Washington D.C. Things to Do Tips by smschley
Washington D.C. Things to Do: 2,577 reviews and 5,480 photos
A research physician and medical publisher from New York, Dr. Arthur M. Sackler was fascinated by the Asian world. During his lifetime, he collected more than 1,000 works of art, including many ancient bronze, ceramic and jade pieces. Among the highlights of his gift were early Chinese bronzes and jades, Chinese paintings and lacquer ware, ancient Near Eastern ceramics and metal ware, and sculpture from South and Southeast Asia Upon his death in 1987, he donated these gifts to the Smithsonian along with $4 million to build a gallery to house them.
Since 1987, the gallery's collections have expanded to include the Vever Collection, an important assemblage of the Islamic arts of the book from the 11th to the 19th century; 19th- and 20th-century Japanese prints and contemporary porcelain; Indian, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean paintings; arts of village India; contemporary Chinese ceramics; and photography.
International loan exhibitions have included Timur and the Princely Vision: Persian Art and Culture in the 15th Century; Yani: the Brush of Innocence, featuring paintings by a 14-year-old Chinese prodigy; When Kingship Descended from Heaven: Masterpieces of Mesopotamian Art from the Louvre; Court Arts of Indonesia; Korean Art of the 18th Century: Splendor & Simplicity; and A Basket maker in Rural Japan.
The Sackler Gallery is connected by an underground exhibition space to the neighboring Freer Gallery of Art. Although their collections are stored and exhibited separately, the two museums share a director, administration, and staff.
Address: 1050 Independence Avenue,
Directions: Located on the National Mall, the grassy area between the Capitol and the Washington Monument, steps from the Smithsonian Metro stop.
Phone: Phone: (202) 357-2700
The Smithsonian’s National Zoo was founded by an Act of Congress in 1889 for “the advancement of science and the instruction and recreation of the people.” Its mission is to study, celebrate, and protect the diversity of animals and their habitats. It was designed to exhibit animals for the public and to serve as a refuge for wildlife, such as bison and beaver that were rapidly vanishing from North America. About 2,700 individuals of 435 different species are in the animal collection. In 1890 it became a part of the Smithsonian Institution.
The National Zoo has two installations. The first is a beautiful 163-acre urban park located in Northwest Washington, D.C., 20 minutes from the National Mall by subway. Its education programs, as well as a peaceful setting to enjoy nature. But as with most popular sites, the food is over priced. The other is a research center and not open to the public.
The animals live in natural groupings rather than as individuals. Rare and endangered species raise their young much as they do in the wild. Public education programs were developed familiarize the visitor to the animal world. Programs were designed to train wildlife professionals from around the world and to form a network to provide crucial support for international conservation.
Since 1972, The National Zoo has been the home to giant pandas, first Hsing Hsing and Ling Ling, and then Mei Xiang and Tian Tian in 2000. They have symbolized the Zoo’s efforts to celebrate, study, and protect endangered species and their habitats.
Currently there are plans for the modernizing of the and in expanding its education, research, and conservation efforts both in Washington and in the wild. A Kids’ Farm exhibit opened in 2004, and a new, ten-year renewal program will see the creation of an Asia Trail that will include sloth bears, giant and red pandas, fishing cats, giant salamanders, and a breeding Asian elephant herd.
Address: 3001 Connecticut Avenue NW
Directions: Open every day except December 25. ADMISSION IS FREE!
November to April
• Grounds are open: 6 a.m. - 6 p.m.
• Buildings are open: 10 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
April to October
• Grounds are open: 6 a.m. - 8 p.m.
• Buildings are open: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
If you don't notice you're entering Washington's compact Chinatown by the Chinese characters on the street signs, the ornate, 75-foot-wide Friendship Arch spanning H Street might clue you in. Though Chinatown's main cross-streets may appear somewhat down-at-the-heels, this area borders many blocks undergoing revitalization, and it's still the place to go for Chinese food in the District. Cantonese, Szechuan, Hunan, and Mongolian are among the regional styles you'll find here. Nearly every restaurant has a roast duck hanging in the window, and the shops here sell Chinese food, arts and crafts, and newspapers. Most interesting are traditional pharmacies purveying folk medicines such as dried eels, powdered bones, and unusual herbs for teas and broths believed to promote health, longevity, and sexual potency.
Chinatown in Washington, D.C. appeared as early as 1885 on Pennsylvania Avenue between 3rd and 4th streets, N.W. In 1890, the U.S. government started to buy Chinatown property to use for government buildings, so the residents had to move. In the 1930’s they moved to the heart of the District of Columbia, near the corner of 7th and H Streets, NW, an area that was formerly populated by German immigrants There they marked the area with decorative metal latticework and railings as well as Chinese signs. At its peak, Chinatown was deemed to extend from G Street north to Massachusetts Avenue, and from 9th Street east to 5th Street.
Directions: Metro: Gallery Place/Chinatown
Mall squirrel on the loose
The National Mall's origins are as old as the capital city itself. The open space and parklands envisioned by Pierre L'Enfant's plan, which was commissioned by George Washington, created an ideal stage for national expressions of remembrance, observance and protest.
L'Enfant intended that the city's development would be diffuse and democratic. He dispersed federal and ceremonial spaces throughout the city, gave the states an equal say in the business of memorial-making in the capital, and planned for the coexistence of federal and private industry in the local economy. However, the first large-scale federal development of the Mall, modelled after Andrew Jackson Downing's plan in 1851, bore little resemblance to L'Enfant's plan and can be read as a response to the twin crises of slavery and secession, and to growing anxiety over urbanization. The naturalistic, picturesque gardens planted on the Mall in the latter half of the nineteenth century were meant to affirm the refinement of slaveholding society and to offer a pastoral retreat from the "wilderness of bricks."
The National Mall resources include the 2,000 American elms which line the Mall and the 3,000 internationally renowned Japanese cherry trees which grace the Tidal Basin. Gardens that are botanical showplaces display thousands of tulips, pansies and annuals in over 170 flower beds, and 35 ornamental pools and fountains range from the simple to the sublime. This impressive mingling of natural and cultural resources has made our Nation's Capital one of the most heavily visited and photographed places in the world.
Address: Downtown Washington D.C.
Directions: Metro Stop: Smithsonian
Phone: Smithsonian metro stop
case with 1 Million bucks
So you don't have a million of your own. Come here to see the millions being made. A staff of 2,600 works around the clock churning it out at the rate of about $700 million a day. Everyone's eyes pop as they walk past rooms overflowing with new greenbacks. But the money's not the whole story. The Bureau is not only where the buck starts, it's also where White House invitations, presidential portraits and postage stamps are printed
Note: The Bureau of Engraving and Printing responds to Department of Homeland Security "Code Orange" warnings by halting its public tours. Call ahead to confirm that tours are on a normal schedule when you're here.
The Bureau tour is a big draw in DC, so be prepared. You may have to wait in line, but for most people the wait is worth it in order to see the bills roll off the presses. Consider securing VIP, also called "congressional" tour tickets from your senator or congressperson; VIP tours are offered Monday through Friday at 8:15 and 8:45am, with additional 4, 4:15, 4:30, and 5pm tours added in summer, and last about 45 minutes. Write or call at least 3 months in advance for tickets.
Tickets for general public tours are required every day, and every person taking the tour must have a ticket. To obtain a ticket, go to the ticket booth on the 15th Street side of the building and show a valid photo ID. You will receive a ticket specifying a tour time for that same day, and be directed to the 14th Street entrance of the bureau; you are allowed as many as eight tickets per person. Booth hours are from 8am to 2pm, staying open until 7pm in summer.
During the 40-minute tour, recording and video monitors give trivia, explanations and information on the three steps of the printing process. You'll see bills being printed, inspected and then cut. Bureau employees are stationed throughout the tour route to keep the line moving and answer questions.
Directions: The BEP is located south of the National Mall on 14th & C Sts., SW,
Bartholdi, the sculptor of the Statue of Liberty, created this fountain for the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition. When the Exhibition closed, the United States government purchased the fountain was purchased for $6,000 (half of its estimated value)at the suggestion of Frederick Law Olmsted, the landscape architect who designed the grounds of the Capitol.
The fountain was moved to Washington D.C. in 1877 and placed at the southwest corner of Capitol Hill near the Botanic Garden. During the 1927 relocation of the Botanic Garden, the fountain was dismantled and stored. In 1932, it was re-erected in its present location. The park where the fountain stands was renamed in honor of Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi in 1985.
Bartholdi Fountain was restored in 1986. The rusted supporting bolts and rods and the plumbing and wiring were replaced. Dozens of layers of paint were sandblasted from the cast-iron surface, which was then given a new protective coating. The basins were repaired and leveled so that the water now falls evenly. The top coat of paint was renewed in 1996.
The fountain has three sections: a base with amphibious creatures and stylized shells, a central section with three curvaceous sea nymphs, and a large basin at the top with twelve lights (originally gas) and three tritons supporting a kind of crown
The central section of the fountain depicts three identical Nereid (sea nymphs) with fish and sea life between their feet. Like caryatids, these eleven feet high women seem to support the upper basin (in reality supported by a column at the center). The beautifully detailed nymphs have form-revealing drapery, cinched at the waist by scallop shells.
The gas lamps made the fountain a popular attraction since it was one of the first monuments in the city of Washington to be brightly illuminated at night. The lights surrounding the basin were added in 1886, and the round glass globes replaced the original gas fixtures when the fountain was fitted for electric lighting in 1915.
Directions: Bartholdi Park, near the Smithsonian
Apollo 11 command module
The Smithsonian Institution has its origins in a gift to the American people from James Smithson, a British scientist who for some reason was kindly disposed toward a country he had never seen, and bequeathed us all his assets. More than 150 years old, the massive, 16-museum Smithsonian is DC's premier attraction. Far more than a complex of museums, the Smithsonian is also a vast research and educational institution that cares for approximately 140 million artworks, scientific specimens, artifacts and other objects.
Its 14 DC museums and the Smithsonian-run National Zoological Park together draw millions of visitors each year, and they also offer year-round calendars of films, lectures, kids' activities and other programs, most free
The Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum (NASM) maintains the largest collection of historic air and spacecraft in the world along with being a vital center for research into the history, science, and technology of aviation and space flight.
The Museum has two display facilities. The Museum on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. has hundreds of artifacts on display including the original Wright 1903 Flyer, the "Spirit of St. Louis," Apollo 11 command module, and a Lunar rock sample that visitors can touch. The new Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center displays many more artifacts including the Lockheed SR-71 "Blackbird", Boeing B-29 Superfortress "Enola Gay" and Space Shuttle "Enterprise". The museum continues to develop new exhibits to examine the impact of air and space technology on science and society.
The new Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center will display most of the aircraft and spacecraft previously stored at Garber, many never seen before in a museum setting. The Center will also eventually become the Museum's primary artifact restoration facility.
10:00 am - 5:30 pm
Open every day except December 25
Address: 7th and Independence Ave, SW
Directions: Metro Stops: Smithsonian abd L'Enfant Plaza
Phone: (202) 357-1400
Thomas Jefferson Building
The Library of Congress was founded in 1800 and is the nation's oldest federal cultural institution and serves as the research arm of Congress. It is also the largest library in the world, with nearly 128 million items on approximately 530 miles of bookshelves. The collections include more than 29 million books and other printed materials, 2.7 million recordings, 12 million photographs, 4.8 million maps, and 57 million manuscript in 460 languages. The basic manuscript collections of 23 Presidents of the United States, and the papers of thousands of other figures who have shaped history; maps and atlases that have aided explorers and navigators in charting both the world and outer space; the earliest motion pictures and examples of recorded sound, as well as the latest data bases and software packages. It is one of four official national libraries of the United States (along with the National Library of Medicine, National Agricultural Library, and National Archives and Records Administration). Originally founded as a research library for the U.S. Congress on April 24, 1800, its original collection was composed of the books of former U.S. President Thomas Jefferson It contains many important books and collections, such as a Gutenberg Bible.
The Library itself is spread over three buildings in Washington, D.C.: The James Madison Building (between First and Second Streets on Independence Avenue SE) . The Thomas Jefferson Building (between Independence Avenue and East Capitol Street on First Street SE). The John Adams Building (between Independence Avenue and East Avenue and East Capitol Street on 2nd Street SE)
The library is open to the general public for academic research, and runs tours for visitors. Only people with a permit can enter the reading room and access the collection. Permits are available in the Madison building upon presentation of a picture ID. The Visitors' Center is located inside the west front entrance of the Thomas Jefferson Building, Ground Level.
Address: 10 First Street, SE
Directions: Metro: Capitol South. Next to the Supreme Court, just behind the Capitol Building.
Public Tour Schedule:
„X 10:30 and 11:30am
„X 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30pm
„X 10:30 and 11:30am
„X 1:30 and 2:30pm
Phone: (202) 707-8000
"We hold these truths to be self-evidence, that all men are created equal. That they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights . . ." - The Declaration of Independence ( Thomas Jefferson)
While Washington may be the father of our Country, Thomas Jefferson was the intellectual father. His thoughts and views are what formed out Government. His strong beliefs in the rights of man and a government derived from the people, in freedom of religion and the separation between church and state, and in education available to all. Thomas Jefferson struck a chord for human liberty 200 years ago that resounds through the decades. He own epitaph reads: "Author of the Declaration of American Independence, of the Statute of Virginia for religious freedom, and Father of the University of Virginia.
The circular, colonnaded Memorial is modeled after the Pantheon of Rome in the classic style that was introduced to this country by Thomas Jefferson . The Memorial Commission was created to direct the erection of a memorial to Thomas Jefferson by an Act of Congress approved in June 1934. The Commission of Fine Arts objected to the pantheon design because it would compete with the Lincoln Memorial. The Thomas Jefferson Commission took the design controversy to President Franklin D. Roosevelt who preferred the pantheon design and gave his permission to proceed. On November 15, 1939, a ceremony was held in which President Roosevelt laid the cornerstone of the Memorial.
In 1941, Rudolph Evans was commissioned to sculpt the statue of Thomas Jefferson. It was intended to represent the Age of Enlightenment and Jefferson as a philosopher and statesman. The original statue was made of plaster due to restrictions on the use of metals in WWII. After the war it was replaced by the current bronze which is 19 feet tall and weighs five tons. Adorning the interior of the Memorial, are five quotations taken from Jefferson's writings that illustrate the principles to which he dedicated his life.
Address: South bank of the Tidal Basin
Directions: located on the south bank of the Tidal Basin near downtown Washington, DC It is open daily from 8:00 am until 11:45 pm every day except Christmas Day. For more information call 202/426-6841. There are no fees to visit the Memorial. Metro stop: Smithsonian
Phone: (202) 426 - 6841
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has its headquarters in Washington in the J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building. This building was completed in 1975 and named after the head of FBI, J. Edgar Hoover. The FBI guided tour was a one-hour tour which was taken by nearly 500,000 persons each year, and was one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Nation's Capital. It included a sharp-shooting demonstration performed by a real FBI agent, video replays of bank robberies, and a look at photos of the current Ten Most Wanted Fugitives. Exhibits explained the history and jurisdiction of the FBI as well as the work of the FBI laboratory
The FBI announced that the tours offered to the public at the FBI's J. Edgar Hoover Headquarters building, Washington, D.C., were canceled for an indefinite period. The cancellation of public tours was intended to enable FBI personnel to complete security enhancements initiated as a result of unconfirmed threats to the FBI Headquarters building. Since there is no definite restart date you need to check their web site at http://www.fbi.gov
Address: 935 Pennsylvania Avenue
Directions: Downtown Washington
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