Two cities which have a great influence on America today are located only 35 minutes away from each other. Why not take 5 nights out and visit the two cities. As Washington is the larger of the two, I would suggest three nights there and two nights in Baltimore.
What makes Washington DC so special is that it is the headquarters for one of the most powerful countries in the world. This is home to the President of the United States of America who resides in the White House. Probably one of the most photographed houses on the planet. You can’t get a close up of the building rather a shot from long distance on the public side of the fence.
That is not the only site worth seeing. Most of them are located in what is known as ‘The Mall’. The Mall is a large rectangular grassy area filled with monuments, museums, memorials and government buildings. The area takes over 59 Ha, so allow a good solid two days exploring.
As mentioned previously, the White House would be the most photographed building. Next on the list would be Capitol Hill. This is where the senate sits and passes law. You can do a tour daily from 10am until 3.30pm.
Another famous building is the Pentagon. Although you can book a tour months in advance, the building is highly secured and cannot be seen close up. Instead, you can walk around the FBI buildings close to the Mall.
Situated directly in the middle of the mall is the Washington Monument. Standing 169 metres, it can be seen from most of Washington and is a great directional clue. The monument has a viewing porthole at the top. It is free to enter but there are limited tickets. You can book them in advance over the phone for a $1.50 fee.
Probably one of Americas’ most well-known presidents sits at the Western end of the mall keeping an eye over everything. This man is Abraham Lincoln. He sits in his chair with the stern and enforcing look on his face. He fought for the abolishment of slavery until he was assassinated in 1865. The building is where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his infamous ‘I have a dream’ speech and has been a base for many protests throughout the years.
The Smithsonian http://www.si.edu/Museumsis the collective group name for all the museums in Washington DC. There are a number of museums open every day until 5.30pm. I suggest viewing these in the morning and the monuments in the afternoon. Some of the museums include:
Air and Space museum
American History Museum
Natural History Museum
The National Zoo
American Indian Museum
These are only a few of the 16 located in the metro area of Washington. All are very well produced with an informative and interesting approach. My highlight was the Air and Space museum where you can see the Command Module from Apollo 11.
Scattered throughout the Mall, you will find many memorials. Most of these will be dedicated to previous wars such as World War 2, the Korean War and Vietnam War. Other memorials will be a tribute to former presidents of the USA. A standout memorial was for Franklin D Roosevelt. It is a peaceful area with famous and inspiring quotes carved into the stone.
The bars and pubs do close relatively early in Washington but you can still find a few good ones about. A popular place is on H Ne Street and 8th street. The bars are mostly located with a few blocks of each other.
Crabs, crabs and more crabs. I think there is a theme which makes Baltimore and the state of Maryland what it is. My guess would be crabs. Lots of puns are printed on cups, shirts, signs and Christmas decorations. Some of my favourites include:
Basically anything related to a crab. But there is good reason for it. Baltimore is the home to crabs and they even have specially designed crab houses to taste the delicacy. The one we tried and had a local feel was ‘Captain James crab house’. This is you get down and dirty with the crabs. You will start with some thick brown paper placed down on your table along with a large stack of napkins. You will then be brought out a tray of crab shells to see the different sizes and different prices. I couldn’t tell the difference between the small ones and the jumbo ones. The small ones worked out to be $51 for a dozen. A dozen will easily feed 4 people, and you can buy crabs by the half dozen.
Apart from crabs there is a little bit more to do. Most of this is located down near the inner harbour. There are harbour cruises which will take you around and inform you about the region. The port is rich in history, beginning way back in 1706. Follow a harbour route with information placards to gain an insight of life back then. Other attractions includes Ripley’s Believe it or not, a science centre and restaurant chains like Bubba Shrimp and Hooters. Located one side of the harbour is an old fort which provides a great view over the city centre and inner harbour. Definitely worth the little walk up to the top.
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