18 December, 2015
Can't get to Washington, D.C. for the holidays? Luckily, we did the walking for you. Let's head out on this holiday tour.
The National Botanic Garden is a living plant museum, designed to show how important plants are to humankind. Built in 1820, it is also one of the oldest places in North America. During the holidays, the central Garden Court displays beautiful Christmas trees and foliage, or plants. The centerpiece displays models of famous Washington buildings made from branches, moss and flowers.
Another beautiful spot is Union Station, Washington's main train hub. It is one of the busiest train stations and shopping destinations in the country, visited by more than 40 million people a year. Its restaurants and shops sit under soaring ceilings and glassy marble floors.
The historic train station was built in 1907 and designed by famed Chicago architect David Burnham. The entrance has a classic design and triumphant arches. And do not miss the charming toy train set, modeled on an American town from the 1940s.
The National Gallery of Art has one of the finest art collections in the world. The rotunda, or domed ceiling, features a statue of the Roman god Mercury atop a splashing fountain. Some of the greens used to decorate the fountain were grown in the National Gallery's 10 greenhouses.
The West Garden Court has a bubbling fountain called "Cherubs Playing With a Swan," made by French artist Jean-Baptiste Tuby. It is the setting for many holiday concerts. The East Garden Court, beautifully decorated with pale pink poinsettias, has a fountain by French artist Pierre Legros.
Afterward, head downstairs to the Cascade Café for an espresso, gelato or a glass of wine. Sit and watch the water cascading, or falling against a glass wall. To head to the East Gallery, take the moving sidewalk through a dazzling diode-lit tunnel, created by artist Leo Villareal. It will deliver you to the modern wing of the museum, designed by Chinese-American architect I.M. Pei, decorated for the holidays.
Finally, we close with a quieter but no less important spot on our trip, Arlington National Cemetery. Arlington is where America buries its military and their family members. And it is important to remember them at this time of year.
Words in This Story
foliage - n. the leaves of a plant or of many plants
destination - n. a place to which a person is going or something is being sent
triumphant - adj. resulting in victory or success
charming - adj. very pleasing or appealing: full of charm
dazzling - adj. to cause (someone) to be unable to see for a short time