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A Vacation to the Capital

secret gems

The Awakening Haines Point, E. Potomac Park. A curious group of sculptures depicting an enormous man rising out of the earth, an arm here, a big knee there. Children can climb all over it, and they do.

Society of the Cincinnati/Anderson House 2118 Massachusetts Ave. NW; 202/785-2040. A lovely, big, old Beaux Arts mansion, now home to the Society of the Cincinnati, an elite group formed in 1783 by officers who served in the Revolutionary War. But that's not why you want to go there—the huge collection of toy soldiers is.

Newseum 1101 Wilson Blvd., Arlington; 888/639-7386. The mission of this spiffy new museum (opened in 1997) is nothing less than to show the world "how the press works, warts and all." Your kids can pretend to anchor a news broadcast or guest on a talk show (no chair throwing allowed). There's a film called What's News?,Internet connections in the cafeteria, and, outside, a memorial to journalists killed in the line of duty. Spring for the audio guide; it pulls the material together in a way that just zipping through won't.

Washington Dolls' House & Toy Museum 5236 44th St. NW; 202/244-0024. Flora Gill Jacobs opened the museum in 1975 to display part of her extensive toy collection. There's a world of musty games and playthings here, but don't miss the incredibly detailed dollhouses, which are worlds unto themselves. Favorites include a Victorian house with tiny pets and a phone that cranks, a 1904 seaside hotel, and a Mexican mansion with a working elevator.

Titanic Memorial Fourth and P Sts. SW. James Cameron must have seen the imposing statue in southwest Washington, sculpted by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney in the 1930's, because the famous scene in his movie Titanic that shows Kate Winslet standing up straight, arms outstretched, copies the pose here.

Frederick Douglass National Historic Site 1411 W St. SE; 202/426-5961. Cedar Hill, Douglass's former home, is a beautiful and serene spot with a panoramic view of Washington. The great orator's personal effects—barbells, the desk where he wrote, an early typewriter—illustrate the story of the escaped slave who rose to national prominence.

great hotels with pools

Four Seasons Hotel Washington, D.C. 2800 Pennsylvania Ave. NW; 800/332-3442 or 202/342-0444; doubles from $370.
Latham Hotel 3000 M St. NW; 800/528-4261 or 202/726-5000; doubles from $215.
L'Enfant Plaza Hotel [This property is no longer a Loews hotel] 480 L'Enfant Plaza SW; 202/484-1000; doubles from $149.
Omni Shoreham Hotel 2500 Calvert St. NW; 800/843-6664 or 202/234-0700;doubles from $179.
Fairmont Washington D.C. [This property is no longer known as Washington Monarch Hotel] 2401 M St. NW; 877/222-2266 or 202/429-2400; doubles from $269.
Washington Plaza Hotel 10 Thomas Circle NW; 800/424-1140 or 202/842-1300; doubles from $109.

kid-friendly restaurants

Firehook Bakery & Coffeehouse 1909 Q St. NW; 202/588-9296; breakfast for four $20. Start your day with a light bite.

Lunch and Snacks
Bread Line 1751 Pennsylvania Ave. NW; 202/822-8900; lunch for four $20. Great for sandwiches.
Pizzeria Paradiso 2029 P St. NW; 202/ 223-1245; lunch for four $30.The best pizza in town.
Xando 1350 Connecticut Ave. NW; 202/296-9341; snacks for four $16. A coffee shop for snacks, including s'mores.

Senses [This property has closed]
Jaleo 480 Seventh St. NW; 202/628-7949; dinner for four $60. Tapas—little plates for little people.
Meskerem 2434 18th St. NW; 202/462-4100; dinner for four $55. Ethiopian. Kids will love eating with their hands.
Marrakesh 617 New York Ave. NW; 202/393-9393; dinner for four $100. Dazzling Moroccan food with a show—belly dancers!
Old Ebbitt Grill 675 15th St. NW; 202/ 347-4800; dinner for four $75. Guinness on tap and fresh oysters for you, serious burgers for the small fry.
Asia Nora 2213 M St. NW 202/797-4860; dinner for four $150. Organic Asian fusion—for little vegetarians.


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