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.
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.