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Hot Tips: Capitol Gains

This election season, our vote goes to Washington, DC itself—thanks to all that's afoot in town. See the Smithsonian's new National Museum of the American Indian (Fourth St. and Independence Ave. SW; 202/633-1000, www.nmai.si.edu ; free ), where Inuits construct kayaks and the cafeteria serves fry bread tacos. Then cab it over to the suddenly hip 14th Street neighborhood. Browse at Candida's (1541 14th St., NW; 202/667-4811 ), an international bookstore with a terrific kids' section, and catch the "buzz balls" (cream puffs in exotic flavors) at the Love Café (1501 U St. NW; 202/588-7100 ). Or hightail it to the National Zoo (3001 Connecticut Ave. NW; 202/673-0127, www.nationalzoo.si.edu ; free ) and its recently planted hands-on farm, with a petting zoo and a "pizza" garden (wedge-shaped beds ot tomatoes and herbs). The show not to miss is the Washington Ballet's new Nutcracker (Warner Theatre, 513 13th St. NW; 202-783-4000 ), set in a Georgetown rowhouse with George Washington in the starring role—how's that for a new spin on politics?
—Emily Shetler

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