Welcome to Washington DC! Here is an awesome gift!
August 10, 2011 6:11 PM   Subscribe

What should I put in a "Welcome to DC" gift basket for my fiancé?

My fiancé is unexpectedly-- and not necessarily enthusiastically-- moving to DC from Alaska for a year (the plan was for me to return to Alaska after a summer of employment in DC, but things changed). He loves the informal and fiercely independent culture of Alaska, and also the opportunities for outdoor recreation and winter sports.

I'd like to make a really nice gift for him to be ready when he arrives. A few pieces of information:

- Under $75 total. I could maybe stretch it to $100.
- I thought of a loaded up SmarTrip as an element, but his soon-to-be employer provides Metro benefits.
- As mentioned before, he loves the outdoors, camping, hiking, biking, skiing, etc.
- We will have a car, but not immediately.
- Our apartment is in DC proper and easily walkable from the Metro.
- He will be working on the Hill.
- Souvenir-type things (mini model of the Washington Monument! tiny Lincoln Memorial!) are not his thing.
- He's generally pretty hard to buy gifts for.
- He's generally uninterested in home furnishings and fixtures and such, so a "house-warming" type thing wouldn't be quite it. Also, our wedding is next month and I have a feeling that we will be wading through a lot of stuff around that time.

What would have made your transition to DC more awesome? What would just be cool to have? Although I'm not exactly a native, DC has been the nearest "big" city for most of my life and I've lived here on and off for several years, so I feel like my helpfulness sensor is off.
posted by charmcityblues to Shopping (18 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Would he like/use a Capital Bikeshare membership?
posted by mauvest at 6:14 PM on August 10, 2011 [3 favorites]

Get him a SmartTrip, and load it up with something - the employer benefits often don't kick in for a month. And I 2nd the Capital Bikeshare membership.

A ZipCar account??
posted by k8t at 6:21 PM on August 10, 2011

Make it a bread basket, and make it empty apart from stale crumbs. Sort of as a joke.
posted by tumid dahlia at 6:24 PM on August 10, 2011

Get a Smithsonian Resident Associate membership or season tickets to something he'd like.
posted by jgirl at 6:57 PM on August 10, 2011

Sorry, I realized seasons won't fit the budget. But maybe some books on local hiking trails and the like.
posted by jgirl at 7:05 PM on August 10, 2011

This isn't something you can put in a basket, but the National Arboretum is pretty nice, and it's big enough to do some wandering around in.

Maybe something like this book?
posted by treefort at 7:06 PM on August 10, 2011

Paul Elliot's 60 Hikes within 60 Miles: Washington ($12.71 - Elliot also leads free local hikes with the Sierra Club, many of which are Metro accessible or offer ride shares.)

Also the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club's map of the trails in Rock Creek Park ($7 - shows a number of good trails that are easily overlooked). The PATC is serious about hiking and sponsors a lot of events and activities locally - membership is $35.
posted by ryanshepard at 7:24 PM on August 10, 2011 [2 favorites]

Passes/plans for exploring his hobbies near DC? Maybe camping or rafting?
posted by snickerdoodle at 7:24 PM on August 10, 2011

A laminated map (see also "Artwise Washington DC" etc, but never mind if he has the more advanced sort of mobile phone), a recent Zagat
posted by kmennie at 7:29 PM on August 10, 2011

I'm also moving (back) to the DC area in the near future. Some thoughts:

- A gift card for REI. They have 6 stores in the DC area.
- I know this is the future and everybody has a GPS, but a map of DC. (On preview, what kmennie said)
- You said souvenir-type things aren't his thing, but looking at some of your other posts, he's a Marine, he might like a little U.S. Marine Corps Memorial souvenir-type thing.
- A little expensive at $60, but a gift card for a Hot Lather Shave at the Grooming Lounge.
- Booze
- Cigars
posted by Rob Rockets at 7:35 PM on August 10, 2011

Yourself, in a thong and a Welcome to DC sash. Seriously, don't make some hokey gift basket like he just won a weekend in Vegas. Buy a nice bottle of something, give him a steamy shower, blowjob and back rub and tell him how much he'll love the District.
posted by Ideefixe at 7:55 PM on August 10, 2011

nthing the suggestion for a Capital Bikeshare membership. In the little time that it's been around here, it's quickly become indispensable for me.

Continuing that theme, you could also help him buy a bicycle of his own. DC's one of the most bike-able cities in the US, and has an astonishing number of scenic trails that are easily accessible from the city. (The Capital Crescent Trail, C&O Towpath, Mount Vernon Trail, and others are all easily accessible from the city center, and are all quite long.)

If you already have bikes, and are the outdoorsy/athletic type, you can also rent a lockhouse overnight along the C&O Canal Towpath. Bike out, stay the night, and bike back (or you can be lame, and drive). I've heard that this makes for a fantastic romantic getaway, and sounds like something that would be right up his alley, and also puts something on his calendar! It's slightly out of your pricerange, but could be well worth it, as it'd be something for you both to enjoy.

Welcome to DC! We're not Alaska, but if you find the right crowd here, I think that DC definitely has its hidden charms, and has a lot of the same things that I loved about living in Alaska (I did a stint at UAF a few years ago, and would kill for an opportunity to go back that wouldn't also leave me stuck there for several years...).

Alas, if only we could pick up our city, and move it up to Alaska, it'd be the greatest place on earth. The weather would be better too.
posted by schmod at 8:53 PM on August 10, 2011

If he eats meat, a gift card from Ben's Chili Bowl, if he likes movies, a membership to the West End Cinema , if he likes to read, a gift card from Kramerbooks.

Mr. Moonpie took us to a pie shop after the meetup a few months ago, but I'm blanking on the name.
posted by brujita at 9:15 PM on August 10, 2011

A copy of the Not For Tourists guide to DC. I've used these for New York, DC, and Boston so far, and they're amazing — little black books that include detailed maps of multiple neighborhoods/boroughs, tell you where everything from the grocery store to the post office to the hardware store to the best bars are, and also, despite the name, provide information about touristy/recreational things like museums, theatres, and parks.
posted by rebekah at 9:34 PM on August 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

He loves the informal and fiercely independent culture of Alaska, and also the opportunities for outdoor recreation and winter sports.

Hockey tickets?
posted by iviken at 4:03 AM on August 11, 2011

Washingtonian magazine (perhaps a subscription) - best guide for up-to-date happenings in DC, and current art/events
Newseum tickets or year pass (best pay museum in DC)
"tickets" to some of DC's free events, you can make tickets to some of these events...
local sporting tickets, (nats, caps, skins, united)
posted by fozzie33 at 4:32 AM on August 11, 2011

Another vote for Capital Bikeshare. I travel to DC occasionally for business, and love being able to tool around the city on a bike. There's so much to see.
posted by Doohickie at 11:11 AM on August 11, 2011

@bujita Dangerously Delicious Pies?
posted by k8t at 7:09 PM on August 11, 2011

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