In Travel on Friday 14th Sep, 2018

What to see in Washington, DC – the big boss tells all (no, not THAT one!)

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Washington, DC: we all know it’s the capital of the United States and seat of the country’s government, but what’s it like for visitors and tourists?

To get the low-down, we spoke to Elliott Ferguson, who’s been President and CEO of Destination DC, Washington since 2009. Who better to speak to than the guy who spends every day exploring and promoting this city that’s monumental in every sense of the word?

Where’s the one place you always like to take friends who are visiting Washington, DC for the first time?

“The FDR Memorial is one of my favourite memorials. It’s like walking through a history book because the memorial features different rooms and takes visitors through Franklin’s influence on American history.”

What are the other key “don’t-miss” attractions in Washington, DC – the things that every visitor needs to see or do at least once?

“The other monuments and memorials – including the Lincoln Memorial and MLK Memorial – as well as experiencing the incredible theatre scene are a must when visiting Washington, DC.”

The Lincoln Memorial at night. Source: Getty
The Lincoln Memorial at night. Source: Getty
What are some key times to visit the capital and why?

“Spring and Fall generally have the best weather and include events like the DC Jazz Festival, Passport DC and Cherry Blossom Festival.”

What are some really interesting and fun tours that over-60s would love in Washington, DC?

“A visit to the Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens, former home of Marjorie Merriweather Post. Free walking tours on the mall, a tour of the Museum of the Bible, Library of Congress, a visit to the United States Botanic Gardens, a twilight tour of the monuments and memorials by bus, a visit to the National Geographic museum, the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site in Anacostia, the National Cathedral and the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center near Washington Dulles Airport.”

The Thomas Jefferson Memorial during cherry blossom season. Source: Getty
The Thomas Jefferson Memorial during cherry blossom season. Source: Getty
What’s something people would be surprised to learn about DC?

“The number of outdoor activities available including kayaking and biking. Visitors are often surprised at how green and walkable the city is.”

What’s a souvenir unique to DC that every visitor should take home with them?

“I’m not big on tchotchkes so I would suggest something from Eastern Market. A food & arts market where you can find something by a local artist whether it be a painting, sculpture or piece of jewellery.” [Ed’s note: for anyone not weaned on American films and TV, a “tchotchke” (pronounced CHOTCH-key” is a trinket or decorative item.]

Have you noticed a change in the number of visitors to the White House since the new tenant moved in?

“The White House remains a U.S. and Washington, DC icon regardless of who is office. Since 9/11, the process to visit the White House has become more extensive for U.S. citizens and even more challenging for international visitors.”

Source: Unsplash
The most famous house in Washington DC – if not the world. Source: Unsplash
What’s your personal favourite place to get a coffee in D.C?

“Local chain Dolcezza. There are several locations around the city including a stand inside Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and one at the new Wharf district.”

To have breakfast?

“Famers & Distillers – It’s near the office so I often have business meetings there.”

To have a really memorable dinner?

“Experience the new waterfront at the Wharf as well a delicious meal at Kith and Kin for Afro-Caribbean cuisine.”

If you could trade places with any other person working in DC for a day, what position would you choose and why?

“David Mark Rubenstein – he’s contributed a lot to Washington, DC including significant donations for the Washington Monument preservation, the Kennedy Center expansion project, the giant panda programme at the National Zoo, and many more.”  

Bao Bao the panda was born in the National Zoo in 2013, but now lives in China. Source: Getty
Bao Bao the panda was born at the National Zoo in 2013, but now lives in China. Source: Getty
What’s the best tip you’d give to someone visiting Washington D.C for the first time?

“Visit for itinerary suggestions, come with a plan, start early, wear comfy shoes and spend at least four days.”

Elliott Ferguson, xxxxx
Elliott Ferguson, the President and CEO of Destination DC, Washington (a.k.a the big boss!)

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