Washington DC

29th February 2008 at 00:00
The TV series The West Wing may be over, but in the real world, this presidential election year might be a good time to visit Washington DC, home of American politics.

Put it all in context at the Newseum (www.newseum.org), due to open on April 11 with a plethora of interactive exhibits, including bits of the Berlin Wall, a war reporter's bullet-riddled vehicle and a 74ft high engraving of the First Amendment. Check out its outside terrace for panoramic photo-ops of the Capitol and the Washington Monument.

Continue the theme on a Bi-Partisan Tour (www.bi-partisantourcompany.com), including an electric car, a mask of your favourite US government figure and a horn to toot for your (political) side.

If that's a bit full-on, see a fluffier side of DC during the Cherry Blossom Festival (www.nationalcherryblossomfestival.org, March 29-April 13).

The Smithsonian American History Museum is closed for renovation until the autumn, but Dorothy's ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz and other popular exhibits have moved to the National Air and Space museum (www.si.edumuseums).

Virgin Holidays (0844 5573 860, www.virginholidays.co.uk) has three nights staying at Hotel Helix near trendy Logan Circle from pound;585pp, including direct return flights from Heathrow.

- For more information, call 020 8339 6048 or visit www.capitalregionusa.co.uk

Readers recommend

Despite the surrounding area now being predominantly white, Blues Alley (www.bluesalley.com) in Georgetown still has a largely black clientele, and they know their music. This was one of Dizzy Gillespie's favourite haunts and, when you're sitting at a table eating by candlelight, you can summon an image of what it must have been like in the golden era of the Fifties and Sixties.

James, London.

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