We had such a great time last time that we decided to go up a day earlier this trip, and spend three days there. There is so much to do, and most of it is free, so we wanted to go to places and do things that we didn't do last time.
We tried different restaurants (and cupcakeries), different museums, and we even saw a play at the Shakespeare Theatre close to Chinatown (there are many Shakespeare Theatres). We saw An Ideal Husband, which isn't Shakespeare, but Oscar Wilde, and we loved it!
Our favorite museum was the Newseum - we spent 6 hours there! We watched documentaries on Hurricane Katrina, highlights in sports over the last 100 years, investigative journalism (this was in 3D, and was pretty cool)... We saw exhibits on the Berlin Wall, 9/11, Katrina, the First Amendment, FBI and the media (lots of really cool cases from gangsters of the 20s to the Unabomber, and the D.C. sniper.
There is a huge room full of newspapers, current and over 100 years old. There is a section dedicated to people who have lost their lives while on assignment for a media outlet, and a studio where you can try your hand at reading the news in front of a live camera.
The Newseum is one of the few places you have to pay for, but it was definitely worth it!
Donnie has a friend who works for Senator Lee (R - Utah), and he hooked us up at the Capitol Building. Normally, you have to set a reservation up for a tour way in advance, and wait months to get tickets to view Congress in action in their respective chambers, but Donnie's friend set us up when we randomly called a day before we arrived.
We met with his friend, and Senator Lee's intern (interns are who give the tours). They took us on a private tour. We even went to places the normal tour does not go :). We were able to step out on the back deck of the building - the place where the president gives his inaugural address. We were not surprised to see guards with M-16 assault rifles :)
We also went down a little stairwell with markings from soldiers who tried to storm the Capitol, but were fought back and killed, and saw a really cool bust of Washington. We also saw all of the normal things too, like the old Senate chamber, the Rotunda, the place where people lie in state, all of the statues, paintings, and even a few Congressmen (like John Boehner, who walked right past us with his security detail. He is even more orange in person...)
Donnie's friend also gave us tickets to the viewing area to sit in the galley in the House chamber (they were still in session). Unfortunately, we were near the front of the line when they had to evacuate the House because of crazy protesters (it was tax day after all). It was still a great tour!
Before the evacuation...
After the evacuation...
a bust of George Washington
This is the view from where inaugural addresses are given; they take out part of the front railing, and add a stage.
The guy in the far left is the weapon-toting guard.
The pretty springtime flowers in front of our hotel, and pretty much everywhere in D.C.!
In line to see a famous celebrity...
Just kidding! This was actually the line to buy yummy cupcakes from Georgetown Cupcake.
An old newspaper at the Newseum