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The idea to build a national capital along the Potomac River was approved by the new American government in 1790. Ten years later Congress held its first session in Washington, D.C. America's traditional political hub now buzzes with international shops and street festivals. Lots of museums are free. And don't miss off-beat discoveries like the great jazz club where Duke Ellington used to play. Or, artwork and blueberry pancakes at the tantalizing old Eastern Market.
Walk, run, or cycle by the Reflecting Pool to the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument. Get an eyewitness view of the history of journalism at the Newseum. Test your spy skills at the International Spy Museum. Outdoor fountains and glass-domed rooms of rainforests, flowers, and deserts await you at the United States Botanical Garden. So does a walk along the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal, and through the beautiful historic Georgetown neighborhood.
Foods of the world are part of the D.C. experience. Sample slow-roasted pork empanadas or banana chocolate chip cupcakes at the Union Market indoor food hall. Try Ethiopian lamb kitfo at the Dukem. Take in one of the best evening views of the city over a light meal at the P.O.V. rooftop bar.
Photo 2: Jane Griffith