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Advice

Why “Washington, D.C.” or just “DC”?

There are two major geographic Washingtons in the United States:  the northwestern state and the capital city of the country, located in the District of Columbia.  In various contexts, it becomes necessary to specify which of the two is meant.   So people often say “Washington State” and “Washington, D.C.”   But since Washington, the city, is the only city within the District of Columbia, residents often simply say they’re from D.C.  (often written “DC,” using the same format as the postal code for the District).

Places to eat

Where to Eat within Two Blocks of the Library (PDF)

For other parts of the city and for recommendations of specific ethnic restaurants in the area, you might check these websites:

http://dc.eater.com/eater-maps

https://www.zagat.com/washington-dc

Trip Advisor also provides good options:   https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurants-g28970-Washington_DC_District_of...

D.C. has many food trucks.   The following website shows what trucks are where on any given day: http://foodtruckfiesta.com/dc-food-truck-list/   (Union Station and L’Enfant Plaza are usually the closest sites to the Library.)

Note that the Washington D.C. area reputedly has the largest Ethiopian population outside of Addis Ababa itself.  Correspondingly, there are many Ethiopian restaurants in the area.   Here is some information:  http://www.seriouseats.com/2014/07/best-ethiopian-restaurants-washington...

http://www.yelp.com/search?cflt=ethiopian&find_loc=Washington%2C+DC

Vietnamese and Thai restaurants are also common:  https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurants-g28970-c41-Washington_DC_Distric... https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurants-g28970-c39-Washington_DC_Distric...

Tipping

Waiters, bartenders, and some other people in service industries in the U.S.  are not salaried workers, but are largely dependent on tips for their income.  It is therefore customary to tip them between 15-20% of the bill (unless you are in a large group and the service fee has already been added to the bill).   People also often leave hotel chambermaids $1 or $2 per day per person.   Taxi drivers typically receive 10%.

Weather

“On average, [September is] the 4th wettest month of the year, but September rain often comes in buckets over a few days. The month also frequently delivers fairly nice weather, with plentiful sunshine, lowering humidity levels and of course those much-needed . . . cooler days.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang/post/what-is-w...

We recommend having an umbrella and consulting sites such as the Weather Channel -  https://weather.com/weather/monthly/l/USDC0001:1:US

and the Capital Weather Gang - https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weather-gang/

- also on Twitter: 

https://twitter.com/search?q=capital+weather+gang&ref_src=twsrc^google|twcamp^serp|twgr^search)

- and on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/capitalweather/?fref=nf

Local Time

D.C. is in the Eastern U.S. time zone and, in September, will still be on Daylight Savings Time: GMT-04:00

Electric Power

The standard across the U.S. is 110-120 Volts and 60 cycles.  (220 Volt power is used in homes only for large appliances like stoves, water heaters and clothes dryers.)  Standard plugs have two flat blades.  Plugs on newer equipment often have a third round grounding pin. Almost all homes and commercial buildings are equipped with electrical receptacles that can accommodate either type of plug.  http://www.usatourist.com/english/traveltips/electric-power-tips.html  

(For illustrations of the plug/socket types, see sites such as http://www.adaptelec.com/index.php?main_page=document_general_info&produ...)

Security Procedures at Building Entrances and Exits

Metal detectors and/or other inspection systems are in place at the entrances to all federal buildings and museums.  While the procedures are not as elaborate as at airports (people are not asked to remove coats or shoes at such doors), all metal objects must be removed from pockets, etc., if an x-ray machine is being used.  (Sometimes belts with larger buckles will set off the detectors and will then need to be removed to be put through the x-ray device.)   Do not bring knives or other sharp objects that would then be confiscated.  Computers will need to go through the x-ray machine separately.    At museums, all bags must be opened and inspected by the guard.

In addition, bags must be opened for inspection when leaving the Library of Congress.   (In the past, there have been thefts of Library materials, so this is a preventative measure.)

No Smoking Policies

Washington, D.C., has “no smoking” policies in place for all workplaces, restaurants, and bars.  Smoking is likewise prohibited in all Library of Congress buildings and near building entrances and air intakes.