It is always an adventure visiting the nation’s capital. Washington D.C. is one of the most culturally diverse cities in America and was recently named the “Gayest City in America” by The Advocate. As one of the places where same-sex marriage is legal, Washington D.C. has become one of the top destinations for GLBT travelers.
Start off your visit with the must-see landmarks including the White House, Capitol Building, Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial. Museum buffs will also find D.C. fascinating and the crown jewel of museums, including the Smithsonian, which requires at least a full day’s visit to fully take in all that it has to offer. However, there are also some lesser-known attractions that would be of great interest.
The Newseum is a six-level, high-tech and interactive attraction that traces the history of news reporting from the 16th century to the present day. My favorite exhibits include the Pulitzer Prize Photo Gallery which shows the award-winning images captured since the 1940s. The Today’s Front Pages exhibit shows 80 newspaper front pages from around the world and is updated daily. The 9/11 Gallery looks at how the media responded to the tragic events on September 2011. Also impressive is the Berlin Wall Gallery, which features eight 12-foot-high concrete sections of the original wall.
Another great and inexpensive museum to visit is the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. It is one of the most visited museums in the city and is great for families. Guests can ride in several 4-minute flight simulators, take a journey through space or to natural and manmade wonders of the world at the Lockheed Martin IMAX Theater or watch a film projected on a five-story-high screen with six-channel digital surround sound. The museum also features the incredible Albert Einstein Planetarium with its high tech dual digital projection system, Sky Vision.
For those individuals more interested in history, The Holocaust Memorial Museum is a tribute to the millions who died during the Nazi regime in Germany during World War II. The museum is located just off of the National Mall. The exhibit uses more than 900 artifacts, 70 video monitors, and four theaters showing film footage and eyewitness testimonies of Nazi concentration camp survivors.
After a day of museum hopping, you may want to let loose and enjoy a cocktail or two. Washington D.C. offers a menagerie of gay bars and clubs for every taste and style. Some of the most popular joints include Town, Cobalt, JR’s Bar & Grille and Nellie’s Sports Bar. The vast majority of GLBT nightspots are centered around DuPont Circle, but there are other neighborhoods including Capital Hill, Bloomingdale and Columbia Heights that are quickly becoming hotspots for GLBT tourists and residents.
Capital Hill is traditionally where gay singles and couples move when they do not want to be right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of DuPont Circle. Offering a quieter, neighborhood feel, the area boasts several gay bars, gay-friendly restaurants and on weekends is host to Eastern Market, a hub of fresh foods, crafts and antiques.
When in town, check in at the Renaissance Downtown. Conveniently located to all of the major attractions, the hotel features incredible service and amenities, a full-service spa, fitness center and a Starbucks in its hotel lobby. The rooms are elegantly appointed with luxury linens, large bathrooms and separate work and living spaces.
While at the Renaissance, escape to Aura Spa, within the property’s Vida Fitness Center, for a therapeutic massage or facial treatment. Dining options within the hotel include Fifteen Squares, a traditional American bistro and The President’s Sports Bar, which offers light fare.
There is so much to see and do in the city, it is best to plan at least three or four days for your visit. For more information, go to www.washington.org