The Capital with CNN Chief White House Correspondent
High culture / Low culture
My travel cravings are for historic sites, urban immersion and then mindless beach fun or spa oasis. My earliest travel memory is of hiking the dunes in Death Valley—in California's scorching Mojave Desert—and stopping to let my parents apply Hawaiian Tropic Dark Tanning Oil, zero SPF. The place I'm most excited to go to next is Berlin.
I would spend a perfect day in Washington DC because it's aesthetically lovely and there's so much to keep you entertained and learning. The most romantic thing to do here is to visit the monuments at night. I would stay at the Jefferson Hotel for high-end travelers; It's discreet, close to the White House, and recently remodeled. For a lower priced option there's Donovan House also near the White House or the hip Capitol Skyline Hotel, closer to Capitol Hill which has a happening pool scene in the summer.
The activities that can't be missed
1. After Sequester ends, sign up for a tour of the White House and Congress. Plan this months ahead by contacting your member of congress. Don't wait 'til the last minute.
2. Drive down Embassy Row, which is Massachusetts Avenue from Dupont Circle to the National Cathedral—gorgeous stately embassies.
3. Visit the National Archives and the Supreme Court. When the Court is in session, you can sit in on arguments on a first-come, first-served basis. If you're a US citizen, remember it's meant to be your Court. Then swing by the National Archives where you can see the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.
My favorite places to eat
1. Posto on 14th Street—we joke it's the media cafeteria. Ever want to see pundits from cable talk shows, find them here on a weekday night.
2. Lunch at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden—don't go for the food, go for the environment. Nice escape when you're hopping from one museum to another. The garden also turns into an ice skating rink during the winter.
3. Marvin is hip, young, and fairly new. Rooftop, bar, noisy.
The places you should definitely see
1. Pick a few museums. Among the best for art: National Gallery of Art, National Portrait Gallery, Hirshhorn Museum, and Sculpture Garden; for history: National Air + Space Museum, US Holocaust Memorial Museum.
2. The Kennedy Center and the Watergate building next door. Drive by the Watergate because it's history. Get out and walk around the Kennedy Center because the location on the Potomac is gorgeous.
3. George Washington Parkway. Drive down this road during the day and it offers you a gorgeous view of the Washington skyline and all the monuments. You will recognize the view from many Hollywood action movies. While here, you can drive by Arlington National Cemetery.