My first literary encounter with Washington, DC, was in the book “Fire” by Katherine Neville (which by the way is the follow-up to her novel “Eight”). I honestly don’t remember much of the descriptions in the book and I will have to re-read the parts, but I do remember reading about the “Cherry Blossom Festival”. And I love cherry blossoms. Too bad I went there a month earlier, but nevertheless I got to see Washington with bright sunshine, only a bit chilly…
I haven’t been to many cities in the USA (only Chicago preceded Washington and New York succeeded it), but I believe that Washington has a certain type of grandeur that fits to a capital. I have never seen such a collection of buildings with Grecian pillars bee it of Doric, Ionian or Corinthian style!! And of course the Capitol that, either day or night, is the most impressive building of the city (and best lit one).
I don’t think that it is any value to present a travel-guide to Washington, but I’d like to highlight my favorite sights of the city:
1. The Capitol
I didn’t have the opportunity of visiting it and seeing it from the inside, but I surely had a 360o external view of the building, as well as plenty of night views as I lived close by.
2. The World War II Memorial
Gotta visit it at dusk! The colors of the sky are beautiful and the reflections on the fountain even better. Not to mention that the Washington monument at the background has a peculiar yellowish hue due to the setting sun!! (just see the pictures)
3. The National Mall
I bet it is the best place to be in the summer!!! I visited as many museums as possible!! The American History one was very interesting, especially the exhibition of the first American flag.
4. The Jefferson Memorial
It worth the long walk to there, as the view to the city is magnificent. And upon your return toward the mall do not take the same route, but head towards the Lincoln memorial, as this will provide you the opportunity to pass from my favorite memorial…
5. The Franklin Roosvelt Memorial
I don’t remember seeing it in any of the online guides I searched, but it was my favorite one, as it was the most avant guard memorial in Washington (I bet it’s the most recent one!!). Rather than a single building this memorial is actually a park full of carved stones, statues and peculiar columns where parts of Roosvelt’s sayings are carved, sayings that refer to war, equality and poverty among others.
6. The Arlington Cemetery
Having vaguely read about it, I had to visit it as I was so close by! One warning fellow travelers, take the metro up to there!!! I went on foot and I was walking all my way from downtown Washington (Verizon Centre), through the White House and the Lincoln Memorial up to the Cemetery and I can tell you one thing: it is tiring!!! But for those you are avid walkers, please go on foot, crossing Potomac River totally worth it! When on the cemetery there are 2 must visit spots: the Kennedy’s tomb and the Tomb of Unknown Soldiers, but I think that just strolling through the cemetery is pretty imposing (and as it is built on a hill, it provides a nice view of Washington.
7. The Congress Library (Jefferson Building)
One of the most exquisite interiors I’ve ever seen! I could take pictures of the central atrium forever!
8. Lincoln Memorial
Even just for the view, you’ve got to visit this memorial. It is aligned with the Washington Monument and the Capitol and the Reflection Poll that stands between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument adds to the scenery.
9. Pershing Park
It is a large square on Pennsylvania Avenue close to the White house. It provides a straight on view to the Capitol and on the north part of the square there are some interesting buildings (I have a thing for architecture and ornate buildings), such as the Willard Hotel.
Omg! I totally loved Georgetown! It is full of lovely houses in various colour combinations! It is a very homely neighborhood and I could stroll there forever! The waterfront is a summer must I guess and M street the perfect shopping street!
Of course there are many other sights, such as the White House, the Washington Memorial, the Botanic Gardens, but as I said I just noted my personal favorite ones!
Dining In Washington
First of all I was very excited to find out that there is a Nando’s restaurant in DC!!! In case you don’t know Nando’s, I suggest you google it, because it is a long story!! The bottom line is that Nando’s equals chicken and I absolutely love chicken!! It is conveniently located on 7th street in downtown DC and I recommend it! Tip: If you love the sauce, they sale it separately as well!
Another choice for dinner is the Thai Chili at the Verizon Center (entrance from 7th street. I totally recommend the Pineapple Chicken as it is served in a half pineapple!!! Delicious!
And for dessert, a visit in the US isn’t complete without a cupcake and my best friend recommended the Red Velvet Cupcakery!! Mmmmmmmmmm they were delicious!! The best breakfast choice!
For something to eat on the run or take away, I can recommend the Chipotle chain, but keep in mind that their burritos are not for skinny ladies (whose stomach surely has a definite space )!!!
Last, but not least, I totally recommend Zed’s Ethiopian Restaurant in Georgetown! The food is delicious and its probably the first time (since childhood that is) that you get to eat with your hands (with the help of a special bread)!
7th & 18th street, Washington DC
Thai Chili Restaurant
701 7th Street NW Washington, DC 20001 (located inside Gallery Place Building)
601 F Street N Washington, DC 20004
675 E Street, NW
1201 28th street Georgetown Washington DC 20007