The insiders' guide to Washington off the beaten path:

Clement E. Conger, White House curator: A drive up Embassy Row to the Washington Cathedral, "the last great Gothic cathedral to be built in the world"; a stroll through Old Town Alexandria for its original 18th-century buildings.

Burtell Jefferson, D.C. police chief: Hains Point, the Arboretum.

George M. White, architect of the Capitol: The Botanic Garden, "a fantastic place, a museum of flowers"; the Phillips Collection, "a unique place not well-known to tourists."

Zelda Fichandler, Arena Stage producing director: The Museum of African Art, the Freer Gallery.

William J. Whalen, director of the National Park Service: Brunch in Georgetown, Ford's Theatre.

Bob Paris, White House Sightseeing Tours: The Francisan Monastery at 1400 Quincy St. NE, "a hidden gem" with its Byzantine church, replicas of the Holy Land shrines and Roman Catacombs and its gardens.

Martin Feinstein, Kennedy Center executive director for performing arts: A walk in the gardens of Dumbarton Oaks.

S. Dillon Ripley, secretary of the Smithsonian: The National Zoo.

Kit Dobelle, chief of protocool: The State Department diplomatic reception rooms. "We're very proud of them."

Mary Perry, National Park Service technician at the Lincoln Memorial: The 8:30 p.m. military concerts on the steps of the Jefferson Memorial. "I always recommend them to visitors, and you don't have to pay."

Almost everybody's on-the-beaten-path recommendation: The Air and Space Museum. Nothing like it anywhere else. CAPTION: Picture 1, S. Dillon Ripley; Picture 2, Mary Perry; Picture 3, Burtell Jefferson; Pictures 4, 5, and 6, no caption