Washington, D.C.

This Week in History: The Smithsonian was Founded


The Smithsonian Institution Building, dating from the 1850’s.

The Smithsonian Institution Building, dating from the 1850’s.

Credit: U.S. National Library of Medicine

Much like the country itself, this all-American institution owes it beginnings to England. It all began with a bequest from British scientist James Smithson (who, oddly enough, never visited the United States). In his will from 1829, Smithson stipulated that should his nephew pass away without heirs, his fortune would be left “to the United States of America, to found at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge.”

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Washington, D.C.

The Best of the Lesser-Known Museums in DC

For the DC museum buff, The Air and Space Museum, the American History Museum and the National Gallery are can’t-miss attractions. But once you’ve seen the same permanent collection for the umpteenth time, you’ll likely want to expand your horizons. These five museums have quieter reputations but are sure to intrigue, enlighten and inspire you.

National Postal Museum One of the smaller members of the Smithsonian, the National Postal Museum showcases the inside story on all things mail and is housed in a formerly active post office. It illuminates how mail gets delivered and traces its history from the Pony Express to Airmail and more. In addition, it features the world’s largest collection of stamps, including Amelia Earhart’s personal collection. (A famed aviatrix and a stamp collector—who knew?)


Photo: Some rights reserved by NCinDC

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Washington, D.C.

This Weekend in DC: International Food Experiences with SideTour

Ever wish you could travel to a far-flung locale without the tedious airport lines? At these SideTour experiences, you’ll enjoy one of our favorite aspects to traveling—eating delicious exotic foods—while staying close to home in the DC metro area.

Savor the Flavors of Little Ethiopia Saturday afternoon’s SideTour takes you on a stroll through the Ethiopian enclave of U Street through 9th Street, which boasts the largest Ethiopian community outside of Africa. Along the way, you’ll taste delicacies like fried lentil appetizers, traditional spicy meats and Ethiopian honey wine.


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Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C.

Celebrate the 4th of July Spirit with SideTour

Enjoying our country’s independence with your family and friends doesn’t have to end at the fireworks. Keep the spirit going at a SideTour that ups your grilling game, boosts your bartending skills or even teaches you a thing or two about the American Revolution itself.



Become a Grill Master Expand your repertoire beyond hotdogs and hamburgers in this upcoming SideTour, where you’ll prep and grill impressive recipes including grilled guacamole, Chimichurri steak, whiskey pineapple and bacon-wrapped shrimp.

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Washington, D.C.

Get Artsy in DC this Week with SideTour

Looking to dip your toes into something creative this week? These SideTour experiences give you the chance to shoot frame-worthy photos, view a museum’s masterpieces or even dive into a BYOB painting session, all under the tutelage of a brilliant expert host.

Take Pro-Quality Shots with Your Digital Camera Under the guidance of a photojournalist, you’ll learn how to use the white balance settings on your DSLR in order to capture riveting shots through the use of color and light. You can choose to explore nighttime photography on Wednesday evening or capture daylight shots on Saturday afternoon.

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Washington, D.C.

Hot Ticket in DC this Weekend: Bourbon Bash

Looking for some day-drinking festivities without having to wait until the 4th of July? Then grab some friends and sign up for the rain or shine Bourbon Bash.


Photo: Four Roses’ Facebook page

Why it’s awesome The Bourbon Bash is no average pub-crawl. Spend your Saturday traveling to eight DC venues, each pouring a different variety of premium bourbon. Since drinking several shots of high-test liquor in a single afternoon isn’t recommended, you’re encouraged to plan your tastings. For example, you can opt for the “creamy, mellow palate” and “ripened red berries” of Four Roses Small Batch. Or if it’s more your style, try the Four Roses Yellow Label, with its “pear and apple,” “floral aromas” and a “taste of honey and spice.” There are food specials at each venue so you can nosh while you drink, or you can buy a special VIP ticket that includes a lunch entrée at one of two spots.

How to sign up Hurry now so you can savor and sip later: secure tickets in advance as none will be sold at the door. A portion of your purchase price will be donated to charity.

If mid-week happy hour is your preferred boozy indulgence, sign up for next week’s SideTour, where you’ll partake in Prohibition-era cocktails.

Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C.

Dive Into Team Building That’s Actually Worth the Instagramming


Harvard alumni group making paella at a 3-course Spanish feast.

At SideTour, trust falls and rope courses just aren’t our style—and it looks like a ton of awesome businesses and clubs agree with us. We’re thrilled to say that the past few months have been super busy for SideTour for Companies, working with dozens of groups as diverse as Microsoft to OKCupid to Vanderbilt’s alumni network. Continue Reading

Washington, D.C.

5 Best Ice Cream Shops in Washington DC

The DC summer heat gets a little bit more bearable with a big ole scoop of cold, rich ice cream. But don’t settle for just any spoonful. These five ice cream shops dish up homemade flavors worth every calorie of a guilty pleasure. (If you’re really concerned, the milk-based gelato options are a bit lighter.)

1. Max’s Best Ice Cream and Sandwich Shop

The beloved Glover Park parlor has been serving up homemade scoops for over 20 years. The flavor options stay mostly within the customary dessert-based realm, with regulars raving about the Mexican Vanilla (spiked with cinnamon) and the Honey Graham. You’ll have to hurry in, though—a lease dispute with the landlord means that Max’s may close shop on June 30.

2416 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC 20007 (202-333-3111) (no website)

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Washington, D.C.

Hidden in DC: The Secrets of Cafe Mozart

This unassuming storefront is a German deli, bar and restaurant all in one.

From first impression, Café Mozart—located mere blocks from the White House—looks like a typical German-style deli, stocked with all sorts of sausages and ham, as well as European sweets such as Toblerone and Milka on the shelves.

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Chicago, New York, Washington, D.C.

The Perfect Mother’s Day Gift Idea

If Mom lives in the New York, D.C. or Chicago areas (or has plans to be in town), consider your Mother’s Day gift shopping done.

SideTour has partnered with H. Bloom to put together the perfect Mother’s Day gift package. Mom will receive a stunning Signature Selection Bouquet from H.Bloom, plus a $40 credit toward any SideTour experience. That means in NYC she can enjoy a ladies’ afternoon high tea, in DC she could learn the secrets of homemade Italian desserts, or in Chicago she might whip up some all-natural skincare remedies for spring.

The whole package is $100 and includes delivery on the Saturday before Mother’s day.

Order now at SideTour.com.

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