Top Things To Do When It's Beautiful Outside

1. Walk the monuments Remember freshman year, when you went to see the monuments at night 37 times in three weeks? It's time to venture out again. This time, go during the day. The experience will be dramatically different; the paths will be peppered with pink blossoms gently waving in the spring breeze, not with shady nighttime characters loitering around the reflecting pool. Furthermore, the outing screams "perfect afternoon date."

2. Fly a kite on the mall As if this weren't a splendid idea anyway, now is the best time to do it. Those who missed the 39th Annual Smithsonian Kite Festival on April 3, never fear. Breezy days should abound in the next week or two, and joining fellow kite-flyers - amateur or trickster - is always a refreshing way to spend a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. Check out details and tips from this year's festival at http://www.kitefestival.org/.

3. Take pictures There was never a better time to try out those photography skills. Whether it's digital, disposable or Polaroid, snap as many shots as you can. Aside from making great postcards, wall hangings and computer desktops, they'll be great for making friends at schools in less aesthetically pleasing cities insatiably jealous.

4. Rejoice in not being a tourist Sling that camera around your neck without fear: you live here! Take a jog around the Tidal Basin. Grab some takeout and eat it on a bench outside the Smithsonian. Embrace the coming of warmer weather with open arms. This is your city, so enjoy it to the fullest.

5. Partake in free events In classic D.C. fashion, the Cherry Blossom Festival is a veritable cultural event goldmine. Visit http://nationalcherryblossomfestival.org to sample a daily slate of happenings, many gratis or for only a nominal fee, that offer splendid ways to jettison out of a post-spring break activities rut. Free ongoing cultural shows at the Tidal Basin, walking and bicycle tours of the cherry trees and concerts at Union Station - as well as kimono exhibits, photo "safaris" around the tidal basin, daily sushi and sake tastings at the Melrose Hotel and an international drumming showcase at the Kennedy Center on April 8 - are a mere glimpse at what savvy college culture-seekers could gorge themselves on in the weeks to come. Heaven!

6. Enjoy tasty eats Top chefs in D.C. are participating in "Cherry Picks," incorporating cherry-centered dishes and desserts into their menus during the festival. Although it can't be guaranteed that either Ceiba's "warm sopapillas with spiced honey syrup and sour orange and cherry chutney" or The Melting Pot's "cherries jubilee chocolate fondue" will be a bargain, such offerings at 24 D.C. restaurants are a great excuse to spend a few extra bucks on a fabulous feast. Several area bars will also offer special cherry-flavored cocktails during the festival, including Mie N Yu's "Effen Cherry Blossom Martini" and TenPenh's "Geisha Delight." For a complete listing of participating "Cherry Picks" restaurants and their respective dishes and drinks, visit http://nationalcherryblossomfestival.org/cms/index.php?id=614.

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