BILL’S MUST SEE LIST
Many of you have asked: What should we be sure to see while we’re in D.C.? In addition to the Capitol and the White House, here are a few of my favorite Washington landmarks.
Bring your Camera! – Bill
1. Lincoln Memorial
Still breathtaking, no matter how many times I’ve been there. Climb the steps. Spend a few quiet moments with our greatest president. Enjoy the view up the Mall, all the way to the Capitol. I recommend visiting all the monuments at night, by the way. Even more magic and majestic. For more Lincoln, visit Ford’s Theatre on 10th. St., NW. and the house across the street where Lincoln died.
2. Vietnam Memorial
On the Mall, just to the left of the Lincoln Memorial. Overwhelming power in its simplicity. Every name is a story, a brave American, a grieving family. Take your time, be prepared to weep at the loss of so many in such a disastrous war.
3. Einstein Memorial
One of the best-kept secrets in Washington, and my favorite sculpture. Just across Constitution Avenue from the Vietnam Memorial, on the corner of the National Academy of Sciences. Magnificent over life-size sculpture of Einstein by Robert Berks, who also did the famous bust of John F. Kennedy in the Kennedy Center. Einstein invites you to sit on his lap, kids to climb on his shoulders. A family-friendly site. Note the Birkenstocks!
4. Franklin Roosevelt Memorial
After the Lincoln Memorial, the most impressive of all the monuments. Closest Metro is: Smithsonian. Stretched out along the western edge of the Tidal Basin. Very powerful artwork and play of fountains. Magnificent words of FDR etched into the granite walls. If you’re not a liberal when you enter the FDR Memorial, you will be when you walk out.
5. Library of Congress
Across First St. from the Capitol Building and Visitors Center. I believe this is the most beautiful building in Washington. It’s been recently restored. The wall and ceiling murals are magnificent. Public tours are available every day. Take a peek down into the main reading room. And be sure to check out whatever offerings from the Smithsonian’s permanent collection are on display. You’ll be proud to own a piece of this great institution.
6. Botanical Garden
Right in front of the Capitol, the very first building on the Mall. Closest Metro: Capitol South. Recently renovated, it contains a spectacular collection of plants and flowers from all over the world. The orchids are incredible. Smells good, feels good, looks great.
7. American History Museum
Last building on the Mall before the Washington Monument. Closest Metro: Smithsonian. Also recently renovated. As a student of American history, I like this best of all the Smithsonians. Among many other exhibits, be sure to see the flag that inspired the Star-Spangled Banner, the lunch counter that sparked the civil rights movement, and the collection of First Lady gowns. But my favorite part of the entire museum is Julia Childs’s kitchen!
8. Phillips Gallery
My favorite of all Washington’s art galleries. 1600 21st. St., N.W. Closest Metro: Dupont Circle, north. Former private mansion, with new addition. They often have great shows, but their permanent collection is well worth the visit. Look for Degas, several great paintings by Rouault, and Renoir’s magnificent “Boating Party.”
9. Union Station
It’s the biggest and most beautiful train station in the nation, still in use and still packed with local and long-distance travelers. Departures and arrivals for Amtrak, commuter trains, and Metro: Union Station. Filled with shops, restaurants, and boutiques. The entire downstairs is a huge food court, with a great variety of fast-food offerings. Fun place to hang out and walk around.
10. National Portrait Gallery and American Art Museum
These two Smithsonian museums share one historic building between 8th. & 9th. Sts., N.W. Metro: Gallery Place. Each have great collections. Portrait Gallery now features life mask of Lincoln and new Shephard Fairey portrait of Barack Obama. Located in one of the liveliest areas of town called Penn Quarter. Also check out the near-by Spy Museum, Verizon Center, Chinatown, and Cowgirl Creamery.
11. Capitol Visitor Center
Brand new addition to Washington and a real winner. You enter this underground Visitor Center from First Street, behind the Capitol Building. It’s full of great exhibits and statuary, offers its own cafeteria. This is also where you sign up and line up for tours of the Capitol. Main attraction is the full-size plaster copy of the statue of Freedom which sits on top the Capitol Dome. Don’t miss it. And, while you’re at it, visit the Library of Congress, directly across the street. For my taste, it’s the most spectacularly-beautiful building in Washington.
Bill’s Best Eats
Many of our listeners come to Washington DC to visit, now that President Obama is in office. I decided to list my favorite spots – some fine dining, some eat and run – and my favorite items on the menu. Washington’s full of great restaurants, but here are some you should definitely check out. Who knows, you may even run into me while there! The first four are in my neighborhood and within a stone’s throw of our studio.
Enjoy! – Bill
327 – 7th. St., S.E. Metro: Eastern Market. 202/544-1244. Best French restaurant in town, and moderately-priced. Lunch or dinner. Soup and salad makes great lunch for me. My dinner favorite is the hanger steak. If I’m eating healthy, I’ll have the tuna. Also one of the few restaurants I know to serve calf’s liver – and it’s delicious.
2. Market Lunch
In historic Eastern Market between 7th. & 8th. St., S.E. Metro: Eastern Market. Top of escalator, turn left. Absolutely best fast kitchen in town. Great neighborhood hangout. Breakfast and lunch only. Eat one of their breakfast sandwiches – the “brick” – and you won’t eat again till evening. For lunch, their fried oyster sandwich is to die for. So’s the crab cake sandwich. Tell Tommy I sent you.
3. Banana Café
500 – 8th. St., S.E. Metro: Eastern Market. 202/543-5906. Hungry for Mexican or Cuban food? This is the place. I recommend their ceviche, or shrimp in garlic sauce (Gambas al Ajillo), to start. For Mexican, I usually order the enchiladas or fajitas. Best Cuban dish on menu: Carnitas Cubanas, pork roasted with Sevilla oranges, served with yucca.
4. Belga Café
514 – 8th. St., S.E. Metro: Eastern Market. 202/544-0100. Great, lively spot. Belgian cuisine, and huge selection of Belgian beers. Very creative, full menu. House specialty: mussels, which I can’t resist. They come with a cone of french fries, to be dipped in mayonnaise!
1201 F St., NW. Metro: Metro Center. 202/347-2277. The classiest, best, and perhaps most expensive seafood restaurant in town. But worth it. For lunch, I’m a sucker for the fish tacos. For dinner, oysters on the half shell and any fresh catch of the day.
6. The Palm
1225 19th. St., NW. Metro: Dupont Circle, south exit. 202/293-9091. My favorite hangout. The place to see and be seen in D.C. I go there so often my caricature is on the wall. You might also run into James Carville, Paul Begala, or Tucker Carlson. Great steak house. I love New York strip. For lunch, my choice is crab cakes. Also try their lobster bisque. I dare you to finish one of their desserts. Tell Tommy I sent you.
7. Five Guys
Many locations in Washington, including the National Press Building and Chinatown. Absolutely the best burger in town. I always get the LITTLE bacon-cheeseburger, accompanied by their fabulous French fries.
8. Café Milano
3251 Prospect St., N.W. Georgetown. 202/333-6183. No Metro access. The ultimate “in” restaurant of D.C. Fun, lively atmosphere. Most likely spot to find government or media personalities. But still serves great food. I don’t go there often enough to have any favorites on menu, but everything’s good.
9. Ben’s Chili Bowl
1213 U St. N.W. Metro: U Street. Classic D.C. greasy spoon. U St. and 14th. St. are two most up-and-coming, or coming-back, neighborhoods of D.C. Ben’s is a historic D.C. eatery. No pretensions. It is what it’s name says: good eats, smothered in chili. I always go for the chili half-smoke and French Fries. Barack Obama made this his first stop in Washington!
10. Blue Duck Tavern
24 M Street N.W. Washington, DC 20037 202/419-6755. One of Washington’s very best restaurants, where Barack and Michele Obama enjoyed their first date night as President and First Lady. Features all organic, locally-grown, and very creative menu. Outstanding food and service. A little pricey, but well worth it.
11. Aqua al 2
212 7th. St., S.E. – The newest Italian restaurant, the best, and already very popular. Can be hard to get into. Make a reservation. Pasta is great. For four or more, try the Tuscan steak special. Best steak I’ve ever had. I always have the Burata special for appetizer. Eating here, you are within a block of the BP Show studio and the Press family home!
12. Hank’s Oyster Bar
If you love oysters, this is the place. Two locations: Dupont Circle, 1624 Q. St., NW; and Capitol Hill, 633 Pennsylvania Ave., S.E. (Eastern Market Metro). Can’t go wrong. Full bar, great wine list. Oyster Po Boy is great, so is fried oyster platter. Great selection of oysters on half-shell. P.S. If you’re near Union Station, you could also try Johnny’s On the Half Shell at 400 N. Capitol St., S.E.
13. District Commons
On campus of George Washington University, across street from hospital, on Washington Circle at 2200 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W. (Foggy Bottom Metro). Already one of D.C.’s most popular restaurants. Their corned-beef hash with eggs is best brunch item. For lunch or dinner, I usually go for their shrimp ‘n’ grits. Great location and people-watching.
Other watering holes include: Buck’s, Bombay Club, Bistro Bis, and the Food Court at Union Station.
- Get Bill’s Parting Shot sent to your cell phone, every day – with Foneshow!
- Bill’s Pundit Blog in The Hill
- Democratic Strategist and Bill Press Fill in Host Rich Masters
- Our syndicator, Dial Global Radio Network
- Think Progress (Center for American Progress)
- Watercooler stories: Fark