As anyone who's been to Washington will be quick to tell you, all of the government-owned museums and sites are free to the public all the time. This goes a long way toward offsetting the high-priced hotels and restaurants, but it also means that everything is really crowded all the time. We figured that on Easter Sunday things might be a wee bit less crowded, so we picked the place that we most wanted to see, the Smithsonian's American History Museum. We arrived even before it opened (but still weren't the first people in line!) and spent most of the day there.
What a wonderful musuem! It's filled with actual artifacts, from the hat Lincoln was wearing when he was assassinated to the ruby slippers Judy Garland wore in "The Wizard of Oz" to the gowns worn by a few dozen first ladies at their husbands' inaugural balls to (my favorite) Julia Child's entire Cambridge kitchen, which she donated in 2001. It was reassembled (behind glass) and includes every pot, pan, knife, appliance, fridge magnet, and dish towel, exactly as she had it:
We also saw the original Star-Spangled Banner (no photos allowed), which was much cooler than I would've thought. They also had a special exhibit on the 1963 March on Washington that was great. Steph recently did a unit on the Civil Rights era in history class, so it was all very familiar to her.
Although the Cherry Blossom Festival was already over, there were still plenty of trees in full bloom:
We were whipped after all that but still had a little time left before heading back to the hotel to get ready for dinner, so we went to the outdoor sculpture garden at the National Gallery of Art (which would turn out to be the only art we viewed the entire time we were there). It was another spectacular day, so we just relaxed by the fountain after viewing the sculptures.
That night we had a very adventurous dinner! Washington has a huge Ethiopian population, and lots of people had suggested to me that we try Ethiopian food, so we did! We went to Das in Georgetown. We had no idea what to order, so we let the waitress guide us. You aren't given any flatware, because you tear off bits of injera, a spongy type of flat bread, and scoop up all the food with it. The kids had seen the foodie episode of "The Simpsons," so they knew what to do! We loved everything.