Vacationing in the Nation’s Capital

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The United States Capitol. (All photos courtesy of Lina Shah)

My initial thought was to go somewhere at an exotic location this summer, but our family visit of Washington, DC, the nation’s Capital, this summer made me believe that DC is more than just the capital and offers a variety of outstanding tourist attractions, acclaimed dining, vibrant neighborhoods and inspiring arts, history and culture.

Inside the Capitol Building.

Before we arrived, we had a nice sneak preview of some of DC’s jaw-dropping sights through 360-degree videos on www.washington.org. The weather was perfect in the beginning of August when we started visiting National Mall to see the fascinating free museums. We had a good time in the National Building Museum. Taking a guided tour from National park Service rangers, we mainly covered popular locations, including the Lincoln Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial.

Bike & Roll DC Segway Tour.

Next morning, we took an exciting and intuitive Segway tour of Bike and Roll. It was an exhilarating experience gliding effortlessly through the wide streets and squares of the National Archives, exploring the Lincoln Memorial, monuments, Capitol Hill, FBI building, Trump international hotel, Smithsonian Museums, the National Mall and more! A Segway tour was the best way to explore heart of the capitol. Another day, we took a Big Bus Hop On/Hop Off tour and visited many attractions. The kids were amazed inside the high-tech Newseum, a deep drive into the world of journalism. We created our own broadcasting at interactive Newsroom.

Former President Obama’s painting at the National Portrait Gallery.

Among the other attractions, we liked the world’s best photography-pictures of the year at the Newseum, Clinton’s and Obama’s portraits at the National Portrait Gallery and James Bond 007 adventures at the International Spy museum. We enjoyed Amsterdam Falafel and pizza at Spice6, a modern Indian cuisine, along with vegan food at NuVegan Cafe.

Old Senate Chamber

Our White House and Capitol Hill building tours were arranged through our Congressman. We took the Metro from Bethesda and walked to the White house entrance on 15th Street NW. After you clear security, you’re let loose to wander the bottom two floors of the East Wing at your own pace. Kids really liked the Capitol Hill building tour and learned more about US history and politics while exploring Emancipation Hall, the Crypt, an old Supreme Court, the paintings of Rotunda, Statutory Hall and old Senate Chamber. DC’s entertainment lineup seems to continue to evolve. The Wharf is a must-see neighborhood with great waterfront. We enjoyed a family swing set, the floating Barge at Transit Pier and jitney ride over to gorgeous East Potomac Park. In the afternoon, we took the water taxi by the Potomac RiverBoat Company from the Wharf and explored Georgetown, DC’s most historic waterfront and shopping area.

World War II Memorial

Washington, DC’s fun and attractions are never ending. In earlier trips, we visited the Smithsonian museums and experienced documentaries in their theaters and some of the attractions of the National Mall. We decided to come back to see the Museum of the Bible, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Wharf, Georgetown, Chinatown and much more! The scenic parks, amusing museums, cultural events, lush landscapes, outdoor music and holiday happenings really make DC a fantastic tourist destination.

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