Start with checking in to the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill, just a few blocks from the U.S. Capitol building.
Discover why Thomas Jefferson said “I cannot live without books” at the Library of Congress. His collection is recreated precisely in an impressive exhibition about his library organized by category including memory, reason and imagination.
Pop over to Barracks Row (8th St. SE) for a quick and tasty bite at Belga Café. The small yet bustling Belgian restaurant warrants reservations, or you can try for seats at the bar. Mussels at least seven ways and an impressive beer list are matched with “Eurofusion” items with Asian influences that don’t disappoint.
For further cerebral stimulation, head over to the stunning Folger Shakespeare Library to see Mary Stuart “in the round,” at its newly reconfigured Elizabethan Theatre. If it’s a mild night, stroll back to the Hyatt past the Supreme Court and across the Capitol grounds to New Jersey Avenue.
Morning brings a visit to the U.S. Botanic Garden, a lush living plant museum right on the National Mall that played a pivotal role in Dan Brown’s novel “The Lost Symbol.” Beautiful orchids are usually in bloom this time of year.