SPX 2010: What else to do

Wait, why would you want to leave Small Press Expo? You’re making me sad. I mean, we have a legendary chocolate fountain and the Ignatz Awards on Saturday night. Why you’d want to skip out on that, I have no idea.

But if you’re a little SPX-ed out and haven’t spent a lot of time in the D.C. area, here’s a few recommendations.

Yeah, so you know of The Smithsonian Museums — well, you know of the Air & Space Museum (cute, but dated) and the National Museum of Natural History (OK, still pretty cool) and probably the National Museum of American History, but don’t overlook the Freer and Sackler Galleries and the National Museum of African Art. Both usually aren’t as crowded as they should be and are constantly wonderful. Off the mall is the National Portrait Gallery and American Art Museum, both of which are fun (I especially like the modern art room in the American Art Museum — it just needs a DJ and a bar).

Outside of the Smithsonian system is the National Gallery of Art (huge! You probably want to pick a particular part and focus on that) and the National Building Museum, which is always great and a gorgeous space. It also has one of the best gift shops/bookstores in the city (sadly, you missed the Lego exhibit, though).

I haven’t been to the Newseum, because I actually work in journalism and therefore I can’t afford it. If for some reason you’re insane and want to go to Madame Tussauds, we have one of those. Other people love the International Spy Museum, but I think it’s a little overrated.

Drinking and eating, but mostly drinking
Since you’re comic book types, I’m going to guess you’re not looking to go to exclusive clubs or anything of that nature. (And if you are, I can’t really help you out there.) The Black Cat is an institution and great for hipster-watching. You’ll be tempted to go to Brickskeller, but I’d recommend sister bar R.F.D. instead.

H Street NE has taken over as the center of cool in D.C.with Rock ‘N’ Roll Hotel, Little Miss Whiskey’s, and Palace of Wonders (which has a burlesque show on Saturday night with a $10 cover). If you’re still looking for a great meal, I am partial to Sticky Rice. If you do want to go to H Street, there’s a free shuttle than runs from Gallery Place, which is conveniently on the Red Line. There’s not really a Metro stop nearby, so if you’re without a car, do take it.

Other stuff
Intervention is also going on and it’s just two Metro stops away from SPX. With a focus on web comics and Internet culture and with guests like Molly Crabapple and Fred Gallagher, it’s probably going to be a good deal at $25 for Saturday, $15 for Sunday or $45 for the whole weekend. While it’s really unfortunate that it’s taking place on the same weekend as SPX, that sort of overlap happens pretty frequently in the D.C. area, especially once fall hits.

DC VegFest is taking place on Saturday, which makes me a bit sad because I would’ve gone otherwise. But that may only be of interest to me.

Things to keep in mind
Saturday is obviously the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, so expect a few things in remembrance of that (however, most of those seem to be in Arlington). There may be a little bit of extra security on the Metro, but it’s probably nothing you’d really notice.

If you want to make your own plans, Washington Post’s Going Out Gurus and The Washington City Paper are good places to start.

And if for some reason you’re still in the area Sunday night, come to Arlington’s Galaxy Hut to drink some awesome beers and to help save the Arlington Planetarium.

2 thoughts on “SPX 2010: What else to do”

  1. H Street NE may have taken over the “center of cool” for DC – though that’s somewhat debatable – but it is a GIANT pain in the ass to get to, and ESPECIALLY to get back from. (Cabs will take you there, but good luck finding one to take you back. Whenever I’m driving home from the Argonaut or whatever, I have hipsters flagging me down on the street for a ride because they can’t get a cab. And BELIEVE me, you DO NOT want to take the X2 bus back to Gallery Place. Is the shuttle bus all that frequent? I’ve never even seen one.) I mean, I live in DC and H street is a pain to get to. From Bethesda? Eh. Better off taking the Metro to U Street (Green/Yellow Line after changing from the Red at Gallery Place).

  2. I’ve never had a problem with the shuttle bus, but I’ve only taken it a handful of times. I have heard conflicting reports on its reliabilty, though. I believe it runs every half-hour, but it may be a matter of “whenever you can catch it.”

    U Street can definitely be fun, but my experiences there have been hit or miss and I haven’t been there enough to recommend specific places.

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