I just got back. Enjoy the trip....+1 to the national mall, monuments, museums, etc.... I carried my Surefire E2D LED Defender, in case I needed to blind someone and crack em over the head to retreat, that's it. Just don't cross the Anacostia River and you'll be fine.
FYI....a lot of the Smithsonian museums, like Air & Space, have metal detectors at the entrance, and they do search bags. No issues with my flashlight...not sure how a knife would be viewed, if at all.
Guns or not, I love DC. It's a gorgeous city, the Metro is CLEAN, and it really is well policed in all the areas where you would want to go anyway (you will literally see several dozens of police on the Mall). As long as you don't venture off the beaten path, you'll be fine. Just stay aware of your surroundings and ENJOY YOURSELF.
Don't miss the Smithsonian (I especially love the Air and Space Museum), Vietnam Memorial, or the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Depending on when you're there you may be able to get in and watch sausage being made. I mean, watch a Congressional session. It is equal parts fascinating and frustrating.
I was born in D.C. and spent every other weekend in D.C. growing up, It can be an amazing place with so many things to see! I know it's gonna suck to not be able to carry, but enjoy our nations' capital and just work on your S.A.
Some one mentioned a high intensity flashlight, while I carry a NovaTech or Fenix daily it never occurred to me before to use it in conjunction with a cane. I can see how that could be extremely effective. Blind the assailant so he can not see his intended victim while you knock some sense into him. Maybe carry the flashlight on your weak side.
However if appearing gimpy makes better sense to you. You can place a small a very small pebble in your "injured" legs shoe. It does not have to be painful just noticeable, that is enough for it to be uncomfortable. In a very short time that discomfort will quickly develop into a slight limp. It is amazing how quickly you will develop muscle memory that has you limping happily along without the pebble each time you carry the cane.
The cane seems a little harder to pull off for younger folks, though. I think I would probably attract a great deal of attention walking with a cane.
I personally can not even count the times I used crutches and canes as youngster. Maybe I am the exemption. I never second guess a youngster with a cane
Not at all, but it's an odd enough sight that I think it would draw a fairly significant amount of attention. I know if I were a cop and I saw someone under the age of 45 walking with a cane (versus crutches which are more common for acute injuries), I would give him a second look. I'm not sure if canes, intentionally carried as a weapon, are illegal in DC. My worry would be that if I ended up having to use it, it would be really hard to convince a jury that I carried it for any other purpose.
Self defense may be justified but many jurisdictions have limitations on what you can carry intentionally for self-defense. A baseball bat is completely legal in many jurisdictions unless it is carried expressly as a weapon. A cane could be seen the same way depending on the local laws. As far as faking it goes, that only works until a DA investigates whether you were truly injured.
I graduated from the George Washington University in DC, and spent 2 years there. I lived in Silver Springs MD, and during my didactic year, I took Metro there and back every day but Friday (went home to Richmond on the week ends, so I drove to school). I never had a problem during my time there. There's so much to do there, as others have mentioned. Follow the advice already given, and you should do fine.
Get off the plane, ask a cop which areas to avoid for your safety, enjoy the rest of the city. There's so much to see you can't get it all done in a few days. Millions of tourists visit each year and walk away safely. The murders are more a case of locals shooting locals over Marion's products. Besides, the biggest threats are busy inside Congress.