It’s easy to experience overload when visiting Washington D.C. unless you have some insider information.
If you have never been to the nation’s capital, of course you should go into the imposing U.S. Capitol, schedule a White House tour through your congressional district, visit the National Air and Space Museum and stop for a family photo shoot at the Lincoln Memorial.
However, even if you do the Mall from the U.S. Capitol at the east end to the Lincoln Memorial on the west with the White House in between, you will have merely skimmed the top layer of D.C.’s treasure chest.
But if you are the type of traveler who enjoys checking out places the locals like and visiting some lesser known tourist spots, here are three gems:
If you saw a news show with the US Capitol building in the background or with talking heads before a small audience, you would have seen one of the many shows broadcast from a Newseum studio on Level 3.
The place to start touring this museum’s 250,000 square feet, though, is below ground on the Concourse Level where you see “G-Men and Journalists,” “Sports Photography” and a large piece of the Berlin Wall.
Then, take the glass elevator in the center up to Level 6 for photo-album views out on the terrace and to browse the timely “Every Four Years: Presidential Campaigns and the Press” exhibit that is up through Jan. 27, 2013.
Now, work your way down to Level 1. Historical reports dating before the country’s founding and interactive stations will be stopping you on each level longer than you expect, so plan to spend half a day here.
Tip: Be sure to try out the “HP New Media Gallery: A 3D Social Network,” the museum’s newest permanent exhibit.
Some visitors automatically stop by the National Gallery’s East and West Buildings for new exhibits. However, Beltway residents know that the Garden Café in the West Building has become one of the hottest lunch spots in town.
Since chefs from Provence came over from France to do a menu for the National Gallery that would complement Cézanne in Provence, a spring 2006 exhibit, the Garden Café has been offering the foods and flavors of the countries that go with major exhibits.
Currently, the restaurant has Catalonian dishes designed by DC Chef José Andrés and the Gallery’s Chef David Rogers to go with Joan Miro’s regional Spanish roots.
Joan Miro: The Ladder of Escape, on exhibit in the East Building now through Aug. 12, 2012, tunes viewers into the artist’s background, stages and emotions through nearly 120 paintings, drawings and prints.
Tip: Call 202-712-7454 to ask about best time the day you are going and if a reservation is available.
3. Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, southwest shore of the Tidal Basin, West Potomac Park, on Ohio Drive, S.W. near Independence Avenue and West Basin Drive
Instead of one statue, the FDR Memorial is a stunning walk among waterfalls, sculptures and plantings that lead visitors through quotes and significant events of the President’s four terms.
Fortunately, you no longer have to worry about using up film even though another photo shot lies around every corner of the memorial.
Tip: Go over to the Tidal Basin’s walkway for a shortcut to the Martin Luther King Memorial and for postcard shots of the Jefferson and Washington Memorials.
Photos (C) Jodie Jacobs