Cool and unexpected places for Black history are all around you
There are are some that believe places like the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial are the be-all-end-all of where to go for Black history, but that's not true.
Black history is embedded in DC's DNA in places that are obvious and many others that are not. From Benjamin Banneker Park to Frederick Douglass' first home in DC, here are some sites worth the hike to discover how significant African American contributions have been not only in Washington, D.C., but in the nation.
Celebrate Black history every day
Historian, scholar, and writer Carter G. Woodson created Negro History Week, the precursor to Black History Month, from his rowhouse in D.C.’s Shaw neighborhood in 1926. The home, owned by the National Park Service, is currently closed due to COVID (definitely worth a visit when it reopens) but you can pay a visit to the Carter G. Woodson Memorial located at 9th Street and Rhode Island Avenue, NW, which is a couple of blocks from his house.
We've put together several other ways to celebrate Black History Month this February and beyond. We've got recommendations for deep discussions and black love book clubs, walking tours and cultural breaks, and more.
Go Inside the President's Guest House Where Vice President Kamala Harris Will Be Staying Temporarily
Historic Blair House has hosted foreign dignitaries and several presidents in the days before their inaugurations. One even survived an assassination attempt within its walls
Blair House sounds like some kind of posh estate in the United Kingdom but it's right here in DC.
Better known as the "President's Guest House," it's where Madame Vice President Kamala Harris and her family will be staying while her new home at One Naval Observatory, the official residence of the Vice President, undergoes maintenance
Located just across Pennsylvania Avenue from the Eisenhower Executive Office Building and steps from the White House, Blair House serves as the president's guest house. It’s right near the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum so chances are you’ve walked by without even knowing it. Joe Biden and his family stayed here before Inauguration Day and his swearing in as the 46th President of the United States.
The historic home has hosted foreign dignitaries and several presidents in the days before their inaugurations. Lincoln is known to have been a frequent visitor at Blair House, which was a fast walk across Pennsylvania Avenue. One even survived an assassination attempt within its walls.
Wrangling an invite to Blair House is even harder than getting one to the White House. Security is tight and access exclusive. Go inside — and learn the history behind — the place our new VP will temporarily be calling home.
Number One Observatory Circle on the grounds of the U.S. Naval Observatory is the traditional home for veeps.
Ask most people where the president lives and they’ll tell you, “the White House.” Ask them where the vice president lives and the answer is much less certain.
Even though it might not have the same ring to it as 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, One Naval Observatory (located on the grounds of the 72-acre U.S. Naval Observatory) has been the official home to every vice president since Walter Mondale) in 1977.
When Vice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff move into Number One Observatory Circle, they will be only the eighth vice-presidential family in American history to do so. They’re currently staying at Blair House, the President's Guest House, while they’re soon-to-be new home undergoes maintenance.
Two days! Just two more days until Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th president of the United States. The National Mall is closed and DC is practically on lock down for security reasons, but that doesn’t make the occasion any less a cause for celebration.
We're curated a mix of virtual and IRL things to do, and local food and drink specials for you to throw the best at-home inauguration party ever, so don your best red, white, and blue loungewear and nestle up on the couch and get ready to celebrate!
WHAT TO DO:
WHAT TO EAT/DRINK:
WHAT TO LISTEN TO:
Curious? There's more?
There won't be any pomp and circumstance for this year's presidential inauguration of President Elect Joe Biden and Vice-President Elect Kamala Harris. Even the biggest political event of the year has been reimagined with the usual crowd-pleasing events going virtual. Which is just as well since the entire National Mall will be closed.
But it's not all bad news. The show must go on and there are a host of virtual inauguration events -- official and non-official -- that you can join from home to get in the spirit of the occasion and get a flavor of inaugurations past and present.
So make your Biden-Harris-themed food and drink picks, settle in to celebrate the triumph of democracy and a Twitter rant-free four years.
Although Rev Martin Luther King is memorialized on the National Mall and is indelibly associated to the steps of the Lincoln Memorial where he delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech, there are a number of other places in DC where he left his mark.
In honor of Dr. King's, on the 53rd anniversary of his assassination, we've put together a list of 10 places in Washington to reflect on his life and legacy.
DC has signature music, food and its own official dinosaur.
Forget images of massive digs like the one in the Jurassic Park movies, though. Apparently someone found part of a dinosaur vertebra and other bone fragments while excavating a sewer at First and F Streets SE in Capitol Hill in the late 1800s.
The bones were taken to Smithsonian scientists, but there was so little of it that paleontologists are still uncertain as to what this animal actually looked like. But since there was no agreement on the actual identity and classification of the bones, it was suggested that it was from a dinosaur unique to Washington, and the unofficial moniker Capitalsaurus was born.
More than a century after it was unearthed, there isn’t consensus on the actual identity of this prehistoric beast.
The official designation as the District’s official dinosaur is thanks to a group of fifth-grade students who enthusiastically lobbied City Hall to vote “yes” on vote “yes” on the Official Dinosaur Designation Act of 1998, Bill 12-538.
Today, January 28 is “Capitalsaurus Day” in D.C., marking the date the bones were presented to the Smithsonian. The block of F Street, SE where the fossil was discovered was formally dedicated as Capitalsaurus Court on January 28, 2000 (it’s the block that fronts Garfield Park).
Curious? There's more!
Guests check in at the iconic luxury hotel, but not all of them check out ...
Many hotels today have extras like in-room coffee makers, business centers and on-site dining. The historic Omni Shoreham in Woodley Park boasts all of this, plus a few extras, including a couple of ghosts.
At least, that's the story according to legend . . .
There are so many fascinating stories to uncover!
When planning vacation itineraries, graveyard visits may not be top of mind. But they are really open-air museums full of art and history and stories and nature. And sometimes you’ll find really creative nods to various lives among the headstones, too.
Congressional Cemetery in Southeast DC is a historic -- and still active -- 35-acre graveyard spanning more than 300 years. And despite its name, it’s a pretty lively place. The cemetery hosts several 5Ks, concerts, and outdoor movie nights, as well as a book club and yoga classes, and plenty of dogs and their owners frequent the grounds, too.
But despite its size and longtime history, Congressional Cemetery is a real hidden gem that many locals and tourists don't even know exists.
Look up, down, and all around. Adventures can be found everywhere -- if you're curious enough to look. k for it