RUN FOR THE WHITE HOUSE

Don’t let Don­ald Trump’s pres­ence put you off, Washington should be top of your ‘ must- visit’ list. SU­SAN GRIF­FIN spends time in D. C.

Solihull News - - TRAVEL -

THINK of Washington D. C. and most peo­ple au­to­mat­i­cally pic­ture the White House or Capi­tol building, but there’s more to do in this el­e­gant city than sim­ply pos­ing for your selfie out­side these iconic land­marks.

That said, I still find my­self jostling for space to grab a snap in front of both, but then Amer­ica’s cap­i­tal is made for sight­see­ing.

Blighted by vi­o­lence in the past, the city’s un­der­gone a clean- up in re­cent years and I feel per­fectly safe am­bling around.

It’s a metropo­lis that wel­comes walk­ing with a grid sys­tem of wide roads – run­ning across in num­bers and down in let­ters – mak­ing it easy to nav­i­gate.

Thanks to jet lag, I find my­self in the Na­tional Mall bright and early. The park runs along down­town D. C. with the white dome of the Capi­tol dom­i­nat­ing the sky­line at one end, and the Lin­coln Me­mo­rial – with its statue of Abra­ham Lin­coln – at the other.

I hap­pily spend the morn­ing mu­se­umhop­ping be­fore wan­der­ing along to the Washington Mon­u­ment, an obelisk stand­ing more than 500ft tall, past the foun­tains of the Na­tional World War II Me­mo­rial and on to the Re­flect­ing Pool, which will be fa­mil­iar if you’ve watched For­rest Gump.

You can hop on the Metro, but walk­ing makes me feel less guilty for chomp­ing my way through the city, which has be­come a real food­ies’ mecca. It even has its own Miche­lin Guide now, although there are plenty of cheap bites to find too.

Where to eat: You can’t visit Washington D. C. and not stop- off for a Chili Half- Smoke ( a pork and beef sausage, topped with onions and chilli sauce, priced $ 5.95/£ 4.50) at the Ben’s Chili Bowl ( ben­schili­bowl.com) on U Street.

In the shadow of the Capi­tol, you’ll find the stylish Char­lie Palmer Steak ( char­liepalmer.com/char­lie- palmer­steak- dc) . Tuck into the Iced Shell­fish Plat­ter with its lob­ster tail and oys­ters ($ 39/£ 30 per per­son) and fol­low it up with a 28- Day Dry- Aged Steak ($ 49/£ 38). Where to stay: The grand Hay- Adams Ho­tel ( hayadams. com) is the go- to place for all vis­it­ing dig­ni­taries. Lo­cated just across from the White House, a stay here makes for an un­for­get­table ex­pe­ri­ence.

Where to drink: You can’t go too wrong if you head to 14th street, which is lined with un­pre­ten­tious bars and restau­rants, at­tract­ing a young and stylish crowd.

If you’re some­thing of a wine buff, make a bee­line for Barcelona Wine Bar ( barcelon­aw­inebar.com), which of­fers 40 dif­fer­ent wines by the glass.

The Old Eb­bitt Grill ( eb­bitt. com) is a stone’s throw from the White House and, dat­ing back to 1856, is billed as ‘ the old­est saloon in Washington’. It’s vast, but has an in­ti­mate feel.

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