With a second day added on, you can get to Capitol Hill’s capital attractions, tour the Penn Quarter neighborhood, and cap off the day with a presidential flourish. Start: Metro on the Blue, Orange, or Silver Line to the Capitol Hill South stop
You may be shocked to know that the U.S. Constitution specifies neither an age nor an education level nor even a citizenship requirement for a person to become a Supreme Court justice. No, all that is required is that the president nominates the person and that the Senate confirms the nomination, a simple process often complicated by politicking, such as the refusal in 2016 of Republican senators to consider President Obama’s nominee, following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. If the Court is in session (Monday through Wednesday mornings, starting the first Monday in October and continuing through late April), I highly recommend that you attend an argument, which is only possible if you arrive 90 minutes in advance of the scheduled 10am to noon time slots. If the Court is not in session, you can at least attend a docent lecture.
Exit and head right next door to tour the:
The world’s largest library is not only a keeper of books: Ongoing exhibits show off other precious objects, such as an “original Rough Draught” of Thomas Jefferson’s much marked-up Declaration of Independence and a 1797 manuscript in George Washington’s hand, outlining a plan of government for Virginia.
Exit and proceed north on First St. NW (closed to car traffic but not pedestrians), crossing Constitution Ave. and walking a couple of blocks to reach Union Station, where you catch Metro’s Red Line train to the Gallery Place stop, putting you right in the thick of the:
3. Penn Quarter
This lively neighborhood just off the National Mall is full of restaurants, bars, and assorted sightseeing attractions, all within a short walk of each other. Wander down to Pennsylvania Avenue and up 7th Street, the main arteries, and explore side streets; you’re sure to come upon something that strikes your fancy.
Then head to lunch at:
Zaytinya’s expansive terrace is a lovely place to watch Washingtonians on parade while enjoying Mediterranean cuisine. This is one of renowned José Andrés’ restaurants, so you can expect great tastes and a fun vibe.
Exit Zaytinya, walk one block east on G St., and then cross the street to reach the:
Nothing reveals the essence of American spirit and character better than its art. Pop in here and look into the portraiture faces of America’s presidents (and First Ladies—don’t miss Michele Obama's portrait on the third floor), its poets, its heroes, its historic figures, its celebrities. Study Georgia O’Keeffe’s southwestern landscapes; self-taught folk artists’ creations, from exquisite quilts to outlandish sculptures made of metallic foil and found objects; precisely carved Shaker furniture; and the video artwork of contemporary artists.
Make your way eastward on G St. until you hit 15th St.. Cross 15th St. and walk briefly north to reach Pennsylvania Avenue and:
As noted earlier in this chapter, a tour of the White House is a highlight of a trip to the nation’s capital, but one that can be hard to procure. If you have not managed to book an advance reservation, I encourage you to admire its exterior view and consider the facts: Its cornerstone was laid in 1792, making the White House the capital’s oldest federal building. It’s been the residence of every president but George Washington (although the nation’s second president, John Adams, lived here for only 4 months). The British torched the mansion in 1814, so what you see is the house rebuilt in 1817, using the original sandstone walls and interior brickwork. Consider following the “Strolling around the White House Tour," a self-guided excursion also available on this site.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.