Sunday, February 14, 2016

Great American Cities: Washington DC

The capital of the US is a wonderful city for tourists. Because of the amazing and expansive network of Smithsonian museums, which boasts 19 museums and art galleries plus the National Zoo, there is always something to do. The Smithsonian is still free of charge because of federal funding, although in 2010 it was suggested that the museums begin to charge admission fees. I hope they remain free for as long as possible. 
Washington D.C.'s Union Station

Alexander Calder mobile in the National Gallery of Art

The underground passageway between the East and West wings of the National Gallery of Art is fun.

The Preamble in License Plates in the American Art Museum, by Mike Wilkins, and below, the courtyard inside that houses a cafe.

There are so many incredible museum facilities, I don't think I could pick a single favorite, but the list would include at least the Museum of Natural History, the Air and Space MuseumSmithsonian American Art Museum, and Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.

Planes in the Air and Space Museum

Roy Lichtenstein- House #1 at the Sculpture Garden

The Museum of the American Indian has a unique design that I like a lot.

The National Gallery of Art, another museum I love, has two branches, classical - NGA West and modern - NGA East. 

In the classical section, one of my favorite painting series is in the classical building. It's The Voyage of Life by Thomas Cole.

Aside from the museums listed here, there are many other wonderful landmarks and places to visit, many surrounding the National Mall - check out a map here.

The Jefferson Memorial during the Cherry Blossom Festival - usually around March or April -is always beautiful.

The Lincoln Memorial is the most visited site on the National Mall and fourth most visited national park site after the Blue Ridge Parkway, Golden Gate Bridge Recreation Area and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The memorial is pictured here on the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr's March on Washington.

Washington also has some great neighborhoods for dining and shopping or just strolling.
Rock Creek Park, while not pictured here, is an excellent place for biking and light hiking.
I'd like to visit the White House soon. A visit has to be arranged through one's Congressional Representative and right now I've applied and I'm waiting to be given a date. Fingers crossed.

The White House is pictured above from the rear, and below from the front.

DC has quite a layout that looks great from above but can be a little problematic to navigate, with spoked radiating out from circles and an overlaid grid. 

For that reason, I like to drive to a Metro station and take a train into the city, or reach the city by Amtrak or MARC commuter. The trains don't always run frequently and it's not a great system compared to the rest of the world, but is very good for the US.

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