A Day in DC

Second in series on bucket-list towns where there is so much to see that that it is easy to miss some really good places. The series, begun with A Day in LA, highlights two attractions and includes a foodie stop plus an alternative attraction.

'A Capitol View' taken from the Newseum. Photo by Jodie Jacobs

‘A Capitol View’
taken from the Newseum. Photo by Jodie Jacobs

 

 

If you haven’t been to Washington DC your best introduction to the US capital is with the Hop On Hop Off Old Town Trolley. It will help you become acclimated to where things are. Plus, you can stop to take your selfies at DC landmarks.

But if you have visited DC before or are looking for something special to do after touring the usual places, go over to the Newseum where you can be a broadcaster and the International Spy Museum where you can be a spy.

Neither museum is part of the Smithsonian group so there are admission charges. Best plan is to get tickets in advance for discounts and easy entry.

 

The Newseum

Want a great view of the Capitol? Take the Newseum’s glass elevator. You’ll have to go down to go up. There are other elevators but the best way to experience this museum is to take the glass elevator which is an express from the Concourse Level up to Level 6 then walk down.

At Level 6 step outside to the terrace, look left and pull out the smart phone. The view is the same one used by some TV broadcasts from a studio a level down. Turn right to go back inside to see the current exhibit.

“Louder Than Words: Rock, Power and Politics” will be there on Level 6 beginning Jan. 13, 2017. Coming to the Newesum from Cleveland’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, it has story boards and images but also John Lennon’s acoustic guitar from his 1969 “Bed-Ins for Peace” with Yoko Ono and the Fender Stratocaster used by Jimi Hendrix when he did “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Woodstock. In addition, there are handwritten lyrics to Bob Dylan’s “The Times They are a Changin’ and Bruce Springsteens, “Born in the USA.”

Opening Feb. 3, 2017  on Level 4 is ‘1967: Civil Rights at 50.” It reviews the militant mood changes during the struggle for racial justice.

But save time for permanent exhibits and highlights.  On Level 2 you can be a TV Reporter and do an interactive video. While at the museum, look for the exhibit on 911, FBI crime cases and the evolution of electronic media.

Become a spy and learn who was a spy at the International Spy Museum. Photo by Jodie Jacobs

Become a spy and learn who was a spy at the International Spy Museum. Photo by Jodie Jacobs

The Newseum is at 6th Street and Pennsylvania Ave. NW.

 

International Spy Museum

Now pull up the trench coat collar and don the sunglasses. The International Spy Museum is within walking distance a couple of blocks west and a few blocks north of Newseum.

Visitors age 12 and older can become a spy for an hour in the interactive ‘Operation Spy’ experience. It is a ticketed, timed experience limited to 15 people.

Go through the museum to find out who was a spy that you’d never guess would take on a mission. Find out about spy techniques and see some of the tools of the trade. If you’ve seen Bond movies you already know about some of them but there also is a separate Bond exhibit.

The International Spy Museum is at  800 F Street, NW  Washington, DC  20004

 

Where to eat

Break up the day with lunch at  Oyamel Cocina Mexicana, a  nice-sual restaurant with a sophisticated urban Mexican flair. Or stop at Hill Country Barbecue Market, a very casual, really good Texan BBQ place. Both restaurants   are about half-way between the two museums.

 

Alternative attraction and lunch spot

The National Gallery of Art is right across Pennsylvania Avenue from the Newseum. Contemporary and modern art is in the East Building which was just renovated. The West Building has art from all periods. Both buildings are worth visiting. Currently, modernist ‘Stuart Davis: In Full Swing’ is featured in the West Building until early March, 2017. Those in the know who want a quiet, contemplative spot make a reservation (four or more guests) to lunch in the Garden Cafe in the West Building near the 6th street entrance.

 

 

v

A Day in LA

 

Sometimes you go to a city to visit relatives or friends. Other times you are passing through on the way to a vacation spot. Then there are those times the city is your vacation destination but there are so many things to do you’re not sure how much to fit into one day.

To help you start out the year on a you-can-do-it note, here is a Day In series for towns that ought to be on your  bucket list or when visiting friends and family. Don’t be surprised if the people you visit say they’ve been meaning to go there. People who live in an area often don’t  play tourist in their own city.

The recently redone Petersen Automotive Museum. A subway system is currently being extended just outside and below the museum.

The recently redone Petersen Automotive Museum. A subway system is currently being extended just outside and below the museum.

The Day In series spotlights two main places and a restaurant, however, one or two alternatives are also included. Tip: no matter what the reason for the trip or what you do – plan some down time.

 

First in the series: A Day in LA

A red building wrapped with a chrome-like grill, rises from one corner.  Across the road, another modern art structure seems to beckon you to go over there and see what’s inside. You’re at Fairfax Avenue and Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles,

Park the car within the red building’s garage and you are ready to go exploring.  You don’t have to try this building first. Both corner buildings are filled with treasures.

Inside the eye-catching striped structure is the newly remodeled  Petersen Automotive Museum. You don’t have to be a car buff to fall in love with the beautifully designed Bugatti, silver “gullwing” Corvette, Steve McQueen’s 1956 Jaguar XKSS or the Batmobile, all currently on exhibit.

Start on the third floor and then head down. You might come across a car your parents or grandparents drove such as  a red 1956 Bel Air Chevrolet convertible or a black 1922 Chevrolet 490 series coupe that the great grandparents might have driven.

The Petersen Automotive Museum is at 6060 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036

 

Chris Burden's 'UrbanLight'

Chris Burden’s ‘Urban Light’

Across the road is what everyone in LA knows as LACMA, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, with its 21st century remodeled look and added buildings.

The very contemporary, multi-winged-topped structure on the campus’ western corner includes Renzo Piano’s Workshop-designed Broad (pronounced Brode) Contemporary Art Museum.

Often referred to as BCAM, it opened February 2008. It is adjacent to the Lynda and Stewart Resnick Exhibition Pavilion added in 2010.

But first, pull out the smart phone to take photos of your group wandering through artist Chris Burden’s “Urban Light” outside LACMA. It’s a fun collection of old-looking street lights. Then, stop at the LACMA Will Call window for tickets to  “Picasso and Rivera: Conversations across time.”

Tip: Many LA area attractions including this exhibit need tickets so instead of waiting in long lines, purchase or reserve them on line to be picked up at the venue’s Will Call.

The ‘Picasso and Rivera’ show reveals how much the two famed artists were alike as they changed styles ranging from classical to abstract. Opened December 2016, the exhibit is in the BCAM section of LACMA through May 7, 2017.

Anyone who missed  the “Moholy-Nagy Future Present” show at the Art Institute of Chicago fall of 2016, can catch it at LACMA Feb. 12 through June 18. It’s a fabulous exhibit of  László Moholy-Nagy’s photographs, paintings, graphics and commercial designs.

Moholy, as he usually was called, was an influential Bauhaus teacher, founder of the Chicago Institute of Design and a pioneer of combining art with technology.

LACMA also has fine Asian, Latin American and Islamic collections. So you might want to divide up the time to do more than see a featured exhibit.  The museum is at 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90036.

 

Now about food. It would be a shame to be in the area and not take advantage of lunch at Canter’s Bakery and Deli about a mile east of the two museums on Fairfax Avenue. Since opening in 1931, the famed deli has been the background for the ‘Mad Men’ series and has fed such celebrities as Barack Obama, Wayne Gretzky, Mick Jagger and Larry King. Canter’s is at 419 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90036.

 

Canter's Deli has been serving up some of the best Jewish food in the LA area since 1931

Canter’s Deli has been serving up some of the best Jewish food in the LA area since 1931

An alternative suggestion: The Broad Museum that opened to well deserved hype September, 2015 is worth a stop when in LA.

You will want to snap photos of the building, inside and out, see its exceptional collection of contemporary art and check out Yayoi Kusama’s “Infinity Mirrored Room.”

Museum admission is free but reservations are essential. If going there, get in line once inside for a timed ticket to the Infinity Room. The Broad is at 221 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90012.

 

As to getting to these places, just be patient. Almost anywhere else you would likely time your forays to miss the rush hour. However, it always seems to be rush hour when driving the LA freeways. Since you are likely visiting or traveling with a companion take the car-pool lane.

Tips: Attractions are less crowded when they first open in the morning. Whatever attractions you choose, base your day on location. The places suggested here are near downtown LA.

Photography by Jodie Jacobs

 

Where to ice skate around Chicago

 

Maybe now that Chicago’s Ice-Age weekend has come and hopefully, gone, we can lace up the skates and twirl to joyful music. Tip: closing dates are important so put them on your calendar. The first skating spot listed is indoors because it is part of a winter fest that leaves after the first full weekend in January. The second is outdoors but its regular hours change to extended holiday times late December except for special days and events.

McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Millennium Park. City of Chicago photo

McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Millennium Park. City of Chicago photo

 

Navy Pier

If you want to skate at the Chicago Blackhawks Indoor Ice Rink among the rides and slides of the Pier’s Winter WonderFest, go by Sunday, Jan, 8, 2017. It all starts to disappear that Monday. Navy Pier is the nearly mile-long entertainment arm sticking out into Lake Michigan from 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago, IL 60611.

Check out cost and hours at Navy Pier Wonderfest or call (800) 595-Pier (7437).

 

MB Financial Park

You have likely passed Rosemont’s mega entertainment complex along the I 294 at I90 near O’Hare International Airport. There is a lot to do there including eating, seeing movies and flying (really) indoors. However, when winter comes there is also Frozemont, an outdoor Chicago Wolves Ice Rink for hockey and free skating. Skate rental is available. Tickets are sold at the rink’s box office. For the address think Monopoly game. It’s 5501 Park Place, Rosemont, IL 60018. Regular hours go through Dec. 23 but open skating has extended hours Christmas Eve and Day, New Year’s Eve and Day, Martin Luther King’s Day and Presidents Day.

Visit MB Financial Park for hours and other information and call (847) 349-5008.

Skate with the Greats (at MB Financial Park)

As those TV ads say, “wait, there’s more” re ice skating at the MB Financial Park. If anyone in the family follows the Blackhawks, consider getting a ticket to the annual Skate with the Greats, 1 to 5 p.m., Jan. 14, 2017. Sponsored by the Chicago Blackhawk Alumni Association, event proceeds to benefit Chicago area Ronald McDonald House charities. Learn more at skate event.

 

Lincoln Park Zoo

Families will appreciate the casual, no-pressure-to-show-off skating rink near the red barn at the Farm-in-the-Zoo in Lincoln Park. Admission and skate rental are each $5. Go now to also see ZooLights which continues through Jan. 1, 2017. Come back to skate some more through Feb. 26. You might not want to leave before visiting the new snow monkeys in the MacaQue Forest, the penguins in their new compound or Siku, a new polar bear in the Walter Family Arctic Tundra.  The zoo’s parking lot is at 2400 N. Cannon Drive, Chicago, IL 60614 and is on the CTA’s 151 and 156 bus routes.

For hours and other information visit Lincoln Park Zoo.

 

McCormick Tribune Ice Rink

A fun place to skate is below Cloud Gate (The Bean) at the McCormick Ice Rink in Millennium Park. Take photos (can you skate while doing a selfie?) of the city’s skyline and warm up with hot chocolate from the Park Grill. Don’t worry about not skating at Olympic level. Free skating lessons are offered Friday through Sunday by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events during their Winter Workouts an hour before the rink has opend. Other lessons are available other times and dates Dec. 24, 2016  through Jan. 8, 2017. The rink is open weekdays at noon and weekends at 10 a.m. through March 5, 2017. It’s located in one of those “you can’t miss it’ places because it borders the west side of Millennium Park along Michigan Avenue between Washington and Madison Streets. Its formal address is 201 E. Randolph St. Chicago, IL 60601. Skating is free. Rentals are $12.

For full skating and lesson hours visit DCA.

Maggie Daley Ribbon Ice Rink  A Maggie Daley Park photo

Maggie Daley Ribbon Ice Rink A Maggie Daley Park photo

 

Maggie Daley Skating Ribbon

Swirling and curving on the north-east side of Millinneium Park in Chicago Park District’s Maggie Daley Park, is the unusually shaped Maggie Daley Skating Ribbon. Open now through the first week of March, the Ribbon winds through a somewhat rolling, changing “parkscape” that  is a fun place to go. Skating is free. Rentals are $12 weekdays and $14 Friday through Sunday and holidays. The park is at 337 E. Randolph St. Chicago, IL 60601.

For hours and events visit Skating Ribbon

 

Other Chicago Park District Rinks

The city has seven other outdoor ice rinks aside from the Maggie Daley Ribbon.  They will stay open through Feb. 20, 2017. To find the location nearest you or one you would like to visit and to see hours and special programs visit CPD.

 

Peninsula Chicago Sky Rink
You can skate with a city view above Michigan Avenue if eating, using the Spa or staying at the Peninsula Chicago. The upscale hotel has added an ice rink to its Terrace in a romantic setting of pine trees and snowflake lighting. Snack or warm up with hot cider, hot chocolate and other treats. The rink is open through March 1, 2017. Donations of $15 adults and $10 children age 12 and under go to children’s charities.

For other information and rink availability visit Sky Rink and call  (312) 337-2888.

 

Three Chicago weekend family ideas

If still looking for something to do in the Chicago area this weekend here are some suggestions, beginning Friday.

Visit Brookfield Zoo where some animals enjoy the snow. Photo by Jim Schultz

Visit Brookfield Zoo where some animals enjoy the snow. Photo by Jim Schultz

 

Brookfield Zoo

Walk among more than a million twinkling lights, listen to a tall talking tree, watch ice carvers, ooh doing the Polar Light Show and ah during the magic show and sing to reindeer in Wild Encounters or bears in the Great Bear Wilderness at what is formally called the Chicago Zoological Society or what most Chicago folks call Brookfield Zoo.

The zoo is celebrating Holiday Magic this weekend, Dec. 17-18 from 10 a.m. through 9 p.m. but the lights, shows and other fun stuff don’t really begin until 4 p.m. The zoo is at 3300 Golf Road, Brookfield, IL 60513. For ticket and other information visit BZoo.

 

CTA Holiday and Elves Workshop Trains and the Holiday Bus

You can tell when the holiday trains are pulling into an L station because of all their colored lights. Oh, yes, you’ll also see Santa in his sleigh on a flatcar with his reindeer and holiday trees. The Elves Workshop train should be following shortly for those who didn’t make the Holiday Train. Inside, the trains are decorated for the holidays and equipped with candy canes to hand out.

On Dec. 17 The CTA Holiday Train will operate on the Red Line between 12:15 and 9 p.m. (two trips either direction, and the Purple Line from about 4:15 and 6 :16 p.m. Visit Holiday Train schedule.

The Holiday Bus will be traveling the No. 62 Archer route Dec. 16 going south from Kinzie and State at 1:15 p.m. and Dec. 17 going north at 12:25 p.m. from the Midway Orange Line to Kinzie and State See CTA holiday bus. You know it’s the holiday bus because “Ralphie the Reindeer” leads the way with his glowing, ruby-red nose.  Once inside, you see Santa and art from Wacker Elementary and Santa. Find more information at Holiday Bus.

 

Juicebox Series Human Tim+Robot Tim

Bring your toddler to the Chicago Cultural Center Dec. 16 or the Garfield Park Conservatory Dec. 17 to watch Human tim and his robot friend make music. Both places are 11 to 11:45 a.m. The Cultural center is at 78 E. Washington St. downtown and the Conservatory is on the west side of Chicago at 300 N. Central Avenue. Both places are reached by CTA trains.. Visit Juicebox .

 

 

 

Subscribe By Email

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Categories
Follow Me on Twitter
Archives