My daughter and I just returned from a delightful three days in Washington, D.C. Although I grew up there, it is a city in constant flux and there are always new people and things to discover.
Places to stay –
If you are with a teen or twenty-something, you’ll want to stay in Georgetown. It has fun shops, lots of restaurants, and is active at all hours.
The Georgetown Inn is right in the middle of things at 1310 Wisconsin Avenue. Rates start at $189 a night. We didn’t stay there, but my oldest daughter stayed there earlier in the summer and said it was great. It had among the best rates of many Georgetown hotels.
The Four Seasons at 2800 Pennsylvania Ave. is right down the street from The Latham Hotel. It is absolutely divine if you are in the mood to treat yourself. Its high rates put it in a league of its own. It is gorgeous inside with a great restaurant, pool, fitness room and spa.
Places to eat –
We discovered a couple of restaurants new to us, but you may be long acquainted with them. In Georgetown, Café Milano at 3251 Prospect St., NW is large, very popular, and serves delicious Italian food. It is walkable from any of the above hotels. You should make a reservation. We used Open Table on-line for all our dinner reservations and it worked perfectly.
Blacksalt Fish Market & Restaurant is a fish market in the front and a fabulous seafood restaurant in back. It is outside of Georgetown in my old ‘hood ‘at 4883 MacArthur Blvd. We loved everything we ate, and particularly recommend the fried clam appetizer and the desserts.
Like the other two restaurants, it is very popular so make a reservation.
Snacks in Georgetown –
Iceberry frozen yogurt is unbelievably delicious! My husband pronounced it the best frozen yogurt he’s ever had, especially the ‘original’ flavor (hints of lemon, coconut and strawberry). Iceberry is at 3001 M Street.
Georgetown Cupcake is at 3301 M St. It is open until 9 PM for after-dinner cravings, and has many flavors to choose from. Should you become addicted, they will ship a dozen cupcakes to you for $29.00 plus shipping.
Le Pain Quotidien at 2815 M St. is always great for a latte and an enormous meringue. We were not thrilled with their sandwiches, but the croissants and breakfast entrees were delicious.
The Sights – Finally, right? You were worried we just slept and ate?
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is a must-see. It is moving, informative and unforgettable. During their busiest season, March – August, you will need to reserve free tickets to the permanent exhibit. The passes will give you a time for your tour.
If it is lunchtime before or after your visit, go to Oyamel Cocina Mexicana which is at 401 7th St. NW. We stumbled onto it, walked in without a reservation and got a table. It was crowded, however, so if you can call ahead, do.
White House Tour – It is partly your house after all, so go check it out. Unless you have a connection of some kind, the only way to get on a tour is to write your member of Congress up to six months in advance and no less than 30 days in advance. We had a tour of the State Rooms and it was wonderful. It is a really beautiful place.
Again, if your tour is anywhere near lunchtime, go to the W Hotel at 515 15th St. NW. The rooftop terrace has panoramic views of the White House and the surrounding area. It’s fantastic.
The National Archives was an unexpectedly amazing experience! It is an unknown treasure, or maybe just unknown to me. The National Archives safeguard and preserve the records of our government. The staff is also in charge of all the Presidential Libraries – but that is just a tip of the iceberg. Other than Washington, D.C., the Archives have facilities in 17 states.
- The Rotunda, which in itself is a beautiful room, displays the ORIGINALS of the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Bill of Rights! It is an unbelievable experience to behold these documents.
- There are exhibits about American Presidents, and other changing shows. Right now there is a wonderful exhibit of letters to Presidents from children.
- Request documents and records for personal research
It is at 700 Pennsylvania Avenue and admission is free.
The Memorials –
Our favorites are the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, but the National World War ll and the Korean War Veterans Memorial were new to me and interesting.
Officially opened in 1984, the Vietnam Memorial is moving because the names of the dead are the memorial. 58,256 of them. It is shocking. There are two sculptures at the site. The first, by Frederick Hart, is of three young, armed soldiers. The second, dedicated in 1993, honors the women who took part in the Vietnam War. Sculpted by Glenna Goodacre, it depicts three women coming to the aid of a wounded soldier.
The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial was dedicated in 1997, and is amazing and expansive. It consists of four outdoor rooms representing each of his Presidential terms of office, and a fifth room that is a Prologue Room. FDR’s quotations are carved in the granite walls. His love of the sea and water is represented by waterfalls and quiet pools. There is a statue of FDR in a wheel chair, something you never would have seen when he was alive, and a larger than life statue of his beloved dog, Fala, There is a statue honoring Eleanor Roosevelt as First Lady and also as a delegate to the United Nations and champion for human rights.
Oops, we didn’t get to many cultural institutions this trip. We can urge you to check out the Renwick Gallery, however. It is a lesser-known gallery of The Smithsonian American Art Museum and is right around the corner from the White House. In 1972 it became the home of the Smithsonian’s craft and decorative arts program. It has one of the best collections of American craft in the United States from the 19th century to the present. There is currently a show on the art from the Japanese internment camps.
Have fun and keep your eyes open for a president of a foreign country (the President of Croatia was at the Holocaust Museum when we were), a Congressman or Senator, or the First Dog, Bo.