I went to the nation’s capitol, Washington DC, recently for the first time in several years. I wish I could have spent longer there because there was so much to see! Though I didn’t necessarily have a clue what the weather would be like there, I was pleasantly surprised. It was mostly in the high 70’s, and people were clearly enjoying it. The leaves were beginning to turn, the air was dry, and there were walkers, runners, and bikers at all times of the day. Their summer weather can be humid at times, so the climate was ideal for a visit and tour of the city.
The kids might find that part the most enjoyable of all, and it’s definitely a place you can take them without boredom setting in.
Upon our arrival, we hopped into a taxi cab and drove straight to our hotel in Dupont Circle, The Palomar. All the monuments were lit up, so we got to see the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument in their glory. The boutique hotel featured goldfish at the concierge and got as quickly checked in so we could go explore a little. We didn’t stay out too late fortunately, because then it was off for a day of site-seeing! We hopped onto a double-decker bus that tours the city. If you choose this as your mode of transportation to sites and want to sit up top, I recommend wearing your hair up or bringing a hair tie. It was windy and not for tall people! The trees and power lines might be a little to close to you if you hit 6’4″ or over. This is a great way to see the city, though, because it drops you off at all the hot spots. We could only manage about half the route each day, but this was fine because the tickets were valid for two days. You might want to pick and choose which sites at which you want to exit, because I don’t think you can even see all the sites in a weekend. All the historical sites are free, such as the monuments and Smithsonian, but the Newseum costs a fee. If you get there in the morning, it’s 2-4-1 ticket prices, and I highly recommend it. The Newseum really is brand new, and in addition to boasting quite an impressive view of Pennsylvania Avenue, it is filled with exhibits like Hurricane Katrina, Elvis, newspapers from major events, 9/11, a Tim Russert tribute, a studio, interactive videos, an FBI and gangsters section (I saw the Unabomber’s cabin and the snipers’ trunk they shot out of), and you can even shoot your own news segment in front of a green screen. The kids might find that part the most enjoyable of all, and it’s definitely a place you can take them without boredom setting in. Other hot spots are things like the Smithsonian, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Arlington Cemetery, Mt. Vernon, The White House, Capitol Hill, the National Archives, Chinatown, The National Museum of American History, Library of Congress, Supreme Court, Union Station, Jefferson Monument, The National Museum of Natural History, National Air and Space Museum (always a favorite with kids), the US Holocaust Museum, the National Museum of the American Indian, and Ford’s Theater. I think I just listed two weeks worth of touring, actually.
In terms of nightlife, there is also no shortage of things to do. There is lots of fine dining throughout the city, and Dupont Circle and Georgetown are great towns to wander for dinner and drinks. There are many delicious Mediterranean tapas bars to try out and many real bars to enjoy. If you’re into wine, try Veritas Wine Bar in Dupont Circle http://www.veritasdc.com. It is a cozy area with over 70 wines on tap at the proper temperature, gourmet cheese, and fine chocolates. I happen to know the sommelier, so I can assure you that you won’t be let down with whatever you choose! They also have a good beer list. Another spot for beer is Brickseller, a restaurant and bar with over 1,000 beers in bottles. The bar has been there since 1957, and they have the Guinness Record for the most varieties of commercial beer. Their taps rotate seasonally, and we got to try pumpkin ales.
Whitney J. Manson