BroncoCountry's Guide to DC

Boise State fans are getting ready for a great trip to the nation's capital to not only take in one of the best games of the college football season (Boise State vs. Virginia Tech) but also to immerse themselves in a city rich in history.

Boise State's football team has a "Battle in the Capital" with Virginia Tech September 6th. To prepare the thousands of Bronco fans for the trip, I have put together this fairly comprehensive guide to visiting Washington, D.C.

I have had the great privilege of visiting this great city several times and am happy to share with you what I know about the city. (Since this guide is several pages long, please feel free to copy the information into a Word document that you can use to search for the specific information you are interested in.)

PhotobucketThe BroncoCountry Guide to DC begins with a brief history of the city. President George Washington chose the city along the Potomac River as the site for the national capital. In 1791, President Washington appointed Pierre (Peter) Charles L'Enfant to formulate a city plan for the area owned by the federal government between the northeast shore of the Potomac and the northwest shore of the eastern portion of the River. In L'Enfant's first layout, the grid centered on the United States Capitol with wide diagonal avenues crossing the layout that would later be named after the states of the union.

L'Enfant included north-south and east-west streets that would form circles and plazas that would honor notable Americans. He designed a narrower avenue which would connect the White House with the Capitol. On August 19, L'Enfant presented his plan to President Washington.

One of the commissioners involved in the project, Andrew Ellicott, had a dispute with L'Enfant that the city plan was not engraved. Ellicott drew his own plan, straightening Massachusetts Avenue and making other changes. Shortly thereafter, Washington dismissed L'Enfant. Ellicott's revisions became the basis for the District of Columbia's future development.

The capital was moved to Washington in 1800 and on February 27, 1801 the District of Columbia Organic Act of 1801 placed DC and the municipalities of Alexandria, Georgetown and Washington under the jurisdiction of Congress.

Washington, D.C. came under attack during the War of 1812 in what was known as the "Burning of Washington". Numerous buildings, including the White House and United States Capitol had to be reconstructed. The McMilan Plan of 1901 restored the area and established the National Mall as well as numerous monuments and museums.

L'Enfant Plaza was named after the DC city planner. It houses office buildings, a hotel and an underground shopping center centered around L'Enfant Promenade in southwest D.C. The Metro stop L'Enfant Plaza is located beneath the Plaza.

The smooth and efficient Washington Metro began in 1976. It is one of the nation's best-designed and operated metros and will get you everywhere you wish to go.  


The web site is very user-friendly and helps you to calculate the approximate time it will take you to get from one location to another either by bus, by rail, or both. The Metro consists of five lines (Red, Blue, Orange, Green and Yellow). The Metro will take you to Franconia/Springfield to the south (Blue Line), Glenmont and Shady Grove to the north (Red Line), Vienna/Fairfax to the west (Orange Line) and New Carrollton (Orange Line), Largo Town Center (Blue Line) and Branch Avenue (Green Line) to the east.

PhotobucketThe Red, Blue and Orange Lines merge at the Metro Center which is just north of the Federal Triangle and the Smithsonian Metro stops. The Smithsonian stop is your entrance to the museums, the National Mall, the Lincoln and Washington monuments, the U.S. Capitol and the Vietnam, WW II and FDR Memorials. The Yellow and Blue Lines will take you across the Potomac to the Pentagon. These same two lines will also pick you up and drop you off at Ronald Reagan International Airport. The Blue and Orange Lines will stop at Foggy Bottom/GWU, your closest stop to Georgetown.

The Archives stop on the Yellow and Green Lines is the closest stop for the National Archives and the National Museum of Art

You can view and print numerous maps and check stations and train times for weekdays and weekends. The Metro can take you from the Ronald Reagan Airport to a stop very close to your hotel. This site is a highly-valuable resource for you!


This Guide is divided into seven sections: 1) Seats of Government, 2) Monuments and Memorials, 3) Arlington National Cemetery, 4) Smithsonian Museums, 5) Other Sights to See in DC, 6) Other Things to Do in DC and 7) Dining in DC.

Photobucket The absolute best way to see DC is through the Hop-On, Hop-Off double-decker sightseeing bus that travels throughout DC with 25 stops.  The flexibility of the tour allows to get off only at the places you want to, stay as long as you want, and get back on. The buses come by often so you don't have to wait long at all. I have visited DC on several occasions and recently found this as the best and most efficient (and therefore best use of time) way to see the city. You will not be disappointed! <>p>One other suggestion concerning the Hop-On, Hop-Off. The Smithsonian is its own activity--you can spend dozens or even hundreds of hours there, as much as you want. On the days you want to visit the Smithsonian, go there by Metro, bus or taxi--Metro is of course cheapest. Then, to see the rest of the sights, use the Hop-On, Hop-Off. Be sure to check the web site for the 25 stops the Hop-On, Hop-Off bus makes. If your location of interest is too far from one of the stops, include that in the Limousine Tour I mention below (if it is a location that can be enjoyed in the day). Otherwise, take the Metro to that spot.

As a companion to the Hop-On, Hop-Off, check out the Limousine DC Night Tours that are described below. If you take to heart nothing else in this Guide, remember this paragraph!


Seats of Government


One of the greatest thrills is to observe the United States House of Representatives or United States Senate in session.  There are very few passes given each day and take advance notice.  If you are interested in this incredible experience, contact your Representative or Senator if you have not already done so. 

Idaho's two Senators are the Honorable Senator Michael Crapo and the Honorable Senator James Risch.  Idaho's two Congressmen are the Honorable Walter Minnick and the Honorable Michael Simpson.  The staff at each of these offices is trained to assist you with your requests.  They can also help book a tour of the U.S. Capitol for you or you can book the tour online.  You must schedule a tour to be able to visit anything other than the Visitors Center.

PhotobucketThe beautiful White House is a must-see. It is on the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capitol building. Since 9/11, tours of the White House are unavailable except to large groups.  Talk to a staff member at one of the above-mentioned offices for further information.

The Supreme Court opens in October but even though the Court is not in session, it is worth the trip to view the building and tour inside.  The Courtroom itself is closed for cleaning from August 6 through August 27; when activity permits, visitors will be allowed to view the Courtroom.

All visitors must pass through security.

Other than the closure mentioned above, hours are Monday through Friday from 9-4:30. The building is closed on weekends. The Supreme Court is located on First Street NE between East Capitol Street and Maryland Avenue, adjacent to the U.S. Capitol and the Library of Congress. The closest Metro stop is Capitol South on the Orange and Blue Lines. By Metro Bus, the closest stop is The Circulator on the Navy Yard Line—take buses 96, 97 and A11.

Visitor Etiquette

PhotobucketThe Supreme Court is the highest court in the Nation for all cases and controversies arising under the Constitution or laws of the United States; therefore, visitors are asked to follow a few general guidelines.

• Be prepared to pass through security screening at your point of entry. All items must be screened in x-ray machines and all visitors will be asked to pass through metal detectors.

• Please tour the building quietly as working offices are adjacent to all public halls. Any visitors unable to maintain proper decorum will be asked to leave by the Supreme Court Police.

• No photography or video recording is permitted inside the Courtroom.

• Smoking is prohibited inside the building.

• Consumption of food and beverages is permitted only in the Cafeteria and vending machine alcove.

• Visitors may not touch portraits, busts, or other artifacts on exhibition.

Washington is a beautiful city, similar to Paris, France. That is due to L'Enfant's influence.



Monuments and Memorials

The national monuments and memorials are a must-see so one can truly appreciate those who have built our nation and sacrificed for it.  There are numerous sites honoring these men and events in U.S. history.  The most-popular ones are the Lincoln Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial, the Washington Monument, the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial, the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial and the World War II Memorial.


Jefferson Memorial

PhotobucketThe Jefferson Memorial is a brilliant, beautiful domed-shaped rotunda honoring the nation's third president. The rotunda was patterned after Jefferson's own design for the rotunda of the University of Virginia. The Memorial is located on the Tidal Basin (15th Street NW) surrounded by a grove of trees. A 19-foot bronze statue of Jefferson is featured inside. Excerpts from the Declaration of Independence (which Jefferson drafted) and "A Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom, 1777", largely taken from a letter in 1789 from Jefferson to James Madiston are featured on the wallks surrounding Jefferson's statue.

From the top steps, one of the best views of the White House is available.  The Memorial is open 24 hours a day with park rangers available to assist you with questions from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. 

PhotobucketYou may rent a paddle boat (cost:  $12 per hour for a 2-passenger boat and $19 per hour for a 4-passenger boat) through September to really enjoy the view. 

The closest Metro stop is the Smithsonian. It is a bit of a walk across the Potomac. One of the best ways to view the Memorial is through a Limousine Tour of DC at Night. Several DC limousine services offer this popular package. They will take you on a tour of the most popular Washington destinations plus any that you request—be sure to talk to them in advance about what you want to see and the cost of the tour. Besides being one of the best ways to see the Jefferson (the limo drops you off there and waits for you while you view the spectacular monument at night), the Limousine Tour is also a great way to see the city at night and, because it is a personal tour, allows you to see sites that you may not have had time for or had missed during the day. I highly recommend it, not as the primary way to see DC but definitely a supplemental way!

 Lincoln Memorial
The Lincoln Memorial was dedicated in 1922 to honor President Abraham Lincoln. Thirty-eight Grecian columns (that are seven-feet in diameter and stretch 44 feet high) surround a huge statue of Lincoln seated on a ten-foot high marble base. The 19-foot statue is surrounded by engraved readings of his famous Gettysburg address and his Second Inaugural address. Visitors can see Lincoln in all his grandeur 24 hours a day with staff present from 8 a.m. to midnight. The Lincoln is located at the West End of the National Mall (23rd Street between Constitution and Independence Avenues). The Federal Triangle or Smithsonian Metro stops are the closest.

The Memorial has been the site of many famous speeches and events. The Lincoln too is best seen at night on the Limousine Tour when it is illuminated. The Smithsonian Metro stop is the closest to the Memorial.


Washington Monument

The Washington Monument is a memorial to President George Washington. The white-colored obelisk stands as the tallest structure in DC (555 feet, 5 1/8 inches high) and the centerpiece of the National Mall. It is on the east end of the reflecting pool across the pool from the Lincoln Memorial. Fifty flags surround the base of the Monument for each state of the Union. Beginning in July 1848 the Washington National Monument Society invited states, cities and Photobucketpatriotic societies to contribute memorial stones to commemorate George Washington. The 192 memorial stones adorn the interior walls of the monument. It took 40 years to complete due to lack of funds during the Civil War, but was finally finished and dedicated in 1885. It was restored to its original beauty in 2000. The elevator that runs up the monument leads to a great view of the city but there are long waiting lines.

Free time assigned tickets are required. Visitors may obtain same day tickets at the Washington Monument Lodge located on the 15th Street side of the monument, midway between Constitution and Independence Avenues. Tickets are distributed beginning at 8:30 a.m. daily until tickets for that day are gone Advance tickets are available for $1.50 service fee. See the website for more information.

Sylvan Theater, an outdoor amphitheater located near the base of the Washington Monument, is a popular venue for a wide range of events including free concerts and live theatrical performances, commemorative ceremonies, rallies and protests.

The Blue and Orange Metro Lines to the Smithsonian stop provide easy access to the Monument.


Vietnam Veteran's Memorial

PhotobucketThe dramatic and somber Wall is a place of deep reflection for many visitors. It is located near the Washington Memorial. The Wall, spectacular both for its design and the tragic consequences contained within, is along Constitution Avenue between 21st and 23rd Streets. It was dedicated in November, 1982. The v-shaped Memorial consists of two 250-foot walls of polished black granite that slope to the ground from a height of 10 feet. The walls contain the names of the more than 58,000 United States men and women who were killed or missing in the Vietnam War. A sculpture of three servicemen and a flag were placed off to the side of the walls.

There is a directory (the names on the wall are in chronological order of death) and from 8am to midnight there is always someone there to talk to and help locate a particular name. Flashlights are provided at night.


Women in Vietnam Memorial
Constitution Avenue
and Henry Bacon Drive, NW.

Photobucket This sculpture depicts three women in the military with a wounded soldier to honor the women who served in the Vietnam War. The sculpture was dedicated in 1993 as part of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.


FDR Memorial

PhotobucketThe impressive Memorial is spread over 7.5 acres and is divided into four outdoor galleries, one for each of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's terms in office from 1933-1945. 10 bronze sculptures of commemorate the nation's 32nd President, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and World War II. The memorial has waterfalls and giant stones that are engraved with famous quotations of FDR. As President Roosevelt was the only president to ever have a handicap, the FDR Memorial is the first monument designed to be wheelchair accessible. The tribute to FDR is near the Lincoln Memorial (1850 West Basin Drive SW) and can be reached by the Smithsonian stop of the Metro.

Hours are 8 a.m. to 11:45 p.m. but it is recommended that this Memorial be toured during the day to fully appreciate the scope and read the quotes.


World War II Memorial

PhotobucketThis beautiful structure is an oval shape with two 43-foot arches, representing the war's Atlantic and Pacific theatres. Fifth-six pillars represent the states, territories and the District of Columbia at the time of the war. Two sculpted bronze wreaths are placed on each pillar. Small fountains sit at the bases of the two arches. Waterfalls surround a wall of 4,000 gold stars. Each star represents 100 United States deaths in the war. A circular garden, called the "Circle of Remembrance," is enclosed by a two-foot-high stone wall.

The World War II Memorial is on 17th street between Constitution and Independence Avenue NW. The Washington Monument is to the east and the Lincoln Memorial is to the west. Parking is limited so the best way to view the Memorial is on foot or via the Limousine tour. The Smithsonian is the closest Metro stop. The Memorial is open 24 hours a day and is a peaceful place to remember those who served our country during World War II. Park rangers are available seven days a week from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. The newest DC Memorial opened to the public on April 29, 2004.

You have seen the White House, the Capitol, the Supreme Court and the Memorials. There is another stop you must make—Arlington National Cemetery.



 Arlington National Cemetery

The cemetery is breathtakingly horrific. All around you are row upon row of graves of Americans killed in combat.

PhotobucketMore than 330,000 people are buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Veterans of all American wars are buried on the grounds. The Arlington Mansion and 200 acres of ground were designated as a military cemetery on Jun 15, 1864 by Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton. It is across the Potomac River from Washington at the west end of the Memorial Bridge in Arlington, Virginia.

The Cemetery is open from to 7 p.m. through September 30th. From October to March, it closes at 5 p.m. Parking is available for $1.75 per hour for the first three hours. The best way to get to the cemetery (other than the tour bus of course) is to take Metro to the Arlington National Cemetery Station or walk in across the Memorial Bridge. The cemetery is also a stop on most Washington, DC sightseeing tours. Four million people visit the Cemetery each year.

Some of the gravesites and memorials at Arlington are President William Howard Taft, President John F. Kennedy, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Senator Robert F. Kennedy, Senator Ted Kennedy, Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, Associate Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, world champion boxer Joe Louis, a Mast of the USS Maine, a Memorial to the Crew of the Space Shuttle Challenger, the Tomb of the Unknowns, Pierre Charles L'Enfant, the Confederate Memorial and the Iwo Jima Memorial.

PhotobucketThe Changing of the Guard ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns is a site that most wish to see. The Tomb is guarded 24 hours a day. The Changing of the Guard ceremony takes place every hour (every half-hour in the summer). Also known as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the site has never been officially named. It is located on a hill overlooking DC. On March 4, 1921, Congress approved the burial of an unidentified American soldier from World War I in the Memorial Amphitheater plaza. The white marble sarcophagus has a flat-faced form and there are neo-classic columns set into the surface. Three Greek figures representing Peace, Victory and Valor are sculpted into the east panel that faces the city.

Army Sergeant Edward F. Younger (decorated for valor and recipient of the Distinguished Service Medal in World War I) selected the Unknown Soldier of World War I from four identical caskets of unknown soldiers exhumed from American cemeteries in France. The Unknown Soldier lay in state in the Capitol Rotunda from his arrival in the United States until Armistice Day, 1921. On Nov. 11, 1921, President Warren G. Harding officiated at the interment ceremonies at the Memorial Amphitheater at Arlington National Cemetery.

On Aug. 3, 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a bill to select and pay tribute to the unknowns of World War II and Korea. The selection ceremonies and the interment of these unknowns took place in 1958. The World War II Unknown was selected from remains exhumed from cemeteries in Europe, Africa, Hawaii and the Philippines.

PhotobucketThe Unknown service member from the Vietnam War was chosen by Medal of Honor recipient U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Allan Jay Kellogg Jr. at Pearl Harbor, Hawai'i May 17, 1984. President Ronald Reagan presided over the funeral on May 28 and presented the Medal of Honor to the Vietnam Unknown. The remains of the Vietnam Unknown were exhumed May 14, 1998. Based on mitochondrial DNA testing, Department of Defense scientists identified the remains as those of Air Force 1st Lt. Michael Joseph Blassie, who was shot down near An Loc, Vietnam, in 1972. It has been decided that the crypt that contained the remains of the Vietnam Unknown will remain vacant.)

Arlington House is the former home of Robert E. Lee and his family. George Washington Parke Custis, Lee's father-in-law, originally built the house as his own home as well as a memorial to George Washington, his step-grandfather. Arlington House is now preserved as a memorial to Robert E. Lee, who helped heal the nation following the Civil War.

To help you plan your visit, here is a map of Arlington Cemetery. 

You have viewed the three houses of government and paid homage to American heroes at the Memorials and Arlington National Cemetery. No trip to Washington would be complete without visiting the museums of the Smithsonian.


The Smithsonian Museums

The Smithsonian Institution is an educational and research institute and associated museum complex. Its 19 museums house American history, artifacts, documents, culture and memorabilia, the scope of which is incomprehensible to first-time visitors. It would take several lifetimes to adequately view and learn about every item in all of the museums that made of the Smithsonian.

Therefore, it is best to plan now which museums you wish to visit and the specific areas of each museum that you want to focus on.  This gives you an overview of the Smithsonian Museums.  Most people can see most of their areas of interest in a week or two.  I will give you the highlights of each museum.


National Museum of American History

The National Museum of American History is one of the most popular of the Smithsonian museums. Do not confuse it with the Museum of Natural History (which too is very popular). They are separate buildings and each has countless items to stir the imagination.

PhotobucketIn the National Museum of American History, you can see the original "Star-Spangled Banner", explore the history of the U.S. presidency and see Dorothy's red slippers from "The Wizard of Oz", James Brown's cape and jump suit, the gown worn by Jackie Kennedy to the 1961 Inaugural balls, President Lincoln's top hat and a 1903 Winton, the first car driven across the United States.

PhotobucketThe best way to navigate the museum is to check out the web site through the link provided above. There are 3 million artifacts in this museum. At the heart of the museum, the Star-Spangled Banner—one of the most recognized symbols of the nation—has been given a new state-of-the-art gallery. New galleries such as the Jerome and Dorothy Lemelson Hall of Invention, presenting "Invention at Play," join old favorites including "The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden" and "America on the Move."

The lower level contains services and ride simulators. The first floor contains Science & Innovation on the west side and Transportation & Technology on the east. Objects of the 20th century such as tools of the Industrial Revolution, locomotives, farm equipment, old automobiles and items of the information age are housed here. PhotobucketYou can "visit" Julia Childs' kitchen, participate in hands-on laboratories, look at the history of science in America, explore the different coins and currencies and look at lighting devices, power machinery and "America on the Move", which features items of transportation. The second floor contains "Within These Walls", "Communities in a Changing Nation", "First Ladies at the Smithsonian", a Documents Gallery and the "Apollo Theatre" temporary gallery. There are items of American cultural history related to immigration, migration and the role of women in America, including dresses and other items of the First Ladies.

PhotobucketThe third floor features Entertainment, Sports and Music on the west wing and American wars and politics on the east side. There is a dazzling tribute to the American presidency (including the desk that Jefferson used to write the Declaration) and National Treasures of Popular Culture, such as the ruby slippers mentioned above, props used on "All in the Family" and Apollo Ohno's skates. There are musical instruments, a special 200th birthday salute to Abraham Lincoln and "The Price of Freedom" exhibit. The Price of Freedom gallery depicts the nation's military history from the French and Indian War in the 1750's to recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. A Vietnam-era Huey helicopter and a World War II jeep are among the items featured. The Lincoln exhibit especially is very crowded so allow plenty of time to view that.

Special exhibitions include "Paper Engineering" (through September 1), "Ain't Nothing like the Real Thing: How the Apollo Theatre Shaped American Entertainment" (through August 29). I won't go into the specifics of each exhibit but by all means you want to check out the web site and click on "Exhibitions". From there, you can click on the individual exhibitions that you are interested in to learn more.

The American Museum is housed between 12th and 14th streets NW along the National Mall. The Museum is open every day except December 25. Admission is always free and no tickets are required. Regular hours are 10:00 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. The Museum will be open until 7 p.m. through September 5th (except for closing at 5:30 on August 25).


Museum of Natural History

To describe the American History museum has having a lot of items would be like saying King Kong was a large ape. You will be blown away by this museum.

PhotobucketThere are now over 126 million items in this museum. There are everything from fossilized pollen to the bones of an 80-foot Tyrannosaurus rex, tiny crustaceans to a giant squid and the Hope Diamond to Moon rocks.

PhotobucketVisitors can see fossils of dinosaurs, take a look at ancient sea life and observe what the ice age did to life on earth. They can view animals of the ocean in varying depths (shallows, the coral reef, open ocean and a special section for whales). The mammals section groups animals from Africa, South America & Australia and North America. There is a section on gemology with samples of minerals, mining, rocks and earth. The Museum has a section devoted to Western cultures and there is an insect zoo and a butterfly pavilion. Tarantula feedings are Tuesday through Friday at 10:30, 11:30, and 1:30.

Special exhibitions include "Celebrating 100 Years at the Museum", a look at the building's people, collections and outreach through the years, "The David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins), which takes visitors on an interactive journey through six million years of scientific evidence for human origins and the stories of survival and extinction during times of dramatic climate instability.

Admission is fee and no tickers are required. The Museum is open every day except Christmas. Hours are generally 10 a.m-7:30 p.m. through Labor Day, except for special early closings.


National Air and Space Museum

PhotobucketThe Air and Space Museum is one of the most popular of the museums. It maintains the largest collection of historic air and spacecraft in the world. It is also a vital center for research into the history, science, and technology of aviation and space flight, as well as planetary science and terrestrial geology and geophysics.

PhotobucketThere are two facilities and both are work visiting. The National Mall museum has hundreds of artifacts including the original Wright 1903 Flyer, the Spirit of St. Louis that Charles Lindbergh flew from New York to Paris in 1927, the Apollo 11 command module and a lunar rock sample. The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center contains many more artifacts including the Lockheed SR-72 Blackbird, Boeing B-29 Superfortress Enola Gay and the Space Shuttle Enterprise.

Exhibitions at the Mall include "Beyond Our Solar System", "Moving beyond Earth", "The Wright Brothers & Invention of the Aerial Age", "Milestones of Flight" and "America by Air". The Virginia location features "Commercial Aviation", "Human Spaceflight", "World War II Aviation", "Vertical Flight" and "Rockets & Missiles".

The Mall museum location is at 6th and Independence. The Udvar-Hazy Center is near Dulles Airport (14390 Air and Space Museum Parkway, Chantilly, Virginia). National Mall hours are 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. through September 5 and 10-5:30 after September 5. The hours at the Virginia location are 10-6:30 through September 5 and 10-5:30 after September 5. Both locations are closed Christmas. Admission is free.


African Art Museum

PhotobucketThe Museum fosters the discovery and appreciation of the visual arts of Africa, the cradle of humanity. Their collection includes ancient as well as contemporary works from Africa. There are special events, storytelling, demonstrations and children's programs.

Ongoing exhibitions include "Walt Disney-Tishman African Art Highlights", featuring unique and rare works of traditional African art from throughout sub-Saharan Africa and "Ceramics at the National Museum of African Art."

Special exhibitions include "Grass Roots: African Origins of an American Art" (through November 28) and "The Healing Power of Art: Works of Art by Haitian Children after the Earthquake". "Grass Roots" tells the story of the beautiful coiled basket which will be on view.

The African Art Museum is located at 950 Independence Avenue SW, between the Arts & Industries Building and the Sackler Gallery of Art. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. except Christmas. Admission is free. The closest Metro stop is the Smithsonian station on the Blue and Orange lines—exit on the National Mall or on Independence Avenue.

Photography is allowed without flash or tripod unless otherwise indicated.


American Indian Museum

PhotobucketExperience culture at the National Museum of the American Indian, where free programming from storytelling and dance festivals to music performances by Native composers and classical musicians is available to audiences of all ages. Check website for performance schedule.

The Museum is at the intersection of Fourth Street and Independence Avenue SW. It is located between the Air & Space Museum and the Capitol. Hours are 10-5:30 daily except Christmas. Admission is free.

The closest Metro stop is L'Enfant Plaza on the Blue, Orange, Green and Yellow Lines. You will want to take the Maryland Avenue/Smithsonian Museums exit out of the Metro station. Lines 30, 32, 34, 35 and 36 will take you to the museum via the Friendship Heights/Southern Avenue bus.

Experience culture at the National Museum of the American Indian, where free programming from storytelling and dance festivals to music performances by Native composers and classical musicians is available to audiences of all ages. Check website for performance schedule.


Anacostia Community Museum

This small museum focuses on African-American culture. Exhibits rotate and feature regional and national topics.

The Museum is located at 1901 Fort Place SE. Hours are 10-5 daily except Christmas.

PhotobucketTo get there by Metro, be sure to first obtain a bus transfer. Take the Blue or Orange Line to L'Enfant. Transfer to the Green Line on the upper level and be sure to head in the direction of Anacostia. Exit at the Anacostia Metro Station. Take the LOCAL exit. After exiting, turn left and go to the W2/W3 bus stop on Howard Road. Transfer to the W2 or W3 bus (Southeast Community hospital-Anacostia Line). The W2 bus only runs during Am and PM rush hours. The W3 bus runs every 30 minutes from 9:30-4. Both buses stop in front of the museum.


Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

PhotobucketThe Fleer Gallery Museum features a world-renowned collection of art from China, Japan, Korea, South and Southeast Asia and the Near East. Paintings, ceramics, manuscripts, and sculptures are among the favorites of this museum. The Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Auditorium provides free programs relating to the collections of the Freer and Sackler galleries, including performances of Asian music and dance, films, lectures, chamber music, and dramatic presentations.

The Sackler Gallery includes Chinese bronzes, jades, paintings and lacquerware, ancient Near-Eastern ceramics and metalware, and sculpture form Asia.

The Sackler Gallery is located at 1050 Independence Avenue SW. The Freer Gallery is at Jefferson Drive at 12th Street SW. The two museums are connected via an underground exhibition space. Hours are 10-5:30 every day except Christmas. Admission is free.



Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

PhotobucketThe Hirshhorn museum of modern and contemporary art includes arts of traditional historical themes and collections addressing emotion, abstraction, politics, process, religion, and economics.

Group tours are available—check out the website for more information. 30-minute tours are available at the Museum and Interpretive Guides are also on hand to answer questions.

The Museum is located at the intersection of Independence Avenue and Seventh Street SW. It is open every day except Christmas. Hours are 10-5:30 for the Museum and 7:30 a.m. to dusk for the Sculpture Garden. Admission is free.

Each weekday at 12:30, the museum has half-hour gallery talks. Hirshhorn docents lead tours of special exhibitions Monday through Thursday. The closest Metro station is L'Enfant Plaza on the Green, Yellow, Orange and Blue Lines.



National Gallery of Art

PhotobucketThe East and West Buildings are connected by an underground concourse with a moving walkway. The Gallery is located between 3rd and 7th streets at Constitution Avenue NW. It is open Monday through Saturday from 10-5 and Sunday from 11-6. The Gallery is closed on Christmas and New Year's Day.

The National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden is at the intersection of 7th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. The Garden includes an ice-skating rink.

Live music is available at the gallery on Sunday evenings at 6:30. Concerts feature Afghan, opera music and more, and are held in the West Building (6th and Constitution Avenue NW). No entry after 6:30 p.m.

The nearest Metro stops are the Smithsonian on the Blue and Orange Lines, Judiciary Square on the Red Line and Archives on the Yellow and Green Lines. Metro bus stops are located on 4th Street and 7th Street NW.


National Portrait Gallery and the American Art Museum

PhotobucketThe Portrait Gallery tells the history of America through individuals who have shaped its culture. Through visual arts, performing arts and new media, the Portrait Gallery portrays poets and presidents, visionaries and villains, actors and activists whose lives tell the American story. The Gallery presents six permanent exhibitions of nearly 20,000 works, ranging from paintings and sculpture to photographs and drawings. The Portrait Gallery possesses the only complete collection of presidential portraits outside the White House.

A temporary exhibition is set up on the second floor through September 26—"From FDR to Obama: Presidents on Time".

The American Art Museum contains the largest collection of American art in the world including over 41,000 artworks.

Both these Smithsonian museums are located at Eighth and F Streets NW. The museums are located above the Gallery Place. The closest Metro stop is Chinatown on the Red, Yellow and Green Lines. Hours are 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily except for Christmas. Admission is free.



National Postal Museum

PhotobucketThe Museum tells America's story through stamps. It features tours and information about stamp collecting. The closest M

etro stop is Union Station on the Red Line. Leave through the Massachusetts Avenue exit. Upon getting off the escalator, the National Postal Museum is across the street.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. except Christmas. Admission is free.


Renwick Gallery

The building was the original site of the Corcoran Gallery and is furnished with American crafts and contemporary arts from the 19th to 21st centuries. The museum features unique works of art in an impressive setting across the street from the White House.

The Gallery is located at 70 9th Street NW.


National Zoo

PhotobucketThe Zoo features more than 435 different species of animals, including giant pandas, elephants, lions, sloth bears and giant salamanders.

The National Zoo is located at 3001 Connecticut Avenue NW. Take the Red Line of the Metro to the Woodley Park-Zoo/Adams Morgan stop or the Cleveland Park stop. The Zoo entrance is halfway between these stops. Admission is free and the Zoo is open every day except Christmas. Hours are 10-6 daily.



Other Sights to See in DC


Bureau of Engraving and Printing

PhotobucketThe Bureau has been printing paper money since 1914. The BEP's Visitor Center is a great place to learn all about U.S. paper currency. You can see millions of dollars being printed as you walk along the gallery overlooking the production floor! The free 40-minute experience includes an introductory film and gallery tour of the production process. The visitor center includes exhibits and currency products for sale.

Cameras are allowed in the facility, but their use in the tour gallery is prohibited. Visitors must pass through a metal detector and belongings will be screened before entering the building.

The Tour and Visitor Center is closed on weekends, Federal holidays, and the week between Christmas and New Years Day. Hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30-3:30 (the door closes at 3). Free tickets are required during the peak season of March through August. The tickets are distributed beginning at 8 a.m. on a first-come, first-served basis at the ticket booth on Raoul Wallenberg Place (formerly 15th Street). No tickets are required from September through February.


Embassy Row

PhotobucketStroll up Massachusetts Avenue to get a first-hand look at the beautiful architecture of embassies from around the world. Or better yet, if you had paid attention earlier in the Guide, you would have booked the Hop-On, Hop-Off tour which would take you directly down this street!


Ford's Theatre

PhotobucketFord's Theatre recently underwent a rennovation but it is now open for daytime visits beginning at 9 a.m. Final entry into the theatre is at 4:30 p.m. The Museum is open beginning at 9 a.m. and final entry is at 4 p.m. The Petersen House (the House where President Lincoln died) will be closed in late 2010 for rennovation--be sure to check the website for information.

Ford's Theatre is selling tickets for "A Christmas Carol", "Sabrina Fair", "The Carpetbagger's Children" and "Liberty Smith". Ticketmasteris the official ticket outlet.

Because of rehearsals and matinee performances, there are times the Theatre is not open to the public. Here is their policy:

Ford's Theatre is a working professional theatre, and there will be occasions when visitors will not be able to enter the theatre or museum due to rehearsals, set load-ins and matinee performances. Additionally, there may be occasions when the theatre or museum will need to close unexpectedly. Management will take precaution to avoid these situations, but in the event of an unscheduled closing, every effort will be made to exchange those tickets for a different time. Should no exchange be reasonably possible, a refund will be issued in the same method of your payment; cash will be issued as a check. The Ticketmaster service charges will not be refunded. Every effort will be made to announce the schedule adjustments on the website and at the venue.

Because of the uncertain nature, check this page for their schedule.

Admission into the Museum, the Theatre and Petersen House is free, but you need a ticket.

The Theatre is located at 511 Tenth Street, NW. The Hop-On, Hop-Off bus will take you right by Ford's Theatre and is your best option.

Three Metro stops are near Ford's Theatre--For he Red, Blue and Orange Lines, your stop is the Metro Center. From there, Take the 11th Street exit. Walk straight ahead to the corner which is 11th and F Streets, NW. Turn left and go one block to 10th Street. Turn right onto 10th. Ford's Theatre is located on the left, half way down the block between F and E streets.

The Red, Green and Yellow Lines will stop at Gallery Place. From there, Take the G Street exit. Walk toward the museums (away from the MCI center) to 10th Street, NW. Turn left on 10th Street and walk one block. Ford's Theatre is located on the left, between F and E streets.

The Yellow and Green Lines of the Metro will also stop at the Archives/Navy Memorial stop. From this station, Exit at Pennsylvania Avenue. Walk to 10th Street and turn right. Walk one block to Theatre located on the right between E and F streets.


George Mason Memorial

900 Ohio Drive, in East Potomac Park, SW.

PhotobucketThe George Mason Memorial is a monument to the author of the Virginia Declaration of Rights, which inspired Thomas Jefferson while drafting the Declaration of Independence. Mason persuaded our forefathers to include individual rights as a part of the Bill of Rights.


International Spy Museum

PhotobucketIndulge your inner James Bond with a look at 007's Aston Martin from Goldfinger, along with more serious toys used by the CIA, FBI, and KGB at the International Spy Museum. Hours are 9 am to 7 p.m. through September 5 and 10-6 for the remainder of September.

Prices are as follows:

General Admission Permanent Exhibit (Child ages 5-11) $15 Permanent Exhibit (Senior ages 65+, Military/Intelligence Community) $17 Permanent Exhibit (Adult ages 12-64) $18 Operation Spy Operation Spy, Only $14 Spy in the City Spy in the City (1 hour experience) COMING SOON! Spy in the City (1.5 hour experience) $14 Spy in the City (2 hour experience) COMING SOON! Spy at Night Spy at Night Experience (Friday & Saturday Evenings) $20 Spy Combination 1 hour Spy in the City + Operation Spy $30 Double Agent Choose any two of the above offerings $28 Triple Threat Choose any three of the above offerings $40 Spy City Tours Spy City Tours (Saturdays, Only) $59

Visit the website for more details.


John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

National Symphony Orchestra: Labor Day Capitol Concert

Sunday, September 5

Washington National Opera Un Ballo in Maschera (A Masked Ball)

Love, Murder and Betrayal in High Society! Based upon the real-life murder of 18th-century Swedish King Gustavus III, Verdi's Un Ballo in Maschera tells the story of forbidden love in this lavish production.

The Opera will run from September 11 through September 25 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Da Vinci - The Genius

Through Sunday, September 12 PhotobucketNational Geographic Featuring an array of full-scale machine inventions, reproductions of his famous Renaissance paintings, and detailed anatomical sketches, Da Vinci - The Genius demonstrates the full scope of Leonardo da Vinci's remarkable innovations as an inventor, artist, anatomist, sculptor, engineer, musician, and architect.


Korean War Veterans Memorial
Daniel French Drive and
Independence Avenue, SW

PhotobucketOur nation honors those who were killed, captured, wounded or remain missing in action during the Korean War (1950 -1953). Nineteen figures represent every ethnic background. The statues are supported by a granite wall with 2,400 faces of land, sea and air support troops. A Pool of Remembrance lists the names of the lost Allied Forces. Hours are 8 a.m. to 11:45 p.m.


Library of Congress

The Library of Congress is the nation's oldest federal cultural institution and serves as the research arm of Congress. It is also the largest library in the world, with 144 million items including nearly 22 million books as well as recordings, photographs, maps and manuscripts.

The Library includes the world's largest collection of legal materials, films, maps, sheet music and sound recordings. There are three buildings of the Library of Congress: The Thomas Jefferson Building, the John Adams Building and the James Madison Building.

Last year, the Library provided services to 589,777 individuals and registered over 382-thousand copyrights.

There are several branches of the Library of Congress, including Congressional Research service, the Copyright Office and a Law Library.

PhotobucketThe Library of Congress offers hour-long, fully accessible docent-led tours of the historic Thomas Jefferson Building. During your tour you will learn about the Building's symbolic art and architecture and view the grandeur of the Main Reading Room. Professionally trained docents tell the story of the Library—America's oldest cultural institution—by talking about its history, its collections, and the services provided to Congress and the nation. Check with the Orientation Desk for availability.

The Jefferson and Madison buildings are located at 101 Independence Avenue SE and the Adams building is at the intersection of Independence and 2nd Street SE. All buildings are closed to the public on Sundays, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. The Madison and Adams buildings are closed all other federal holidays. The hours at the Jefferson building are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The Madison building is open 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8:30-5 on Saturday. Hours for the Adams building are 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Thursday and 8:30-5 on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday.


Lyndon Baines Johnson Memorial Grove

George Washington Parkway, Washington DC.

PhotobucketThe grove of trees and 15 acres of gardens are a memorial to President Johnson and a part of the Lady Bird Johnson Park, which honors the former first lady's role in beautifying the country's landscape. The Memorial Grove is an ideal setting for picnics and has beautiful views of the Potomac River and the Washington, DC skyline.


Mount Vernon

Mount Vernon is the most popular historic estate in America. Since the estate was opened to the public in 1860, more than 80 million visitors have toured Mount Vernon.

Mount Vernon was the home of George and Martha Washington from the time of their marriage in 1759 until General Washington's death in 1799. He worked tirelessly to expand his plantation from 2,000 acres to 8,000 and the mansion house from six rooms to twenty one.

PhotobucketVisitors are invited to tour the 14-room Mansion house that has been beautifully restored and furnished with original objects dating back to the 1740's and more than a dozen outbuildings including the slave quarters, kitchen, stables, and greenhouse. Stroll four different gardens, hike the Forest Trail, and explore the George Washington: Pioneer Farmer site, a four-acre working farm that includes a re-creation of Washington's 16-sided treading barn. George and Martha Washington rest in peace in the tomb where wreathlaying ceremonies are held daily, and the Slave Memorial and Burial Ground is nearby.

The Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center and the Ford Orientation Center include 25 new theaters and galleries that tell the story of President Washington's life. More than 500 original artifacts and eleven History Channel videos are featured.

The staff at Mount Vernon created an entire "National Treasure Tour" where visitors can take an hour-long walking tour that includes behind-the-scenes information about areas where "National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets" filming took place and how these locations were used during George Washington's time, including the basement!  These popular tours sell out quickly so please plan ahead! 

The National Treasure Tours now take place daily through October 31 at 9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1:00 p.m., and 3:00 p.m.

Mount Vernon is located 16 miles south of DC and 8 miles south of Old Town Alexandria, Virginia. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily from April to August and 9-5 in September and October.

Admission is $15 for adults, $14 for Senior Citizens age 62 and above, $7 for children 6-11 and children 5 and under are admitted free. To avoid long lines, visit the estate on a weekday. The website contains information and touring suggestions.


 National Archives

PhotobucketThe National Archives is a fascinating place to visit. You can see the original Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights (Be honest—have you actually read each of these documents all the way through?) You can also research your own family's immigration records at the Archives. Through September 6, the Archives is presenting "Exploring the Civil War". The Archives also has a great gift shop where you too can own a copy of the Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights!

There are long lines at the Archives, one of DC's most-visited attractions. Get there early!


National Aquarium

PhotobucketOverlooked by many, the National Aquarium is well worth the visit. The National Aquarium was established in 1873 as the nation's first aquarium. It has been located in the lower level of the Department of Commerce building (14th street between Pennsylvania Avenue and Constitution Avenue NW—1401 Constitution) since 1932, and completed an extreme makeover in 2008. There are over 250 species featured in the Aquarium, including alligators, piranhas, sharks, eels and frogs.

The Aquarium is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with the last admission at 4:30 p.m. Daily animal feedings and aquarist talks take place at 2 p.m. Admission is $4 for children 3-11, $9 for general admission and $8 for seniors 60+.

The Orange and Blue Metro Lines serve the Aquarium. The Federal Triangle Metro stop provides easy access along Pennsylvania Avenue to the Aquarium.

National Cathedral

PhotobucketThe National Cathedral features beautiful architecture and grounds. In 1907, the foundation stone was laid and later became the longest running construction site in the nation's capital. The completion of the west towers in September 1990 marked the end of eighty-three years of construction.

There are free group tours offered daily as well as the opportunity for self exploration. Don't forget to ride the elevator to the 7th floor where there is an observation deck offering sweeping views of the city. You can get a great view of both sides of the National Cathedral from this vantage point as well as browse informative displays and old photos about the history of this building.

The website allows you to plan to attend a worship service and see a schedule of visiting choirs. You can also take a Gargoyle Tour (April through October, $10/adult, $5/child, or $30/family), and see how these whimsical creatures reflect history in stone. There's even one fashioned after Darth Vader. Enjoy a picnic in the picture-perfect medieval Bishop's Garden afterwards.

The National Cathedral is located at the corner of Wisconsin Avenue and Woodley Road in Northwest DC. The Cleveland Part stop is the closest Metro station. Cathedral is open year-round. Hours are Monday through Friday from 10a.m. through the closing worship service at 5:30, Saturday from 10 through the 4 p.m. service and Sunday from 7:45 and it closes following the 4 p.m. service. The requested contribution to visit is $5 per person.

The website allows you to plan to attend a worship service and see a schedule of visiting choirs. You can also take a Gargoyle Tour (April through October, $10/adult, $5/child, or $30/family), and see how these whimsical creatures reflect history in stone. There's even one fashioned after Darth Vader. Enjoy a picnic in the picture-perfect medieval Bishop's Garden afterwards.


Old Post Office Pavilion

PhotobucketFor a great and inspiring aerial view of the city (without the wait you'll find at the Washington Monument), visit the Old Post Office Pavilion at 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue.


Old Town, Alexandria


PhotobucketExplore a quaint historic town just over the Potomac River from Washington, DC. Visit colonial houses, churches, and museums and shop for antiques.


Pentagon Memorial

I-395 at Boundary Channel Drive, Washington DC.

Photobucket The memorial honors the 184 lives lost in the Pentagon and on American Airlines Flight 77 during the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. The Memorial includes a park and gateway spanning approximately two acres.


Theodore Roosevelt Island
George Washington Memorial Parkway,
Washington, DC.

PhotobucketA 91-acre wilderness preserve serves as a memorial to the nation's 26th president, honoring his contributions to conservation of public lands for forests, national parks, wildlife and bird refuges, and monuments. The island has 2 1/2 miles of foot trails where you can observe a variety of flora and fauna. A 17-foot bronze statue of Roosevelt stands in the center of the island.



Union Station

PhotobucketUnion Station is 102 years old and features beautiful architecture. In addition to the Station, there are numerous tourist shops and an upscale shopping mall.

Union Station can be reached via Metro on the Red Line. It is located at 50 Massachusetts Avenue NE.



United States Air Force Memorial

One Air Force Memorial Drive, Arlington, Virginia.

PhotobucketThis is the newest memorial in the Washington, DC area, completed in September 2006. The memorial honors the millions of men and women who have served in the United States Air Force. Open 24 hours.


United States Botanic Garden

PhotobucketIt is a measure of the value of plants to the well-being of the nation that the Founding Fathers wanted to include a botanic garden in a prominent place in the new city. Today, the heart of the United States Botanic Garden remains its plant collections, which number more than 60,000 plants that are nurtured in USBG greenhouses and displayed indoors in the Conservatory and outdoors in Bartholdi Park and the National Garden. Noteworthy collections include economic plants, medicinal plants, orchids, carnivorous plants, cacti and succulents, mid-Atlantic native plants, and ferns. Historic specimens include several that date from the original 1842 founding collection.

The Conservatory's main entrance is 100 Maryland Avenue SW.  The National Garden is adjacent to the Conservatory, with entrances from Independence Avenue, from Maryland Avenue at 3rd street, and from the Conservatory Terrace.  Bartholdi Park is across the street from the Conservatory. 


U. S. Holocaust Memorial Museum
100 Raoul Wallenberg Place, SW.

PhotobucketThe museum serves as a memorial to the millions of people who were murdered during the Holocaust. It has become one of DC's most-visited museums. Open 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. everyday, except Yom Kippur and Christmas Day. Timed passes are distributed on a first–come first–served basis.

United States Navy Memorial
at 701 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., between 7th and 9th Streets.

PhotobucketThe memorial commemorates U. S. Naval history and honors all who have served in the sea services. Open 24 hours, Naval Heritage Center is open Mon. - Sat. 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

U.S. Naval Observatory

PhotobucketAt this time, tours can not be reserved until the Observatory's backlog of requests is cleared. Visit the website for more information.

Willard InterContinental Hotel

PhotobucketSit in the lobby of this famous hotel to imagine history unfolding. The hotel is where Julia Ward Howe wrote "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," where President Ulysses S. Grant popularized the term "lobbyist" and where Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote his renowned, "I Have a Dream" speech.

The Willard is located at 1401 Pennsylvania Avenue NE, just one block from the White House.

Other Things to Do in DC:

Ben's Chili Bowl

PhotobucketThe hand-written sign above the register in Ben's Chili Bowl says that loyal supporter Bill Cosby is the only customer who can eat for free. It may not be free but you can still get the famous chili half smoke is just $5.20.

Dupont Circle

PhotobucketTake in the scene at Dupont Circle, where artists, power-lunchers, chess players, and Olympic-caliber bike messengers abound. Scope out the art scene on the first Friday of every month, when Dupont Circle's art spaces are open late and score complimentary wine as a bonus.


Georgetown is the capital's historic waterfront that today is bustling with activity. The area is a shopper's paradise and the streets are lined with restaurants of every nationality. Take a tour of historic sites, do some shopping and enjoy a meal at a local restaurant.

PhotobucketGeorgetown University is located at 3307 M St NW. Georgetown is famous for shopping. The Shops at Georgetown Park is the prime destination. It features Affairs, Intermix J. Crew, Arden B, Kiny Bis Boutique, Lee Nails, Comfort One Shoes, Express, Moda Nova, New York New York, Fornash Designs, Galerie des Parfums, Niccolo, Georgetown Shades, Giotto, Hafizz Haute Couture and Design, The Hattery and Simply Soles.

Other popular destinations for Georgetown shopping are: Annie Creamcheese (3279 M Street NW), Hu's Wear (2906 M), Major (1426 Wisconsin Avenue), Relish (3312 Cady's Alley NW), Sugar (1633 Wisconsin)

The Kreeger Museum

2401 Foxhall Rd NW

PhotobucketThe Kreeger Museum is a private, non-profit art museum located in the former residence of David and Carmen Kreeger. Designed by renowned architect Philip Johnson, it showcases the Kreegers' permanent collection of 19th and 20th century paintings and sculptures. Highlights of the collection include works by Monet, van Gogh, Picasso, Renoir, Cezanne, Chagall, Rodin, Miro, Moore, Kandinsky, Ardon and Washington artists Gene Davis, Sam Gilliam, William Christenberry and Kendall Buster as well as examples of traditional African and Asian Art. Photo by Eileen Wold.

Tudor Place

1644 31st St NW

Tudor Place stands alone in the nation's capital as a house of architectural distinction lived in by six generations of the prominent Peter family from 1805 to 1984. This expansive urban estate of 5 1/2 acres nestled in residential Georgetown was host of numerous illustrious figures Lafayette, Robert E. Lee, President Andrew Jackson, Henry Clay, John C. Clahoun and Daniel Webster. The rich story of Tudor Place brings to life American cultural history from the Federal period to the late 20th century.

Pizza Paradiso.  PhotobucketDiscussions about DC pizza begin and end with Pizza Paradiso. There are two locations: 2003 P Street NW near Dupont Circle and 3282 M Street NW near Georgetown.

Fine Dining: If you're like me and like dinner to me as much an incredible experience as just filling your stomach, you will love Michel Richard Citronelle. My wife and I took her sister and brother-in-law here to celebrate their wedding anniversary a few years ago. We all enjoyed it immensely.

Here is what says about Citronelle:

Cuisine: The ultimate in dinner as theater from culinary showman Michel Richard, who marries technical rigor, up-to-the-moment culinary practices (he's become obsessed with the sous vide technique), and a wicked sense of humor to produce food that looks like no other and, at its best, rivals the work of the finest chefs in the world. To dine here is to be dazzled—a mushroom soup that looks like a cappuccino, a lobster dish that will fool you into thinking you're supping on caviar—but it's also to come away with a better appreciation of the power of great cooking to produce flavors that couldn't exist without careful, artful manipulation. More than edible art, it's wondrously delicious art.

Photobucket Mood: Heads may turn for a glimpse of a celebrity or politico, but the real excitement is the showpiece kitchen—a brightly lit stage, aswarm with serious-faced cooks, where some of the most eye-catching dishes in the area emerge, ready for their close-ups. Even if you're not lucky enough to snag a seat at the chef's table or in the first row of tables that look into the kitchen, all of them are angled to the main stage.

If you can, go to Citronelle. I won't recommend any other fine dining establishments because I have not personally been there. Citronelle is located at 3000 M St., NW. Yes it is expensive but don't you deserve to treat yourself and your significant other at least once?

According to the Washingtonian, the best inexpensive restaurant is this one at #30.

30. Four Sisters ???

8190 Strawberry La., Suite 1, Falls Church, Virginia; 703-539-8566

Cuisine: This family-run restaurant has long provided Washingtonians with a kind of Vietnamese Cooking 101—introducing them to the glories of pho, of smoky grilled pork over slippery rice noodles, of folding bits of crepe into giant fans of lettuce. Nearly two decades on, it remains not merely the area's best introduction to the genre but—amid a flood of competition—the best Vietnamese restaurant, period. The menu is long and sprawling and turns up few outright misses. To come across cooking this colorful, this beautifully presented, this delicious—at prices that harken back a decade or more—is astonishing.

The next-highest ranked are:

63. Nava Thai Noodle and Grill ??½

11301 Fern St., Wheaton, Maryland; 240-430-0495

Cuisine: If it's not Washington's best Thai restaurant, it's easily the most interesting. Owners and cooks Suchart and Ladavan Srigatesook have culled a fascinating assortment of dishes from the night-market stalls and floating barges in Thailand. The cooking is bright and bold, perhaps nowhere more so than in the marvelous and complex soups and the vivid papaya salad (made to order). Even pad Thai is transformed from a gloppy noodle dish into a small symphony of flavor.

64. General Store ??½

6 Post Office Rd., Silver Spring, Maryland; 301-562-8787

Cuisine: A loving and affordably priced tour of the simple, soulful dishes that define Americana, from pot pie to fish tacos to fried chicken. Chef Gillian Clark cooks what she loves, and when she's on—which is often—it shows.

79. Etete ??

1942 Ninth St., NW; 202-232-7600

Cuisine: Ethiopian is among the great strengths of Washington's ethnic-dining landscape, with restaurants, bars, groceries, and even bakeries dotting the scene. This family-run operation remains the best spot to dig into the complex, spice-laden stews, called wats, that form the backbone of the cuisine. Tiwaltengus Shenegelgn, who runs the kitchen, is a star in the local community, and no wonder: Her cooking is the most refined, with clear flavors and a lingering depth in her saucing.

If you're on a budget, here is Washingtonian's list of "Cheap Eats".

If you're on a shoestring budget!

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