I don't know if you've ever heard of the website, "couchsurfing.com" - but I'm becoming more acquainted with it, and yesterday, through some friends, I actually met some D.C. "couchsurfers." Couchsurfing.com is a social networking site, sort of like a mix between Facebook and Myspace and a hostel (but for free). You create an online profile of yourself, and make friends with people in other cities/states/countries, and if you're traveling through for a night or two, they might let you "surf their couch" and stay with them for free. I know, I know, it sounds pretty weird - but there are a lot of ways the site is working to "authenticate" the people that are on there, and you can read what previous people who stayed with them had to say, etc. I've personally never used it and I don't know that I will anytime soon, but I have some friends who traveled around Europe and swore by it.
It is a cool site to meet people from a different area though, and last night after work, some friends and I went to "Jazz in the Sculpture Garden." And outdoor concert held at the National Gallery of Art in their sculpture garden. Hundreds of people were there sitting outside on the lawn and around the lake listening to music. And a few people came who were from couchsurfing, and they were really neat people to talk to! One was from Venezuela, one from Peru, and one from DC. I got to speak Spanish all night! They told us about some local hangouts, and showed us a neat bookstore/bar/restaurant in DC called "Busboys and Poets" that had some of the coolest interior decorating I've ever seen.
I don't know if I'm actually going to stay at someone's house on couchsurfing anytime soon, but social events with those people are fun, and a good way to get to know a city you've never been to...
Here's a photo of the jazz in the garden event: