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Kitty Tours: Statues and Monuments in DC

This is definitely disturbing. Kitty Tours has chosen to ignore all of the sculptures and monuments in Southeast. In case you're wondering what it takes to make the Kitty Tours short list, the menu along the left portion of the page includes all of the sculptures and monuments in the rest of the quadrants (yes, each other quadrant contains these little moments of beauty). The other components of Kitty Tours also provide unique and valuable insights into the wonderful world of tourist DC. It trains hopeful tour guides so they can lead the masses through the Mall asking tourist trivia and naming really well known movies that include famous parts of DC.

Let's Go - Washington, DC 2003

Let's Go is a popular guide book put out by Harvard students for other young people on similarly small budgets (and apparently with similarly small minds). Luckily for them, all the non-scary things in DC are free because they are federally subsidized, so they can enjoy the high-class, glamourous, nationally renowned side of the city without even having to consider that half a million people manage to live within District borders and survive (and even enjoy) their daily lives. To cap it off, they have managed to write a more offensive safety section (2002) than Trent Lott would have coined on a bad day. It's definitely worth reading - it did inspire this whole site. Also, check out our comments that preceeded our-dc... Also offensive on this site is the Blending in and Exploring part of personal safety. Of course, Financial Security is silly too (learn about our massive city crowds and extreme amounts of pickpocketing). Finally, don't forget that most of the city doesn't even make it as part of the Second City in Sights (see the left menu). Perhaps it's third city, or maybe just third world?

Moon Metro

The introduction to Moon Metro concludes with an excellent statement that captures the unique identity of this city and the joy to be found during a visit. "Conceived as an experiment, D.C. is a city that still oscillates between its federal and local identities. Visitors will want to partake of both worlds, to delve deep into this most complicated of American hometowns." Unfortunately, nowhere beyond the introduction does the guidebook offer any advice to visitors on how or where to find the local world of DC. The guide has visitors start at the Capitol and work their way northwest out of the city, stopping at many nationally renowned institutions along the way. Nowhere does it explore the places supported by generations of Washingtonians, and nowhere does it mention that some parts of the city beyond its narrow corridor are worthwhile. Where is "D.C.'s long tradition of African-American culture" mentioned in the introduction? Certainly it extends well outside the confines of the DC that Moon Metro reveals to visitors.

Off the Beaten Path

Thank goodness for Off the Beaten Path. It is perhaps the only guidebook to celebrate the local culture found all over the city. Everyone visiting DC should buy this book, as should locals who are looking to learn of interesting places to explore. One highlight that people from the area might recognize is the "Social Safeway" in Georgetown, while the Scott Circle statue of the father of modern homeopathy, Samuel Hahnemann, will surprise in- and out-of-towners alike. While the guidebook doesn't mention too many places in Northeast or Southeast beyond what is listed in other guides, it structures its descriptions to actually encourage visits to those places that are included. Moreover, it has the only reasonable description for Anacostia with a safety acknowledgement that is both responsible and fair. "Because of its crime rate, out-of-towners should exercise caution, especially at night. Its historic significance, however, makes the area worth the visit." Off the Beaten Path will help make sure the trip is filled with great destinations.

Official Tourism Site of Washington, DC

This is the official site that presents tourist DC to the world. As such, it does a good job of highlighting many aspects of the city. It provides local links, ongoing events, and travel information. The only upsetting part of the site pops up in "Tour Ideas and Itineraries." To be fair, the tours look great. One of the tours in particular - Civil War to Civil Rights - recommends a variety of African-American cultural activities, citing the importance of African-Americans in the development of the city. But if African-Americans have helped define the city for so long (which they have), then why are all of these places only listed for this tour, rather than also being incorporated into the general presentation of the city? All the other tours greatly overlap, suggesting that people with a variety of interests will be drawn to some of the same places. Many of the places in the "black tour" might be enjoyable for those who aren't looking for a history lesson. For example, U street belongs in the Arts & Culture tour at least as much as Georgetown (which has become home to hordes of chain stores), and it also fits right in with the four neighborhoods where tourists exploring taverns and trendy clubs will be spending days two and three of the ten day DC tour. Washington, DC must learn not to marginalize its local culture or segregate its tourists.

Realty Times

This article is so close to being a good description of the city. It begins with a slightly bizarre recognition of the country's focus on the federal component of the city, its crime, and local efforts to improve the residential experience of the city. Realty Times has plenty of well warranted praise for the city, including a mention of DC's diversity. The Realty Times points out a demographic composition for the region of 61.2 percent black, 29.1 percent white, and 5.7 percent Hispanic. But why say this, when at the same time recommending that people don't bother to leave Northwest when visiting the city? The composition of Northwest does not reflect that of the city overall. Realty Times should decide whether to join in with the mainstream view of DC and forget completely that the local residents are majority non-white and are focused on many parts of the city beyond that which is federally owned, or it should acknowledge these many residents not only for the good statistics they provide but also for their contributions to the city's culture.

Washington Best Address

Best addresses aren't meant to encompass the whole city because then they are no longer simply the best. What must they be? Prestigious, expensive, luxurious, and comfortable? How about... west? Luckily, this one criterion is all that is needed for a Washington Best Address (well, with a little north thrown in too and with the exception of the federal core of the city). You don't need to think any harder or look any further, thanks to Washington Best Address' map that only includes Northwest neighborhoods. It is a little surprising to learn that each of these neighborhoods is better than any others in the city. In case that wasn't clear enough though, the site was kind enough to leave a vast void in place of all the other neighborhoods in which a person might consider living. Happy house hunting, and see you in the wild west!

Washington, DC Sightseeing Map

This site hasn't done anything wrong. It's just a typical example of DC as presented to the rest of the world. DC only exists from Dupont Circle to Eastern Market, from 25th (NW) to 7th (NE). This tiny subset of the huge (61 square mile city) is enough for tourists to feel that they have seen the sites "around Washington DC."

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