One of the most wonderful things about Washington, DC is that there is always something new to discover and someplace to go that you have never been. Whether you have lived in Washington for just a few months, a few years, or even your entire life, there are an abundance of opportunities, experiences and adventures that are to be had. So often, however, those of us that dwell in the DC metro area find ourselves bound by habits and routines of going to the same familiar places. We’ll eat at the same restaurants out of complacency. Likewise, we’ll patronize the same theaters, museums, parks and galleries. We will attend the same festivals in the summer year after year, if for no other reason than it’s what we’ve always done. It is convenient and less scary not to venture beyond our normal paths and neighborhoods that we know so much about. We behave this way because it’s easy and comfortable. It is effortless and doesn’t take much thought to do what we have always done or go where we have always gone. It also means, though, that we continue to see the city through the same lens which we have always seen it. But 2012 we can all challenge ourselves to do something different!
The Substance & Style 2012 challenge to each Washingtonian is to spend an entire day in a ward of the District of Columbia where you do not reside, work or frequently play. Take the time to get to know and enjoy the city in a new way. From Dupont Circle to Fort Dupont, there are numerous parks to picnic, play or relax in. Art galleries like Honfleur and Morton Fine Art are great examples of the numerous galleries on either side of the Anacostia River that offer visitors visual treasurers. The DC Public Library also offers an array of programs and activities in libraries across the city. Cultural Tourism DC’s Neighborhood Heritage Trails provides self-guided walking tours of neighborhoods including Deanwood, Mount Pleasant, Tenleytown and Barracks Row. The walking tours are directed by signs that provide a great deal of history, stories and photos while you walk and create your own memories In every Ward of Washington, there lies something to enjoy and new people to meet. We simply must seek the opportunities to do so.
Visiting the cultural and civic sites in other neighborhoods can be entertaining, educational and empowering as it also is a chance to support many of the small and locally owned businesses that are the heart of the local economy. Building community and sustaining it requires us to make conscious efforts to shop and support local entrepreneurs. Substance and Style’s charge to you is to expand your “local” in 2012. Don’t just cross the street, cross the river. Spend a day on Barracks Row and an evening on U Street NW. Reach beyond your ward. Celebrate the diversity of the city. Expand your local!