LAWG Week: Experience the Best of DC by Patricia Moore Shaffer

I’m Patricia Moore Shaffer, Deputy Director for Research & Analysis at the National Endowment for the Arts and Communications Chair for Washington Evaluators (WE). I’m excited to welcome you to Washington, DC, for the American Evaluation Association conference this November. Our city offers many interesting diversions, including arts and cultural destinations and outdoor experiences. Plan to arrive a day early or extend your visit by a day to take advantage of some of the Washington, DC, area’s bountiful attractions. Here are some of the city’s many attractions that might entice you to stay that extra day.

Hot Tips: Suggestions for Independent Visits

We think of Washington, DC, as a city of memorials and museums, but there are plenty of opportunities for stunningly beautiful urban hikes and nature walks. If you want an outdoors experience in the heart of the nation’s capital, Rock Creek Park has over 32 miles of hiking trails and paths to explore. After visiting the John F. Kennedy gravesite and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery, walk up to the Arlington House, Robert E. Lee’s former home, for a stunning vista of downtown Washington, DC. Great Falls is my go-to hiking destination in the Washington, DC, area. Early November is a perfect time to enjoy the late fall colors and the cooler temperatures on the trails. If you’re an experienced hiker, try the Billy Goal Trail with nearly a mile of fun rock-hopping and wonderful views of the Potomac River.

One of the premier performing arts centers in the nation is the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The Tony Award-winning musical, The Book of Mormon, is scheduled during Evaluation 2017, but if musicals aren’t your taste, you’re sure to find other options. Check out the free performance at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage every evening at 6pm. The Kennedy Center is accessible via a free shuttle from the Foggy Bottom Metro Station. Other performing arts companies and venues, including Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Arena Stage, Shakespeare Theatre Company, and Ford’s Theatre, round out DC’s cultural offerings.

Washington, DC, is rich in museums of every type. Most of the national museums, including the Smithsonian and the National Gallery, offer free admission. Watch this week for an upcoming post by Hilary Cook about organized group tours during Evaluation 2017 to some of the city’s premier museums.

There are so many more attractions in Washington, DC, than can be described in a short post. For more information on transportation to the conference site and nearby restaurants, please visit the Evaluation 2017 local resource guide on the WE website.

Safe travels!

We’re looking forward to November and the Evaluation 2017 annual conference all this week with our colleagues in the Local Arrangements Working Group (LAWG). Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to contribute to aea365? Review the contribution guidelines and send your draft post to

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