Washington, D.C. Accommodations, 2201 Wisconsin Ave. N.W., #C-110, (800) 554-2220.
Washington, D.C. Convention and Visitors Center, 1212 New York Ave. N.W., #600, (202) 789-7000, www.washington.org.
Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, 600 Fifth St. N.W., Washington, (202) 637-7000, www.wmata.com.
Black History National Recreation Trail, National Park Service, 1100 Ohio Drive S.W., (202) 619-7222. A brochure guides you to D.C. spots significant in African-American history.
B'Nai B'rith Klutznick National Jewish Museum, 1640 Rhode Island Ave. N.W., (202) 857-6583, free. Jewish heritage and history are described and artistically rendered here.
Capitol Children's Museum, 800 Third St. N.E., (202) 675-4120, www.ccm.org. For kids ages 2-12, this museum's interactive exhibits concentrate on the arts, science, and culture.
Corcoran Gallery, 500 17th St. N.W., (202) 639-1700. Founded in 1869, the Corcoran is home to Washington's oldest collection of art. The exhibit Stamp Collection--Imaging South Africa opens June 30 and closes Aug. 13.
Folger Shakespeare Library, 201 E. Capitol St. S.E., (202) 544-7077, www.folger.edu, free. The Folgers were an intellectual couple who at the turn of the century began collecting and studying the works of William Shakespeare. Today this namesake monument to the Bard offers performances, readings, exhibits, and lectures.
Fransican Monastery, 1400 Quincy St. N.E., (202) 526-6800, free. Hourly tours of this building and its enclosed garden provide a glimpse into monastic life.
Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, Anacostic Avenue and Douglas Street N.E., (202) 426-6905, free. You won't be alone while admiring Kenilworth's waterlilies, lotuses, water hyacinths, and bamboo plants--frogs, water bugs, and dragonflies are apt to join you.
Library of Congress, 10 First St. S.E., (202) 707-8000, free. This might not be your idea of a vacation hot spot, but if you need to research something, the Library of Congress' vast collection of archival material, rare artifacts, and other resources not yet found on the Internet can make you as happy as if you were sunning yourself on the beach. Honest.
National Air and Space Museum, Sixth Street and Independence Avenue S.W., (202) 357-2700, www.nasm.si.edu. The most popular of the museums that make up the Smithsonian Institution--in fact, the most visited museum in the world--includes the Wright Brothers' 1903 flyer, the Apollo 11 lunar command module, and the Albert Einstein Planetarium.
National Building Museum, 401 F St. N.W., (202) 272-2448, www.nbm.org. The world's largest Corinthian columns make this museum dedicated to the arts of architecture and building design, engineering, and construction quite an impressive structure itself. The Great Hall has been the site of 14 presidential inaugural balls.
National Mall, between Constitution and Independence avenues S.W., (202) 485-9880, www.nps.gov/nama. Sorry, there's no Gap or Foot Locker at this mall. But there is plenty of green space lorded over by giant monuments to dead American politicians: Lincoln, Jefferson, Washington, Franklin Roosevelt. At one end of this two-mile stretch of grass sits the U.S. Capitol, where live American politicians do their thing.
National Museum of Women in the Arts, 1250 New York Ave. N.W., (202) 783-5000, nmwa.org. This museum contains more than 1,500 pieces by 400 female artists from 40 countries.
National Portrait Gallery, Eight and F streets N.W., (202) 357-2700, www.npg.si.edu, free. Presidents and other famous Americans lines the walls of this gallery. Portraits of them, that is.
National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, 400 Michigan Ave. N.E., (202) 526-8300, free. This Roman Catholic shrine preserves the nation's largest collection of contemporary Christian art. Free tours are conducted, and the book and gift shop is full of stuff both your grandma and your hip friends would dig.
National Zoological Park, 3001 Connecticut Ave. N.W., (202) 357-2700, www.si.edu/natzoo/, free. Pandas are back, joining the thousands of other creatures great and small on display here for your viewing pleasure.
Scandal Tours, (202) 783-7212. The gossipy Gross National Product comedy group hosts this libelous tour of Washington's more sordid sites, where disreputable D.C. characters (allegedly) did unseemly things. The slander starts 1 p.m. on Saturdays.
U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, 100 Raoul Wallenberg Place S.W., (202) 488-0400, www.ushmm.com. The Holocaust Museum provides a somber, moving, at times harsh, and always detailed exploration of the genocide conducted by Nazi Germany. Learn even more at the research library.
Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Constitution Avenue and Henry Bacon Drive N.W., (202) 634-1568. The idea couldn't be much more simple: To honor Americans killed during the Vietnam War, built a granite wall and carve their names on it. The result couldn't be much more moving. The Vietnam Women's Memorial ( 426-6841) is in a grove of trees across the way.
White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W., (202) 456-7041, www.whitehouse.gov. If you've been watching the TV comedy That's My Bush, remember: That's just a show. It's not real. So don't think you can just walk up to the White House door and go on in whenever you wish, like people do on the program. Tours are available only from 10 a.m.-noon Tuesday through Saturday; call for information on how to get tickets. The rest of the show--the part about the president being really stupid--is totally accurate though.
DanceAfrica, D.C., June 9-10, Dance Place, 3225 Eighth St. N.E., (202) 269-1600, www.danceplace.org. This annual festival celebrates the dance and music of African-American communities. This year's festival is appropriately subtitled Honoring Women of African Decent: Their Beauty, Strength, Wisdom, and Contributions. An Afrocentric marketplace gives you something to buy.
Folklife Festival, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. June 27-July 1 and July 4-8, National Mall, Constitution and Independence avenues, (202) 357-2700. Celebrate the folk culture of the Americas and far beyond during this always-fabulous omnibus of music, food, arts and crafts, workshops, storytelling, and family activities.
Prophets of Peace: The Will to Make a Difference, 8 p.m. June 11, Kennedy Center, 2700 F St. N.W., (800) 444-1324, www.kennedy-center.org. Four Nobel Peace Prize laureates--Lech Walesa, Oscar Arias, Jody Williams, and David Trimble--join PBS President Pat Mitchell for an evening dedicated to the pursuit of peace.
Smithsonian Summer Camps for Kids, June 25-Aug. 10, Smithsonian Institution, (202) 357-3030, www.smithsonianassociates.org. Full or half-day one-week sessions for kids ages 4-13 explore topics such Beyond Art, TV Smithsonian: Journey to Outer Space, and Whirligigs and Wangdoodles. Early registration is suggested.
If you live in Baltimore, Washington isn't much of a getaway distance-wise. But the two cities are so different from each other that you'll feel like you've journeyed to another planet. Here are a few places to land your spaceship:
Adams Inn, 1744 Lanier Place N.W., (202) 745-3600, www.adamsinn.com. This bed and breakfast offers cheap accommodations in a city that isn't known for them.
H.H. Leonards Mansion, 2020 O St. N.W., (202) 496-2000. Modern digs in historic Dupont Circle, with Internet access and satellite TV.
Hostelling International--Washington D.C., 1009 11th St. N.W., (202) 737-2333. For little cost, this 250-bed hostel gives you a bed and the chance to meet people from the far reaches of the nation and the world. Pretend you're a far-off visitor too and see how long you can keep up the charade.
SPORTS & RECREATION
D.C. United, RFK Stadium, (703) 478-6600. There is no baseball in our nation's capital, but there is soccer, courtesy of the major-league D.C. United.
Washington Mystics, MCI Center, 601 F St. N.W., (410) 481-7328, www.washingtonmystics.com. There is no jai alai in D.C., but there is women's basketball, courtesy of the Washington Mystics.
Politics and Prose Bookstore/Coffeehouse, 5015 Connecticut Ave. N.W., (202) 364-1919, politics-prose.com. A selective bookstore in a world of Barnes and Nobles, a bohemian coffeehouse in a city with a Starbucks on every corner, a safe place for intellectual thinking in a culture that discourages it. On June 20 at 7 p.m., author Julis Alvarez presents her newest book In the Name of Salome.
Pope John Paul II Cultural Center, 3900 Harewood Road N.E., (202) 319-4100, www.jp2cuturalcenter.org. The Roman Catholic Church needs money. Help it out by purchasing something at the PJPII Center's three gift shops, which sell fine art, religious icons, books, and music.
Second Story Books and Antiques, 2000 P St. N.W., (202) 659-8884. If you have the time and if you don't mind a little dust, browse through Second Story's old maps, rare and used books, and curios--many pertaining to Washington. It's the place for souvenir hunting once you've exhausted the postcard racks.
Very Special Arts Gallery, 1300 Connecticut Ave. N.W., (202) 628-0800. This nonprofit gallery offers works by artists with disabilities.
Washington Design Center, 300 D St. S.W. #630, (202) 554-5053, www.dcdesigncenter.com. In 1982, this refrigerated warehouse was converted into 75 showrooms of residential and commercial design products. Martha Stewart be damned.
812 Park Ave.
Baltimore, MD 21201