During my fourth weekend in DC, I decided to fling myself into the role of tourist instead of intern, and visit some of the world-famous sites in DC. With my Asics, sunglasses, and wallet, I made my way into downtown DC to explore.
My first stop was the National Gallery. I love art, even though I am definitely not a great artist. If you’ve never been to the National Gallery, go. Even if you aren’t a huge fan of art. The National Gallery is full of amazing pieces, from their Chinese porcelain to their numerous Rothkos.
Like most, I love the Impressionists. Renoir, Degas, Monet..I definitely got my fix. The National Gallery also has my favorite sculptures–Degas’ ballerinas, or “fourteen year old dancers.”
The National Gallery also had an interesting collection of works by Hubert Robert, who was a French artist that lived during the French Revolution. Robert was the first curator of the Louvre, and some of my favorite pieces by him depicted the Louvre in states of construction.
If you need a break, the National Gallery has a great cafe, and gift shops. I ate lunch there, and tried a bunch of different Mediteraean food. Later, I treated myself to a cappuccino and two scoops of black cherry Cabernet and tiramisu gelato. A perfect mid-afternoon snack.
After a couple hours in the National Gallery, I decided to take a brief visit to the National Museum of the American Indian. I had been to the museum before, but one thing I had not done there was tried their acclaimed cafe, Mitsitam.
Mitsitam serves native foods from five different regions. I tried dishes from Northwest America, which were all salad type dishes that used ingredients like fennel, lemons, and onions. I also tried a scallop ceviche from South America, which was so good. The cafe does a cool thing where you can get four sides for $15–not a bad deal. I definitely recommend a stop here.
After my late lunch/early dinner (Dunch? Linner?) I checked out an exhibit about Hawaii, called E Mau Ke Ea: The Sovereign Hawaiian Nation. It was about how Hawaii was its own independent nation before being overthrown by a group of United States businessmen. I was only slightly familiar with this part of history, so I am grateful I took the opportunity to learn more about it.
The most important thing I learned is that Hawaii is still trying to become independent from the United States, or try to become an entity similar to other Native American tribes. I think the history of Native Americans, and how they were brutalized, is something absolutely every person should learn about in their lifetime.
After the National Museum of the American Indian, I decided to walk the mall down to the Washington Monument. I’ve never actually been in or around the monument. After seeing it up close, I hope to eventually take a tour inside it.
Once I got to the Washington Monument, I thought, “Hey, why stop now?” I continued my walk to the Lincoln Memorial, which was absolutely mobbed. But it was a Saturday in the heat of June, so it was to be expected. The view was also worth the walk and crowds.
At this point, I was exhausted. Worn out. Ready for a nap. I caught a cab back to the Judiciary Square metro stop, and then headed back to Takoma Park. When I checked my pedometer at the end of the day, I had walked walked 10 miles, and barely scratched the surface of museums and monuments available.
After my day of exploring, I decided that I will eventually write a book about the museum cafes in DC. A bit of a niche market, but it would be way too fun.