Washington, D.C. is like the Magic Kingdom of culture. But instead of rides and make-believe characters, the nation’s capital serves up activities that make living history the star attraction.
Whether your family loves politics or fine art, the city’s bounty of world-class museums, iconic monuments and landmarks define it as one of the most exciting destinations in America.
*An American original. Washington, D.C. is a uniquely American place. There is nowhere in the world that offers a crash course in our national history, political system and defining can-do spirit.
*Walkable. This eastern metropolis is designed as an accessible pedestrian city—that is, if you are situated in the belly of the city.
*Historic architecture. One of the best ways to sightsee is to book an Open Top Sightseeing tour to hear about the iconic people and historic buildings that make up the city’s capital. (The bus stops right outside the hotel.)
*Landmarks. Avoid massive crowds and make visiting the historic landmarks an evening activity: “moonlight tours” are far more enjoyable. Take a group tour or ask the concierge to book your family a private tour suited to your family’s needs.
*Four Seasons luxe. Located in the center of Georgetown, this property is walking distance to many of the things families wish to visit. The airy rooms and fabulous children’s amenities morph a mere trip into a memorable experience. Our suite had a separate room for the kids, which was transformed—literally—into an urban campsite. Rollaway beds were outfitted with tents equipped with a copy of National Geographic Kids and a coloring book. Next to this, a faux mini Hibachi grill with brownie bricks and roasted marshmallows on small wooden sticks beckoned. Adorable.
*The sights. Our faves:
-the just-restored Washington Monument, an obelisk built in 1884 to commemorate George Washington;
-the Old Stone House, the oldest standing building in the city (1876);
-the Museum of American History to see Julia Childs’ PBS test kitchen, the “Star Spangled Banner,” Dorothy’s ruby red slippers, civil rights mementos and a fragment of Plymouth Rock;
*The pool. At the end of the day, the hotel’s indoor pool in an incredible respite to revive after the hustle and bustle.
*A piece of The Wall. The news history museum, Newseum, presents five centuries of news history in a behind-the-scenes format and features up-to-the moment technology. There’s a Berlin Wall gallery that is the largest display of the wall outside Germany.
*Shopping. Directly outside Four Seasons is the best walking and shopping district in D.C. Take a walk up and down M Street to peruse the shops and trendy eateries.
*Spa day. A facial at the hotel spa. Mom?
*Military heroism. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is an emotional experience that celebrates the heroism of American Servicemen and women who have sacrificed their lives. The dramatic Changing of the Guard is executed in accordance with army regulations every half hour.
Cherry blossoms. The spectacular spring National Cherry Blossom Festival is March 20 to April 13 this year. The Japanese gifted the blossoms to symbolize the longstanding friendship between the United States and Japan.
*One of D.C.’s mega-chic power eateries—BOURBON STEAK—is situated in the hotel lobby. Try: the 14-oz Oak Grilled Berkshire Pork Chop with Sweet Carrot Essence and Black Truffle Mac ‘n Cheese.
*Sunday Brunch at the hotel’s Seasons restaurant is one of the most elegant in the city. Our kids loved the omelette station, desserts, cheese bar with condiments, hot chocolate and French toast sticks.
*Room service by the pool: grilled cheese and hot dogs.
Dine out—On the food front, Georgetown is filled with family-friendly options. In fact, we rarely leave M Street!
*If you want a date night, arrange babysitting with the concierge and rub shoulders with power brokers at upscale Italian eatery Café Milano, walking distance from the hotel.
1. Spy fun: What kid isn’t infatuated with James Bond and his ilk? The International Spy Museum is dedicated to all things espionage, including exhibits of a Soviet show transmitter and East German cameras capable of photographing through walls. There are secret passages in the ceilings, which allow kids to enact spy scenarios by scuttling through air vents.
2. Canal ride: If you are visiting in the spring or summer, you can book a C& O Canal Ride to see what it was like in 1870 to travel the canals pulled by mules.
3. Infamous theater: Ford’s Theatre is thrilling. The perfectly preserved museum is the actual site where John Wilkes Booth shot President Abraham Lincoln in 1865. Visitors can see newspaper clippings, photographs and the actual (wee) gun used in the assassination. Blow-up descriptions and images depict the events leading up to the shooting in child-friendly verbiage. Across the street at Petersen House, you can see the room where the 16th President died.
5. Thomas Jefferson’s plantation: In Charlottesville, VA, Monticello is Thomas Jefferson’s 1772 primary tobacco plantation home, fashioned in traditional Neoclassical design.
Read more on Washington, D.C. in Four Seasons Magazine.
Read our Concierge Recommendations for Washington, D.C. in Four Seasons Magazine.
Amy Tara Koch is a style expert, author, journalist and all around fashion aficionado. She is a style expert for Vogue and Parents magazines, and has appeared on “TODAY,” “ACCESS HOLLYWOOD,” “Steve Harvey,” “FOX” and the “CBS EARLY SHOW.” Koch contributes to Marie Claire, Lucky, American Baby, Huffington Post, People Moms & Babies, The New York Times, Travel & Leisure, Town & Country, Departures, American Way and Self. Amy’s first book BUMP IT UP: TRANSFORM YOUR PREGNANCY INTO THE ULTIMATE STYLE STATEMENT was immediately touted as the “must read” pregnancy style bible by The New York Times and Glamour. An avid blogger, Amy creates content for her own sites Amy Tara Koch.com and Bump It Up Style. She is working on her second book spotlighting easy style solutions for busy moms. Amy lives in Chicago with her husband, Peter Gottlieb, and daughters Isabella and Brette.
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