With all the GAC has to offer, one of the best opportunities itprovides is the chance to explore the nation's capital.

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The conference in Washington, D.C. each year is as good a timeas any to take advantage of all that the Metro area has to offer.The D.C. area alone offers a magnitude of museums, historicallandmarks, and political monuments. However, the area has much moreto offer beyond the well-known tourist attractions.

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The beauty of the capital district, which offers fine examplesof Neo-gothic, Romanesque, Federalist, and early Americanarchitecture, is enhanced by the rich history and broad culture thearea has to offer. The political epicenter of the country offersbeautiful architecture, art, ethnicity, and a wide variety ofrestaurants that offer excellent food and ambiance.

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While you're here, take in all the conference has to offer, butdon't forget to treat yourself to some of the things that are rightat your fingertips!

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Getting Around

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To some GAC attendees the D.C. area is familiar but to otherswho haven't regularly attended the conference, trying to make senseof the Metrorail–not to mention all the different Metrobus routesand street names–can be pretty overwhelming. The following tipsshould help:

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D.C. is broken into four different quadrants, Northwest,Southwest, Northeast, and Southeast.

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Streets and addresses are labeled, NW, SW, NE, SE to indicatethe quadrant in which it is located.

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Numbered streets run north-south.

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Lettered streets run east-west alphabetically (becoming twosyllable names, then three syllable names as you travel out fartherfrom the center).

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Avenues named for U.S. states run diagonally and often meet attraffic circles and squares.

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The U.S. Capitol building marks the center where the quadrantsmeet.

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There are five Metrorail lines that are named for colors: Red,yellow, blue, green, and orange.

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Metro stations are marked by brown pylons capped with the letter“M” and colored stripes to indicate which lines are available.

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(For Metrobus and Metrorail fares, schedules, and maps visitwww.wmata.com).

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Places to See

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The Hillwood Estate, Museum, and Gardens: The former residenceof art collector Marjorie Merriweather Post, this estate holds oneof the most comprehensive collections of eighteenth andnineteenth-century Russian Imperial art outside of Russia, as wellas an extensive collection of eighteenth-century French decorativeart. The grounds also hold beautiful gardens and walkways. Locatednear the Van Ness Metro station on the red line.

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The National Cathedral: The fourteenth-century, Gothic grandcathedral built in 1907 hosts its centennial celebration throughout 2007-2008. Aside from visiting to view the beautifularchitecture, the cathedral also is hosting The Keiskamma Project:Giving Life Through Art exhibit through March 9. The exhibit hostsembroidery, beadwork, appliqu?(C), and photography of 130townspeople of an AIDS-ravaged town in South Africa. Located nearthe Cleveland Park Metro on the red line.

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Adams Morgan: This area is well known for its ethnicaldiversity. Ethiopian, Thai, and Indian restaurants are among theofferings here. The area holds a heritage trail you can walk alongto view a variety of mural art. Try and visit Madam Organs, one ofthe area's live music venues. The first Tuesday of every month,Adams Morgan Main Street sponsors shopping and eating discounts.Take the Metro to Woodley Park-Zoo/Adams Morgan or hop in acab.

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The National Geographic Museum at Explores Hall: The museumoffers free educational exhibits that display adventure andscientific research. Events and lectures available to the publictake place through out the month. On March 4 at noon the museum isoffering a free screening of the National Geographic all Roads FilmProject. To view other events visit,www.nationalgeographic.com/musuem.

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Dining

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The surrounding area of the Convention Center provides excellentdining options–whether for a quick bite on your own, a lunchmeeting, or for dinner on the way back to the hotel at the end ofthe day.

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For lunch consider:

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Caf?(C) Phillips: (650 Massachusetts Ave., NW). Offers freshlycarved turkey and roast beef sandwiches daily.

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5 Guys Famous Burgers: (808 H Street, NW). Zagat-rated, servesburgers, fries, and hot dogs. Visit www.fiveguys.com to check outthe menu.

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Capital Q BBQ: (707 H Street, NW). The place the locals go forbrisket, pulled pork, chicken and sausage. Visitwww.capitalqbbq.com for the complete menu and to view their livecamera to see how crowded it is at lunch time.

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Chop't: (730 7th Street, NW). You pick the salad ingredient,they chop it and serve it. Also offers the offercreate-your-own-flatbread sandwich. Visit www.choptsalad.com.

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Lawson's Deli: (901 New York Avenue, NW). Serves traditionallunch sandwiches.

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For the familiarity of large national food chains, the area alsooffers Ruby Tuesdays, McDonald's, Chipotle, Fuddruckers, andPotbelly's.

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For dinner:

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Acadiana: (901 New York Avenue, NW). For Southern-style foodthat combines the old and the new of the southern region of theMississippi Delta, Bayous, and Gulf of Mexico.(www.acadianarestuarant.com.)

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Lima: (1401 K Street, NW). Offers a weekly Latin-infused menuand is known for its combination of excellent food and ambiance.(www.limarestuarant.com).

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Zaytinya: (701 9th Street, NW). Serves a variety of Greek,Turkish, and Lebanese food (www.zaytinya.com).

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Oya: (777 9th Street, NW). For French Asian cuisine and sushi.(www.oyadc.com).

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Zengo: (781 7th Street, NW). For Latin Asian cuisine(www.modernmexican.com).

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Just For Fun

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Voice of America's 24-hour, multimedia international newsbroadcast studio offers free tours to the public. Voice of Americabegan in 1942, as a response to the needs of people in closed andwar-torn societies seeking reliable news. The studio offers free,45-minute tours that go behind the scenes of the live broadcaststhat are guided by audio and video features. Tours are offered from12 p.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday, and reservations can bemade online or by calling (202) 203-4990. Address: 330 IndependenceAve. SW.

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Madame Tussauds' wax museum just opened in D.C. this pastOctober. The museum holds four different themed rooms of waxreplicas including a Spirit of D.C. room. Famous faces here includepolitical figures such as George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, andFranklin D. Roosevelt. There also is an Oval Office and replica ofthe U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence that visitorscan take pictures with. There is also a Behind the Scenes roomwhere visitors can get a look at how the wax figures are made, aGlamour room in which visitors can pose with A-list “celebrities,”and a Sports room. Address: 1025 F Street NW.

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Lucky Strikes Lanes combines state-of-the-art lanes with gourmetdining and cocktails. Located at the Verizon center the bowlingalley makes for a good night time spot for a group. Address: 7017th Street NW.

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Bureau of Engraving and Printing lets you tour the “MoneyFactory” and watch millions of dollars roll off the press. The tourfeatures all the steps of printing money from blank sheets of paperto the money in your pocket. Address: 14th and C Street, SW.

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John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, the living memorialto JFK features free performances daily on the Millennium Stage.Address: 2700 F Street, NW.

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Congressional Hot Spots

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Drink and dine and watch for members of Congress at some oftheir favorite hangouts.

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The Monocle: (107 D Street, NE). Located on the Senate side ofCapitol Hill, this spot is a known favorite of members of Congress,staff, and lobbyists and has been visited by every U.S. presidentsince Kennedy. Open for lunch and dinner serving American cuisinewith a full service bar.

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The Hawk 'n' Dove Restaurant: (329 Pennsylvania Ave, SE). Asix-room bar and restaurant that serves sandwiches and burgersuntil 1 a.m. during the week and 2 a.m. on weekends. “It's a placewhere staffers, both Democrat and Republican, gather to gripe abouttheir bosses, the restaurant's Web site quips. (Never by name, ofcourse. The etiquette is to refer to “my member,” in case the otherguys are eavesdropping.)

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Other favorites include: Tune Inn (331 Pennsylvania Ave, SE),Pour House (319 Pennsylvania Ave, SE), and Capitol Lounge (229Pennsylvania Ave, SE). Visit the Capitol Lounge Web site atwww.capitolloungedc.com for fun facts on the presidents.

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