Downtown, Washington D.C.
I remember spending our free time in the capital and visiting some of the main sites of the city.
We managed to visit a lot of great places.
As a result, their list is quite impressive:
the White House
the Supreme Court
the Library of the Congress
the NASA Museum
the Kennedy Center
the National Theater
Arlington National Cemetery
Vietnam War Memorial
Thomas Jefferson Memorial
Thanks a lot, dear hosts, for organizing our wonderful stay in the capital and the entire program in the United Sates!
Why not take a city tour by the Old Town Trolley?
You can get on at any of the 19 stops and travel about the city enjoying the guide's stories, information and anecdotes ( all in all 2 1/4 hours).
Also, you can get off at any of the stops and in about half an hour get on another trolley and continue your trip.
Tours begin at 9 a.m. and last till about 4 p.m.
Every year there is a Green Festival in DC held at the Washington Convention Center. This year it was in October, and I'm not sure if it's the same time every year. Here you can learn how to live green, buy green and invest in green. There are a lot of vendors and pavilions, a organic foods dining area, including an organic beer and wine area. You can find organic everything here from body products, food, and home products. You can do your entire home and life in green.
What I like to pay attention to is the Fair Trade Products. These are products that normally come from developing countries such as Haiti, Cambodia, the Philippines, Vietnam, etc. These vendors ensure that the products that they sell conform to the Fair Trade Standards. "Fairtrade standards are designed to tackle poverty and empower producers in the poorest countries in the world. The standards apply to both producers and traders." www. fairtrade. net I've spotlighted one such vendor here on this page: "threestonesteps" Ellen, the owner of the company, goes out of her way...literally, as she travels to the countries, to ensure that she partners with artisans and fair trade producers to bring to the public eye accessories that use recycled materials and sustainable products.
In late June, Safeway hosts this annual event, held on Pennsylvania Avenue, downtown. Judges decide which barbecue (that's BBQ if you're from Texas) is the best. Of course, Kansas City, Memphis, and many other heartland cities are famed for barbecue. But only Washington has a national-level contest of this size.
Live music is also on the menu. You can browse the kiosks for recipes, sauces, accessories, and more. Check the website for tickets and hours.
Part of the annual Cherry Blossom Festival, which draws a huge number of visitors, is the parade. There are lovely floats, visiting celebrities, and a lot of marching bands. The military and high school bands come from all over the country. And, like so many things here, it's FREE! Be sure to arrive early to get a good viewpoint.
During my May 2008 visit to DC, I got a chance to be one of the first people to visit the Museum of Crime and Punishment, which hadn't officially opened yet. If you're really interested in crime, not on a tight budget and not put off by a little sensationalism, you should include this museum in your D.C. plans. As a Washington Post reviewer said, this museum is to the Smithsonian what "America's Most Wanted" is to PBS's "Frontline". That about sums it up, if "America's Most Wanted" were on pay-per-view cable TV. Put next to the free admission to the Smithsonian Museums, the MC&P is a steep $18 to enter -- even if "America's Most Wanted" will be filmed in the basement.
The Museum itself is chock full of exhibits on crime from medieval Europe to modern-day America, though most of the early artifacts are replicas and many of the more modern display items come from movie sets (like Bonnie and Clyde's bullet-ridden car). Still, they have great interactive exhibits: you cab crack a safe, drive in a cop car simulator, be in a line-up, be a detective or surpass the number of pull-ups required to join the police force. There are a lot of interesting and quirky exhibits, like original paintings by John Wayne Gacy. There are fascinating exhibits about unsolved crimes, espionage and eye-witness testimony. So if you are interested in American crime and can tune out the kitschy Kojak photos, you could have a good museum experience.
By now, many of you (especially anyone in Washington, Maryland, or northern Virginia) has at least heard of the Newseum. This is a place where the news media pay homage to themselves--and do a pretty good job of it.
At a time when journalists are increasingly under fire, literally and figuratively, it's nice that they have their own museum. And Washington is the ideal place for it.
The best way to see the Newseum is to go up to the top floor and work your way down. Don't miss the Hank Greenspun Terrace, which overlooks Pennsylvania Avenue. Check out the History of the News, full of fascinating old newspapers and memorabilia. See the memorials those journalists who fell in line of duty. These include vehicles that were bombed. Don't miss the 9/11 Gallery and the Berlin Wall Gallery. After that, it's time for refreshments at the Source, Wolfgang Puck's cafe. Even the restrooms have something to see, but I'll keep you in suspense on that (it's actually quite funny).
If you love news and documentaries, then this is worth checking out. If those things are boring to you, it's better to pass on it. General admission tickets are $20, with discounts for kids and seniors. Hours: 9:00-5:00 daily.
the petersen house is located directly across the street from ford's theater. abraham lincoln died here after being shot by john wilkes booth. the petersen house is now a museum and is open to the public.
john t. ford built ford's theater in 1863. this small theater became famous on april 14th 1865 when president abraham lincoln was shot here by john wilkes booth. after lincoln's assassination people stopped patronizing the theater and ford was forced to sell the building to the federal government. the building fell into decay and was renovated and opened to the public in the 1960's. it is now part of the national park service. open to the public.
There are two huge buildings along both sides of Independance Avenue connected by monumental cement passage, with no windows, hang over the busy street. They are impressive exclusively by size. If I had wanted to walk around them I would have wasted not less than half an hour. But what for? There is nothing to do there for a visitor except to think about what they house: the United States Department of Agriculture.
American agriculture although gives work for only 0.7% of US population can produce food for far more people than the rest 99.3%. The USA is a top producer of, among other crops, corn, soy beans, and wheat; and a net exporter of food. Looking at this huge complex of buildings I remembered that my first contact with American culture had a lot of common with USDA.
I was lucky to grow up in Krakow, Poland where there was a library in US Consulate. The magazines and newspapers there looked unbelievable colorful and attractive for me, as a youth, in times of total censorship and grey, boring magazines. I and my friend were too young to borrow any books but we could use their reading room. The very nice librarian gave me two brochures in English on exhibitions which had taken place in the Consulate: one titled the West in Art and the second one on American agriculture was issued by USDA . At home, I tried to read the brochures with flushed cheeks. I remember my unbelievable surprise when I had read that only 3% people in the USA had worked in agriculture. For reasons I couldn't understand that time, both my and my friend's parents didn't support our visits to US Consulate library in any way. Mine told me: "you would better do homework" or something those lines. So, by the time, we preferred not to say them about our visits there. Now, I know. Polish KGB (called UB) had a secret room in a house opposite to the Consulate entrance and took pictures everyone coming in. I guess, they have more pics of young matcrazy1 than I myself unless they burnt them all after 1989.
The huge and monumental, classical office building which houses United States Department of Justice (DOJ) is not interesting in any way and closed for visitors. But Urszula, my wife asked me to take pictures (guess why) of the world's largest law office and the central agency for enforcement of federal laws. Well, buidings of the US departments (we have Ministry instead of Department in Europe) are decorated with both US national flag and own flags of each department (white-head eagle on the Deparment of Justice Flag).
I have not heard much about the US Department of Justice but I 've heard many times about its principal investigative arm FBI (the Federal Bureau of Investigation) housed in next building just across Pennsylvania Avenue. U.S. National Central Bureau of INTERPOL is also a unit of DOJ. The International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) is the world's second largest international organization, after the United Nations. Its headquarter is in Lyon, France.
The head of the Department is called the Attorney General and is chosen by each president and sworn into office in US Congress. The Attorney General represents the United States in legal matters generally and gives advice and opinions to the President and to the heads of the executive departments of the Government when so requested. In matters of exceptional gravity or importance the Attorney General appears in person before the Supreme Court. He guided the Office of the General Attorney and about 60 executive departments of the US Department of Justice.
From the DOJ thousands fields of activity let me say about their effort to enforce law referring to unsolicited commercial e-mail (simply "spam"). I receive tons of spam, do you? Look here where to report "spam" you receive.
This not very large as for DC building houses the most powerful American Federal institution which administers more grant dollars than all other federal agencies combined. Its budget exceeds $580 billions (58 and 10 x 0) that is more than GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of, say, Russia, Netherlands, Switzerland or Belgium. Only in top 14 countries the total value of final goods and services produced in a year (GDP) exceeds budget of this single Federal institution.
FBI? No, it costs only $4.3 billion.
CIA? No, it's $26.7 billion (well, in 1998).
The Department of Defense? No, it's 437.111 billion (2004).
It's the United States Department of Health and Human Resources, let me quote "the government's principal agency for protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services, especially for those who are least able to help themselves." The USA is the only among developed countries where the health insurance is not compulsory which has many advantages (people feel more resposible for their health ---> healthy lifestyle) and disadvantages (15.7 % people has no health insurance coverage, does HSS = Federal tax payers pay for them? In emergency only?).
HSS runs over 300 programms including the too most known:
- Medicare (health insurance for elderly and disabled Americans)
- Medicaid (health insurance for low-income people).
I know their two agencies as well:
- National Institutes of Health (NIH) - the world's premier medical research organization, supporting over 38,000 research projects nationwide
- Food and Drug Administration -- (FDA, next building southwards} which try to assure the safety of foods and cosmetics, and the safety and efficacy of pharmaceuticals, biological products, and medical devices - products which represent almost 25 cents out of every dollar in U.S. consumer spending; these guys caused removal of Viox from the market in 2004.
I didn't like the exteriors of all, monumental, numerous federal office building I saw in the USA capital. They were mostly built between, say, 1870 - 1940 in monumental style which I personally don't like. Additionally these buildings have no frontyards due to lack of space. But at least the one edifice, the Mary Switzer Building was partly hidden behind beautifully set up garden. It's was nothing very special but refreshing after looking at so many rather ugly buildings..
Mary E. Switzer (1900-1971) was involved in establishing the World Health Organization, was director of the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, and was administrator of the Social and Rehabilitation Service at the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. The facility named after her has been renovated recently and it is currently occupied by the Social Security Administration, the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, and the United States Information Service.
This is the Navy Memorial, in the middle is a square with the world and the oceans, very impressed. Beside there are small walls with i think the countries where the Us Navy has fight. But i dont know for sure.
Here you can see a Government Building.
The Old Executive Office Building.(next to White House).This building is where offices for the President's advisers and staff workers.
This beautiful building,It is in French Style Architecture.