Beyond the Basics

, TRAVEL

Washington DC is more than just the White House and the US Capitol Building! Home to iconic monuments, ultra-modern art galleries, famed performing arts theatres, interactive museums and historic sites that bear tribute to the country’s rich history, Washington DC possesses a dynamism that qualifies it as a great tourist destination.

What to do

The city’s focus remains the 16 free Smithsonian museums; a collection of history, science, art and culture. The museums exhibit everything from the origins of man and the future of flight to the history of art across multiple continents with nearly 140 million objects, works of art and specimens to discover.

Alternatively, Lincoln Memorial, an all-time visitors’ favourite featuring a 19-foot statue of Abraham Lincoln, has been home to many historical moments of America. In 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech from the steps of the memorial in front of 250,000 attendees.

Head to the White House Visitor Centre for a behind-the-scenes look at the home of former US presidents (open daily from 7:30 am – 4 pm). The centre features many aspects of the White House, including its architecture, furnishings, first families, social events and relations with the press and world leaders as well as a 30-minute video.

John F. Kennedy Centre for Performing Arts is the busiest of all US performing arts centres, hosting 3,000 events a year. It’s a massive performing arts powerhouse, which includes the central, 630-foot-long, 63-foot-high Grand Foyer with its crystal chandeliers and distinctive red carpet, plus a riverside terrace with fountains and spectacular views of Georgetown and walls inscribed with Kennedy’s words.

For the love of art, head to the National Gallery of Art to view some of the world’s most renowned classical paintings and sculptures, including works from da Vinci, Monet and Van Gogh. Next, explore the world’s largest and finest collection of Shakespeare materials, rare books, manuscripts and works of art at the Folger Shakespeare Library on Capitol Hill.

Where to eat

Washington’s newest development, The Wharf, opened in October,  2017,  transformed the Southwest Waterfront with three new hotels, 20 restaurants, a water taxi, four public piers and three live music venues. It features one of the city’s most sought-after culinary stars like the Pearl Street Warehouse, where you can get up close and personal with your favourite rock, country or blues artist. Every seat is a front-row seat and you’re never more than 25 feet away from the stage. The cozy venue includes harmonious pairings of classic all-American diner fares to make your evening a memorable one.

For roving gastronomers, it’s time to reserve a seat in one of the many Michelin starred restaurants in the city. There are over 14 restaurants that have earned the coveted stars. And one of the restaurants that has maintained its two-star status is Chef Jose Andres’ restaurant. Located in Penn Quarter, Jaleo by Chef Jose Andres is regularly booked months in advance. Once you take a multi-course journey through this gastronomical world, stretch your legs and search for take-home items, which includes tapas, sangria etc.

Where to stay

Washington has an array of options from boutique, family friendly to budget-friendly hotels. As for the upcoming National Cherry Blossom Festival, plan the best vacation and celebrate springtime during the most anticipated annual tradition in Washington DC. One can choose from hotels like Hyatt Place Washington DC/Georgetown/West End, Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Washington, DC / Downtown, Fairmont Washington, DC, Georgetown to name a few.

Where to shop

No matter where you are in Washington, DC, there are a variety of stores, boutiques, gift shops and malls to find what you’re looking for, whether it’s a new look for your home or yourself. Pick up everything from a great book to an uber-chic dress and locally made chocolate. Though neighboring Georgetown may get most of the hype when it comes to the shopping scene in Washington, DC, the pretty run of Connecticut Avenue that comprises Dupont Circle has its fair share of cute boutiques and stylish shops, too.

Words: Elliott Ferguson

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