.
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After that, make a reservation they get super busy.
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And they sell hundreds of Peking Ducks a night.
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I mean, it’s truly an amazing place.
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And on the walls they’ve got pictures
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of George Bush Jnr and George Bush Snr,
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cause they’re both their favorite restaurants.
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In The District though,
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if you want to know what some of my favorites are,
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number one is Potbelly Sandwich.
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Potbelly Sandwich is kind of a fast food sandwich chain.
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But all the sandwiches are toasted, really delicious.
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It didn’t start in DC, it started in Chicago I believe.
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But they have a ton of locations in DC.
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Their sandwiches are really good.
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My second favorite is this place called
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Moby Dick, House of Kebab.
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And Moby Dick, House of Kebab
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it is a middle-eastern kebab place
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that serves kind of like beef, lamb,
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chicken that are cooked on skewers.
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There’s delicious rice.
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I don’t know how they make the chicken,
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beef and lamb so tender and juicy,
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but they do it really good.
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Their location in DC is right around DuPont Circle.
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That’s another place I hit up almost every time I come,
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actually I think I’m going to hit that up
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right after this video.
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So they’ll probably be a picture here of me,
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not me eating it, but my plate of food
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at Moby Dick, House of Kebab.
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My third favorite, this place called Ben’s Chili Bowl.
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It’s on U Street.
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It is a African American institution in Washington DC.
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There were a bunch of riots here
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and it was like one of the few places
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that wasn’t burned down.
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Cause it’s African American owned.
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And they have what they call these Chili Half Smokes.
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They are a cross between a hot dog and a spicy sausage.
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They put chili on top.
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Probably not really good for you.
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But it is really delicious.
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And then if you want to know
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what my favorite sit down place is in DC,
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it’s Legal Sea Foods.
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It’s a Boston chain,
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but they’ve been serving their clam chowder
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to the White House for a lot of their inaugurations
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and things like that.
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And their location in The District is right in Chinatown.
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I should finally mention,
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also another neighborhood great for food
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is the Georgetown neighborhood.
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The Metro doesn’t really go there easily.
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But Georgetown is a cool place to check out,
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lots of restaurants there for the evening.
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Alright, the last thing to know,
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the tenth thing to know about DC,
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is DC it’s more than just the National Mall.
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There’s so many people that I’ve talked to,
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that when they’ve come to DC,
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this place right here that you see
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is the only place they came to.
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They came to the Mall, they checked out the museums,
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and they didn’t see all the stuff that DC
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has to offer in that direction.
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So when you come to DC,
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cause you’ll have watched my video,
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you’ll make sure to venture north off the mall
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to see the real DC.
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The place where people actually live,
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or people actually work.
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It’s a pretty cool city,
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and I already said visit Georgetown.
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Visit the Penn Quarter.
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Visit Adams Morgan if you like bars.
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That’s a great nightlife area.
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If you don’t like bars then skip Adams Morgan
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cause it can be slightly sketchy from maybe all the alcohol.
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If you like zoo’s, Washington DC has the National Zoo
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up on the Red Line.
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Check out the Smithsonian Zoo.
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It’s pretty cool. There’s pandas up there.
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I mentioned U Street.
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That’s a trendy kind of area. Up and coming,
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with Ben’s Chili Bowl.
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And some of the things I like to do when I’m in DC
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is I just like to get the subway map,
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the Metro map and from wherever I am,
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just kind of walk along one of the Metro lines.
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One of my favorite lines to walk along is the Red Line.
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Starting from Chinatown,
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and walking up towards the Smithsonian Zoo.
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And if you’re walking along where the Metro is,
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well when you get tired all you have to do,
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just get on the Metro and ride back.
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Alright, well that’s it.
19:38
I hope you enjoyed this video.
19:39
Thanks for watching.
19:40
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19:44
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19:49
Or you can click here or here
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19:54
Alright, thanks.
19:55
Bye, bye.
19:56
(gentle guitar music)