A Big Ten Guide to Washington, D.C.

Win McNamee

With the B1G men's basketball tournament set to come to D.C. in 2017, we explain why Big Ten fans should welcome the opportunity to visit our Nation's capital.

This week, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany officially announced that the 2017 B1G basketball tournament would be coming to Washington, D.C. This made a lot of the conference's traditionalists none too pleased.

We talked briefly about why Maryland's new B1G brethren shouldn't be upset about this decision, but today, Brendan Darr and I are going to go into more detail about why people will love having the event in D.C. every now and then.

D.C.'s a pretty awesome city

Your view and impression of the city might be completely based on House of Cards, The West Wing or the horrible news that seems to spew out of Congress on a daily basis. While there is certainly a lot of politics and lobbying going on in D.C., the city itself is pretty cool and a fun place to check out. Checking out the Smithsonians, the monuments, the other awesome museums (including the Spy Museum and Newseum) are always fun. You can also arrange for a tour of the White House and or the Capital Building. There is also the Library of Congress and Supreme Court. D.C. also has the Potomac River flowing through it, which also provides a number of sweet recreation activities, including white water kayaking, believe it or not.

Plus, the D.C. Metro, while many of us complain about it a lot, is actually pretty convenient in terms of getting you around the city. More on that later.

You can also check out the National Zoo (another free activity, for all of you complaining about having to pay more to travel further), which features a baby Panda named Bao Bao. And a red panda named Rusty, who likes to escape from the Zoo and roam around D.C.

And in and around Chinatown, where the Verizon Center is located, you'll find a ton of bars, food and other happenings. Speaking of food...

D.C. has a lot of awesome food options

Whether it's the authentic Chinese restaurants in Chinatown, the delicious half-smokes at Ben's Chili Bowl or one of the countless other food options, D.C. is a great place to eat. And with Hot Doug's closing in Chicago, this is your perfect opportunity to discover a new, awesome replacement in Ben's Chili Bowl.

Seriously, just check out all of these awesome food options. You shan't be disappointed.

While visiting, you can also awkwardly try to eat crabs, as we sit back and laugh at your attempt to disarm and devour the animal we love to plaster with Old Bay and eat and talk about all the time. If you have time, you can even take a quick trip over to Annapolis, Maryland's capital, which is an awesome historic city full of great crab houses.

D.C. also has an army of food trucks, so if that cool restaurant you wanted to check out is all booked up for lunch, head down to one of the many food truck hot spots and grab something quick. From lobster rolls to Hawaiian plate lunch, they've got you covered. You can even track where each food truck is located, in real time, so you can find the one you're looking for.

After all that food or maybe after your teams suffers that horrible first round loss cough *Nebraska* cough, cough *Rutgers* cough, you'll probably want to enjoy a tasty beverage.

There are a lot of awesome breweries in and around D.C.

From D.C. Brau to Flying Dog, there are plenty of awesome breweries in and around D.C. for you to check out. In fact, here is an awesome beer map of D.C. for your convenience, showing you breweries, bars, etc. for your beer loving pleasure.

Just up the road in Baltimore, you'll find Heavy Seas brewery and Union Breweryamong a lot of others. You can even check out smaller operations, like the Baying Hound Ale Works in Rockville.  ther cool stuff nearby (Baltimore & Annapolis), travel costs, other cool activities?

And if beer isn't your thing, take a day trip out to some of the awesome wineries in Virginia and Maryland.

It's easy to get around

Seriously, it could not be easier. Our Metro (not subway) system covers everything inside the city except Georgetown, which is an easy walk or uber ride, and most of the suburbs you would want to go to. Arlington and Alexandria in Virginia have more of places to visit, as do Rockville and Bethesda in Maryland. Annapolis and Baltimore are more of a day trip as they roughly 30-45 minutes away, but worth it. In Annapolis, you can walk around historic downtown, take a sail out on the Chesapeake Bay, and grab some crabs or other delicious seafood for dinner. Baltimore has the National AquariumHarbor PlaceOriole Park at Camden Yards, the Sports Legends Museum, and the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum.

Transportation into the city is great as we have three (3!) airports that are at your disposal to come through. One is better for coming directly into the city as Reagan National is on the Yellow/Blue line of the metro (again, it's metro, I can't stress that enough). Dulles is getting a Metro rail station, but knowing Metro, it won't be finished by the time you all arrive in 2017, so you would probably need to rent a car. Just know that once in the city, you should familiarize yourself with the Metro, where you can often park your car outside the city and drive in, as parking can be expensive in and around the Verizon Center.  BWI (technically Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport) is just south of Baltimore, but you can easily get to D.C. either by renting a car, taking a bus, or hopping on the MARC, the local commuter train that runs between D.C. and the upper northeastern corner of Maryland.

Also, for thoses who had to fly to get to Chicago or Indy, it will cost you less than $100 more to get to D.C.

Taxis can be a bit of a hassle, at times, so taking a trip using uber is probably the way to go if you must drive. By 2017 we can all hope the Metro (seriously, please call it metro or locals will send you to a sandwich shop) will run more efficiently, but as of this writing in 2014, we are plagued by the dreaded "track maintenance" monster once a month, generally on the red line.

These are just some of the reasons why you shouldn't be too upset about having to make a trip to D.C. While a lot of people thing of the city as just a melting pot of political scum, there really is a lot of fun, cool and exciting things to do in and around our Nation's capital. Hopefully you'll be among those that check it out in 2017.

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