The offer came in. You signed the letter. You gave your two weeks. And to boot, you have time off that coincides with warm weather. Welcome to funemployment, my friend. (Queue victory dance.)
Maybe you have a eurotrip on the books, or perhaps you’re headed home for some down time with the fam. However, if you’re spending some of your funemployment in the nation’s capital, here is a starter guide for how to entertain yourself – at least on the days you actually decide to put on pants and be a human being.
Whether you’re a history buff, a fitness guru, a day drinker, or all of the above, there’s something on this list for you.
The Mansion on O Street
The Mansion on O Street is one of the most intriguing and secretive DC attractions. Hidden just below Dupont Circle between 20th and 21st, the Mansion is actually a stretch of five townhouses connected by more than 70 hidden doors and secret passageways. Three of the townhouses were connected by the original architect who resided there, but the now-five-home property was most famously used in the 1930s by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, who retained the residence as a headquarters for his G-Men.
For $15, you can reserve a self-guided tour, and freely wander the 100+ plus rooms of the mysterious Mansion. Reservations fill up on the weekends, but if you are lucky enough to snag a weekday-slot, you may have the whole place to yourself! See how many secret tunnels and hidden doors you’re able to find. (I’ve been four times, and have only managed to uncover 6.) If that isn’t enough of an incentive, everything you see in the Mansion is available for purchase – art, furniture, books, trinkets, and pretty much everything else you can imagine.
Take Your Workout Outside
If your idea of funemployment does not include exercise, kindly skip to the next section. For those of you that like physical activity and are looking forward to having the freedom to work out during any time of the day, here are some ways to mix it up that you may not be able to do during your regular work week.
- The Rock Creek Exercise Park | Connecticut Ave and Calvert St
- On the sprawling hill below Calvert Street, there is a huge outdoor exercise park with equipment and fitness stations for public use. On a sunny day, take your usual workout plan out of the gym and into the park, or follow this Ultimate Rock Creek Workout published by the Washingtonian. Maybe pack a bag with mimosa ingredients (and water, duh) and a breakfast sandwich to enjoy post-sweat sesh. Why not? You got nowhere to be.
- Kayaking on the Potomac | Key Bridge Boathouse, 3500 Water St. NW
- The Key Bridge Boathouse in Georgetown opens up bright and early between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Head down as early as 9:00 am during the week (8:00 am on weekends) and take a kayak out on the Potomac for less than $20/hour. Row yourself past the Georgetown waterfront, over to the Kennedy Center, and back under the Key Bridge for a decent upper body workout and great views. If stand-up paddleboards are more your speed, those are available for $22/hour (just don’t fall in – you might grow a third arm).
- The November Project
- For you early risers who want to start your day off with a bang, check out the November Project fitness classes that occur all over the District. Founded in Boston, the November Project is a free group fitness program that originated as a way for people to stay in shape during the nasty New England winters. To quote their website, “Our members vary from Olympic medalists, professional athletes, marathoners, triathletes, current and former collegiate athletes all the way to complete fitness rookies and recent couch potatoes just looking to kickstart their healthy life choices.” The DC schedule is as follows:
- Mondays: Meridian Hill Park, NE corner, 6:30 am
- Last Monday of the month: Capitol Hill, Peace Circle, 6:30 am
- Wednesdays: Lincoln Memorial steps, 5:30 am and 6:30 am
- Fridays: new location every week, 6:30 am, announced Wednesdays via Facebook/Twitter
Early Happy Hours
Surely you’ve figured out by now that DC is a Happy Hour-centric city. For the duration of your funemployment, you will not be bound by the 9-5 workday or last-minute requests to extend your hours and draft press releases. Take advantage of it! Here are some DC hotspots with Happy Hour schedules that lend themselves quite nicely to the ranks of the funemployed.
- Duke’s Grocery | 1513 17th Street NW
- Neighborhood: Dupont
- Happy Hour: 12:00-7:00pm Monday-Friday
- Deals: $5 beer, $5 wine, $5 rail drinks
- Munch on: Proper Burger, truffle mac n’ cheese, avocado toast, pickle pots
- Mackey’s Public House | 1823 L St. NW
- Neighborhood: Downtown
- Happy Hour: 12:00-7:00pm Monday-Friday
- Deals: $3-$5 draft beer, $4 wine, $4 rail drinks
- Munch on: Steak nachos, shepherd’s pie, fish n’ chips
- Dangerously Delicious Pies | 1339 H St. NE
- Neighborhood: H Street NE (Atlas District)
- Happy Hour: All day
- Deals: 2 for $5 Natty Boh’s
- Munch on: SMOG pie (steak-mushroom-onion-gruyere), pancake batter pie, crab & cheddar quiche
- Slipstream | 1333 14th Street NW
- Neighborhood: 14th Street/Logan Circle
- Happy Hour: 3:00-7:00pm Daily
- Deals: $4 beer, $7 wine, $7 cocktails and $7 “decompression” combos, such as “Shot and a Beer” (lager and a shot of espresso) or “Coffee and a Shot” (house coffee and a shot of Old Overholt Rye Whiskey)
- Munch on: Avocado & goat cheese toast, house-made pickles
- The Diner | 2453 18th St. NW
- Neighborhood: Adams Morgan
- Happy Hour: 2:00-6:00pm Monday-Friday
- Deals: $3 Tallboys, $4 draft beer; $5 wine
- Munch on: Pretzel bites, BLT, fried chicken & french toast
Believe it or not, there are some cool places accessible on our metro line. If you just can’t summon the stamina for another crowded Smithsonian tour, hop the Blue Line down to the King Street metro and take the trolley into Old Town Alexandria. If you’re in the mood to shop, you’ll be in the right place, because Alexandria is overflowing with vintage consignment shops, high-end retailers, antique stores and gourmet food markets. When lunch time rolls around, treat yourself to crab cakes or a shrimp po’boy by the water at Chadwick’s (203 Strand Street). Chadwick’s in Georgetown sadly closed its doors last year after losing its lease, so I for one am glad I can still get my fix a few metro stops away.
After lunch, take a 5 minute stroll over to the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum ($5 admission) and explore the potions and elixirs that have been preserved for nearly 100 years since it’s closure in 1933. Alexandria is always a treat, but it’s especially enjoyable if you can explore it without the congestion of weekend crowds.
For those of you who might be new here, I’ll let you in on a little secret: the DC estate sale scene is a force to be reckoned with. Forget those half-assed garage sales you’ve seen on the roadside where every item bears a suspicious-looking stain. Long-time Districters accumulate interesting, high-quality, and sometimes rare artifacts. I even met one owner who was selling 50-year-aged bottles of Scotch for $5 a piece because he no longer drank. If you’re into interior design, vintage clothing, art, music or (apparently) liquor, check out estatesales.net and make a note of the sales scheduled in your zip code. A lot of them are on weekends, but many also start Thursday/Friday, and because you will be FREEEE from work, you can get in before anyone else and have first dibs.
Hopefully now you have some ideas for how to use your precious time off. If not, there’s always Netflix.