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Washington, D.C.


Washington DC, the nation's capital where it houses one of the most important figures in the world, the President of the United States of America. Best known as D.C. and not to be confused with Washington state.
DC is home to all the 3 branches of the US federal government and many national museums and monuments. The city has a large variety of interesting architectural styles ranging from neoclassical to modern. To name a few, the White House, National Cathedral, US Capitol and homes in Georgetown adopted the neoclassical, neogothic, American neoclassical and Victorian designs respectively. 
If you are a fan of museums, then this city could be your dream destination. Visit the National Mall, located near the US capitol. The Mall contains more than 10 world class museums, all within walking distance. Spend your week at the popular National Museum of American History, National Museum of Natural History and National Air and Space Museums. Then, venture out the museums and explore famous landmarks such as the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool (remember the iconic Martin Luther King's speech?), National WWII, Korean and Vietnam War Memorials. 
Not far away from the Mall, you can walk around the FDR, Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials and Washington Monument. 

(Top) View of Jefferson Memorial and bald cherry blossom tree in the foreground
(Bottom) Visiting FDR memorial with friends

If you still haven't gotten enough of museums, then I highly recommend you to decipher old yet historic documents in the Library of Congress and National Archives.
If you are an art buff, visit the National Gallery of Art, National Museum of African Art, Freer Gallery of Art and A.M. Sackler Gallery located on the Mall. You will catch a glimpse of art from around the globe without leaving the city!
If you are fortunate to be in the city in late March to early April, dive in the Smithsonian Kite and National Cherry Blossom Festivals. Both usher the arrival of spring in DC. 
Other events popular in the DC area are watching fireworks displays on Independence Day and appreciating the music by the National Symphony Orchestra on the  evening before Memorial Day.
For a quick snack, try local hot dogs, chili and pretzels from the many stands around the Mall. For larger meals, check in at restaurants in Georgetown, Chinatown and George Washington campus.
My friend took us to a local Chinese restaurant named Peking Gourmet Inn, located in Falls Church outside of the city. It is known for its crispy Peking duck and garlic sprouts. When entering the restaurant, don't be surprised to see a long line of people. Even if you made a reservation. The restaurant received rave reviews from critics and has hanging pictures of international and national dignitaries including the former US President, George H. Bush. I tried the duck and sprouts and thought they were decent, although nothing beats the actual Peking duck I had in Beijing. The Szechuan beef was a huge disappointment. It was deep fried to crisp instead of stir-fried. Despite the slight hiccup, I was pleased that the waiter took our order of garlic Chinese broccoli (Kai-lan) which was not listed in the menu.
(Top) Server was slicing a juicy Peking duck 
(Bottom) Szechuan beef and garlic sprouts with chicken

My fav place to have brunch is called La Madeleine, a country French cafe. It has a large selection of savory entrées, pasta, crepes, sandwiches, soups, salads and pastries. The decor is charming, filled with old farming tools and wooden floors and beams. 
I also discovered a pretty cool grocery store called Harris Teeter, in McLean. What I like about the store is it has a striking ambiance and opens 24 hours.
For nightlife activities, check out Georgetown's 18th street. The affluent area is transformed at night with people going to the bars and clubs. Don't try to drive there because traffic is bad and parking is almost non-existent. Take the Metro or cab and walk if you have to.
Fancy a run after a night of drinking and eating? Then pick one of the many parks in DC and enjoy sights, smells and people while jogging and/or brisk walking.
In short, DC will not bore you. There are many things you can do, see and eat in and beyond the city.  And if you are fortunate, you might see the President playing basketball in a local park.

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I spent my 2011 Thanksgiving in DC. My friend's host family invited us over for dinner and it was great. There were the typical fares like baked juicy turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, salad and a few twists like coconut oil flavored baked brussel sprouts and mashed cauliflower. I checked out the new MLK Jr memorial, cracks on Washington Monument, Warhol Headlines art exhibition at the National Art Gallery and the Race exhibition in the National Museum of History as well as ate at two Malaysian restaurants the next day, Kopitiam in DC and Penang in Bethesda. The latter food was much better. On Saturday, my friend took me to a Sze Chuan restaurant called A&J Restaurant in Rockville. The servings were small, tapas-style but the food was good. We had spicy beef and wide noodles soup, braised beef with egg, tofu with century eggs, dumplings and soybean milk. Later that day, we had Ethiopian food at Dukem Restaurant on U street after spending 2 hours karoake-ing at Muzette. I got food recommendations by an Ethiopian cashier who worked at the National Museum of History. I ordered the lamb wot, a spicy lamb stew that came with 2 injera bread and some tomato relish. It tasted good and had a rendang-like consistency. I sipped on honey wine which tasted like refreshingly sweet. 


We wrapped up the night salsa dancing at Havana Village in Adams Morgan. 

Last Modified: 11/28/2011  
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