If you are in the capital on 4th of July, get some snacks, find a nice spot near the Lincoln memorial or any national monument, squat on the grass and enjoy the fireworks, its a great outdoor activity and its free!!
Definitely don't miss this one!
The Smithsonian Institution is truly amazing, and with so many options to choose from, it can be difficult to know which ones you most want to visit during your time in Washington, D.C. When I went, my friends and I went to the Air and Space Museum, the Art museum, spent almost a whole day at the Natural History Museum, and then regretted that we didn't have more time at this museum, our favorite, the National Museum of American History.
Whether you're a history buff or not, there will be something to interest you at this museums. Into fashion? They have a whole collection of all of the First Lady's inaugural gowns. Like classic movies? They have the ruby slippers Judy Garland wore in the Wizard of Oz. Is Abraham Lincoln your favorite president? They have a whole are devoted to him, including his suit and his signature hat. Are you a Seinfeld fan? They have the Puffy Shirt there. Play with Barbie or G.I. Joe growing up? They have originals. They have artifacts from all of the wars, George Washington's uniform from the Revolutionary War even, the original Star Spangled Banner, and so much more that we didn't get to see!
There's truly something that anyone in your group would enjoy seeing at this museum, so don't overlook it next time you're making the difficult choice of which Smithsonian to visit.
This memorial is dedicated to all the sacrifices of the men and women of the United States Air Force and including the Aeronautical Division, U.S. Signal Corps; the Aviation Section, U.S. Signal Corps; the Division of Military Aeronautics, Secretary of War; the Army Air Service; the U.S. Army Air Corps; and the U.S. Army Air Forces.
More than 54,000 airmen have died in combat while serving in the Air Force and these historical service arms of the military, the second highest of any of America’s four armed services.
Designed by James Ingo Freed, which features three stainless steel spires that reach for the sky and the tallest is 270 feet. It represents the airstreams of the United States Air Force Thunderbird Demonstration Team.
These three spires also represent the three core values of the Air Force - integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all that is done - and the Air Force’s total force - active, guard and reserve, which you can see etched into some beautiful black granite.
The wonderful bronze Honor Guard statue sculpted by Zenos Frudakis. There are many granite walls with many inscriptions located at either end of the central lawn. There is a another beautiful Glass Contemplation Wall that honors fallen airmen.
Restrooms are located towards the end of the lawn towards the back of the building.
The Memorial is open every day of the year. Hours are 8 a.m. – 11 p.m. April 1 – September 30 and 8 a.m. – 9 p.m. October 1 – March 3
IMPORTANT NOTE: There is a very small area designated just across the street as visitor parking. It is easily missed because the parking is just next to the Handicap parking and the signs are Blue with White lettering like the Handicap Parking. Warning: The rest of the parking you need passes or you will be towed. So really look.
On January 21, 2013 President Barack Obama will be inaugurated for his second 4 year term as President of the United States.
During the last Inaguration in 2009 there were 1.8 million people on the Mall. They are expecting somewhat fewer visitors this time, probably in the neighborhood of about a million. However the challenges of putting together an event for that many people seem daunting to me.
Hotels- right after the election hotel rooms in Washington were selling for twice their normal price. Fancier hotels naturally are much more expensive. I heard that some hotels were charging up to 600 dollars a night during the Inaguration (with packages). Needless to say, if you haven't made hotel arrangements by now you will either have an enormous amount of money in which case it wont make any difference OR you will end up having to stay a good ways away.
Transportation- unless you are coming in on a charter bus (who will arrange the drop off/pick up) you will most likely have to depend on public transport since downtown DC just doesn't have sufficient parking for that many people. Parking at Metro. Metro has 60,000 parking spaces spread out over 42 stations, unless you park at metro very early you wont find a space. Be prepared for waits that could last hours on the Metro.
Eating- you will always be able to get a hot dog on the Mall, but restaurants! Oh mercy...that will be challenging.
Finding a cab- too many street closures and preparations. Will be difficult, to say the least.
Besides that,, there are security regulations. Last time out you were not allowed to bring strollers onto the Mall. No backpacks, large cases etc.
To all the visitors that will be coming to Washington for this great event- thank you for coming, please be as patient as possible. A huge crowd like that sort of stretches things to the limit.
Have fun and take lots of pictures:)
If you are interested in theater then you must watch My Fair Lady, which is a musical play. It is an adaption of George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion.
Manna Nichols plays the main protagonist, Eliza Doolittle, and is the soul and spirit of the play. Not far behind is Prof. Henry Higgins, amazingly played by Benedict Campbell.
Sign up with the Arena Stage for special deals and offers and watch the play at a discounted rate. It runs for approximately 3 hours with a 10 minute intermission.
It runs till January 6, 2013.
Originally dedicated in 1931 to honoring the service in World War I of citizens of the District of Columbia, the national capital. It is one of the lesser known memorials, located in West Potomac Park, the only District monument on the National Mall. In the cornerstone you will find the names of 499 Washingtonians who lost their lives in the Great War. The last surviving US veterans of World War I petitioned Congress that the DC War Memorial be expanded to serve as a memorial to World War I for the nation.
The memorial was refurbished and reopened on November 10, 2011 after a year of work.
The West Potomac Park is National Park in Washington administered under the US National Park Service. It is located adjacent to the National Mall and easily accessible. I believe we walked the length of it as we toured the many outdoor monuments and attractions; it stretches to the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, from the Lincoln Memorial and the grounds of the Washington Monument.
The park hosts most of the outdoor attractions/ monuments/ statutes, including the Korean War Veterans Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, Franklin Roosevelt Memorial, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial and the surrounding land on the shore of the Tidal Basin. In the nineteenth century, an artificial inlet of the Potomac River was created and it links the Potomac with the northern end of the Washington Channel.
FREE parking after 4:00 pm was exciting news since we did not want to pay for parking. Located near Dulles Airport, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Udval-Hazy Center opened in 2003 and was named in honor of its major donor. It is also a companion to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington; together they feature the largest collection of aviation and space artifacts in the world. From Herndon, it is literally 10 minutes away, there was no reason for us not to go, besides I really wanted to see the shuttle discovery.
The museum features two large hangars; the Boeing Aviation Hangar and the James S. McDonnell Space Hangar. The center piece here is the shuttle discovery which is drawing huge crowds. We spent most of the 3 hours at the museum in this hangar; other space artifacts we found fascinating were the mobile Quarantine Unit made from a manufactured home, the Gemini VII Space capsule, the Gemini heat shield.
The Timeline wall was quite engaging to me; it chronicles all major events in the history of the center, included are photographs to back up the information.
The Boeing hangar has interesting aircrafts like the retired Concorde, the first Boeing, the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird and the super fortress Enola Gay.
After all the exciting touring, if you get tired, hungry or thirsty, you can refresh at the food court, well more like the McDonalds next to the gift shop. It was a great afternoon for the entire family.
Without a doubt, the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum in Washington, DC is one of the most exciting museums at the Mall. My family made a last minute decision to spend summer on the East Coast; Washington, DC to be precise. The intrigue was the many attractions and restaurants. Writing this review arose from one distinct question from my daughter as she walked through the museum looking intently, wishing she could touch the displays. ‘What is Smithsonian?’ and why is it that many museums on this street start with Smithsonian Mom? We had just come from the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian.
The Smithsonian is an institution; an educational and research institute known to be associated with the world’s largest research and museums. It has 9 research centers, 19 museums and affiliated with more than 140 museums around the world. The museum the family was in features aviation and planetary explorations. Even if you do not like aviation, you will appreciated the effort put in by the museum to chart the amazing progress of an industry that went from flying a wooden craft to landing on the moon in as little as 65 years. There is a companion facility near Dulles Airport; the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center which offers much more, including the recent addition, the Shuttle Discovery, a Concorde, the first Boeing and the B-29 bomber Enola Gay.
All classes of travelers will find it engaging; travelers with family will enjoy many interactive activities including but not limited to the planetarium, and walking through the cockpits. Children may enjoy going through the many uniforms of soldiers from different countries around the world. Interesting to view also, are the different weapons and artillery used during wars around the globe, by different countries. Touching the moon rock brings with it the thrill and feeling of being an astronaut.
Between March 24 through September 0 4, the museum opening hours will be 10:00 am – 6:30 pm. On special exhibit is the Fly Marines: The Centennial of Marine Corps Aviation (1912-2012). The artworks and artifacts in the exhibit tell the history of American aviation for the past century. The exhibit will run through January of 2013, giving you plenty of time to plan a visit there.
This is the Smithsonian central point for information on all things Smithsonian. This historic castle is the oldest of the seventeen Smithsonian Museums in Washington. It houses the crypt of the founding father of the Smithsonian James Smithson. Inside also are exhibitions, orientation theater for visitors and some information volunteers who assist the many visitors going through its doors.
There is a Cafe and bookstore inside, but on this July day, it was really hot in Washington and the air conditioning in the Castle was either over worked or not working, but we could not stay even to get the information we needed. We left and headed over to the Museum of African Art within the same area where we bought an information guide for $2.00
I think it was the giant black sculpture outside of the museum that caught my attention. I visited the museum with my family a week ago after meeting Andy for lunch. The sculpture garden drew me like a magnet to metal. It reminded me of the Pompidou in Paris. Now, I must say the art here is not for everyone. Someone might find it boring, while another may not understand what they are seeing. Keep an open mind should you decide to visit it. I particularly recommend the sculpture garden; the cylindrical architecture of the museum has a center fountain around which are giant iron sculptures open to interpretation.
To understand art of this nature, one must appreciate art in different forms. My husband for instance did not understand why I wanted to visit this museum. It has art of acquired taste, so read more about it before you go. The intrigue is the amazing collection of International, Modern and Contemporary art collection at the museum. It opened in 1974 and was named after its most generous donor Joseph H. Hirshhorn. Mr. Hirshhorn donated over six thousand sculptures and paintings to the Smithsonian institute.
Located on the National Mall, the sculpture garden offers visitors and residents year round enjoyment. It has 17 pieces from the National Gallery; each with a history behind it. We stumbled upon it on our way to the National Archives Building; only it was getting late so we made a decision to go into the Sculpture Garden.
A water fountain that serves as an ice rink is at the center of the garden. Surrounded by beautiful native American plants and seating all around the fountain. Now the garden of course is over rated in my opinion. As hot as it is in DC right now, they do not have a drinking fountain in sight and the one cafe within the garden grounds closed at 5:00 pm. Very frustrating as my family was hot and thirsty.
The two prominent art pieces that drew me to the garden include the giant typewriter eraser and Roxy Pain's Graft (silver tree) made of stainless steel and concrete. Joan Miro's 'Personnage Gothique' is interesting and intriguing. Other pieces included the four sided pyramid vivid even from across the street on the East side of the Gallery of art. Tony Smith's Moon dog definitely leaves the non artist wondering what the hell he was thinking, but to the art lover it provokes thought and imagination.
The garden is a little confusing and rather too big for the 17 sculptures in it. I guess its because it is still pretty new. There is no sense of organization. I hope that more pieces will eventually be introduced and organized in such a way as to attract more visitor. I did like the fountain and would have appreciated a cup of tea or a cold beverage from that darn cafe, can you tell I was frustrated?
I love art, and I will always venture where one is. If you have time stop by, if not, you will not miss much. Entrance is FREE!
This review is of our return visit to the capitol Building, we actually managed to enter the building and tour the Emancipation Hall. It was incredibly busy and HOT. Tours are conducted between 8:50 am - 3:20 pm, but we did not go on a guided tour.
The lines to get timed passes were so long that we did not bother to stand in line. We got the necessary printed material, read it and went through the different sections of the emancipation hall. The hall has sculptures and statutes of persons that influenced the course of history from different states; Arizona, Hawaii, North Dakota and Wyoming to mention but a few.
The Emancipation hall was built by slaves, and was named so in honor of those slaves who built it. From what I gathered from some of the visitors, getting a timed pass is worth the wait. I recommend you do, if you have the patience to do so.
Access is through the Visitors Center which was constructed in 2000, but not opened to the public until 2008. Security is highest at this location and any other public buildings in the DC area. No water, food or liquids of any nature is allowed. Security screening is like that at the airport; my daughter forgot her belt on, and triggered the scan alarms and had to go back through the screen. Photographs are not allowed until you go through security.
Since I did not go through other exhibitions, I’m not sure if photographs are allowed past the Emancipation hall. We entered through the tunnel from the Library of Congress.
I will start by saying that I was disappointed, my experience less than satisfactory. We were to meet friends at the museum and tour together, but for some reason we all ended up arriving at different times. We arrived early and s=toured the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Portrait Gallery first, before crossing over to the Spy Museum.
We purchased tickets at what I thought was really a dear amount, in fact I joked with the ticketing clerk asking if I could get a refund if I did not like my tour. She smiled and said that most people liked it. It was not busy so we went through the line to the elevator where one group awaited. The elevator then took us up to the start of the tour.
Starting at the Covers and Legends room, we had to choose code names; a spy must live a life of lies we were told. We had to master and remember the details of our new identities. All this was actually exciting as we waited to go to the next step. Next was the Briefing Theater where we were shown a film in which we were shown real life spies and the world of espionage; the reasons one might choose to become a spy. The younger visitors were excited about testing their spy skills, including my daughter; she wanted to know if she had what it takes to become a spy (smile!)
Next we moved to the interactive section, the School for Spies, where we had to use our new identities to complete certain missions. We also had access to the many spy gadgets like cameras, cars (the James Bond Aston Martin DB5 fully loaded with tire shredders, machine guns and rotating license plates), electronic monitoring devices, and weapons.
The next section took us through the history of espionage going back centuries. This is the Secret History of History section; at this point I lost interest only because there was so much to read, the black and white monotony of information on walls, in books, audio and black and white TV. The only thing that awoke my curiosity at this point was the mention of my name in “Harriet Tubman’ who was one of the famous spymasters. In a nutshell, it covered the civil war spies, red terror and had the famous pigeon camera. My husband was much more interested in the history than I was, so we moved on. What was frustrating was that it was one-way traffic, so I could not move back. You enter one way and exit the other.
At the end of the tour we got out through the gift shop (how convenient for them). Well it was a little too pricey so we decided to go to the Spy City Café for tea or coffee. My daughter wanted a bite, but they had very little to offer and the service was seriously lucking. We decided to leave and headed to the pizza restaurant across the street. Now, you may have a different experience, the museum comes highly recommended by many who have visited it.
This museum surprised me greatly. I had all but passed it for later because my husband said it was filled with more to read than see; evidently he was wrong. After two visits to the Natural History Museum, we finally made to the Museum of American History with only 2 hours before closing.
As with all the museums and public buildings in DC, security was active, we went through easily and started our tour on the second floor where the inaugural dresses of the first ladies are. I think it was the advertising poster on the museum's sign that attracted me. Mitchell Obama's inaugural dress was use don the poster.
The room is kept darker than normal to help preserve the color of the dresses, but the lighting is sufficient for one to really appreciated the details of each dress.
Besides the dresses, are dinner ware chosen by the different first ladies to be used during their husbands term in office. I appreciated the one chosen by Mrs. Reagan; beautiful red and gold. There is so much to be seen, unfortunately we did not budget enough time to go through it all. We managed t have a drink and cookies at one of the two cafes in the museum. The one at the lower level was already closed by the time we though of coffee.
Highly recommended for all groups of travel, children and students of history would really appreciated this museum.
the hay-adams hotel is located on lafayette square a block from the white house. the hay-adams is in...more
801 New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington DC, District of Columbia, 20037-2304, United States
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Families
Not just a typical hotel in the chain, this oozes presidential character. Located well, near the...more
see all Washington D.C. member meetings