I like to take pictures and make videos of our family vacations and share them.
Our first trip to Washington DC was a road trip, so we had a limited amount of time before we had to drive to our next destination. We did see a lot, but not only was there too much to see on our short trip, there was still too much to see on this one.
I really wanted to go to the National Cherry Blossom Festival. The official National Cherry Blossom Festival's website gives you the dates that they expect the trees to bloom, so we booked our room within the dates that they provided.
The only one of my children that came along this time was my youngest. She apparently loved DC when we went the first time, the other two, not so much. This time around it was early spring and still cold, last time it was summer and very hot.
We revisited some places from our last trip, but for the most part we tried to squeeze in places that we had missed out on in 2008. We did a second tour of the Capitol, the Lincoln Memorial and revisited the National Museum of Natural History. Some of the other sites we checked out were:
- The Library of Congress
- The United Sates Supreme Court
- The Jefferson Memorial
- The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial
- Ford's Theatre
- The House Where Lincoln Died
- The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
- The Smithsonian Air and Space Museum
- The United States Botanic Garden
- The National Gallery of Art's Sculpture Garden
Walking Through the City
The majesty of the architecture and the history around every corner, in every nook and cranny of the city, is not all DC has to offer. There are frequent rotating public art exhibits and many galleries and museums. Best of all most of the attractions in DC offer free admission to the public.
Just like any other metropolitan city, there are a lot of people scurrying about, some tourists, some going to work, rushing up or down the escalators to get to the Metro. There is also a lot of homelessness and panhandling. Many of these people are highly talented and perform in the streets of the city for spare change. And obviously there are protests on any given day. In fact there were people protesting circumcision on our visit in 2013.
Our visit was right after the inauguration, so there was inaugural merchandise lining the streets. We brought a lot of inaugural souvenirs home including the Metro cards used to travel the city. I want to add a photo of the card, however, I am having trouble locating it because I have so much stuff from DC. When I find it I will add it.
I made multiple videos from the trip to break it up a bit. The video below is mostly the city, shops and things you will see walking the streets in Washington DC. I go into further detail about some of the things after the video.
Some Random Things
Before I get into all of the famous and historical sites in DC, I want to talk a little bit about some of the things that you will or might see, while walking through the city.
Along with the architecture of the federal buildings and the beautiful landscape, there are also sculptures sprinkled throughout the city. There is lot of public art in general.
There are some other things that I found interesting and surprising. For instance, in the photo below. I was surprised to see the size of the firearm the police officer had strapped to his side. I don't know what kind it is, but it certainly got my attention. I think he is a Capitol Police officer. I cant really make out his badge, but I think this was near the Capitol complex. I took the photo from a distance and cropped it.
The photos below are actually from our 2008 trip. We were walking toward Independence Avenue and suddenly we started hearing sirens. A police car pulled up, blocked the road. The officer got out of his car and stood in the middle of the intersection. It was then that we noticed a motorcade coming down the street. The second photo shows the cars that were in the motorcade. There is a limo all the way on the right in the second photo. I didn't see any government seal on the side of it, so I am not sure who it was, but it was interesting to see.
Lafayette Square - Concepcion Picciotto
Concepcion Picciotto lived in front of the White House for 35 years. She began her protest of nuclear arms on the sidewalk near the White House fence on August 1, 1981. In 1985 National Park Service placed restrictions on the White House sidewalk, so she had to move across the street to Lafayette Square and remained there until her death - January 25, 2016. Picciotto was featured in a number of movies, one of which was Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11.
In the aerial view below, you can see her tent set up in Lafayette Square. The first is the original aerial photo and the second is a closer view.
- Longtime White House Protester Dies, After Vigil That Started In 1981 : The Two-Way : NPR
Persisting through cold and rough weather, Concepcion Picciotto was a fixture outside the White House, where she was often called the president's closest neighbor.
On our 2013 visit she was passing out a printed version of a 1988 article about her protest. I took one and added it to my DC scrapbook. She was probably passing out copies in 2008 too, but I must have missed it.
We visited the National Gallery of Art's Sculpture Garden. There were some pretty unique pieces. It is located outside and has large sculptures from various artists on display. I am not exactly sure how we missed it on our first trip because we did go to the National Gallery of Art. A few of the sculptures shown below.
Madame Tussauds Wax Museum
We swung by Madame Tussauds Wax Museum but we didn't go in. We took some photos of the sculptures that were out on display. As I mentioned before, most of the museums in DC are free but this is not one of them. My daughter posed with Samuel L. Jackson and I also took a picture of Tricky Dick Nixon. They are very impressive, I have been to Potter's Wax Museum in St. Augustine and some of their sculptures are just, meh.
In-between activities we just strolled around, looking at the buildings taking pictures. I have no idea how many pictures I took but the number is high. You cant help it everywhere you turn is deserving of a photograph.
There are plaques throughout the city marking historic places, signs outside all of the federal agencies and lots of statues.
I cant remember exactly where this was, I think it was somewhere near the National Archives. We were walking through some buildings and I had to take a second look at one particular building.
At first glance, it looked like an ordinary building. Then I realized it wasn't. The entire side of the building minus the 2 doors, was trompe l'oeil and incredibly well done. The perspective, the perfect angle of the lines in the bricks all the way down to the shadows and reflections in the windows.
United States Botanic Garden
On our visit in 2008 we didn't go inside, when we returned in 2013 we checked out the entire garden. The garden is beautiful and a great place for photographs of flowers, cacti, trees and other plant life. Admission to the garden is free.
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
This was our 2nd visit to this particular museum. My daughter liked it so much the first time, she wanted to go back. Admission is free here as well.
Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
The Smithsonian Air and Space Museum has everything from the hot air balloon to the lunar space module. It also includes missiles and other types of aircraft. Once again, admission is free.
It isn't every day you see traffic barrels marked with the letters FBI or broken down FBI vehicles. When we visited in 2008 it was also the FBI's 100th anniversary. There was sign hanging on the J. Edgar Hoover Building also known as the headquarters of the Federal Bureau of Investigations.