For decades Washington DC has been at the forefront of American politics and some of the most significant moments in history have taken place in America’s capital.
With the upcoming elections just around the corner, there has never been a better time for budding politicos to plan a 2021 trip to the destination and follow in the footsteps of the past 45 presidents to uncover the secrets of the city. Highlights include a stay in the ‘Scandal Room’ at the Watergate Hotel, the America’s Presidents exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, sipping on Washington’s signature cocktail, The Rickey and a Ghosts, Scandals and Murder Walking Tour.
Marvel at the Portraits of America’s Presidents
The National Portrait Gallery is the only place outside of the White House that is home to official portraits of every U.S. President. The permanent exhibition America’s Presidents is free to visit and includes portraits of all 45 Presidents. The America’s Presidents exhibition has been newly refurbished to provide visitors with an enhanced experience, from new bilingual (English and Spanish) information and accessible presentations. Back on display after 18 months of careful restoration is Gilbert Stuart’s ‘Lansdowne’ portrait of President George Washington. Visitors can experience the exhibition through six historical chapters with updated content to provide a greater understanding of political events over the years, both national and international which coincide with each President’s time in office. Whilst free to enter, visitors need to book a time entry slot to enable social distancing to be managed. https://npg.si.edu/visit
Stay at the Watergate Hotel, Washington DC
The Watergate scandal is one of the most famous political scandals in history. It began in June 1972 when the Democratic National Committee’s headquarters, which were located inside the Watergate complex were ransacked and burgled. The five men arrested for the break in were working for the committee to re-elect President Nixon, during the robbery they were caught planting listening devices. It was Nixon’s denial of knowledge and subsequent coverup by his administration that led to his resignation in 1974. The redesigned Watergate Hotel reopened in 2016 and has fully embraced its political history, there’s even a Scandal Room decorated with Watergate memorabilia. Guests opting to stay in the Scandal Room can include the ‘Arrested at the Watergate’ experience as part of their stay. It includes private drinks at The Next Whisky Bar with the original Washington Police Department arresting officers who discovered the 1972 break-in. For more information about The Watergate Hotel visit www.thewatergatehotel.com/
Take a Ghosts, Scandals and Murder Walking Tour
Walk the streets of D.C. with DC Insider Tours as they expose decades of dark secrets hidden with the walls and streets of the city. The tour beings at the Temperance Fountain, which is a symbol of the prohibition era, close the National Archives before heading to the Federal Triangle which was once called ‘Murder Bay’ before being demolished and the government buildings built in its place. Visit the Willard Hotel, known as the ‘hotel for Presidents’ and the very place where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote his famous ‘I have a dream’ speech. Before learning about Congress’s biggest fails in American history, prohibition, and how it affected the city during the roaring 1920s. Finally, no tour of DC is complete without a stop at the White House. Tales have been told of spooky goings on in the most famous house in the world – from hearing the laughter of dead president’s past to seeing Abraham Lincoln’s ghost walk the halls after dark. You will also hear how John F. Kennedy was known to unwind in the White House’s former indoor pool.
Tour the U.S Capitol
The U.S Capitol is the most recognised symbol of democratic government in the world and has housed Congress since 1800. Laws have been written, Presidents have been inaugurated and annual State of the Union messages delivered from within the walls of the U.S Capitol and visitors can book a free guided tour through the building to learn about American History. During the tour visitors will enter the National Statuary Hall which features statues of distinguished civic or military services figures who are deemed to be worthy of national commemoration by each state across America. The National Statuary Hall is one of the most popular rooms on the tour of the U.S. Capitol. For those wanting to see American politics in action, The Senate and House Galleries are open to visitors even when a legislative body is in session. Free tickets can be booked online www.visitthecapitol.gov/plan-visit/book-tour-capitol *Tours currently on hold
Visit the Woodrow Wilson House
President Woodrow Wilson is considered one of America’s greatest Presidents, statesman and Nobel Prize winner and visitors to the President Woodrow Wilson House will have an intimate look at his life. From authentic objects from the White House to elaborate gifts of the state, this Embassy Row house is a living textbook of modern American life in the 1920s. The 1920s was a time of prohibition, flapper dresses, silent movies, and speakeasies. A visit to Woodrow Wilson House is a step back in time to an important era in American history. Book your visit online www.woodrowwilsonhouse.org/
Drink the official cocktail of Washington DC, The Rickey
In July 2009, The Rickey was declared the official drink of Washington D.C with a plaque unveiled at the JW Marriott Washington on Pennsylvania Avenue, which stands on the original site of the Shoomaker’s Bar where the cocktail was first created back in the 1880s. The Shoomaker’s Bar was a DC dive bar founded and owned by two German immigrants and was later bought by Democratic lobbyist, Colonel Joseph Rickey, who created the original bourbon based Ricket with bartender George A. Williamson. Today, The Rickey is more commonly made with gin. Those wanting to feel as close to the original founding location should head to the 1331 Bar & Lounge at the JW Marriott Washington.
Book at trip to Washington D.C in 2021:
Book a seven-night holiday in Washington DC with Virgin Holidays staying at the Watergate Hotel for seven nights from £1,593 per person based on two people sharing. The price includes return flights and room only accommodation in a superior king room, traveling 5 – 12th September 2021.