• Shop at Eastern Market: Capitol Hill is home to more than government buildings; it's a community of old town houses, antiques shops, and the veritable institution Eastern Market. Here, the locals barter and shop every Saturday and Sunday for fresh produce, baked goods, and flea-market bargains. A must: the blueberry pancakes at the Market Lunch counter. 

  • Pub and Club It in D.C.'s Hot Spots: Join Washington's footloose and fancy-free any night of the week, but especially Thursday through Saturday, along along 14th Street, in Shaw, Adams Morgan, the Capitol Riverfront, the Wharf in southwest waterfront, Georgetown’s waterfront, and the Penn Quarter.

  • Go for a Jog on the National Mall: Lace up your running shoes and race down the Mall at your own pace, admiring famous sites as you go. Your fellow runners will be buff military staff from the Pentagon, speed-walking members of Congress, and downtown workers doing their best to stave off the telltale pencil pusher's paunch. It's about 2 miles from the foot of the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial.

  • Attend a Hometown Game: Take yourself out to a Washington Nationals baseball game at Nationals Park, drive to FedEx Field to root for Washington’s NFL team along with its rabid fans, catch a Washington Wizards or Mystics basketball game at the downtown Capital One Arena, or hop the Metro to the new soccer stadium at Buzzard Point for a D.C. United match. To experience the true soul of the city, attend a Washington Capitals ice hockey match. Wear red. 

  • Take in Some Live Music: One of the best ways to make yourself feel at one with locals is by enjoying the live music scene together, not so much in large concert halls, but in smaller, seated venues such as Blues Alley (jazz and blues) in Georgetown; the Hamilton (blues, rock, or country) in the Penn Quarter; Mr. Henry’s (jazz; 601 Pennsylvania Ave. SE; www.mrhenrysdc.com; tel. 202/546-8412) on Capitol Hill; and Madam’s Organ (different versions of blues every night, in Adams Morgan.

  • Sit at an Outdoor Cafe and Watch the Washington World Go By: Locals watching locals. What better way to keep tabs on each other? The capital is full of seats offering front-row views of D.C. on parade. Here’s a bunch: Fiola Mare (not a cafe, but its terrace tables can’t be beat for watching Georgetown’s waterfront scene, Le Bon Café, Café du Parc, Central, Zaytinya, Le Diplomate, and Martin’s Tavern

  • Take Tea at the Top of Washington National Cathedral: Join a certain segment of Washington society (mostly women friends and moms and daughters) for tea and a tour. Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons at 1:30pm you can tour the world's sixth-largest cathedral, then indulge in tea, scones, and lemon tarts served on the seventh floor of the West Tower (Pilgrim Observation Gallery), whose arched windows overlook the city and beyond to Sugarloaf Mountain in Maryland.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.