When it comes enjoying African American history, there are few places that can beat the nation’s capital. From being the home of the First (BLACK!) Family to countless museums, to delectable restaurants on every corner, The District is the full of life. Labor Day weekend is around the corner, meaning fall is not too far behind, and a quick trip to the nation’s capital might not be such a bad idea. Check out these African American landmarks you should definitely visit this fall if you are in the District.
- White House: As the Obamas time in the White House comes to an end this January, time is running out! This is your time to enjoy touring the home of the most influential and historical family, capturing moments that you will never forget for years to come! It is best to get ahead of the game and schedule your tour ahead of time, starting by contacting your member of Congress. Visit the official White House website for more information. Good luck!
- National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC)- This past weekend, Metropolitan residents have been scrambling to get their timed entry passes in preparation of the grand opening of NMAAHC, which is the 19th addition to the Smithsonian family. The museum, which has been in the works since 2003, will officially open on September 24,2016 and is expected to draw thousands of people from all over the world. Timed entry passes, which permit people to enter the museum at an allocated time and stay to their heart’s content once inside, are being used for crowd control. They went out 9 a.m. on August 27 and sold out by noon, so know that this is a high demand event and you shouldn’t waste time. You can still get timed entry passes for October, November, and December reserved now.
- Martin Luther King Memorial- Aside from the fact the pristine white stone against the colorful fall foliage in the background is jaw dropping scenery, standing in the presence of the MLK statue is a life changing moment. Erected on four acres of land along the Tidal Basin at 1964 Independence Avenue, the 30 foot statue was built in 2011 and is the first statue dedicated to a man of color. Be sure not only to snap pictures in front of the memorial, but by the reflecting pool nearest to the Lincoln Memorial, where he gave his infamous “I Have A Dream Speech” 53 years ago.
- U Street Corridor and Shaw Neighborhood- Called “The Black Broadway” by singer Pearl Bailey of the early 20th century, the U-Street strip is one of D.C’s best hotspots for fun, food, and fashion. Home to historic venues such as the Howard Theatre, once home to Black musicians such as Bailey and Cab Calloway, and the 9:30 Club, as well as mouthwatering restaurants like Ben’s Chili and Busboys and Poets, which pays homage to Langston Hughes, you will never be bored exploring. There is something for everyone to enjoy in this historic neighborhood.
- Visit a National Park- A good option to explore in the D.C. area is Rock Creek Park. The largest in the National Park Service system, Rock Creek Park is the nation’s first urban park. From once housing slaves and freed families, to becoming the personal escapes for presidents such as Roosevelt and Reagan, Rock Creek teems with more than 100 years of history. If you ever visit Rock Creek, make sure to ask about Sarah Whitby and Hattie Sewell, two African American women near and dear to the park’s history, as well. It is a huge park so make sure you have your walking shoes and are prepared to take it all of its beauty!
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