Don’t get us wrong. There are things to love about tourist season. Hosting friends passing through on summer trips is always a treat. And watching large crowds flood through some of our favorite spots reminds us why we love it here. But now, as Fall pulls people back to their hometowns and the streets are a bit emptier, is the perfect time to return to our local favorites. Here are 5 post-tourist season activities for you and your little D.C. locals.

national-gallery-art-fountainPhoto: Elizabeth Murphy via flickr

See some fountains
Sprayground season may be over but fountains all across the city are still going strong. Now that The National Mall is a bit less crowded, stop by the fountain outside the National Gallery of Art for a breakfast picnic (fountain open until November). Or wander around the WWII Memorial and challenge your kids to look for your state (you’ll see just how far back the summer slide slid!).

National Gallery of Art + Fountain: between 3rd and 9th streets NW along Constitution Ave NW

WWII Memorial: 1750 Independence Ave SW    

city-sights-dcPhoto: CitySights DC via flickr       

Do the touristy things
. If your kids have been begging to hop on (and off) that big, red CitySights bus, now is the time. Check out the Lincoln Memorial and get a good clear photo straight down the reflecting pool to the Washington Monument. You can even stop at the National Archives now and see the Declaration of Independence without standing in line!

City Sights DC: http://www.citysightsdc.com/

National Building MuseumPhoto: Rockwell group

Examine some architecture
We know you’ve been in the National Building Museum rather recently (who could resist the allure of The Beach?) but now that the line to get in the door is gone, head back and really explore their exhibits. Or, for a different perspective on architecture, head to the National Cathedral and enchant your kids with their gargoy le tour.

National Building Museum 401 F St. NW

National Cathedral 3101 Wisconsin Ave

#1 C&O Canal TowpathPhoto: Big Wheel Bikes via Facebook

Explore the corners of the city
The secret is out–there is so much more to our city than The National Mall. So it makes sense that the summer crowds expand into some of our favorite hot spots. Georgetown streets get crowded and Chinatown becomes difficult to navigate. But now is the time to head back to the Georgetown Waterfront or take in the sights and sounds around Penn Quarter. Pizza at Matchbox, anyone?

Georgetown Waterfront: Water St. NW

Matchbox: 713 H St NW

georgetown cupcakePhoto: Georgetown Cupcake

Try a new (or visit an old) food fav
Ben’s Chili Bowl, here we come! Hi Carmines, we’ve missed you. Founding Farmers, what’s on the menu these days? Oh Georgetown Cupcakes, your lines are (a little bit) shorter! If you and your little foodie enjoy some of the city’s most well known places to eat, it’s time to get back out there.

Ben’s Chili Bowl: 1213 U St. NW

Carmine’s: 425 7th St NW

Founding Farmers: 1924 Pennsylvania Ave. NW

Georgetown Cupcakes: 3301 M St. NW

What D.C. spot are you excited to rediscover? Tell us in the comments section. 

—Tricia Mirchandani