Thursday, December 15, 2016

Quiet atmosphere during the holidays in Washington D.C.

The words “serenity” and “peace” are probably two words rarely used to describe Washington. As the center of the U.S. government and a heavily populated metro area, there is always a lot of activity going on, perhaps especially during an election/inaugural year.

Yet, living here almost a decade now, I’ve noticed all this slows down a bit during the winter holidays. We have taken a ride downtown on just about every holiday throughout the year and, while sometimes chilly, found November and December to be really nice. 

Thanksgiving Day, 2016

This year on Thanksgiving Day we spent several hours downtown. We started off at the U.S. Botanic Garden for the opening of the annual Season’s Greetings event to see the train and other exhibits in the conservatory. We then popped in a couple of the other museums and also did some walking around. Short lines, little waiting. I took the above photo just before we got online at the Botanic Garden. As the day went on, the District got a little busier, but no where near the crowds you'd see in the spring during Easter week.

Rewind back about a decade ago to when we were new in the area, coming from the New York metro area where the decorations are, for a lack of a better word, "big". We were curious about how Washington D.C. and the White House dressed up for the holidays.  That first year we learned the District is somewhat quiet around Christmastime and the decorations are more subtle – very different from the brightness and hustle and bustle of New York City. 

If you look closely, there is a bit of greenery draped over the entryways, maybe some white lights or other understated d├ęcor. Most of the government buildings stick to traditional greens with red ribbons. It is simple, yet elegant and pretty.

U.S. Treasury Building

Don't get me wrong, there is a lot to see and do in the District during the holidays with plenty of activity. And there are a lot of decorations too, however, just walking around town on certain days or nights, there is a definite air of serenity as well. It's rather nice.

I feel I should do an update. We went downtown two days after Christmas and it was a balmly 60 degrees. While traffic was still relatively quiet, there were quite a few people on the National Mall, presumably enjoying the lovely weather. 

Happy holidays, Merry Christmas and all the best in the New Year! Thank you for visiting my blog. 

This was taken on Christmas Eve, 2006 in the late afternoon.

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