Freshman Orientation Guide: Metro: Explore D.C.

While it may be comforting to stick to the confines of campus, as a student in the nation’s capital you should take advantage of the endless possibilities for adventure and exploration. Armed with a SmarTrip, take a ride on the Metro to enjoy just a few of the opportunities the District and surrounding area have to offer.

Nationals Park

With a winning percentage under .500, the Nationals may not be the best baseball team in the Major League, but at $5 a ticket, the price is right. College students can also get discounted tickets with a student I.D. on games played Monday through Thursday nights. During the game, the President’s Race – with large mascots dressed as former Presidents George Washington, Abe Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson and Teddy Roosevelt running around the outskirts of the field – provides entertainment other than baseball. On Friday nights, fans can enjoy a fireworks display after the game. And with the addition of Stephen Strasburg, the Nats may even have a chance this year. D.C.-ers also love supporting the home team, so ever game turns into a celebration.

Green line to Navy Yard / www.nationals.com

The Comedy Spot

Looking for a laugh? Head over to the Comedy Spot, located at the Ballston Common Mall in Arlington, Va. Improvised comedy shows similar to “Who’s Line is it Anyway?” are performed on Friday and Saturday nights, with a PG rated show at 7:30 p.m. and an R rated show at 10 p.m. The performers encourage audience participation, so be prepared to contribute. Buy the $15 tickets online and receive a buy one, get one free college student discount.

Orange line to Ballston/www.comedyindc.com

Old Town Alexandria

Escape the city to enjoy the unique sights and sounds of Old Town Alexandria, located just outside of the city limits. For history buffs, there is plenty to see, including Gadsby’s Tavern, a museum of 18th-century antiques and the boyhood home of Robert E. Lee. For those who wish to keep history in the lecture hall, there is a variety of boutique-style shops selling everything from antiques and jewelry to Washington souvenirs.

Blue line to King Street/www.visitalexandriava.com

Eastern Market

Open on Saturdays and Sundays, the weekend outside farmers’ line at Eastern Market – located in the southeast quadrant of D.C. – is the place to find fresh produce and one-of-a-kind arts and crafts within city limits. Exhibitors set up tents and booths with goods ranging from hand-crafted jewelry to purses made out of covers of old books. Live music and street performers provide a lively and exciting atmosphere for shoppers. The inside shops are open seven days a week which sell fresh fruit, imported cheeses and meats. A stand also sells fresh breads.

Blue line to Eastern Market/www.easternmarket-dc.org

Ben’s Chili Bowl

Take a trip to the D.C. culinary landmark, visited by President Obama the week before his inauguration in January 2009. The menu offers different twists on chili including chili dogs, chili con carne and chili burgers. For vegetarians, options include veggie burgers and vegetarian chili. Hours extend until 4 a.m. on the weekends to satisfy any late-night chili craving.

Green line to U Street and Cardozo/www.benschilibowl.com

Kramerbooks & Afterwords Café

Book lovers and dessert lovers alike will enjoy their visit to Kramerbooks in Dupont Circle. Open 24 hours on Fridays and Saturdays, the bookstore has been voted the best bookstore in the Washington D.C. City Paper’s 2009 reader poll. The wait time for a table is oftentimes long on weekends, but that gives visitors a chance to browse the broad selection of books the store has to offer. The menu features tempting desserts including “death by chocolate,” Boston cream pie and apple crumb pie.

Red line to Dupont Circle/www.kramers.com

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