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City Sights—from a Metrobus

A cheap, but up-close, view of the District, including sights of Georgetown, the Sherman Monument, and the White House.

Photograph courtesy of Shutterstock

Why you might roll your eyes:

It’s a ride on a Metrobus. Not everyone’s idea of a fun time.

Why you’ll love it:

The 30N and 30S buses (formerly the 36 and 32 routes) are among the most unique rides you’ll take across DC. It’s about a 13-mile course from one end of the city to the other, giving a DIY tour of the District.

Grab a window seat at the Friendship Heights end of the line. As you sail down Wisconsin Avenue and turn onto Pennsylvania, the anthropology of the city comes alive- you’ll spy boutique shoppers in Georgetown, students scurrying through Foggy Bottom, downtown office workers. It’s a chance to see the people who make up our city in action- the caterer precariously walking a steaming silver bowl outside a swank hotel, the Street Sense vendors, kids tossing snowballs beneath the William Tecumseh Sherman Monument on 15th Street.

You can spot sightseeing locales on the ride, too. The Washington Monument hovers in the background for a few moments as the bus heads toward Penn Quarter, and there’s a broadside view of the White House before that near H Street, Northwest. But it’s really a chance to finally see the things you may only have heard of- that hidden gem of a deli on Capitol Hill everyone talks about, that leafy park you always meant to visit. If you want to explore a little more, you can always pull the cord and hop off.

Skinny Capitol Hill rowhouses transition into yards and single-family homes as the bus crosses the river into Anacostia. It’s a world many Washingtonians don’t frequent but an integral part of the tour, as the bus comes full circle from one city border to the other. The terminus of the 90-minute journey is at either the Naylor Road or the Southern Avenue Metro station. The whole ride might not be as structured or historically informational as a professional tour, but it’s a truer perspective of our city. Plus, it’s a lot cheaper.

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