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
Exit and head next door to
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 head south on First Street to hop the Metro at the Capitol South station, catching a Blue Line train to the Metro Center stop, to reach:
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
4 ZaytinaZaytinya’s expansive terrace is a lovely place to watch Washingtonians on parade while enjoying Mediterranean cuisine. This is one of renowned Jose Andres’s 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, 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
6 The White House
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.